“I believe we are making tremendous progress in many areas.” –Supt. Sheldon Berman, Jefferson County Public Schools, site of 12 of Kentucky’s 20 Persistently Low-Achieving Schools.
America’s founders knew that individual citizens would play a vital role in renewing liberty. However, turnout at the polls in recent years suggests a majority of Kentuckians — unlike voters in other countries — don’t understand how much their vote really matters.
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A new study by Americans for Tax Reform shows states gaining congressional seats in the decennial reapportionment process have “significantly lower taxes, less government spending, and were more likely to have ‘Right to Work’ laws in place” compared to those states losing seats.
The study found the average top personal income tax rate among gainers is 116 percent lower than among losers. It also revealed the total state and local tax burden, as well as government spending, was about one-third lower.
In addition, seven of the eight gainers give workers the choice as to whether or not they join a union.
“Because reapportionment is based on population migration, this is further proof that fiscally conservative public policy spurs economic growth, creates jobs, and attracts population growth,” the ATR report said.
It’s tough to argue with the facts.
I wrote a couple of days ago that educators in Jefferson County are whining and sniveling about finally having to face some accountability for their many very poor performing schools.
Sadly, instead of buckling down to figure out how to improve their under-performers, teachers along with Jefferson County superintendent Sheldon Berman are instead trying to torpedo House Bill 176. That’s the law which is finally bringing some serious accountability and hope for improvement to the state’s very worst schools, the majority of which are found in Louisville.
To hear Berman and his cohorts tell it, it’s the bill that is all wrong.
Here are a few examples of the performances in Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) low-achieving schools that demand strong action:
• No Child Left Behind Reports show math proficiency rates for all students range from a low of 4.7 percent at ‘The Academy at Shawnee’ to 28.53 percent at Seneca High School. These are the top and bottom performers in Jefferson County’s low-achieving listing.
• Things are bad for African-American students in Seneca High; reading proficiency is only 36.76 percent and math proficiency is a dismal 13.43 percent. But, for these children of color in Shawnee, reading proficiency is only 16.18 percent, and math proficiency is virtually non-existent at only 2.08 percent!
• Twelve of the 20 Persistently Low-Achieving Schools in Kentucky are in JCPS – That’s 60 percent of all such schools in the state. For a point of reference, the district enrolls only about 16 percent of the state’s public school students.
• Among the district’s Persistently Low-Achieving High Schools, three – Iroquois, Valley and Shawnee – have gruesomely low graduation rates below 60 percent even according to the Kentucky Department of Education’s (KDE) seriously inflated statistics.
That easily qualifies these schools as “Dropout Factories” according to a definition developed by a Johns Hopkins University team that researches graduation rate reporting.
• If the KDE reported graduation rates by race for schools, blacks in these schools would do even worse, as we discussed in our report, “How Whites and Blacks Perform in Jefferson County Public Schools” two years ago.
Anyway, teachers and their superintendent in Jefferson County don’t seem to understand what they are doing. Their fussing about such things as required staffing changes included in HB-176 is seriously uninformed (more on that later). Most importantly, their ‘shoot the messenger’ grousing about finally being held accountable for poor performance in their schools just further erodes confidence that Jefferson County educators are really interested in turning these schools around.
The whining sends a message, and it’s a bad one: Jefferson County educators are far more interested in protecting adult turf than in digging in to create positive changes for the grossly under-served students in the district’s clearly low-achieving schools.
That’s a real shame!
Here’s a great education puzzle.
The Campbell County Public Schools are about to get accreditation from both AdvancED and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
That will make the district both nationally and internationally recognized.
However, just a week ago it was announced that Campbell County is one of the 13 long-time low-performing school districts under NCLB that will get extra help from the Kentucky Department of Education!!!
So, what is going on?
Campbell County failed NCLB since the law was enacted for performance of students with learning disabilities. It failed even when required proficiency rates were low. It still failed to make the requirement even though the “Safe Harbor” loophole in NCLB allows a district to be scored as making Adequate Yearly Progress with these challenging students merely by reducing the percentage of those students not considered to be proficient by just 10 percent each year.
For example, in 2009, 40.93 percent of the district’s learning disabled students were proficient in math, so 100 minus that figure, or 59.07 percent were not proficient. If the district had raised the proficiency rate by 5.907 points, it would have made AYP in math for learning disabled students in 2010.
Is it possible to achieve a 46.84 percent proficiency rate in math with these challenging students?
Well, the nearby Boone County School District, also in Northern Kentucky, achieved a 55.03 percent math proficiency rate with its learning disabled students in 2010.
I guess learning disabled kids don’t count with national and international accrediting organizations.
On Dec. 16, 1773, colonists boarded ships in Boston Harbor, throwing chests of tea overboard in protest of taxation without representation.
How quickly we forget.
Last week, Louisville’s Board of Water Works slipped a 3.75 percent tax increase into its 2011 budget— and in doing so bypassed the elected representatives of the people.
So Louisville, do you like your tea sweet or unsweet?
Louisville’s Water Works is run by a private corporation, giving it the power to raise its rates without consulting the Louisville Metro Council or any other elected body. But the corporation’s stock is solely owned by the Metro government, meaning the city reaps the benefits of all profits made. It’s taxation without representation at it’s finest, uh … worst.
For the average customer, the increase will only amount in about $10 extra per year, so it will likely go unnoticed by most.
But there are some taking notice. While you may not see any tea thrown into the Ohio River in the near future, you can bet that this will not be the last word on the Louisville board’s actions.