Jim Waters: The good faces of education shouldn’t get a nose job – Updated

This week Jim Waters focuses on the state of public education in Kentucky and the recently passed selection of Commissioner of Education Jon Draud. While the story is a week old (because we wouldn’t want to compete with antiquated print operations we enjoy) it’s worth a read. Not even a mention of school vouchers or Ronald Reagan. We jest.

Updated: Jim has updated his story to include information about Draud.



The good faces of education shouldn’t get a nose job

By Jim Waters

The Kentucky Board of Education thumbed its nose at Gov.-elect Steve Beshear, who wanted to slow down the selection process for a new education commissioner.

Beshear said he thought some good candidates didn’t apply because of the contentious gubernatorial campaign. But he overestimates the involvement of politics and underestimates the obstacles to attracting quality candidates created by an education bureaucracy so bloated it can’t bend over and touch its toes – a body part unseen for decades.

But the cloud of neglect the board cast on Beshear comes with a silver lining: the clearly diminished power of Kentucky’s governor.

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Partial Update Dept.

Jake spent the evening in the ER so there’ll be light posting for a day or so. Medically necessary “vacation” time.

It’s the economy, stupid. Personal bankruptcy filings for the first three quarters of 2007 totaled more than all bankruptcy filings in 2006. A 40.2% increase. Business filings are up 40.5%. Great economy, isn’t it? All this after more stringent filing rules. [Business First]

Blah. Is it even worth wasting our breath anymore? David Adams rails on our failure of a Board of Education and their new Commissioner. Dear Leader was anointed by King Ernest Lee. We can only hope he’s nothing like Barbara Erwin. [KY Progress]

Hebert has the juice on political appointments. Most notable is Dana Mayton who will take the helm as Jack Conway’s Chief Deputy. Mayton, a UofL lobbyist, has a reputation for bringing home the university bacon. The funny part is in Hebert’s first graph, “Mayton takes the post currently held, and ably administered by, Pierce Whites, who has seemingly run the A.G.’s office the past four years because Greg Stumbo has rarely been seen in Frankfort. Hoo boy. [Mark Hebert]

Oh Snap Monday: Educational Failure Dept

Rep. Harry Moberly keeps promise, researching damage by mountaintop removal, only Democrat standing up. Puts Jim Gooch to shame. Moberly, according to Stephenie Steitzer, will study the impact of coal mining on December 3 by traveling to Hazard. How long will it take the rest of the legislature to do something like this? Ten years? 15? [The Arena]

Ready to ride? Kentucky Equine Education Project/KEEP needs volunteer riders for Steve Beshear’s inaugural parade. Frankfort – 10:00 A.M. – December 11. If you’re interested in walking or riding, get in touch with KEEP’s field director Cara Stewart. KEEP is headed by Patrick Neely, a guy Republicans and Democrats alike appreciate and one of the brightest political minds in the state. Good opportunity to get involved. [KEEP]

Freedom calls? Is this what the GOP has to look forward to? If so, we’re sorry, GOP. Really sorry. This is quite possibly the most ignorant and racist tripe ever published as an op-ed in any Kentucky newspaper. W. Bryan Hubbard writes not to his fellow Republicans to but his fellow wingnuts. [H-L]

Beshear for the win. Seems governor-elect Steve Beshear is stepping up to finish what Ernie Fletcher stopped. Beshear promises to help finish construction of Kentucky’s Center for African American Heritage. Fletcher and his cronies at the Transportation Cabinet have ignorantly withheld funding to complete the project the past two years. You’d never see this sort of roadblock for something like the Creation Museum. [C-J]

New commissioner. As Mark Hebert reported, Jon Draud is the new Education Commissioner. He’s a Republican selected by a board of Republicans appointed by Ernie Fletcher. Both sides of the aisle have been distraught for weeks over the Board of Education’s apparent lack of common sense. Can we expect success with this continued corruption? Fat chance. [Mark Hebert]

Public corruption in Clay County. You think it’s interesting living in the golden triangle? Think again. The mayor of Manchester along with other public officials dealt drugs, profited from the illegal gun trade, bought votes and when a citizen didn’t want to sell their house to the city? They hired a hit man to torch the place. And people wonder why Eastern Kentucky is falling apart. It might just be because the Roger Benton legacy continues. Those involved were finally sentenced. [H-L here & here]

The Enquirer will never provide real journalism. In Pat Crowley’s latest piece he tells Democrats to be afraid because they’re essentially screwed up in Northern Kentucky. Primarily because Northern Kentucky Democrats have made fools of themselves the past several weeks. He turned what could have been a great 730-word column about the November 6 election into a weird warning for Democrats. Are his editors writing for him? We know Pat is a real journalist and is capable of much better. [The Enquirer]

Jim Waters: Mine eyes have not seen the glory, but I’ve heard about it

This week Jim gives advice to Steve Beshear and wonders aloud if he’ll put ideas and talk into action. We’re not sure where the St. Ronnie stuff comes from or why it’s relevant, but the rest makes sense.



