The saga of the UK housing debacle continues. On Monday, Lexington mayor Jim Newberry held a forum about the housing situation around the campus. He invited landlords, city council members, and the student body president to discuss the proposed zoning laws that would restrict the rights of private property owners in Lexington.
The amazing thing: According to a local neighborhood association leader in attendance, Newberry stated that he wanted to be the sole source of contact for the media regarding this issue.
Really? Seems to me that the property owners have more at stake here. Why would a mayor want to have sole access to the media on an issue that he has been very vocal about…hmm…
Alabama joins the growing group of states that now have high quality student tracking systems that can support the US Department of Education’s Cohort Graduation Rate calculation.
As is usual when states get honest, the graduation rate plummets. Under its old formula, Alabama claimed a high school graduation rate of 86 percent. One year later, using the new formula, the 2009 rate dropped 21 points to only 65 percent.
By the way, I checked the most recently available graduation rate for Alabama using the Averaged Freshman Graduation Rate (AFGR) calculation that Kentucky could use right now, and which the Bluegrass Institute is already using.
In 2006-07 Alabama had an AFGR of 67.1 percent, which is pretty close to the actual rate of 65 percent the state just posted. In fact, the two-point difference agrees well with earlier federal studies that show the AFGR slightly over-reports the true rate.
The Kentucky Department of Education currently claims the fiction that our high school graduation rate is 84 percent for 2007, remarkably close to Alabama’s old fiction.
The US Department of Education shows our AFGR was 76.4 percent in 2006-07. Based on the federal research and Alabama’s experience, I estimate our true rate was probably around 74 percent, nearly 10 points lower than officially reported.
So, we didn’t mislead as badly as Alabama did, but we are being a lot slower about getting honest about it.
So here’s a question to ponder today: Do you think your representatives (both state and federal) spend their families’ money like they spend your family’s money?
See, most families can’t spend money they don’t have. Kentucky is facing a $1 billion budget deficit this year. That’s an incredible amount for a state the size of Kentucky. Stop and think about that for a second. We are committing ourselves to spending $1 billion more than we have available.
Now, when most responsible Americans take a look at their finances, they understand that you can’t spend what you don’t have AND if you do it will eventually catch up to you.
So the question I would ask our legislators is: how do they spend their families’ money? If their spending habits in the legislature are any reflection of their families’ financial plans, we are sure to have quite a few experiencing serious debt problems.
Remember, the government can only spend what it takes from hard working taxpayers. It is our right and responsibility to hold lawmakers accountable for how they spend our money.
Kentucky’s education leaders really knocked themselves out putting together our application for the Race to the Top federal education funding competition. Except for the glaring omission of charter school legislation, the state’s edu-team tried everything they could think of to garner every possible point in the published scoring scheme.
Well, Education Week now reports(subscription?):
“…the ultimate power rests with Mr. Duncan, who will have the final say in awarding those cash prizes. But if the secretary deviates from the highest scores in awarding the Race to the Top grants, department officials have said he pledges to justify his reasons.”
In other words, US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan can do what he wants no matter how the scores come out.
So much for a fair part of the effort expended to get us the maximum points possible.
And, maybe, since it is well-known that the Secretary really favors charter schools, Kentucky’s refusal to implement them may turn out to be a deal breaker, points or no points.
Ray LaHood, U.S. secretary of Transportation, suggested Toyota drivers ‘stop driving’ their vehicles, something he later called a ‘misstatement.’ How would his ‘misstatement’ have set with the Jimmy Hoffas of the world had it been pointed at a unionized, bankrupt, government-owned American operation?
Imagine the UAW’s disdain had House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif., taken aim at, say, Chrysler with the same vigor displayed in his attempt to weaken Toyota.
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