- The latest EconTalk podcast features a discussion about prohibition in the early 20th century and it’s cultural and economic impact. An interesting discussion in light of the much debated war on drugs.
- If you aren’t following FreedomKentucky on Twitter…well then…well…you should be.
- Cato recently blogged an interesting article arguing that we need fewer public school jobs as opposed to more. Check this out!
Jim Waters, Bluegrass Institute’s director of policy and communications, guest hosts for Les Naiman this Sunday on “The Les Naiman Show” from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Louisville’s 970 WGTK, Intelligent Conservative Talk. Listen live here
The number to call in on the show is 502-571-CHAT.
I’ve been looking over the new Nonacademic Data Brief for 2010 that the Kentucky Department of Education released on June 1, 2010. There is a very unsatisfactory trend in the numbers. While they look bad for females, they look much worse for male students in this state.
The numbers I am referring to are the membership numbers by grade found on Page 7 of the Brief. They are used to compute dropout rates.
While the dropout rates are not reliable, the membership numbers agree well with some other reports from the department. Here is what those numbers look like as we follow the high school graduating class of 2009 from their seventh to twelfth grade years.
Now flash forward to 2009. There are only 21,231 males and 21.801 females left in the class.
Along the way we lost at least 5,200 male students and 3,112 females. Incredibly, the males sank from a surplus of over 1,500 students compared to the females in the seventh grade to where they were well under 500 students behind the females as graduation grew near.
The data in the table implies we lost 5,200 males plus 3,112 females, or 8,312 students total from this class before they graduated. The Nonacademic Data Brief would like us to believe we only lost 5,806 students, but no-one, including the state auditor, has believed the fiction of the department’s dropout numbers for many years.
Sadly, it gets even worse.
I am pretty sure that about 1,500 more students were added to the class when it entered ninth grade. Those students came from private schools in Kentucky that only run K to grade 8 programs. I don’t have a breakout by sex.
Anyway, add in those 1,500 students and it implies the real loss for the Class of 2009 is closer to 9,800 students.
And, boys are taking a much larger hit than girls in these very sad numbers.
Another legislative session has come and gone and Kentucky’s political leaders continue to ignore the public-pension crisis, the greatest threat to the commonwealth’s economy.
Click here to read the latest Bluegrass Beacon.
The long awaited and much ballyhooed Common Core Standards for English Language Arts and Mathematics have finally been released (about a half-year behind schedule) by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers.
I suspect these standards will be a considerable improvement over the standards that were created to support our defunct CATS assessment.
I am not sure the standards will be good enough to prepare our kids to meet international competition. They may not even be as good as top state standards in places like Massachusetts.
They certainly need more fleshing out to become a fully useful document for teachers and individuals who create assessments. However, I am going to wait for technical experts to weigh in on those and other concerns.
In any event, Kentucky has already voted to adopt these standards as our own. How much additional material we will need to add to the core standards and whether they ultimately will lead to improvement for our students remains to be seen.
You can find links to both of the new standards in the Common Core State Standards Initiative web site.
If you read them, ask yourself if you can tell from the standards exactly what is needed to prepare your child for adult life and if everything needed is covered.
The Washington Post reports that the teachers union in the nation’s capital has approved a new contract that expands Chancellor Michelle Rhee’s ability to remove weak teachers, placing the DC school system on a growing list of places like Colorado and New York that are letting things like classroom results, not seniority, determine how much teachers get paid.
Meanwhile, in Kentucky, thanks to our School Based Decision Making school governance model and other outdated ideas, teachers, not district leaders, are in the driver’s seat. In Kentucky, teacher seniority rather than performance still rules statewide.