“State policymakers who have kowtowed to the KEA now have a choice to make. They can continue to do the bidding of the teachers’ unions and punish Kentucky’s children, or they can tell the teachers’ unions to start looking out for the good of students, teachers, and schools by approving charter schools.” –Martin Cothran, The Family Foundation senior policy analyst.
Kentucky’s senior senator didn’t apologize for the buckets of Washington-produced pork he’s brought back to the commonwealth throughout his long tenure in Washington. But he does recognize that “the abuse of this practice has caused Americans to view it as a symbol of the waste and the out-of-control spending that every Republican in Washington is determined to fight.” That’s about all you can ask for from a politician who’s spent more than a quarter-century in Washington.
Click here to read the latest Bluegrass Beacon.
Chris Derry, Bluegrass Institute founder and board member, had a letter published in Sunday’s Bowling Green Daily News offering an argument for repealing the 17th Amendment, which changed the process for electing United States senators.
Previously senators were elected by state legislatures; now, of course, they are chosen by popular vote.
Give the article a read and let us know: Do you agree or disagree?
As regular readers already know, the Bluegrass Institute released a major set of reports about Kentucky’s 20-year history with KERA on Monday, November 22, 2010. One, “KERA (1990-2010): What have we learned?” is a full-length report, and the second, “KERA@20,” is a quicker reading “Commentary” on some of the key points in the main report plus more information.
You can access both from our freedomkentucky.org Wiki KERA Portal page.
You can also find more in the Portal.
One of the challenges in creating these reports was deciding what we didn’t have space to cover. We just couldn’t fit everything in to a reasonably sized report.
Also, the reports are not intended to be just dull history, but rather they offer policy-makers and citizens background to inform future decisions as we move forward with Kentucky education.
Thus, we intend that the reports will “live” through additions to the KERA Portal page. You will want to check there for updates to the “See Also” section of the portal.
You can check there now for some early additions on such topics as how Kentucky’s assessment history has cautions for the two efforts under way now to create new Common Core State Assessments (articles titled “SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium” and “Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC)”). We see potential danger that both those efforts could be repeating mistakes we made in Kentucky, and we’d like our educators to avoid them.
We’ll be adding another link soon to an already existing article about how Kentucky’s teachers didn’t get a fair share of the huge increase in spending that took place after KERA was enacted in 1990, so stay in touch.
And, once you have read our reports, if you think we need to add something else (e.g. parent involvement has already been mentioned), let us know. And, don’t forget, with the freedomkentucky.org Wiki, you can even add articles yourself. If you think your article, or any other existing article, needs to be listed on the KERA Portal page, let us know.
Let’s get this clear.
There is no CATS accountability program in Kentucky anymore. There hasn’t been one since early 2009.
The CATS assessment program was thrown out by Senate Bill 1 during the Kentucky Legislature’s 2009 Regular Legislative Session when legislators realized that CATS and its academic tests were not giving us accurate information about how well kids were being prepared for college and careers – in other words, the things that really matter. CATS was just generating ‘feel good’ numbers.
Sadly, the official, legislative recognition that the CATS accountability program was a failure didn’t stop some members of the “KERA Amen Chorus” from fabricating their own numbers. These are unofficial numbers from a private group. They are not from an authorized, formal accountability program. And, they are based on tests that are being phased out – for cause – as rapidly as possible.
But, that isn’t stopping some school systems from making all sorts of misleading claims that they are still making progress with CATS.
Case in point is covered in this Casey County News article about Liberty Elementary School.
Nowhere in this article does it explain the truth – These are not CATS accountability index scores at all. Those index scores don’t exist anymore.
The school is crowing about a private ranking scheme that is totally dependent upon dubious scores from a discredited set of tests. If the school were at least honest with the public about what these “accountability indexes” really are, I wouldn’t be so upset.
But, apparently, the school isn’t telling anyone that their index was generated by an unofficial, private ranking scheme that has never been approved by any official entity.
This week, Norton Health Care and Humana joined to create Louisville’s first accountable care organization, referred to more commonly as an ACO.
The new Louisville ACO is one of four sites selected to be a part of a pilot program conducted by the Brookings Institution and The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice.
So what does the mean for Kentucky health care?
The ACOs are a response to the gigantically intrusive health care reform law passed last May. They are defined as “a related set of providers … that can be held accountable for the cost and quality of care delivered to a defined population.”
Proponents tout that ACOs are “innovative” and will work to improve care and preventative services. However, not all health experts hold the same view.
The Heritage Foundation reported in August that ACOs force consolidation and “would prompt more doctors in small-group practices to leave medicine altogether.”
John Goodman of the National Center for Policy Analysis wrote in The Heartland Institute’s November’s edition of Health Care News that the main problem with an ACO is the fact that the “patient is not the customer.”
“The third-party payer is the [real customer],” Goodman writes. “The ACO is not trying to meet your needs. It’s trying to meet the third-party payer’s needs.”
In order to improve true health care quality, we need a patient-centered approach to medicine. When a third-party gets involved, patient treatment and needs will be neglected.
Time will tell just what the impact of the new Louisville ACO on Kentucky’s health care system will be, but for now, the prognosis to “fix” health care this way does not look good.