Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Beshear takes bow for best teachers union supporter

The National Education Association awarded Gov. Beshear with its 2011 America’s Greatest Education Governor Award. But was this award for supporting teachers unions or outstanding achievement in Kentucky's education performance?

“Gov. Beshear has shown unwavering support for Kentucky’s students and educators,” said Dennis Van Roekel, president of the 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.”

Oops. A spin error not acknowledged in the NEA's statement is that Beshear's attempt to raise the dropout age to 18 -- based on an emotional but fact-less appeal -- didn't even pass the legislature.

But he did stand steadfast to protect the status quo approaches that are failing Kentucky's students across the state and ranking in the bottom half nationally.

The education spin is great, but the real results are terrible:

-Kentucky's proficiency rates are in shambles and in question.

-Kentucky graduation rates are also in question. Heck, after all these years, we're still being told that an accurate count cannot be obtained until 2012.

Just how important is it to improve the system and increase real graduation rates if it is not important enough to find a way to count who drops out? Current rates have been delayed so it should be interesting to see if this is to allow time to get the spin game polished for more bad news.

-Kentucky students' transition to jobs or college also reflects problems.

-The governor's support for Kentucky's ploy to spin site-based councils as the same as charter schools in the Race-to-the-Top applications sank like a rock, costing Kentucky $200 million in federal education-stimulus funding. In fact, he should have earned a spot in the Pinocchio Hall of Fame for that one.

When you get past the press-release spin, it would be incredulous to believe that Beshear earned the award based on Kentucky's education results.

But no one questions his relentless support for the teachers union and not upsetting the existing power structure in support of educators - not kids.

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the greatest educator governor of all?

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