Thursday, May 10, 2007

Courier Journal Loves Anne Northup?

The Courier Journal asks GOP primary voters to consider the difference between the largest tax increase in Kentucky history and a smaller "modernization" tax increase and to favor the bigger one.

While I don't have much energy for defending Fletcher's "revenue-neutral" tax increase, the CJ support for KERA is pretty far over the top.

Let's start with the first sentence:

... the Kentucky Education Reform Act, which has done so much to lift achievement and aspirations in this state ...

This old talking point is contradicted by ACT scores that the state educrats can only manage to show improvement in when they falsify results by including scores from private school students.

Then there is this:

Actually she voted, like every other public-spirited and thoughtful member of the General Assembly, to fund KERA.

Flowery adjectives shouldn't distract from condemnation of a particularly bad investment Republicans knew was likely to perform poorly.

Then, for a newspaper that so enjoys calling conservative people liars, this string of whoppers can only be described as remarkable:

She voted to help poor districts overcome an illegal, unjust and destructive system of funding; to create family resource centers; to modernize the school curriculum; to give parents a real role in the administration of schools; to buy the technology needed for a modern, competitive K-through-12 education; to test our kids and hold schools accountable for any lack of progress.

It is telling that the same people who insisted KERA would make education so much better in Kentucky are now demanding billions more to make education better.

It would be nice if we could move education policy discussions beyond the sound-bite level. Some improvements do require money, but others that would save it -- such as school choice and higher standards -- get sold short. Now that both R's and D's are stuck on selling ever-increasing funding levels as their primary function in education reform, I'm not hopeful we will progress here any time soon.