Thursday, February 5, 2009

Comments on Governor Beshear’s call for review of KERA

Applause for Governor Beshear for announcing a “thorough review” of the 1990 Kentucky Education Reform Act. “Let us bring together educators, business and legislative leaders” he said, “to not only clear our course and see if corrective steering is necessary, but just as importantly to review and re-energize our commitment to education.”

There’s been talk about this since Governor Beshear took office, so it’s good to see it finally launched. (In fact the Prichard Committee, and I expect many others, recommended this to Beshear.)

Doing the job right will take time, talent and financial resources—no point in a seat-of-the-pants horse trading session for politicians. This is too serious for that.

Let’s be as conscientious as the group that created KERA in the first place, Governor Wilkinson’s task force that responded to the Supreme Court decision of 1989 declaring Kentucky schools to be unconstitutional.

Doing a good job will require involved Kentucky educators, parents and business people; first-rate staffing (Jack Foster, Wilkinson’s brilliant education secretary, led the 1989 effort); cutting edge national thinkers (the Education Commission of the States helped with this in 1989); and serious research and analysis (costly, but without it we’re driving in the dark with no headlights.)

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