education

Olberman names Steve Beshear bronze runner-up in “Worst Person in the World” race

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January 21, 2012
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***SUNDAY, 4PM – 7PM, RALLY FOR REDISTRICTING: Stand up for Kathy Stein, Stand up to Steve Beshear, Greg Stumbo and David Williams; Stand up for your vote and stand up for democracy — Downtown Lexington, Main & Limestone, FIND MORE DETAILS AND RSVP***

As noted earlier, Steve Beshear is slashing $50 Million in state funds for education in his new budget but he’s not touching $43 Million for the state-funded dinosaur Bible theme park.

For that elastic skill of pseudointellectual gymnastics, our sweet do-nothing Guvner got named “WORSE” in America, right next to serial bigamist and Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Gingrich:

Beshear’s Big Bang: Cut education by $50 Million, Give $43 Million to Dinosaur Bible Fantasy

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January 21, 2012
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***SUNDAY, 4PM – 7PM, RALLY FOR REDISTRICTING: Stand up for Kathy Stein, Stand up to Steve Beshear, Greg Stumbo and David Williams; Stand up for your vote and stand up for democracy —- Downtown Lexington, Main & Limestone, FIND MORE DETAILS AND RSVP***

 

Somewhat overlooked in his rush to disenfranchise the voters of Lexington, Governor Steve Beshear’s budget has a glorious creationist upshot. Or, as we’ll call it, a Big Bang:

Beshear’s assessment of his own budget is, unfortunately, correct. The budget makes $286 million in cuts, including a 6.4 percent cut to a higher education system that has been plagued by funding cuts and rising tuition for years. And though it attempts to preserve K-12 education funding, it will result in less spending on Kentucky’s students and schools, the Lexington Herald-Leader reports:

Although the main funding formula for K-12 schools wouldn’t be cut, population growth means spending per student would decline. Also, education officials say the current year’s population estimate was low, resulting in a cut of more than $50 million to that funding formula.

At the same time, the $43 million tax break Kentucky approved for a Bible-themed amusement park — which will include a 500-foot by 75-foot reproduction of Noah’s Ark — goes into effect for the first time under Beshear’s budget. In addition, the budget includes $11 million to improve a highway interchange near the park. Proponents of the park, Beshear included, have claimed it will boost tourism and create jobs, but those assumptions are based on a report done by the park’s developers.

Thanks a lot, Steve. This is your legacy: Slash education because no amount of schooling will make dinosaurs co-existing with 600 year old men make sense… and that’s just how it is.

G-d bless your heart, Steve. G-d bless your heart.

[Via ThinkProgress]

NEA gives Beshear "America’s Greatest Education Governor Award"

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June 30, 2011
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From the Governor’s office:

FRANKFORT, Ky. (June 30, 2011) — The National Education Association announced today that Gov. Steve Beshear of Kentucky is this year’s recipient of the America’s Greatest Education Governor Award. The annual award recognizes and honors governors who have made major, state-level education strides that improve public schools.

“Gov. Beshear has shown unwavering support for Kentucky’s students and educators,” said Dennis Van Roekel, president of NEA. “He championed quality preschool programs – one of the best investments our country can make – as well as raising the dropout age in Kentucky to 18. And in the midst of budget cuts, he fought to preserve resources for K-12 education and the Commonwealth’s students and classrooms. He has repeatedly stood strong for Kentucky’s students and schools.”

“The most important investment a state can make is in the education of its children, and that’s why I have fought hard to protect the basic funding for our classrooms despite nine rounds of budget cuts,” said Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear. “I am very pleased our efforts are being honored, and pledge to keep fighting for Kentucky’s future.”

No word yet on if David Williams will receive their “America’s Greatest Education State Senate President Award”.

Rep. Yarmuth introduces LEARN Act

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June 24, 2011
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From the Office of Awesome:

(Washington, DC) This week, Congressman John Yarmuth (KY-03) and Congressman Jared Polis (CO-02) introduced major legislation to develop a comprehensive national literacy initiative. The Literacy Education for All, Results for the Nation (LEARN) Act will develop and fund local literacy programs across the nation to ensure that children from birth to 12th grade learn the writing and reading skills they need to succeed in school and beyond.

“Literacy skills are fundamental to a good education, a successful career, and a highly-skilled, competitive workforce. Yet, more than 60 percent of our nation’s high school seniors currently read below the proficient level,” said Congressman Yarmuth. “By enacting the LEARN Act, we will help close that gap and make much needed investments in the future of American students and the long-term economic growth of our nation.”

