- NJ school district legal costs: An article discussing the increasing legal costs in the New Jersey school system. This is a recent interest for our Operation: Open Records 2010 project as we have written about it here and here.
- Apparently energy managers aren’t enough: I blogged recently about how stimulus money is being used to hire “energy managers” across the state to analyze and make recommendations to school districts about energy use. Well apparently that’s not enough…now we have a Fayette County sustainability council. Not making it up, couldn’t if I wanted to. Maybe they need an education council to help with those underperforming schools…oh wait, they have one, the school board.
- Operation: Open Records 2010 – Update: Responses are still rolling in from our blast of records requests. Check the project portal to see what we have been after. More are expected to go out before the end of the month – and these will be really interesting!
- Here are videos of Jim Waters and Kevin Jackson discussing liberty, race in politics, the need for citizen involvement to achieve change, and much, much more!
- Help Kentuckians Take Back Their Freedoms! – consider donating to the Bluegrass Institute and support efforts for K-12 education research, forcing transparency in state and local government, and spreading the message of liberty across the state! Take action now!
Here is the second installment of “Can You Hear US now?”, citizens speaking out about what they want to see their government do differently!
The Kentucky Department of Education just announced a major reorganization of the entire agency. According to the news release, the streamlined department has shed two major offices and $500,000 in salaries to support them.
Says education commissioner Terry Holliday:
“This model enables the agency to directly address priorities related to Senate Bill 1 and other legislative mandates, Kentucky’s Race to the Top application and the Kentucky Board of Education’s strategic plan.”
Click the “Read more” link below to see the new organizational structure and names of key personnel.
Also, let us know if this new structure proves more or less responsive to your requests for information and service. Commissioner Holliday did a lot to improve responsiveness with the old departmental set up, and I hope that trend will continue as the department “shakes out” its new organizational structure.
KENTUCKY DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
Terry Holliday, Ph.D.
Office of Guiding Support Services/General Counsel
Kevin Brown, Associate Commissioner
Division of Communications and Community Engagement
Lisa Gross, Director
Division of District 180
Sally Sugg, Director
Division of Innovation and Partner Engagement
David Cook, Director
Office of Administration and Support
Hiren Desai, Associate Commissioner
Division of Budget and Financial Management
Charles Harman, Director
Division of Resource Management
Lynn McGowan-McNear, Director
Division of District Support
Kay Kennedy, Director
Division of School and Community Nutrition
Denise Hagan, Director
Office of Knowledge, Information and Data Services
David Couch, Associate Commissioner
Division of Engineering and Management
Mike Leadingham, Director
Division of Operations and Services
Phil Coleman, Director
Office of Next-Generation Schools and Districts
Larry Stinson, Associate Commissioner
Division of Consolidated Plans and Audits
Debbie Hicks, Director
Division of Next-Generation Professionals
Michael Dailey, Director
Office of Assessment and Accountability
Ken Draut, Associate Commissioner
Division of Assessment Design and Implementation
Kevin Hill, Director
Division of Support and Research
Rhonda Sims, Director
Office of Next-Generation Learners
Felicia Cumings-Smith, Associate Commissioner
Division of Program Standards
Michael Miller, Director
Division of Learning Services
Larry Taylor, Director
Division of Early Childhood
Annette Bridges, Director
Says pending new standards should be MUCH better for us
The Thomas B. Fordham Institute just published comparisons of all the states’ existing education standards versus the new Common Core Standards that Kentucky is now adopting. The new standards were developed by a partnership of the Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governors’ Association.
The new standards will guide course development in Kentucky and also will be the basis for the new public school assessments the state plans to introduce in about a year.
The change comes none too soon for Kentucky’s children, because the Fordham report says our existing education standards are “among the worst in the country.”
The new Common Core Standards are not quite perfect in Fordham’s eyes, either, but they definitely offer a huge improvement over Kentucky’s existing standards – if we implement them well.
For example, Fordham rates the new Common Core Standards in English language arts as a “B-Plus.” The new math standards get an even better “A-Minus.”
These very weak Kentucky standards have been in place for several years and are used to create the Kentucky Core Content Tests.
It’s interesting to note that Fordham says a few places already have even better standards than the new Common Core Standards. The report mentions California, the District of Columbia, and Indiana.
In addition, Fordham says 11 other states already have standards about as good as the Common Core Standards, as well.
But, that certainly does not include Kentucky.
It’s important to understand these developments.
Kentucky has a history where some in the education crowd constantly preached to all the rest of us about the high quality of our current standards. Clearly, the judgment of those folks regarding education standards needs to be called into question. Advice from those with a history of giving bad advice needs to be considered with extra caution as Kentucky’s educators continue to adopt the Common Core Standards, which are frameworks rather than finished products, into the state’s final and complete education standards documents.
‘Card check’ would stifle Kentucky employers’ decisions concerning their own companies and likely result in them falling victim to unfair sanctions, subjective penalties and big fines.