Mine eyes have not seen the glory, but I’ve heard about it

By Jim Waters

Now that Steve Beshear has stopped campaigning, he’s going to have to start articulating – about his plans to address serious challenges facing Kentucky’s economy and public schools.

The new governor must successfully transition from campaigning against an unpopular incumbent to working for sound policy that improves the lot of all Kentuckians. That means the interests of labor unions, social liberals and other special groups must become secondary to the betterment of the entire commonwealth.

If not, it will be “four and out” for Beshear, too.

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The War on Reality Update Dept

Mongiardo isn’t stupid, won’t resign from the Senate. Nice try, David Williams. Who in their right mind thought he’d resign before the December inauguration and swearing in, anyway? Williams came up with quite possibly the dumbest demand yet. [PolWatchers]

Ruining lives one by one. The Kentucky Board of Education has picked a finalist to become Commissioner of Education but won’t name them. No one on the board realizes it’s juvenile to tease the public. Not to mention– no one on the board realizes their “finalists” are complete and utter failures with no relevant experience. What a disappointment. [Mark Hebert]

Jody Richards wastes time and money. Again. He’s appointing a dozen state reps to be part of a work group to study the possibility of allowing casinos to set up shop in Kentucky. Don’t we already know the outcome? Why are we wasting time on this? Could Jody Richards be any more ineffective? We can’t openly and honestly resolve the Peabody issue but we can devote man hours and dollars to studying what’s already been studied. Great. [PolWatchers]

Corruption in Lexington schools. Superintendent Stu Silberman ran a high-performance principal off, lied about it, tried to cover up his tracks and then made up a secret “investigation” that no one knows about. What the heck is going on in Lex Vegas these days? First the jail and now the schools? Seriously, people. Em-bar-ass-ing. [Bluegrass Institute]

Moving in. Ernie gives Beshear’s transition team Steve Pence’s old office suite in the Capitol. Nice place to work, isn’t it? Team members are slowly moving in and are beginning to stake their claim on state government. No better place to be when moving a new regime into Frankfort. [C-J]

Jim Waters – Commish Search II: The Sequel

The right and left should all agree with Jim this week. The state school board’s “search” for a commissioner is laughable and embarrassing.

Get a grip, people! Call this “search” off and start fresh. This Barbara Erwin clustercrap has to stop.



Commish Search II: The Sequel

By Jim Waters

Al Smith, longtime host of “Comment on Kentucky,” is right in urging the Kentucky Board of Education to wait and conduct a national search for a new education commissioner – like other states do.

But his plea falls on deaf ears.

The board’s haste – along with the insipid candidates it has attracted – confirms Solomon’s reckoning that: “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be.”

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Jim Waters: Leaner government? Treasure the thought

Jim Waters misses the mark this week.

If you oppose unnecessary spending on children’s health-care programs, Hollenbach and his political siblings probably consider you “anti-children” or “anti-family.” If you support offering parents a choice – any kind of choice – on where their children attend school, then they call you “anti-public education.”

Way to use Republican spin, Jim! Unnecessary spending on children’s health care? What? Yeah, the zillion children in this country don’t deserve care. That’s the ticket.

Providing taxpayer-funded vouchers for children to go to private religious institutions is hardly being anti-choice. It’s about avoiding the real problem and not making public education work. It’s about the separation of church and state. It’s not a black & white issue and painting it as such is closed-minded and uneducated.

And using Todd Hollenbach as a poster child for Democratic ideology was just hilarious.



Leaner government? Treasure the thought

By Jim Waters

A chasm exists between anti-government zealots and those who believe in limited government.

One believes in anarchy. The other holds to the principle offered in a statement attributed most often to Thomas Jefferson: “government governs best which governs least.”

Again, that’s “governs least,” not “governs not at all.”

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