“Lennon was a gifted songsmith, period. His political philosophy was puerile and as predictable as sightings of peace symbols in Haight-Ashbury during the summer of love. ‘Love’ is not all the world needs, and whenever I imagine no possessions I see only a sanguinary free-for-all. I’ll continue to enjoy Lennon’s music. But his political ‘philosophy’ is to human enlightenment what, say, a rock concert by Milton Friedman would have been to human entertainment.” –Donald Boudreaux, George Mason University economist on the anniversary of John Lennon’s death.
Kentucky’s college enrollment/grad rates trail nation
Jim Warren at the Lexington Herald-Leader has the details.
One telling point from the article:
“Kentucky had 48 percent of its first-time, full-time college freshmen in 2002 graduate from public four-year colleges and universities by 2008, compared with 55 percent nationally and 53 percent in the 16-state region covered by the education board.”
The Hazard-Herald reports that the ACT, Incorporated has concluded its investigation into alleged cheating in Perry County high schools and found that there was improper activity in both the Perry County Central High School and the Buckhorn High School.
Not many details have been publicly released, but that may be due to the fact that the Kentucky Department of Education indicates the case has been turned over to investigative agencies such as the Attorney General’s office and the Educational Professional Standards Board (which grants, and revokes, professional teacher and principal certifications).
The Educational Professional Standards Board confirmed to the newspaper that it now has a complaint pending.
The wrongdoing involves extremely important tests that tell students if they are on track for preparation for college and careers.
So far, the students – who were found innocent of any wrong-doing by the ACT – are the only ones who have suffered. Many of the recent PLAN and ACT scores have been invalidated, and students must retake the tests. That could seriously impact students’ planning for college.
Hopefully, the guilty parties will be identified and receive proper punishment for their wrong-doing. Among their other faults, these misbehaving adults have presented their students with an extraordinarily bad lesson about acceptable behavior.
Jefferson County Board of Education member Linda Duncan got it wrong about NCLB
I wrote a week ago that Ms. Duncan does not understand that what counts as proficient work on the Kentucky tests used for NCLB compliance is nothing like the performance required to get a “Proficient” score on the National Assessment of Educational Progress.
Now, Kentucky Commissioner of Education Terry Holliday (who reads this blog, by the way) has felt it incumbent to write a letter to the Courier-Journal that explains NAEP “Proficient” isn’t the same as “Proficient” on Kentucky’s tests. He also agrees with us that we don’t want to lower the bar for our kids, which is clearly what board member Duncan wants to do.
Will the folks in Jefferson County ever learn?
A few days ago, State Labor Cabinet Secretary J.R. Gray retired three years following his appointment to the position. This calls for a celebration.
For his service, Gray will receive a high five, er…three from the state and a bloated pension bonus estimated at about $1.2 million.
Hey, no retirement party is complete without presents, right?
Thanks to a 2005 law, Gray’s legislative pension is calculated on the salary he received in his three years as cabinet secretary — $137,865 this year alone — instead of the 26 years he served in the Kentucky House of Representatives.
This loophole permits lawmakers to base their legislative pensions on the salary of another government job held either before or after serving in Frankfort.
The law also lowered the salary multiplying factor used in figuring pensions from a “high five” to a “high three.” Gray’s six-digit salary from his three years as cabinet secretary counts as his “high three,” which means his pension will be figured completely on his salary as secretary.
In contrast, his “high three” from his years as a state representative would have been a much lower number — around $40,000.
In all, his pension added about $400,000 each year to his three-year salary as secretary, meaning Gray was essentially paid over a half-million dollars a year for heading the labor cabinet.
Now, he’s retiring in time to barely meet the three-year requirement and cash out on his oversized pension.
Gray and all of the other political cronies who plan to take advantage of this taxpayer-funded cash cow might be celebrating. But citizens are not.