Gov. Beshear was for allowing voters to ratify or reject a constitutional amendment on gambling before he was against it.
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The Montgomery County High School has a parents versus teachers tiff going over some books that were included in a reading list for a kids in a college track English course. The parents are upset about the suitability of the language and subject matter in the books, which set off this latest round in the never ending book censorship saga.
However, the Kentucky School News and Commentary Blog just provided an entirely different angle concerning the selection of these particular books.
Aside from the raw language and racy material, the reading skills required by some of these books are apparently only elementary school level. One book is rated at third grade difficulty, two at fourth grade difficulty, and the fourth requires only sixth grade level reading skills.
How did such undemanding books wind up in a high school college track English course?
Well, under KERA, the final authority on the curriculum in each school is the School Based Decision Making Council (SBDM) at the school. The SBDM are dominated by teachers, who by law under KERA must have the majority vote.
So, ultimately, this is definitely not a ‘win’ for the Montgomery County High School’s Site Base Council. Why did the council allow books of such low rigor to become part of a college track high school English course?
However, there is another issue. The news reports indicate the books were pulled from the course list by the district superintendent. I don’t think he can do that. My understanding is that only the SBDM has authority in the curriculum area.
So, stay tuned for more on this story. Will the school back their own approved curriculum, or the superintendent?
We’re hearing lots of commentary about switching the country over from fossil fuel energy to other sources. One of the most frequently mentioned is wind generation.
Well, that may not be quite as viable an option as some would like us to believe.
Aside from many interesting technical issues involved with creating and maintaining a much larger and more spread out power transmission and distribution infrastructure that currently does not exist, a surprising caution about the proposal just surfaced in, of all places, the latest newsletter from The Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
Wind generators can pose a significant wildlife threat.
Don’t forget: environmentalists have been extraordinarily successful at blocking all sorts of past energy efforts like expanded oil well development. If they link wind generation to excessive killing of birds, especially endangered ones, the great alternate energy hope might get stopped dead in its tracks.
The Autumn 2009 issue of Cornell’s Birdscope won’t be available on line until the next quarter, but in a nutshell, the majority of the front page of this newspaper-sized publication is devoted to the potentially serious impact that expanded wind generation could have on birds.
One issue is that major migratory routes overlap many areas where wind generation seems most attractive.
There are other problems. Birdscope cites a 2006 study by the National Academy of Sciences that found,
• Scientific data to safely locate wind generation farms is lacking
• There isn’t enough scientific data on the risks wind generators pose to birds and other flying creatures
• Data collection in the area isn’t standardized, which makes the information that is available difficult to use for informed policy decisions
• Technology to mitigate risks are poorly developed
Other studies cited in Birdscope indicate that non-migratory birds have been adversely impacted by wind generation farms, as well. Raptors were killed in disturbing numbers in the wind generation site at Altamont Pass of California. And, some prairie species which have never encountered tall objects like the generators apparently don’t fair well when such tall, moving structures are introduced to the environment.
The Courier-Journal reports about the anticipated impact of increased admissions requirements in Kentucky’s public colleges next year.
This is very bad news, as Kentucky’s college remediation rates are already high.
The largest impact of the new change will probably be felt in the Kentucky Community and Technical College System, which handles most of the state’s two-year programs. The newspaper estimates that 30 to 50 percent more of next year’s freshmen will have to take non-credit bearing remedial courses after the new standards take effect.
Impact at the state’s four-year institutions will be smaller, partly due to the fact that applicants who need remedial courses are already are being shuffled into the two-year programs.
The paper quotes Lana Jennings, director of the developmental education program at Murray State University Community College, about students who find out they need remedial courses in college. She says, “Many of them are embarrassed. Some are angry. Some are grateful that the help is here because they realize they are not ready for prime time.”
And, a lot of them probably are a little upset that their KERA educations didn’t prepare them for college.
The costs of remediation are rising rapidly. The Courier says currently, “…state spends more than $35 million a year on college remedial education, according to state’s Council on Postsecondary Education.” It isn’t clear if that includes both the taxpayer supported costs plus the students’ added costs of tuition for the non-credit bearing courses.
In any event, this new $35 million figure is up dramatically from an estimate provided to the state legislature only around two years ago of $25 million a year, which included both the taxpayer and student-borne costs.
These are real consequences of a public education system that simply isn’t meeting all the promises that were made back in 1990.
If you know of a student who sailed through high school and then got the sudden shock in college that remedial courses were required, let us know with the comments section.
And, get ready to see a lot more kids in the remedial course pool next year.
Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Michigan, recently summed up the House version of health care reform: “What we’ve decided to do today is abandon the very principles of America.”
Rogers also blisters the Democratic plan for offering “false choices” by insisting “it’s either (a government-run system) or nothing.”
Watch his statement before Big Government makes it disappear from the Web:
Notice that Kentucky congressman Ed Whitfield’s name card was clearly seen behind Rogers the whole time he’s talking. Yet Whitfield is nowhere to be found.
It should cause Kentuckians to wonder if — or how vigorously — Kentucky’s congressmen fought against this plan, which, Rogers emphasizes, allows some government healthcrat to “rip you off your own individual plan.”
The Center for Responsive Politics just released a new report and database on the top political campaign donors.
Heading the list is —- The National Education Association, the parent of the Kentucky Education Association – the teachers union.
The NEA gave a total of $56,349,269 to federal and state campaigns in 2007-08. Of that, the lion’s share, $53,672,972, went to state level contests and to support or defeat ballot initiatives.
It’s no secret that the Kentucky Education Association is a major political player in Frankfort.
To put this in perspective, one analyst says of this data, “America’s two teachers’ unions outspent AT&T;, Goldman Sachs, Wal-Mart, Microsoft, General Electric, Chevron, Pfizer, Morgan Stanley, Lockheed Martin, FedEx, Boeing, Merrill Lynch, Exxon Mobil, Lehman Brothers, and the Walt Disney Corporation, combined.”
Somehow, this just doesn’t look right. Should one, single group in our society have so much influence?
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