I’m going to Washington D.C. Tuesday morning for a state coalition meeting hosted by Americans for Tax Reform and the American Conservative Union. Hope to pick up some good ideas.
Aided and abetted by the Kentucky State Board of Education, the Jefferson County Public Schools board has set a new, illogical low.
The Courier-Journal reports that last week the Jefferson County school board approved a really unfair plan to comply with new, poorly crafted state math requirements.
The problem actually starts with the Kentucky Board of Education’s new regulation. It requires all public high school students in Kentucky to take a math course each year; but, incredibly, it doesn’t say the kids have to pass all four years of math. Students are only required to pass three courses: algebra I, algebra II and geometry. There is no requirement to actually pass the fourth year of math.
In fact, there isn’t even a requirement for that fourth year to be spent taking a different math course. It’s a loophole loaded, poorly thought out regulation just begging for abuse. And, abused it was in the hands of the Jefferson County’s school board.
Under Jefferson County’s new plan, high performing kids who have already passed the required algebra and geometry courses in lower grades could still be denied a diploma if they don’t pass a fairly demanding fourth-year course like calculus.
Meanwhile, other, very weak students can flunk a math course, repeat it, and still get a diploma. So long as those weak kids eventually pass the three specifically required courses, they get their paper. They get a diploma even though their fourth year of math was a remedial year in one of the three required courses, not a different math subject.
Talk about creating inducements for smart kids to lowball their high school math programs! Will top performing students want to take a chance on a course like calculus if flunking it will cost them a diploma?
One must wonder what the school board was thinking when they decreed a student who passed the three required courses and then flunked a higher level course would get no diploma while another kid who flunked a much lower level course, but did pass the three required courses, would graduate.
Talk about unfair! What was this board thinking?
Louisville Courier Journal columnist Joe Gerth quotes Kentucky’s House Democrats saying something nonsensical:
“After he had requested a budget that included no tax increases, members of the House leadership went to Gov. Steve Beshear and told them that they could pass a budget that helped the state’s economic problems by raising the state cigarette tax by 25 cents per pack.”
Someone is confused.
Which House Dems really think that a cigarette tax increase will “help the state’s economic problems?” How would that work?
Or did Gerth get his wires crossed?
If you’re keeping score at home, the proposed cigarette tax increases are supposed to cause people to quit smoking while simultaneously raising revenue for state appropriators. Then the bonus revenues are supposed to fund bureaucracies for education and fill funding gaps in the state employee benefits plans.
With such a dizzying array of skills for one little old tax increase, it’s almost hard to remember there is a positive impact in refraining from taxing additional funds away from consumers.
Perhaps that’s the point.
Those who would save the state with a tax increase should have to settle on one story and explain how it would really benefit anyone.
While we are looking for ways to cut government spending, let’s consider at least lowering the salaries and outrageous public employee benefits of those on the taxpayers’ dime whose job it is to tell us not to set ourselves on fire:
Click this image to expand it, if you need to.
Stateline.org has a great article about South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, complete with audio quotes.
Here’s the beef:
“When times are good, people really don’t care all that much about ‘okay government wastes some money, okay got it. Let me get my kid to soccer practice.’ Now, when times aren’t so good, they get genuinely hacked off when they hear of someone going out and wasting the stuff that is so precious and hard for them to earn.”
Putting all government spending online, from the state level down to every library and school board would be a great start to helping us walk our talk.
When Republicans get caught in a scandal, the newspapers go talk to Democrats for a response. When Democrats get caught in a scandal, the newspapers go talk to Republicans for a response.
But when both sides stray from the mark, increasingly often the Louisville Courier Journal talks to the Bluegrass Institute:
“Jim Waters of the Bluegrass Institute, a free-market think tank that favors smaller government, said so many trips are wasteful.”
“”One or two trips a year (per legislator) would be fine,” Waters said. “But if legislators who travel so much are finding solutions to the tough issues on these trips, we haven’t seen results of it yet.””
That one’s gonna leave a mark.
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