Bluegrass Beacon: 2014 Session’s first week — the good, the bad and the ugly

The classic main theme from Sergio Leone’s spaghetti western “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” serves as appropriate background music while perusing this column about the first week of the 2014 session of the Kentucky General Assembly. The Good: Pension reform is not dead. After exaggerated claims about the feeble pension-reform bill passed during…

Another call for pension transparency

“Kentucky’s pension records are not subject to the open records law,” wrote Lowell Reese in Sunday’s Courier-Journal “They are shrouded in secrecy.” Reese, publisher of Kentucky Roll Call, also authored “Future Shock,” a series of Bluegrass Institute reports on Kentucky’s public-pension crisis. The final of those reports offers 16 solutions for lawmakers to consider in fixing the…

Federal testing – Trouble in River City

Jefferson County math scores on federal testing look problematic New scores for major urban school districts from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) were released today, and it looks like more trouble for Louisville and Jefferson County. I put this first table together using the NAEP Data Explorer statistical significance test tools. It shows…

Superintendent abused system for 15 years!

And, the “system” never caught it! Several years ago, the Bluegrass Institute started warning the citizens of Kentucky that oversight of the public school district superintendents in Kentucky was highly problematic. Local boards of education in too many cases were handing out annual superintendent evaluations that just didn’t jibe with the performance in their school…

Kentucky parent sues to block Common Core State Standards

Kentucky taxpayer, citizen and parent David Adams has filed a lawsuit in Franklin Circuit Court charging there was “illegal acceptance of Common Core State Standards and forbidding any continued action relating to same until such time as specific legislative approval is granted.” Parties being sued by Adams include: 1. Steve Beshear, Governor of the Commonwealth…

Our concern about Unbridled Learning’s Program Reviews gets attention

Back on November 1, 2013 I wrote about concerns with the first round of scores from Kentucky’s new Writing Program Reviews. I pointed to some extreme examples where the scores from the new reviews didn’t match well with other data related to student writing performance. Apparently, our concerns are raising some awareness. On Friday, November…

Jefferson County parents just now getting their children’s K-PREP test results from last year

In another example of how Kentucky’s complex and time-consuming to grade Kentucky Performance Rating for Educational Progress (K-PREP) assessments lead to long turn-around times for results, the Courier-Journal just announced that parents in Jefferson County are just now getting the results for their children from the last school term’s assessment cycle. How is a parent…

Watch Ky. Auditor Adam Edelen briefing on problems in Kentucky school districts

I already mentioned the excellent presentation by Kentucky Auditor of Public Accounts to the Interim Joint Education Committee on Monday. Now, KET has posted a video of Adam Edelen’s outstanding October 14, 2013 presentation. Click here to watch that. Edelen’s comments begin at 9 minutes and 56 seconds into the webcast.