The Front Blog

Conversations from the Four Rivers Region

Posts Tagged ‘education

the morning cram [the wrong, commie… it’s Houston! edition]

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“In Russia we only had two TV channels. Channel One was propaganda. Channel Two consisted of a KGB officer telling you: Turn back at once to Channel One.”

NPR reports signs of a media crackdown in Russia as the country nears its presidential elections.

Kentucky~ Murray State trumps Saint Mary’s at Saturday’s  ESPN Bracketbuster game. The death of a 14-year-old Christian County girl has sparks a movement against bullying and suicide.  The closing of Madisonville’s medical examiner’s office is causing an outrage. A little-known 2001 law could have prevented an infant’s death and a teen mother’s arrest. The Delta Mariner resumes its voyage to Cape Canaveral. Educators from 17 states come to learn about the state’s new education standards.

Tennessee~ A new bill may help military spouses facing unemployment.

the morning cram [you take the blue pill edition]

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Controversial contraceptive coverage continues to cause commotion, but…

NPR reports contraception coverage laws have been in place for years.

Kentucky~ The Racers’ perfect record is tarnished. Schools will hold BMI screenings to combat growing childhood obesity rates. Pressure builds on lawmakers to pass a gambling amendment. Beshear appoints a commission to study the state’s tax system.  An early look at traffic fatalities show an increase over 2012.

Tennessee ~ Union City loses another major employer.

 

 

the morning cram [I’m gonna come at you like a spider monkey edition]

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Quick –  Puff out your chest, it’ll scare him away!

NPR reports Iran stands defiant amidst Israel’s threat of strikes against their nuclear program.

OVC Scores…

Kentucky~ River levels are on the rise.  A McCracken Sheriffs Deputy resigns after visiting his lady friend on the clock.  Mammoth Cave is a moneymaker for the Commonwealth. Smart kids rejoice;  you can get out of high school early. Pill mill legislation is working its way through the legislature.  The state wants to make substantial budget cuts to post-secondary schools. Lawmakers may be through with the redistricting fight.

the morning cram [you can do it edition]

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After the turmoil of the past year, Arab states try to turn revolution into democracy.

NPR reports on the problems Egypt and Tunisia face in trading in their autocratic rulers for democratic elections.

Kentucky~   Graves County businessman Richard Heath to run for Nesler seat.  Former Kentucky New Era publisher Robert C. Carter has died.  University of Pikeville President Paul Patton resigns from Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education.

Tennessee~  Clarksville CDE Lightband customer’s electric bills have doubled in the past month.

the morning cram [you’re young and got your health, what do you want with a job edition]

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If the stats are correct, half of you are reading this while at your job. Quit lollygagging and get back to work!

NPR reports half the workforce must go to work during the week between Christmas and New Years. And surprisingly, we’re happy about it!

Kentucky~    The Paducah Expo and Convention Centers are setting a new fee structure. Fatal motor accidents are on the decline in the Commonwealth. Beshear told Democrats he’s going to make it rain.

Illinois~  A new law requires landlords to give a heads up on radon levels in their buildings.

Afternoon School Closings, January 20

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The following is the latest available closings from schools in our region.

All evening classes at all West Kentucky Community and Technical College sites are canceled tonight (Thursday)

Hopkins County Schools will not be in session tomorrow.

 

Other Events:

All-A basketball game tonight between Ballard County and Community Christian Academy has been canceled.

Hopkinsville Chamber’s Business After Hours sponsor has  had to reschedule Business After Hours for next Thursday, January 27.

The McCracken County Public Library is closing early at 5:00 today and “may” reopen at 9:00 tomorrow. Weather permitting.

The Glema Center in Madisonville has decided to postpone tonight’s Tommy Womack
Coffeehouse due to the rapidly deteriorating weather.  The concert will be rescheduled at a later date.

morning cram [lone wolf edition]

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“Experts say to expect more undercover cases in 2011, because the agency has clearly decided that the best way to battle the growing threat of homegrown terrorism in this country is to confront the suspects directly.”

NPR tracks down lone-wolf terrorists.

KENTUCKY ~ Hopkinsville’s newly elected officials are official. Better teachers, better evaluations needed, says lawmaker. One judge tells the Louisville Orchestra to pay its musicians, while another says instant racing is OK, group to appeal. Gambling proposals defunct in the 2011 session. HVAC inspections become law.

TENNESSEE ~ An FBI inquiry leads to more revenue oversight in state government, while in Clarksville drunks get free rides.

ILLINOIS ~ Metropolis officials try to regulate their first strip club.

Editorial: Working Together to Improve College Readiness

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by Bob King, President, Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education

Every several years, the Council on Postsecondary Education publishes what we call the High School Feedback Report, which summarizes the college readiness of our high school graduates. Studies show that improved college readiness leads to improved student success, job opportunities, and overall quality of life.

Each report is available on our website.

