Or so says Wilder Publications according to Fox News. It would seem one publishing company would portray our U.S. Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, Common Sense, the Articles of Confederation, and the Federalist Papers not as significant and binding legal and historical documents at the foundation of our free Republic but as interpretive literary works in need of a warning label.
The National Education Association has lost a legal battle to have the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) declared an unfunded mandate.
On June 7, 2010 the US Supreme Court refused to hear the union’s appeal of a lower court ruling on the case, which found NCLB was not an unfunded mandate.
Education Week has the details (subscription).
Of special interest is the fact that US Solicitor General Elena Kagan wrote a position paper for the federal government urging the court not to hear the appeal. Ms. Kagan is now a nominee to the US Supreme Court, but little is known about her positions on various issues.
Retired military personnel who run Junior ROTC programs in our public schools are a unique breed of educator. Not only do they fit a very different mold from most teachers, but their salary and benefits package largely comes from the US military.
That last fact makes it problematic for them to join a union.
But, that didn’t stop the teachers union in Massachusetts from trying to get money out of a Marine JROTC instructor in Worcester.
Read this incredible tale here.
Don’t pass up reading some of the comments from readers.
Anyone know if JROTC instructors in Kentucky face similar issues?
During tight budget times, the questions should not stop with: Has the Kentucky Association of Counties (KACo) implemented the kind of internal controls that will prevent future agency officials from tucking taxpayers’ dollars in bikini strings and using KACo credit cards for escort services.
The questions shouldn’t even end with: Will KACo be more transparent with future spending? Senate Bill 88 ensures that KACo will be even more transparent with their public dollars than will the opportunistic politicians who voted for the bill will be with state government.
The question that must be asked, but isn’t — for obvious reasons — by Denny Nunnelley, KACo’s executive director and CEO, is: Why should taxpayers be forced to continue funding this profligately wasteful organization?
Like labor unions, KACo may have served a legitimate role when it began in the 1970s of providing insurance plans that county officials couldn’t find or afford. Like KACo president Michael Foster, Nunnelley doesn’t indicate whether KACo has even researched whether the private sector provides needed services at competitive rates.
As I asked in a recent Bluegrass Beacon column: Is it time to “right the ship or mothball it?”
But at least if KACo is allowed to stay afloat, would it be too much of taxpayers to ask that it do so without new $12 million digs, especially during the current economic downturn?
State Board of Education unimpressed
As the Courier-Journal reports today the Robert Frost Middle School in Jefferson County lost its appeal to keep its School Based Decision Making Council (often called the “Site Base Council”) self-governance authority.
This state board decision follows a March ‘Leadership Assessment’ audit that says Frost’s council, “…does not have sufficient capacity to manage the recovery of the school and recommends the council’s authority be transferred to the Superintendent.” That audit was triggered when Frost was identified as one of Kentucky’s 10 ‘Persistently Low-Achieving Schools’ earlier this year.
With its vote, the Kentucky Board of Education stood solidly behind Kentucky Commissioner of Education Terry Holliday’s earlier decision and the audit process instituted by House Bill 176 earlier this year. That was a plus for increased school accountability.
Some other news is more problematic.
Two additional pending appeals from Jefferson County Public Schools for other Persistently Low-Achieving Schools were withdrawn before the board heard them. Those appeals involved requests to keep principals in Fern Creek High School and Valley High School on board even though audits in those schools recommended their replacement.
The appeals to the board were dropped because Commissioner Holliday already granted approval for these two principals to remain for one more year while additional test and other performance data are collected.
However, the trend line of performance under these principals in these schools is already problematic. The table below shows the ACT’s PLAN test’s Composite Scores for all Jefferson County high schools that have a complete set of results for all four years listed. The negative numbers in the “Slope” column for both Valley and Fern Creek show that both schools experienced a decline in performance in college preparation between the 2006-07 and 2009-10 school years.
Thus, the wisdom of Holliday’s decision may be tested once those additional scores become available.
Note as well that overall, only 10 of the 21 Jefferson County high schools in the table have a positive trend. That is only 48 percent.
Statewide, 147 of the 222 schools that had four years of reported PLAN data had a positive trend, a factor of 66 percent.
Thus, the entire district’s performance lags on PLAN improvement.
In any event, each of the Persistently Low-Achieving Schools will have nearly half a million dollars of extra money to spend next year to try to improve things. It will be interesting to see if taxpayers and – most importantly – students get good bang for these extensive bucks.
The Times Tribune newspaper has filed an open meeting violation complaint with Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway’s office.
• The newspaper’s claim: Calls made by the Knox County Public Schools superintendent to his school board members concerning the merger of the Lynn Camp Middle/High School and West Knox Elementary School were inappropriate and took place outside of a public meeting
• Knox County Superintendent Walter T. Hulett’s response: Newspaper’s charges are unfounded and untrue
• Normal Response Time for Attorney General: 10 days
For more background, check here.