Liberty erodes when citizens become indifferent.
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I wrote yesterday that some are saying Kentucky can make a first round attempt to get Race to the Top (RTTT) federal education dollars without creating charter schools. If that doesn’t work, then there might be a lot of pressure to create charter school legislation before the Phase 2 RTTT awards are due.
The implication is that we are relatively safe taking a wait and see attitude on charters.
Well, forget that.
After checking this timeline from the US Department of Education’s Web site it looks like Kentucky probably won’t find out about the Phase 1 RTTT awards until after our legislative session closes.
We better get over this delay and see mentality.
The Obama administration has made it abundantly clear that it strongly favors charter schools and takes a rather dim view of states that either limit them, or don’t even have them as is the case in Kentucky.
If Kentucky’s legislators want to enter the stiff competition for millions of one-time education stimulus dollars with at least one – charter school entwined – hand tied behind our backs, then those legislators are not going to be able to duck the consequences of backing a seriously weakened RTTT application.
In any event, the idea that we can delay until we see what happens in RTTT Phase 1 clearly doesn’t mesh with the facts in the timeline above. There are not going to be any second chances. The legislature has to make their move on charter schools in this session if they really want to go after RTTT funds with a truly superior proposal. And, they have to do it before we know about any RTTT awards.
You can always tell when it’s the first month of the General Assembly. Frankfort’s politicians don’t want to really do anything that smacks of controversy in the least, thus encouraging opponents to file before the end of January to run in the next election. At the same time, they want to offer Kentuckians the illusion of working hard for you.
Take, for example, House Speaker Greg Stumbo’s latest political stunt: Suggesting that Kentucky abolish its House and Senate and just have a single legislative chamber.
Herald-Leader Jack Brammer heroically does his part to keep taxpayers from guffawing aloud by being sure to report that Stumbo thinks a unicameral legislature “would permanently end bickering between Kentucky’s Republican-controlled Senate and Democratic-led House.”
Just when you thought it couldn’t get any goofier in Frankfort, Stumbo expects us to believe that he doesn’t “know if the people of Kentucky would be interested in something like that or not, but I think it’s worth some debate at least.”
You’ve got to be kidding. We’ve got budget challenges, high unemployment, a failing education system and out-of-control health care and pension costs and Stumbo floats the idea of a one-house Legislature?
Brammer does his part here, as well, by writing that “about half the world’s sovereign states are unicameral, including the most populous — the People’s Republic of China … ”
It must have slipped Brammer’s mind to also report that it’s known as Red China, where dissent often is discouraged at the end of a gun barrel. He also forgot to mention that our Constitution was born out of a vigorous debate of ideas and ideals.
On top of all that, Stumbo turns around and says he doesn’t know whether he would be for it. He must really love the attention but hate debating the really tough issues.
– Take from Kentucky School Boards Association’s Governmental Relations Director David Baird
RTTT Phase 1 refers to the US Department of Education’s competitive program to receive “Race to the Top” federal funding. Funding is to be awarded in two phases. There is no guarantee that any state will get any of this money.
Quote in “Chartering a New Course,” Page 15, Kentucky School Advocate, January 2010
The Cato Institute recently released a paper discussing the need for the reduction in spending by state and local governments during this time of financial stress. The discussion points to many issues that Kentucky has struggled with such as excessive pension compensation, double-dipping, and early retirement. Take a look at the facts and Cato’s recommendations…
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