With states across the nation facing budget shortfalls and funding for education programs in jeopardy, the LEARN Act offers much-needed federal support for literacy initiatives that teach the fundamental elements necessary to every child’s education. The legislation authorizes $2.35 billion in grant funding per year to be allocated to state and local programs to develop and implement plans based on the practices proven to be the most effective and efficient methods of literacy instruction.

Sure, this would lead to more kids being able to read and improve their chances for a successful future, but what will they lose in terms of Liberty?

New David Williams radio ad on education (UPDATE)

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May 9, 2011
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KY Republican gubernatorial front runner David Williams released a radio ad today explaining why he is the best candidate when it comes to education. Which is funny, considering his plan to cut education spending was denounced by 100% of Republican House members during the last session. But apparently he’s the best, because he doesn’t want your kids mixing with those kids on the other side of the track:

UPDATE: Oh man, now Williams has another education video out, with the rocking soundtrack provided for the campaign by Third Eye Blind. First Newberry and Ashton, now Williams and Third Eye Blind… Kentucky is where it’s at for all of the Kool Kids!

Fellow Republican says Williams is vulnerable on education

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April 14, 2011
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Remember when David Williams proposed cutting education spending in Kentucky, and 100% of House Republicans rose up against him?

Well, House Republican “Bam” Carney says that might make a pretty effective campaign ad later this year:

As a teacher in the Taylor County School System, Carney was concerned about cuts to education proposed in the Republican-controlled Senate.

He said a lack of communication between the House and Senate, even between lawmakers in the same party, hurt the process of getting a budget fix.

“I’m very proud, as an educator, that a vast majority of our caucus stood firm on education,” Carney said. “For me, I think education is the way we move this state forward financially.”

Will Senate President David Williams, who is running for governor, be vulnerable to Democrats’ ads because he was adamant about cutting education? Carney said yes.

Lex Vegas odds are good that the ad is already in the can.

KDP swipes at David Williams’ big loss

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March 25, 2011
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Yes, they may be inept, but the past three weeks have been David Williams’ time to shine when it comes to losing hard. Here’s the KDP’s comment on Stumbo outmaneuvering Williams in order to avoid both education cuts and a Medicaid apocalypse:

“I’m proud of each of the 101 legislators, House and Senate, who put Kentucky first on Thursday,” said Dan Logsdon, Chairman and Executive Director of the Kentucky Democratic Party. “Clearly David William’s vision of Kentucky differs greatly from the rest of his fellow legislators, including a majority of his own party. Last night he was sent a clear message that Kentuckians value our children’s education and we don’t believe devastating the state’s health care providers and putting thousands of jobs at risk is good policy. David Williams now knows that, when you take a stand that puts the education, health and livelihoods of Kentuckians at risk, you stand alone.”

*****

“Senator Williams is free to do whatever he’d like but at this point anything he does is an impotent political gesture,” said Logsdon. “The bottom line is that he lost – eight of every ten Republican legislators abandoned him. Senator Williams put forward a plan that would have hurt Kentuckians and then tried to obstruct a compromise because he wasn’t getting his way. Last night we saw that legislators from both parties believe that temper tantrums are no way to govern.”

Pretty much.

But while we’ve avoided the Medicaid apocalypse, Kentucky’s not out in the clear by a long shot. Kentucky Youth Advocates’ statement below:

There is no question that this issue is filled with a series of high risk propositions. For instance, the Governor is clearly on the line to save the millions he projects in expanding managed care. If he fails in that promise, then Kentucky’s children and families will be on the line as policymakers implement broad and deep cuts to needed supports.

Managed care itself is also a high risk proposition. The national experience with managed care is as diverse as the nearly three dozen states involved. In some cases, managed care has produced dramatic savings and improved health outcomes. In other cases, the reverse has occurred. We are especially hopeful that the Governor will ensure that before any managed care option becomes a reality, its impact is carefully explored. As an example, a growing positive for Kentucky’s children is the rise in school-based health services, which is usually built upon close collaboration between schools and the local health department. Yet in the only existing managing care arrangement in Kentucky, school-based health services built around that kind of collaboration are explicitly precluded from happening because of the provider. The Commonwealth cannot afford that kind of unintended consequence for any segment of our Medicaid population.

