Legislators in Frankfort are spending your tax dollars to debate spending your tax dollars to solve the problem of not enough of your tax dollars to spend.
We’ve all seen or heard the ads – Kentucky’s governor claims the state’s horse industry employs 100,000 people.
Now, the Lexington Herald-Leader sets that record straight – the real number is only about half of that amount.
I guess this is the sort of thing we must expect after two decades of our kids not being taught decent math skills. Sooner or later, it permeates everything so that facts don’t matter.
Fortunately, at least one person is left at the Herald-Leader who can count.
– School District is subject of major Enquirer article
Things in education sometimes seem to run in cycles. Our current interest in the Covington Independent School District is a prime example.
Now, the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Web site (which also covers articles from the Kentucky Enquirer) has released a major investigative piece on Covington.
The Enquirer does a very good job of outlining the poor performance in the district and the hopeful things that the new superintendent, Lynda Jackson, is finally bringing on line to overcome years of poor performance. After years of wishy-washy leadership that never came to grips with major issues like principals and teachers who didn’t – and wouldn’t – get the message and an apparent widespread lack of understanding of how to use data to improve performance, a new day is dawning in Covington.
Still, Kentucky’s bottom performing school district has a very long way to go.
And, those of us like the news staff at the Enquirer and the Bluegrass Institute understand that. Unlike some others, we are not fooled by nonsense from Newsweek magazine that recently ranked Covington’s lone high school among the very best in the United States.
That sort of misleading nonsense is part of the reason why it has taken so long to finally get Covington started down a better track.
– But, we are spending twice as much on it
And, once again, it’s being conducted in secret.
We went through a secret process in 2007. The public wasn’t given the candidates’ names until there were just three finalists left. Then, there was scarcely time for the public to begin considering those three people before the Kentucky Board of Education announced its final selection was Barbara Erwin.
Erwin’s selection came as a number of reporters, bloggers and yours truly were uncovering all sorts of embellishments in her resume. In the end, it turned out that anyone willing to spend a little time on the Internet and making a few phone calls could see that Ms. Erwin’s resume was loaded with “errors.”
In the end, Erwin never served one day as active commissioner.
Erwin’s replacement was Jon Draud. He was forced to resign after suffering a stroke less than a year later. By that time, the Courier-Journal indicates the state had spent $60,000 on commissioner searches since the Erwin process started.
Now, with a new price tag of $120,000, the Kentucky Board of Education is at its secret search game again.
The Courier quotes board chair Joe Brothers, “I do expect that at some point, one or more finalists will be publicly vetted. We just haven’t discussed that as a board yet.” So, there isn’t even a loose promise that the public will get to see the finalists’ names.
After the Erwin fiasco, I would be surprised if the board does as casual a job as they did before. If only to protect their own reputations, I would imagine individual board members are at least checking the Internet and making a few phone calls on their own. We might be in better shape than we were in 2007.
Still, the history lesson from 2007 is very clear – transparency matters, and allowing the public adequate time to have a say leads to more informed decisions and can help avoid huge mistakes. So far, the Kentucky Board of Education seems to still be in the “Novice” performance category on that learning exercise.
No government in history ever spent — or taxed — its way to prosperity.
Click here to read entire column.
– Even State School Board is incredulous!
Can you believe it?
Kentucky schools regularly chop academic classes in two just so kids can go to lunch! Students get something like 20 to 25 minutes with a teacher – then break for lunch – and then have to come back to the same teacher to finish the remaining class period.
It’s education nonsense at its very worst.
This shocker surfaced during a presentation on what the badly troubled Covington Independent School District is doing to turn its performance around. One of the Covington principals proudly proclaimed that this horrible practice had been ended in the school.
Former Kentucky legislator and new state board member David Karem was incredulous that this had ever happened. Splitting classes into such short blocks is educational heresy. The idea that this non-instructional lunch issue would override the best interests of good education disturbed other board members, as well.
And, it turns out this hasn’t just been a problem in Covington.
Later in the meeting, while the Union County School District was discussing what they are doing about their troubled system, Karem asked one of that district’s presenters if they had ever split a class period for lunch.
His eyes really popped when Union County admitted they had also done this. In fact, the presenters were not sure if all schools in the district had ended this crazy practice.
So, here is some advice for the Kentucky Board of Education.
Have the Kentucky Department of Education survey all the school districts. Find out which have done similar things in the past and if any still are doing this.
If this practice is still being conducted, or if it looks like it might start up again, get a regulation out to ban doing this. Our kids deserve no less, and academic malpractice like this certainly should fall under the board’s authority to act.
For our readers, if you know of a school that splits class periods for lunch, please comment in this blog. Do it anonymously if you want, but do mention the school and district.