Auditor: KDE Attendance Data Questionable

Auditor Crit Luallen’s office has released a review (PDF link) of the Kentucky Department of Education’s school attendance audit process. The review, requested by KDE, discovered that there is no system in place to assure accuracy in attendance data– leaving many problems undetected for as many as four years.

School attendance data are used help to determine General Fund appropriations for each school district in Kentucky. As the report points out, inaccurate (aka falsified? sloppy?) data could prevent districts in need from receiving the funds they’re actually due. With billions of dollars in play we hope the KDE is able to get their ducks in a row.

Friday: It’s Still Summer in October

Debate reading til election day. It’s day 3 of the CNHI 5-part series on gubernatorial candidates Beshear and Fletcher. Much better than the PolWatchers debate where neither candidate are adult enough to simply answer questions without getting into a pissing contest. [Daily Times, PolWatchers]

Fletcher has a supporter in Brandenburg. Did you know that Ernie “cut waste” and now we’re a “national model”? Yeah, and all the negativity surrounding Ernie is thanks to the “liberal media.” No matter how often the witch hunt terminology is repeated it doesn’t stick. [News-Enterprise]

Making Stuff Up Dept. Billy Reed goes to work for Greg Stumbo and Brett Hall freaks out. Never seen someone try as hard as Brett when it comes to spinning, defaming and filtering. [KY Politics, H-L]

Do it again. This story about Fletcher going negative is worth a read again. Especially the parts where Vicki Glass tells the truth and Fletcher folks won’t admit they’re feeling dumb for jumping on the anti-casino bandwagon. [C-J]

Sky is falling. The ethics report comes tomorrow and the H-L says it’ll be highly critical of Beshear’s law firm. The tens of remaining Fletcher supporters are foaming at the mouth, not realizing Beshear’s lead will barely fade (if at all). [H-L]

Confused? Remember that story about CATS scores being confusing? Yeah? Good. Because every newspaper in the state has a different story with a different angle. Not the least bit confusing, nah. [C-J]

Another plate? Kentucky is unveiling an Abraham Lincoln license plate in honor of his bicentennial birthday. How many plates do we have in Kentucky now? And what’s next on the plate menu? [News-Enterprise]

Education in Kentucky: Still National Laughingstock

Yesterday national blog Wonkette brought a story to readers’ attention about the reading levels at which journalists write. The story quotes an internal Cleveland Plain Dealer memo discussing the importance of dumbing everything down. Included in the memo? The following horrible quote that brings about the embarrassing state of education in Kentucky:

As a final note, years ago, when John Carroll was editor in Lexington, he refused to publish a series, Cheating Our Children, about the poor education in Kentucky until the writers got it down to grade level THREE. You can’t write respectable journalism at the third-grade level, can you? The series was a Pulitzer finalist, won several major awards and, most importantly, led to a revolution in the Kentucky educational system.

This is STILL the impression outsiders have of our beautiful Bluegrass state. We’re ignorant hicks who can’t read beyond a third grade level.

Sure, this story merely makes the case for dumbing crap down by reminding folks of the ‘Cheating Our Children’ series. But it’s damaging to our image and reputation.

Perfect example of why our leaders need to step up to the plate. If we don’t immediately improve our image– we never will.

Monday: 36 days til the ads stop

Unlikely pair? Kentucky should pay attention. The Herald-Leader delves into the business partnership of Bruce Lunsford and Ed Hart and their movie making successes. From the Sundance Film Festival to Kentucky, these guys are creating an empire. Politics aside? We should be proud. These guys smell an opportunity to change perceptions of the Bluegrass state. [H-L]

Oh man, the differences. Lee is a radical in every sense of the word and Conway is a reasonable man who actually believes in the law. Not surprising only 60 people showed up to their forum. Attorney General? What’s that? [KY Post]

Singing the praises, calling a spade a spade. Talking Points Memo notices Ernie’s latest commercial and sings the praises of Alessi for pointing out the ad’s distortions and inaccuracies. [TPM]

Controversial Micro-City Government rears its ugly head again in Lexington. This time with the sale of its property without documentation of proceeds or anything else required of non-profits. Ron Berry, founder of the organization, was convicted on 12 counts of third-degree sodomy (of participants in the organization’s youth programs) in 2000. [H-L]

