It looks like Louisville school superintendent Sheldon Berman and his board of education may be listening to us. The Courier Journal reports a lot more choice schools are being proposed for Kentucky’s largest school district.
Pitchman Jody Richards sounded like he was reading one of those pharmaceutical commercials yesterday when he took to the House floor to sell HB 1.
He started off with how great it is going to be after the bill passes. He said “make no mistake about it, this is not merely a step forward. This is a giant leap in the direction of long-term financial stability.”
Then he transitioned into the part that sounded like the legal disclaimer telling you that, in addition to all the sex you might be having, you could die.
He says in the clip below that we will not go bankrupt if (and only if) future legislators pour much more money into the system than he has done and investment returns get much better.
Sure, and if we were all twenty five years old, no one wouldn’t need those little blue pills, either.
Getting Kentucky government officials to show us what they are doing with our resources is a battle that will never end. Now that state officials are moving on financial transparency, we need to generate some momentum on the local government and school board level.
The goal is to have access to public financial information of all kinds in the state as readily available to citizens as the nearest internet connection. The more complete this information is, the more justification will be necessary for public spending of all kinds.
Now we need the legislature to post legislators’ committee votes online each day so we can more easily track who is doing what on the laws we will all have to live under.
Senate President David Williams watched Gov. Steve Beshear talk tonight about special session pension “reform.” Then he called a brief press conference in which he spelled out the need to do much, much more. We are nowhere near correcting the decades of overspending on public employee fringe benefits, but at least Williams is headed in the right direction.
In the following clip, he talks about how increasing the taxpayer contributions to the benefits systems will require Kentuckians to see how bad the gold-plated benefits have damaged the state’s fiscal health. That might work.
If you tuned into Kentucky Tonight, you heard Bill Goodman reading from one of my reports about CATS.
Check this out if you want to know about education’s biggest scam and how CATS has nothing to do with high levels of student proficiency in 2014. This report shows that schools can escape all sanctions in 2014 with proficiency rates such as 39.13 percent in math and 0.0 – yes ZERO – percent in writing!
Kentucky Tonight just held a discussion of the pending CATS Task Force that will be looking at the state’s public school assessment program. It was three educators against our friend Martin Cothran from the Family Foundation, so the educators were outnumbered.
One item the educators brought up repeatedly was how much improvement they have seen in writing. That’s just more evidence our educators see too much in too little, so I called in to the show to share the latest results on eighth grade writing from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). I thought you might like to know about that, too.
The NAEP 2007 Writing Report Card says Kentucky’s eighth graders made no statistically significant change in writing performance between 2002 and 2007. That’s half a decade of flat performance.
The 2007 NAEP proficiency rate for our eighth graders was only 26 percent – just one of four Kentucky kids scored proficient for writing. That was a statistically insignificant change from the 25 percent proficiency reported in 2002. In fact, since 1998, a decade ago, the NAEP eighth grade writing proficiency rate in Kentucky has only gone up 5 points – but there is a catch.
While posting its miniscule score improvement between 1998 and 2007, Kentucky’s exclusion rate for students with learning disabilities shot up faster than anywhere else in the country, rising from two to six percent of the entire NAEP raw sample of students. This big increase probably means most, if not all, of the tiny writing score rise since 1998 is an illusion. Scores look a bit better if you simply prevent a lot more of your weakest kids from taking the test.
By the way, over that same period, the CATS said our middle school kids “on-demand” writing sample, which was collected in a manner similar to the sort of testing conditions the NAEP uses, exploded from just 5.92 percent proficient to 42 percent proficient. So, CATS went from being graded far too hard to being graded much easier than the NAEP. That’s just perfect if you are an education person trying to make yourself look good.
It’s terrible if you are a member of the public searching for the truth about how schools are really doing.
And, all of this shows how CATS just confuses educators and the public alike.