A new report series issued today by the Bluegrass Institute, Kentucky’s free market think tank, discusses how an education fairytale in 1990 became a policy quagmire, leaving thousands of Kentuckians without core academic skills needed to compete in the 21st century global workplace.
Jim Waters, Bluegrass Institute vice president of policy and communications, will appear tonight on KET’s “Kentucky Tonight” at 8 p.m. (EST) to advocate for reforming the commonwealth’s failing education system, including allowing charter schools.
The program is hosted by Bill Goodman live on KET1 and will be replayed Wednesday at 2 a.m.(EST).
During the live Monday broadcast, viewers with questions and comments may participate by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Waters will be joined in his call for more responsible education policies by Rep. Brad Montell, R-Shelbyville, who will help lead the effort for charter schools in the 2011 session of the Kentucky General Assembly.
Other panelists include Rep. Carl Rollins, D-Midway, chairman of the House Education Committee, and Brent McKim, president of the Jefferson County Teachers Association (the district’s teachers union).
White-Black math gaps getting worse
And even national educators don’t depict the situation properly!
The National Assessment of Educational Progress just released new data in the web on the testing of the nation’s students in reading and mathematics in 2009. Among other things, the release has this very clear statement from the National Assessment Governing Board about the real desired level of student performance.
That is a very good statement. It agrees very well with data that shows grade 8 NAEP reading and math proficiency rates compare remarkably well to the percentages of students who are on track for college and careers according to EXPLORE test results from Kentucky.
However, the information in the web also includes more, such as this disturbing graph, cut and pasted from one of the web pages with the title added (highlighted in green – title was off screen when the screen shot was taken). Tech Note: Screen shot taken Nobember 20, 2010, of “National Results, 5 of 9, Tab “National Results Grades 4 & 8,” from here.
The graph also has the understatement of the century, claiming that the gaps, “have not been reduced.” I guess not. They have GROWN dramatically!
But, there is an even BIGGER problem with this graph. It IGNORES all the additional students who scored better than “Proficient,” at the level NAEP calls “Advanced.” That’s the wrong way to present the data on gaps.
Let’s make that crystal clear.
Here is a graph I assembled today using data downloaded from the NAEP Data Explorer. This graph includes ALL students who scored at or above NAEP Proficient on NAEP grade 4 math.
The difference is that virtually no blacks score “Advanced,” while about 8 percent of the whites do.
Using the ‘right stuff,’ the gap back in 1990 was only one point higher than the misleading impression created by the NAEP’s graph in the web.
Anyway, the basic message stays the same. The gaps are not only very bad – they are getting worse.
So, here are some questions:
Why do educators in Kentucky continue to try to fool us by citing numbers for NAEP “Basic” as though this is a suitable performance target when our own testing data from EXPLORE and even the people who run the NAEP testing program say NO, It ISN’T!
And, why did national educators get their gap depiction wrong, too? Was it just a statistical error, or something more?
Common educators – Let’s stop the spin – NOW!
The gaps are VERY serious, and they are getting WORSE!
And, our kids deserve to have the situation portrayed accurately.
“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.
Click here to read the latest Bluegrass Beacon.
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.