Polls are much better at capturing the darkness of pessimism than the ‘points of light’ shining brightly across our commonwealth and country.
Click here to listen to the 90-second audio commentary.
Spreading the Higher Tax Rates Around to Everyone
Higher Capital Gains and Dividends Taxes for All
“Right now, the maximum federal rate on long-term capital gains and dividends is only 15%. Starting next year, the maximum rate on long-term gains will increase to 20%. The maximum rate on dividends will skyrocket to 39.6%”
Two Married Income Earners = Jump in Tax Bill
“Starting next year, the joint-filer standard deduction will fall back to about 167% of the amount for singles unless Congress takes action and the president approves. We don’t know if that will happen. If not, lots of lower and middle-income couples will face higher tax bills.”
Return of Phase-Out Rule for Itemized Deductions
“If you itemize and have adjusted gross income above about $170,000 ($85,000 if you use married filing separate status), be ready for this phase-out rule to take a toll.”
Return of Phase-Out Rule for Personal Exemptions
“Be ready for another tax hike if your adjusted gross income exceeds about $252,000 if you file jointly; about $168,000 if you’re single; about $210,000 if you’re a head of household; or about $126,000 if you use married filing separate status.”
Will educators ever do good research?
A USA Today pickup of an Associated Press article about schools trying to group students by skills rather than age or grade level is really very sad.
The situation provides yet another piece of evidence that educators do lousy research before jumping on fad ideas.
In this case, the Kentucky education Reform Act of 1990 (KERA) officially called this fad idea “Non-graded Primary.” “Primary,” as it soon became known, was mandated statewide in every elementary school by the 1992-93 school year (See Page 1231, Section 31 (1) (a) in this copy of the law).
Back then, just like the AP reports today, it was all about trying to avoid labeling kids as failures.
Kentucky’s teachers struggled in every school district in the state to make the multi-age theories of Non-graded Primary work, but after about a decade of trying, it became evident, once again, that when education theory meets reality, theory often crumbles.
Students often left Non-graded Primary without the skills they needed in fourth grade.
Kentucky’s Ungraded Primary law was finally diluted in 1998 to the point where schools could, and many did, ignore it.
Today, while Ungraded Primary still remains on the books in Kentucky, the loophole law has resulted in considerable non-compliance in our schools. As of 2008, a Kentucky Department of Education report shows only 25 percent of Kentucky’s elementary schools indicate they are operating a full, four-year multi-age inclusion program. The majority of schools indicate they are operating a traditional, single-age program.
What is also surprising is that there doesn’t seem to be any study of the degree of implementation of the Non-graded Primary concept versus the resulting Kentucky Core Content Test results. I am working to see if we can obtain that missing information now.
In any event, most Kentucky’s students generally advance on the basis of age, just like in most other states in the country. Even KERA’s most enthusiastic cheer leader, the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence, now admits that Primary just didn’t work out.
Never the less, as the AP reports, more than a decade after Kentucky more or less retreated from this problematic education idea, educators in other parts of the country, apparently ignorant of Kentucky’s history, are jumping on this fad, again.
And, ignorance of Kentucky’s history is obvious. For example, the news article says that the Kansas City School System is the largest ever to try this approach.
Kentucky’s Ungraded Primary was operated in every school and district in the state, including the Jefferson County Public School System, which dwarfs the Kansas City system. Today, the Kansas City Public School System educates around 17,400 students. Jefferson County, by way of comparison, is home to 94,578 students according to the 2009-2010 Growth Factor Report from the Kentucky Department of Education.
Even a kid, unless he or she is in one of those Non-graded Primary math programs, can tell you which district is A LOT bigger!
(Note: Revised from initial post to reflect the information reported in the “2008 Demographic Survey of the Primary Program,” which I discovered subsequent to making the original post)
The “Education Jobs Fund” under consideration in Washington will spend $10 billion to save 140,000 teachers’ jobs. But, the Heritage Foundation points out this means taxpayers will spend $70,000 for each teacher’s job saved. Since the average teacher salary in the nation is $54,000, Heritage points out that $16,000 per teacher is going to disappear before it hits any teacher’s paycheck.
Thus, this federal fund will ‘evaporate’ $2 billion somewhere into the education monolith without any of that reaching our teachers.
Sadly, spending a lot more money on education that teachers never see is nothing new in Kentucky.
As the green shaded area in the table below shows, since KERA began, the Kentucky Department of Education reports there has been a massive increase in real, inflation-adjusted spending in our school system. In constant, 2009 inflation-adjusted dollars, total expenditures on education in Kentucky’s public school system rose from $3.584 billion in the last school term before the Kentucky Education Reform Act of 1990 took effect to $5.553 billion as of the most recently available data. That’s a 54.9 percent increase in real spending.
My analysis of data in the Kentucky Department of Education’s latest classroom teacher salary report, shown in the yellow shaded area of the table, indicates the real increase in our teachers’ salaries between the 1989-90 and 2008-09 school terms was much lower, at only 12.6 percent.
So, where did all the money go? Click on this new freedomkentucky.org Wiki item to find out how Kentucky’s total education spending skyrocketed while teachers got left behind.
The same Wiki item also lists all the source information for the table above.
So far as the latest federal teacher bailout goes, it looks like another $2 billion will never reach our teachers, simply vanishing into the education monolith in unknown ways. Such inefficiency is something we simply cannot afford.
And, a ton of Kentucky’s own money has already been siphoned off over the past two decades before our teachers ever saw it, as well.
In fact, maybe our teachers should ask their own union why that happened. Check out the Wiki item for more on that, as well.
* Failure – Russ Roberts of Cafe Hayek and EconTalk has some interesting notes on the current political climate.
* BIPPS needs your help! Take a moment and and suggest to your friends that they add The Bluegrass Institute on Facebook. We want to get the message of a limited, transparent, and accountable government out to as many as we can!
* We need a leader in Kentucky who will stand up and be this honest with teacher’s unions:
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