Rep. Stan Lee, R-Lexington, rates a prime time interview on “Freedom Watch” with Judge Andrew Napolitano on Fox News concerning Kentucky’s sovereignty. But Lee’s resolution reaffirming Kentucky’s sovereignty is being denied an up-or-down vote in the state House of Representatives on declaring it.
Here are some links to check out this Monday. Enjoy!
- StimulusWatch.org – This is a great tool that tracks stimulus projects with a description of the project, location, amount, etc… It also is interactive as it allows for users to edit what they know about the projects as well as leave comments.
- Washington Knows Best – Don Boudreaux of George Mason University wrote a letter to the New York times about government-imposed national standards for education.
- Sunshine Review Blog – A great blog by the folks behind the Sunshine Review project. This blog discusses transparency as a national trend.
- School Choice Portal – FreedomKentucky’s growing portal for information on school choice portal.
I’ve been asked countless times if I would be interested in having a yard sign or a bumper sticker for various political candidates. The answer is a consistent, clear, and resounding “No“. I would much rather see people driving around town promoting good policy rather than a person who will more than likely get caught up in the political machine after a while.
What a message it would send if voters decided that rather than have a bumper sticker on their car that said “Vote for Joe Politician in 2010” they wanted a sticker that said “Fiscal Responsibility in 2010”. Now that’s a sticker I would put on my car.
But that’s just me.
If you want one of these stickers leave a comment below. There is an email address in the comment section where we can be contacted.
On February 25, 2010 Dr. Michael B. McCall, the president of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) made an eye-catching presentation to the Kentucky Senate’s Education Committee.
Among other things, Dr. McCall pointed to the huge percentage of students entering the KCTCS who are underprepared and need at least one non-credit-bearing remedial course. Using this figure, McCall pointed out that more than three out of four KCTCS entering students need at least one remedial course – a staggering indictment of the output of our public schools.
In the 2010-11 school year, student tuition for non-credit remedial courses is projected to run $19.0 million. Additional costs of more than $10 million will be borne by taxpayers and organizations providing grants and other money.
One year later, that cost to fix the deficiencies from our pubic education system will rise by another $1.5 million.
It should be pointed out that the numbers in the second figure represent phenomenal increases from earlier remedial costs that were being discussed only a few years ago. Back then, the entire cost for remedial courses for both the KCTCS and our 4-year universities combined was listed at $25 million, and tuition only accounted for about $12.5 million of that amount. Now, the tuition costs alone for just the KCTCS are anticipated to be over 50 percent higher than the total tuition costs for all the state’s two- and four-year colleges ran just a couple of years ago.
Recently, it was reported that overall remedial costs for the entire system including the four-year schools runs around $35 million.
Furthermore, the colleges are tightening standards next year, which will probably result in a lot more students requiring remedial courses, further boosting the costs of failure in our public schools system.
The good news here is that the Senate Education Committee is clearly keeping and eye on what is going on, but the bad news is our public school system clearly has a lot to do to turn these very bad numbers around so kids in the current cash-strapped economy don’t have to pay twice for something the taxpayer already paid for while the students were in public schools.
Kentucky may have rushed to adopt the Common Core Standards before they were even finalized (that won’t happen before April, or maybe even May at the current rate of progress), but other states which already have good standards are showing increasing reluctance to follow our brave, but perhaps dubious, lead.
Back in January we noted that hesitancy with the Common Core Standards has appeared in Massachusetts.
That is a significant development because most education observers consider Massachusetts’ current standards to be the best in the nation. The Massachusetts standards already have an enviable track record which includes the state’s top-in-the-nation performance on all recent National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) testing.
By the way, there is good support for the SOL outside of Virginia. Thanks to that good reputation, we featured a comparison of the SOL-based tests in Virginia and our now defunct CATS tests in our “Assessing CATS: Questions that must be answered so that No Child is Left Behind in Kentucky” report back in 2004.
The latest NAEP reading results indicate our impressions of the SOL remain on target. We’ve heard an awful lot about how great Kentucky is doing in NAEP reading, but the facts are that on the 2007 NAEP fourth grade reading, Virginia’s white students outscored our whites, 233 versus 225. Virginia’s blacks outscored our fourth grade blacks in reading as well, 213 versus 203. A quick scan indicates only one state exceeded Virginia for black student performance in that assessment, by the way. So, the SOL are working for minorities, as well. Thus, it looks like Virginia may have some really good reasons to hold on to what it has already with its SOL.
I need to note that it appears both Virginia and Massachusetts educators have relayed their concerns to the team creating the Common Core Standards. The final version of the Common Core Standards certainly could benefit from that input.
However, if that doesn’t happen, it looks like states that already have solid education standards may not be reluctant to jump off the final Common Core team.
It makes no ‘cents’ for the United States to withdraw from trade agreements during an economic downturn.
America needs more trade, not less.
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