Perhaps the most dramatic high-stakes proposition we face is the continuing failure of Kentucky’s leaders to address the state’s budgeting strategy. It is a strategy that makes Kentucky lurch from one fiscal crisis to the next. If we are to stop the state fiscal crisis from continuing as an annual rite of spring, then we have to get serious about aligning our tax structure with the realities of the 21st Century. A commitment to an adequate, sustainable and transparent budget system – which includes new revenue — means that we can at last begin to invest in Kentucky’s future rather than investing merely in electioneering. Citizens should demand that commitment animate the Governor’s race and dominate the 2012 General Assembly.

The real long term solution is Jim Wayne’s tax reform bill, but we’ve got a long way to go before our legislature and governor get behind that kind of common sense.

Kentucky Special Session fun times

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March 10, 2011
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Steve Beshear called for a special session for the Kentucky General Assembly yesterday, with some extra fun language (PDF):

WHEREAS, I proposed rebalancing the Medicaid budget by transferring $166.5 million from the FY2012 Medicaid budget to FY2011, then capturing savings through expanded managed care programs and other program efficiency measures; and,

WHEREAS, this proposal was passed overwhelmingly in a bipartisan vote in the Kentucky House of Representatives during the 2011 Regular Session of the General Assembly; and,

WHEREAS, the proposal I offered was rejected by a partisan vote of the Kentucky Senate, which would instead cut $148.5 million from the non-Medicaid areas of the current budget, with 81 percent of the cuts coming from the priority areas of education, health care and public safety; and,

WHEREAS, the House overwhelmingly in a bipartisan vote rejected the Senate proposal as requiring unnecessary cuts, including specifically cuts to SEEK funding, the basic funding formula for K-12 education; and,

WHEREAS, although 114 of the 138 members of the Kentucky General Assembly rejected the unnecessary cuts proposed by the Senate, the Senate nevertheless refused to recede from its draconian proposal; and,

Kind of puts things in perspective when you point out that it’s Beshear, House Democrats, and the House GOP vs. David Williams and his Senate Republican colleagues on this one. 114 to 24. United House vs. the Draconians!

Beshear and Williams traded some barbs afterward:

“Senator Williams has apparently declared and decided that he has better things to do,” Beshear said of Williams decision to end the legislative session on Wednesday rather than continue negotiating with House members during the planned veto recess.

“It is time to hold him accountable,” Beshear said. “It is time to remind him of the job he is elected to do.”

*****

“This is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve seen in my entire life,” Williams said.

“The guy has gone from the sublime to the ridiculous,” Williams said of Beshear, adding that he is “embarrassed for the governor.”

I wonder if Williams is also embarrassed for 100% of the House GOP that unanimously rejected his budget proposal, too?

Anyways, get ready for our gubernatorial race special session Kentucky drama to continue Monday.

KY House GOP tells David Williams to shove it

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March 4, 2011
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It looks like David Williams’ plan to cut education funding in Kentucky just ran into a buzzsaw. From his own party:

FRANKFORT — House Republicans oppose the Republican-led Senate’s plan to cut education and other parts of state government to shore up the state’s Medicaid program, leaders said Friday.

House Minority Leader Jeff Hoover, in a written statement, said that cutting education to fix problems in Medicaid was a bad idea.

“I and the other 41 members of the Kentucky House Republican Caucus do not believe it is good policy to shift funding from education at a time when many of our school districts are counting pennies to balance their own budgets,” Hoover said. “It’s a step in the wrong direction.”

*****

Williams, who is running for governor, was not immediately available for comment.

There’s your Beshear campaign ad, right there.

Strategery FAIL.

Rand Paul passes on Sputnik Moment, chooses Stone Age

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January 26, 2011
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President Barack Obama spoke last night of this being America’s “Sputnik moment”. China is threatening to surpass America in technology and influence, which requires us to make a significant investment in infrastructure, education and research before history passes us by.

Meanwhile, Rand Paul released his budget plans last night, which includes an 83% cut in education spending, giant cuts in research funding, and gutting the already meager resources to rebuild America’s infrastructure.

Take that, China! Liberty will prevail!

Here are the details
for Paul’s new bill that cuts $500 billion in immediate spending. It is a staggering monument to the naive and child-like world view of libertarians and the tea party. And remember, as Draconian as these cuts are, this is only about 1/3 of the cuts that Rand Paul promised as a candidate. Imagine this, times three.

(An additional note to the folks at cn|2: I know how access to candidates is great and all, but how exactly does one put the words “following through with a campaign promise” and “he scaled back expectations” in that story? I mean, “following through with a campaign promise” is how you lead the story. Very, very interesting.)

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