Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt Click here to download a pdf
Defending the Free Market: The Moral Case for a Free Economy By the Rev. Robert Sirico Is written so well and so conversationally it is a very easy read. Buy it on Amazon here.
WEBSITES AND BLOGS I LOVE! Click on the name to get there.
BY THE NUMBERS BLOG This is my nerd friend David's blog about economics. You've heard him on the show and now you can read his stuff too!
BLUEGRASS INSTITUTE Free market solutions for Kentucky
MICHELLE MALKIN Great blog site with interesting links
BREITBART.COM Even dead he's still shaking things up from the grave
BLUEGRASS POLITICS If you are glutton for punishment
SO...WHO'S GONNA APPLY FOR THAT POPE GIG?
BIG THANKS TO THE NELSON COUNTY GOP They had a great Lincoln Day Dinner last Saturday night and it was a delight being a part of it!
BLUEGRASS MONDAY TODAY It's a makeup date from my sick day, and boy do we have a lot to talk about. Pension reform for one. It starts at 10.
FINALLY, THE DOE IS FIRED UP If you missed Sunday's article in the C-J about JCPS you need to read it. Terry Holliday used the term "academic genocide" to describe what is happening in the school system here. My favorite part comes from JCPS Board member Diane Porter:
“I am not comfortable with the blame game. If there are things pointed out to us that we can do better, then that is what we will do.”
Of course she's not, because she's been on the board as they have allowed one apparently incompetent principal to stay, chosen to simply reshuffle teachers within the district and resisted any significant reforms on her watch. At least there is an effort to point out the unions don't make things easier. Read the article here.
IF YOU THINK OUR DEBT IS NO BIG DEAL you need to read this. Russia and China are buying gold by the TON. Why? So when the dollar collapses they will be positioned with gold to back their currency so it can become the new world reserve currency. But I'm sure Paul Krugman thinks they are being silly.
WE'RE GETTING A NEW POPE Pope Benedict resigned from the Papacy, which almost never happens (not since 1415) and now Catholics should have a new Pope by Easter. I think this is a very selfless act by the Pope, as he is too infirm to complete the duties he is tasked with. Best wishes to him as he lives out his life in peace.
SHOULD WE PAY TO DEFEND UNETHICAL PEOPLE? A bill in the legislature would prevent taxpayerr dollars from being used to defend a MetroCouncil member accused of ethics violations. I'm all for doing something to limit the money spent, but the threat of malicious ethics charges designed to force someone to resign because they can't afford to defend themselves is real. But perhaps there should be a cap on what gets paid. It's worth considering.
MAYBE SHE SHOULD READ THE CONSTITUTION SHE SWORE TO UPHOLD For your viewing pleasure, Nancy Pelosi getting the Amendments wrong.
EMAIL FROM DICK INNES ON THE KDE REPORT I hope he doesn't mind, but you really should see this info:
The OEA's report shows the union was deeply involved with the restaffing of the Persistently Low-Achieving Schools which left a number of the first round of schools with highly inexperienced teachers.
Find Legislative Research Commission's Research Report #377 here:
Starting near the bottom of Page 36 is a section about the restaffing of the Persistently Low-Achieving Schools (PLAs). These were recently renamed "Priority Schools" when Unbridled Learning came along, but they are really the same thing.
Here is what that section of the report says (I added the red highlighting):
Staff also analyzed restaffing data for Jefferson County’s six
persistently low-achieving schools announced in April 2010:
Shawnee High School, Western High School, Valley High School,
Western Middle School, Fern Creek High School, and Frost
Middle School. Pursuant to HB 176, the district was provided
additional funds to turn around these schools. The district had four
turnaround options to select from and chose the restaffing
option.1 Review of the teachers hired for those schools found a
high number of teacher interns with 0 years of experience hired in
Frost Middle School, Valley High School, and Western Middle
School. Of the teachers hired for those schools, interns made up a
large percentage of hires—47 percent in Frost Middle School and
32 percent in Western Middle School. While the hiring of interns
did not violate the statute, it is a concern that schools identified as
persistently low achieving, where students need high-quality
teachers, hired a substantial number of teachers lacking any
experience. Table 3.7 shows restaffing data for persistently low achieving
schools in the 2011 school year.
The next section of the report talks about how the union contract only allows limited forced transfers of teachers and that the union would oppose any large scale transfers such as would be required to get experience into the PLAs.
On page 38, the report says:
District Challenges. The underlying challenge in JCPS is
implementing a model that attracts and retains highly effective
teachers in low-performing schools, some located in remote or
low-income parts of the district. Several administrators said better
incentives are needed to attract talented teachers to low-performing
schools and hard-to-staff schools. For example, some
administrators support higher salaries for teachers in hard-to-fill
schools, and they favor improved working conditions as potential
options to overcome negative perceptions of some schools. In an
interview, a JCTA representative said it is “open to discussion” on
the issue of differential pay in hard-to-staff schools. However,
JCTA steadfastly supports a single salary schedule based on rank,
certification, and classroom experience and is opposed to merit pay
Since the contract basically provides that experienced teachers have to volunteer to transfer, how can you make that happen without merit pay? This is the same old rule that has doomed many inner-city Louisville kids to sub-standard education from highly inexperienced teachers (an earlier section of the report talks about how experienced teachers migrate to only desirable schools).
It gets more interesting on Page 40.
In response to the 2010 mandates of HB 176, six JCPS schools
were named persistently low achieving and were forced to choose
from four turnaround options. In November 2010, another set of
low-achieving schools was identified, adding six more Jefferson
County schools to the list. JCPS leaders again chose the restaffing
option, which requires schools to hire at least 50 percent new staff.
While KRS 160.346(10) clearly stipulates that “professionally
negotiated contracts by a local board of education shall not take
precedence over the requirements” associated with the option
selected, JCPS and JCTA entered into an MOA as to how the
restaffing would take place.
It sounds like the union did interfere, and did so illegally, and Sheldon Berman let them get away with it.
This final gem is also worth noting:
Several administrators interviewed in Jefferson County expressed
concern about the impact of HB 176. While they consider the bill
well intentioned, they said it will likely lead to a shuffling of
teachers throughout the district. Teachers deemed to be poor fits in
a low-performing school are not released from their contracts.
Instead, they are moved to other positions within the district,
sometimes to schools that are also struggling.