The Kentucky Club for Growth released this morning its annual report card of legislator votes for fiscal responsibility, heralding some improvements and providing interesting insight for political races this November and beyond.
Eleven House members scored above 70% on taxpayer-friendly votes, up from only two in 2007. Interestingly, in the Year of Sarah Palin, the top legislators in both chambers were women. Rep. Addia Wuchner and Sen. Katie Stine both garnered top rankings.
Sen. Brett Guthrie, a candidate for the open 2nd congressional district seat, scored 71% for a rank of 11th, ahead of his opponent in this November’s race, Sen. David Boswell, who scored 54% and ranked 25th.
Next year’s race for Speaker of the House will pit Speaker Jody Richards, who scored a 24% to rank 78th in the House, against Rep. Greg Stumbo whose 23% ranked him of 88th.
Sen. Joe Biden is either lying about Sen. John McCain’s health plan or he is really dumb.
At a campaign stop earlier this week in Missouri, Biden was attacking McCain:
“But taxing American workers’ health care is not the answer, he said. Under McCain’s plan, Biden said, a person earning $50,000 a year, with employer-provided health care worth $12,000 a year, would be subject to income taxes on all $62,000. Now, no taxes are levied on their health care benefits.McCain has been highlighting his proposed $5,000 a year tax credit to offset some of that tax hike, but Biden said that at least $7,000 would still be subject to the tax.”
Biden’s $7000 figure only makes sense at all if we are taxing income over $50,000 at 100%. Is there something in Obama’s tax plan we don’t know about?
Can it be – a teachers’ union actually spending money to improve the state of the art of teaching? Wow!
USA Today reports that the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) is going to spend $1 million to help school systems try things that their members have found actually work elsewhere – even including charter schools and merit pay! Wow!
We have to salute the AFT for stepping up to the plate to work like a real organization of professionals interested in improving the state of the profession rather than just limited scope, 1950’s industrial wage and benefits bargaining operations.
Actually, I know from personal experience that the AFT has a history in this area. Back when accountability testing was getting started in the early 1990s, this teacher organization put out a neat collection of some of the best test standards and questions that they had collected from around the world. It was called the “Setting World Class Standards” package, and mine still resides on my reference shelf.
Unfortunately, based on what happened to Kentucky’s assessment program, I doubt anyone in Frankfort ever saw the AFT’s standards gem. That’s because Kentucky is overrun by the “other” teachers’ union, a crowd that does seem rather firmly entrenched in that 1950s wage and benefits bargaining mindset.
For now, it looks like the AFT has the lock on how to conduct itself as a real organization of and for professionals. Maybe Kentucky’s teachers should look into this, and maybe they should be taking a vote to move to the AFT so they can enjoy the benefits and satisfaction of a real professional association, too.
I was looking over test scores for the Lexington area school system to get ready for Jim Waters’ appearance tomorrow morning on the Leland Conway show when another perfect example of the fouled up nonsense in our CATS assessments leaped off the pages at me.
The story begins with a much better testing program from the people who create the ACT college entrance test. This test, called EXPLORE, is given to all our eighth graders. According to our analysis of the recently released EXPLORE test results for Kentucky, the bottom three middle schools in the Fayette County system with their composite score and rank among Kentucky’s 320 middle schools that reported scores are:
Tates Creek Middle School – EXPLORE Composite of 13.9, Ranking 231
Crawford Middle School – EXPLORE Composite of 13.8, Ranking 245
Leestown Middle School – EXPLORE Composite of 13.1, Ranking 301.
Now, here is the nonsense. According to the new CATS “Media Packet” reports from the Kentucky Department of Education, Tates Creek and Crawford are in trouble in CATS and are in the “Assistance Level.”
But, much weaker performing Leestown got a “get out of jail free card” called a “Progressing” score in CATS. That means Leestown is immune from any sanctions. It also means that Leestown doesn’t get any extra state help to improve, however.
That’s a really smart system – Yeah, Right!!!
As we have said before, when it comes to the results from CATS, Go Figure!!!!
Three months after Gov. Steve Beshear jumped on the spending transparency bandwagon to try to catch up with Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson, his efforts to keep his promise to set up a web site including state spending figures seem to have ground to a halt once again.
It is particularly interesting that the Beshear administration is dragging its feet given that both men on his party’s presidential ticket, Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. Joe Biden voted for a spending transparency web site on the federal level.
As a matter of fact, Sen. John McCain voted for it, too. And Gov. Sarah Palin created Alaska’s Checkbook Online. There is lots of help available to Beshear if he would only take it.
So what’s the hold up, Governor Beshear?