Gov. Steve Beshear makes his pitch for tens of millions of taxpayer dollars to go to his NASCAR buddy without actually mentioning the price tag.
If, after promising to make state government more transparent, Gov. Steve Beshear is now dragging his feet on putting Kentucky’s checkbook on line in any kind of useful manner, why should we believe his promise to provide transparency in keeping taxpayers informed on how the commonwealth spends its expected $3.2 billion share of the federal bailout plan? One thing you should believe in the governor’s statement: “This is one-time money.” So, when Beshear talks about a shortfall when the next budget session comes around, we need to be sure his claims don’t include programs and agencies created by this “one-time money.” We’ll see.
I don’t think anyone disputes the value of writing.
The issue is whether our teachers will continue to teach writing, or even teach it better, if we pull Writing Portfolios out of CATS.
So far, I would argue that the combined evidence from extensive teacher complaints about awkward CATS Writing Portfolio scoring rules (69 percent in one recent report want them out) coupled with Kentucky’s marginal performance on the 2007 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) 8th grade writing assessment as shown here and unending criticism of portfolio scoring accuracy indicate it is worthwhile to try something else.
Kentucky only statistically significantly outscored just 5 of the 45 states that participated in NAEP writing in 2007. We only got a statistical tie for writing proficiency with California where a far smaller proportion of kids were excluded and one-in-five was still learning English as a Second Language).
But, here is a suggestion. The NAEP will again test writing in 2011. That gives us two years to teach writing without portfolios in CATS. We can put portfolios back in if the NAEP results decay. On the other hand, if our NAEP results notably improve, then everyone can be comfortable it is the right choice to keep portfolios out of the accountability program. After all, Kentucky is apparently the only state still using portfolios for accountability, according to discussions during the Assessment and Accountability Task Force.
So, readers, what do you think? Is this worth a try?
Blame this one on the weather – at least in part – but a bill just out of the Kentucky House to allow schools to delete up to 10 days from this school term is now headed towards the Kentucky Senate.
It looks like a proposal to delay the CATS testing commensurately may be added to the legislation. That will delay the return of scores to schools to the point of ridiculousness.
In fact, Sen. Joey Pendleton, D-Hopkinsville, says he would favor either a CATS delay or even dropping the assessment all together for this year.
Of course, because portions of CATS are required for NCLB, the feds would have to buy off on that. But, dropping the non-NCLB parts of the assessment would free up a lot of days for more instruction – instruction that otherwise will be lost due to the winter storms.
There might even be some cost-savings.
So Senator Pendleton’s radical-sounding idea actually might make sense.
Best guess: Our legislators will basically say the heck with instruction and go for testing as usual, anyway. That will probably mean scores won’t come back before October, at the earliest, far too late for schools to get much of value from them.
It sure might make sense to cancel all the non-NCLB stuff in CATS so our kids could recover at least some of the lost academics. And, since we were declared a federal disaster area, maybe the feds would give us some slack on the NCLB stuff, as well. It never hurts to ask.
Please help me understand this.
We keep taxes too high in Kentucky so we can pay a group of unaccountable bureaucrats to use some of that money to bribe other companies to come here from out of state. And The Lexington Herald Leader calls this job creation?
Looks to me like misallocation of resources.
If Frankfort can grasp that lower taxes attract business from higher tax states, why can’t we at least try lowering taxes for everyone and walking away from the “incentives” shell game? Doesn’t it make sense that spreading the benefits more widely would work better than letting the government select a few winners by overtaxing everyone else?
On the other hand, given the lack of demonstrated efficacy shown by this program, maybe they should pursue federal credits as a faith-based initiative.
Check out HB 229 yourself by clicking here.
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