- Democrats calling Republicans Nazis? Maybe I need to check the dictionary for the word “civility”, perhaps I’ve been using the wrong definition all these years…
- Interested in how Lexington spent your hard earned tax dollars in 2009? You can use our sortable database here and see for yourself!
- This Milton Friedman documentary was filmed decades ago but it’s sad that most of the problems he discusses are just as relevant today as they were then. His assessment of education bureaucrats is right on. This is part 1:
A new report from the Center for American Progress (CAP) is going to catch some attention around the country. As the CAP writes in the introduction:
“At a time when states are projecting more than $100 billion in budget shortfalls, educators need to be able to show that education dollars produce significant outcomes or taxpayers might begin to see schools as a weak investment. If schools don’t deliver maximum results for the dollar, public trust in education could erode and taxpayers may fund schools less generously.”
The CAP wades into that discussion, which we started in Kentucky years ago with our “Bang for the Buck” report, with new rankings of the efficiency of school districts around the nation in terms of test proficiency rates achieved versus per pupil dollars spent.
While the CAP findings are no surprise to us, they reinforce what we at the Bluegrass Institute have been saying for years: with education now absorbing such a huge percentage of the overall tax dollar, Kentucky simply cannot afford education systems that don’t produce efficiently for kids.
I’ll have a lot more to say about the CAP report, so stay tuned.
In the mean time, the CAP’s web site has a neat mapping tool where you can drag the map to show Kentucky, click within the area of the state, and then see how each district in the state shapes up in their efficiency rankings.
Here is one map I assembled that shows the worst Return on Investment (ROI) school districts – shown in red, to the best – shown in dark green, in Kentucky.
Jim Waters, the Bluegrass Institute’s vice president of policy and communications, will appear on KET’s “Kentucky Tonight” on Monday, Jan. 24, at 8 p.m. (EST) to debate a proposal to enact a government-mandated statewide smoking ban.
The program is hosted by Bill Goodman live on KET and www.ket.org/live, and will be replayed Wednesday at 2 a.m. (EST).
Waters will be joined in his call to protect individual liberty and the property rights of business owners by Rep. Jim DeCesare, R-Bowling Green, who is leading an effort in the Kentucky House of Representatives to make government more transparent and accountable to citizens.
During the live Monday broadcast, viewers with questions and comments may participate by calling 1-800-494-7605 or by e-mail at email@example.com or use the message form at www.ket.org/kytonight.
Other panelists include Rep. Susan Westrom, D-Lexington, the primary sponsor of the smoking-ban legislation–House Bill 193, and Amy Barkley, advocacy director with the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.
“What’s in a name?”
In Kentucky, I think we need to ask ourselves “What’s in a letter?”
Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday recently published a letter to the legislature stating that he hoped the legislature would continue to pressure the education establishment to abandon the status quo and look to the interests of children rather than adults. This is a message that more bureaucrats, legislators, and teachers union leaders need to hear.
While Holliday makes a great point and expresses his concerns about the future of education in Kentucky, in the end, it is still just a letter. Over the years there have been more than a few press conferences, task forces, studies, press releases, and public statements by those wielding power in Frankfort about how Kentucky’s education system needs serious reform.
But what’s in a task force? What’s in a study? In a letter?
Getting upset about the problem is not only the first step but the most simple. The hard part is applying pressure to the system to force change through creating accountability at each level of the system, welcoming school choice to create competition, and by not lying to parents and students about achievement gaps via test score inflation.
Juliet said a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet. An education system without accountability, transparency, and free-market options is just that.
- KEA – This page is a bit empty right now. FreedomKentucky.org is trying to build a comprehensive article about the Kentucky Education Association. We’d be interested in your information and thoughts! Contact us via a comment on this blog!
- Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holiday expresses his dissatisfaction with the status quo in the state’s education system.
Unmotivated adults in Kentucky’s public school system are using the state’s economic situation as a smoke screen in an attempt to undermine implementation of Senate Bill 1 from the 2009 Regular Legislative Session (SB-1).
The situation is apparently so bad, and so misrepresented, that Kentucky Commissioner of Education Terry Holliday has found it necessary to officially alert members of the Kentucky legislature about what is happening.
SB-1 requires Kentucky to implement a much better state assessment program – one aligned to what kids will need in the future for college and careers. If schools want to do well under this new system, they are going to have to make some important changes.
However, Holliday’s letter indicates a disturbing number of educators in this state don’t want to put effort into changes that will improve education of our children. Quite simply, as the commissioner’s letter points out, some of the adults in Kentucky’s school system prefer the lesser demands of the status quo, which continues to fail many students.
Sadly, this really is no surprise. It’s a natural outcome of a system that runs mostly like a monopoly, tending to attract people of lower motivation who don’t like incentives to improve.
This is not to say all, or even many, of our educators are unmotivated. I know that is absolutely not the case. But, clearly, enough of Kentucky’s educators are standing in the way of progress that now the education commissioner feels it necessary to formally point it out.