As I have been travelling around the state in recent weeks, sharing the specific data on the high schools in the counties I have visited, I have come to understand how valuable these reports can be. Historically, parents are often directed to focus on graduation rates and average GPAs as evidence of how their local high school is performing. Our reports allow parents and educators to look more deeply into actual performance measured by an external, unbiased resource–the ACT exam results–now required of all Kentucky students.

In a recent presentation, I shared with the audience that by focusing on the usual measures their local high school looked quite effective. It reported a 92 percent graduation rate and an average GPA for its graduating seniors of 2.8 (slightly above the district average). When tested, however, 67 percent of their graduates were not ready to take freshman math, 57 percent were not ready to take freshman English, and 41.5 percent were not ready to for college-level reading. For many of these students, long accustomed to receiving A’s and B’s in high school, the fact they would need to take remedial courses in college was devastating.

Why the conflicting results?

What I hear often is that kids are told that rigorous, college preparatory courses are: “too hard”, “require too much homework”, “impose tough grading standards limiting the size of KEES awards”, “that they interfere with sports or the band”, and other rationale which discourage our high school students from adequately preparing themselves for college.

It has also been the case that our K-12 and college standards and curriculum are not aligned. The good news is that the recently enacted Senate Bill 1 from 2009 will correct the alignment problem, and will set as the goal of a high school education the readiness of each graduate for college or career.

And higher education has been complicit in this decline, admitting underprepared students, and sending the unintended message that you don’t have to work hard to get into college. While it has been the case that it is not difficult to get in, the same cannot be said for getting through and earning a degree. College faculty have high expectations for their students, and employers depend upon the quality of degrees awarded to those who persist to graduation.

So what to do?

First, parents and K-12 educators need to focus on the right data. What do our children actually know? Are they ready to take college level courses when they graduate or meet an employer’s expectations if they go directly into the workforce? Ask the right questions and demand answers.

Second, we have to stop being reluctant to set high expectations of our young people. In the most recent international testing, the results of which were published Dec. 6, 2010, American 15-year-olds ranked significantly behind their peers in Europe and Asia in math, reading, and science. These results will have a profound impact on the economic strength, prosperity, and security of the United States if we allow this situation to persist. If average kids in China, India, Korea, Canada, and Finland, for example, can perform at very high levels, then so can ours. But we need to set high expectations, and encourage our children to take rigorous courses. Whenever and wherever we have done that, our kids soar.

Third, our campuses need to re-evaluate admissions standards and align them with college readiness standards. By doing so they will be sending a message to high school and middle school kids that dedication and hard work will be required of them to both enroll and succeed in college.

Fourth, we need to serve teachers more effectively. We also need to do a better job preparing those who go into teaching: stronger content preparation, stronger pedagogical and diagnostic skills, and a deeper understanding of what will be expected once they get into the classroom. We also need to get re-engaged in supporting teachers during their career with relevant, effective professional development programs, and incisive research.

Finally, we need to unshackle ourselves from structures that have been carefully cultivated over decades to protect the adults in our education system, which too often elevate their needs over the needs of our kids. At the end of the day, our teachers and building principals are the most important players in the equation. They need top quality training, competitive and appropriate compensation, working conditions that encourage innovation and professional dedication, and ongoing support to keep their skills at the leading edge of successful practice. They also need to be accountable for results—results measured by the performance of their students. Highly effective teachers understand the myriad of factors that impact student learning and have applied their skills and training to navigate through them, creating brilliant results, obstacles notwithstanding. It will be a system filled with these great teachers that will assure a bright and vibrant future for our children and grandchildren in the 21st century.

The views expressed in commentaries are the opinion of the commentator and don’t necessarily reflect the views of WKMS.

Written by Angela Hatton

December 29, 2010 at 2:18 pm

morning cram [drink it down edition]

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“Researchers at Brigham Young University have found that teenagers who grow up with parents who are either too strict or too indulgent tend to binge drink more than their peers.”

NPR swallows the research results.

KENTUCKY ~ Christmas trees are sleeping with the fishes. Murder suspect in deeper trouble after jail assault. Fort Campbell MP accused of killing his girlfriend. Predicting the future: education and renewable energy a state struggle. Former governor eyes Senate Majority Leader position.

TENNESSEE ~ Plant closure leads to spike in Montgomery County unemployment.

morning cram [soaped edition]

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“Perhaps the best line in Erica Kane’s Wikipedia entry is this one: ‘Seven of her marriages to six different men have been valid while four of her other marriages are invalid.'”

NPR talks to Kane about her life in the soaps.

KENTUCKY ~ Jail bookkeeper could go to the slammer embezzlement. School board candidates can receive larger contributions. State grants make education programs better at universities. Cops not sure they can tell when someone’s txtg n drvg. Tobacco retailers aren’t selling to minors.

TENNESSEE ~ A Clarksville  man is still guilty, despite prosecution mistakes. Lawmakers wonder if traffic cameras are unfair.



Written by Angela Hatton

December 20, 2010 at 9:57 am