Five Days of Non-Answers. CNHI started its five-day series of citizen questions with Steve Beshear and Ernie Fletcher. Looks like a worthy mix of questioners and may be worth checking out. [Daily Independent]

Still not talking about the senate? Owsley Brown II was profiled and only discussed philanthropy. No mention of senate hopes at all. But with more than $600 million in stocks alone– who’d need to raise cash? We hope he stays out of the race so he can focus his attention full-time on worthy causes around the Commonwealth. [C-J]

CATS testing scores ‘hard to explain’? Hello, understatement. Not only have we slipped into a backward mindset of teaching only toward a test, we’ve now made it impossible to understand what the heck those test results mean. Yay educational failures! [H-L]

Do they always have to do this? Appalachian Regional Healthcare is once again suffering from a massive strike of nurses. When will this hospital group learn to negotiate? Public perception matters, people. You’ll win in the court of public opinion. [H-L]

Iran So Far. This has absolutely nothing to do with Kentucky but is the funniest thing to happen in months. SNL’s Andy Samberg takes on Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in a funny digital short. Give it a watch and laugh your guts out. We can’t stop watching it. [SNL via YouTube]

Yeah, sometimes we read more than the C-J and H-L. Sometimes.

It’s Ernest Lee & Steve Day

Steve Beshear smoked Ernie Fletcher on Kentucky Tonight’s debate last evening. As John Stamper says, they argued bitterly and Ernie took the brunt of things. Who knew Steve could hold his own? [KET, H-L]

Fletcher and Beshear trade jabs on ethics. You fill in the blanks. [C-J]

Judge denies Williams’ request to stop ethics hearing. No one is surprised. [PolWatchers]

Fletcher and Beshear agree on ‘Bucks for Brians’ and Ernie pledges $100million if re-elected. Vote buying? Everyone waits with baited breath for Steve Henry to claim he contributed millions to the program. [PolWatchers, C-J]

Jim Bunning was wrong. 57% of Kentuckians disapprove of the war. 11% unsure. You know what that means. 3/4ths of Kentuckians think it’s a crock of shit. [PolWatchers]

Ernie debuts faith-based office this week. The Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives is modeled after Dubya’s plan and will seek to provide government funding for religious orgnization, further blurring the separation of church & state. [C-J]

Fletcher & Beshear to debate at NKU on Oct 3, 7:00 P.M., will be broadcast around the state. WCPO, WAVE3, WKYT, WNKU radio. [Enquirer]

Okay, a non-gubernatorial story. Anne Northup is hard at work raising money for Erwin Roberts’ bid against John Yarmuth. [NRCC]

Someone is paying attention to the economy. Federal Reserve cuts key short-term interest rate by half a point from 5.25% to 4.75%. First cut in four years. [CNN]

Don’t forget the mainstream media’s blatant attempt to ignore Kentucky Farm Bureau’s discriminatory practices.

Wait. What?

Secret investigation? Steve Beshear’s law firm was the target of a secret investigation relating to the Kentucky Central liquidation. Maybe the longest story every written that leaves you hanging. Mark Nickolas has a few reminders for the public and they mostly point back to Fletcher. [H-L, BGR]

Suing Ernie. Attorney General Greg Stumbo’s lawsuit against Ernie Fletcher for illegally appointing more Republicans than Democrats to university boards makes the rounds every day. Every day there’s a new story. [C-J]

Party switcher. Republican Rep. Milward Dedman of Harrodsburg becomes a Democrat. Republican commenters on the C-J forum cry fowl… then cry a river of tears that their party is in shambles. [C-J]

Shock and awe. Okay, not really, everyone knew No Child Left Behind was a collasal failure. Now we hear it’s incompatible with policies that actually– get this– with policies that actually work. Search the No Child Left Behind Database to see how your child’s school holds up. [C-J]

7 new Human Rights commissioners. Fletcher has appointed newbies to the agency that investigates, well, Human Rights. An amazing thing– victory for minorities– six of the new members are African American. Though, many leaders in the black community are upset Fletcher has let so many commission members go at once. Note that Todd Hollenbach, Democratic candidate for Treasurer, was a commission member. [C-J]