Monday, August 25, 2014

Neither charter schools nor common core can save this failed school system in Kentucky

This is an extreme case; no other school system in Kentucky is remotely close to this bad.  But the point is that none of the one-sized-fits-all fixes promoted by freakazoid conservatards on one side and corporatizing neoliberals on the other would do a thing to bring decent public education to Breathitt County.

John Cheves at the Herald:

Breathitt County is not trusted to educate its children. How much longer that continues will be decided at a formal hearing in Frankfort this week.

In 2012, Breathitt County schools superintendent Arch Turner went to prison for running a vote-buying scheme with other local officials. As the bars clanked shut behind him, state audits showed that students routinely missed class and failed to learn; dropouts were erased from the books by reclassifying them as "homeschooled"; schools were in terrible disrepair; and the school district was running out of money, in part because of incompetent budgeting, inappropriate spending for insiders' personal benefit and an unnecessarily padded payroll.

The locally elected Breathitt County school board provided little oversight. Board members sometimes met for only 10 minutes to approve a list of items that Turner handed them.

The Kentucky Department of Education concluded that Breathitt County was incapable of cleaning up its mess. For the first time in 15 years, the state took over daily management of a school district and brought in its own superintendent, Larry Hammond, a Rockcastle County educator, to set things right.
The problem is that the elected school board categorically refuses to cooperate with the new superintendent, the state Department of Education, or anyone who does not want to restore the old system of corruption, fraud and no education.

Because if they do what's necessary to restore public education - primarily opposing a small increase in property taxes - local voters will throw them out of office.

This is why running and funding public education locally is the worst fucking idea since block grants.

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