As a Republican legislator who served during a period of partisan gamesmanship, it may be hard for some to believe that he would truly care for the public schools. School reform requires a vigilance not often found among myopic lawmakers whose vision rarely extends past their own constituency and the next election.
Kentucky’s Education Commissioner needs to see the whole playing field, and way down the road. But despite Ludlow’s size and stereotypes of politicians he might just be the guy. He’s not likely to break the KERA mold. But, he may very well reshape it.
The commissioner will oversee about 665,000 students in 1,243 schools spread over 174 school districts with a budget of $ 4.209 billion. That’s a lot of money, but only works out to $7,914 per student which isn’t so hot when compared to the effort being made in most other states. That means the commissioner has to hit sky-high goals on a knee-high budget.
What truly sets Draud apart from the other finalists is his service in Kentucky’s legislature where he often ignored politics to advocate for better schools. He even suffered the petty punishments of his party’s leadership for his independence.
Dismissing Draud as a small-town superintendent and Republican legislator is to miss one of Kentucky’s most consistent, independent and nonpartisan voices for school reform over the past thirty years.
As some KSN&C readers may know, Ludlow is my hometown. I was a student there before Draud’s tenure as superintendent began. My mother was the long-time Secretary to the Superintendent and Ludlow Board of Education. So, when Draud came to Ludlow she started working for him. I knew Draud as one of my instructors at Xavier University in the mid 70s and as a member of the Kenton County Board of Education, where I taught, in the late 70s. I’m pretty sure I coached his eldest son Jon (now a doctor) in Basketball at Caywood Elementary.
After reviewing nearly 1000 news articles that document Jon Draud’s public record on education I got a fresh lesson on the man I know. Upon examination, I found that Draud has a unique set of experiences (and a “no BS” attitude) that allows him to accurately appraise the state of affairs in Kentucky’s schools and act with conviction.
We need a Commissioner who has the courage to speak out; the sharp focus to provide a clear vision for the future; and the demonstrated ability to work both sides of the aisle to promote the best interests of Kentucky’s children. Jon Draud could be that guy.
In 1990, Draud said Kentucky’s first Education Commissioner needs to “have leadership abilities, vision and should have experience as a superintendent on the state or local level…The person has to have a lot of integrity, and (be) willing to make hard decisions without dwelling on all the political things that have to be done,"
He was right then. That’s what we need now.
- Born September 18, 1938
- Roman Catholic
- Draud played football, baseball and basketball at Ludlow High School, from which he graduated in 1956
- Went on to play one year of football and three years of baseball at Eastern Kentucky University
- Xavier Univ, MA
- Univ. of Cincinnati, EdD
- Crestview Hills City Council, 1972-77
- Kenton Co School Bd, 1977-78
- Ludlow Public Schools, Supt, 1978-97
- The Draud family is the only one to place three of its members in the Northern Kentucky Athletic hall of fame. Jon was inducted as head coach of the 1962 state champion Holmes High School baseball team. Son Scott was an all-state basketball player in 1997 who led the state in scoring one season. Daughter Kim won five consecutive regional singles titles in tennis (1986-90) and played on two regional champion volleyball teams (1989, 1990).
Ludlow HS Hall of Fame
- Northern KY Athletic Directors Hall of Fame
- Northern KY Business Educator Alliance, 1991-97
- KY Assoc of School Superintendents Bd of Directors, 1992-97
- Northern KY School Boards Assoc, Sect, 1992-94
- The Ludlow Public Schools Administration Bldg named Dr. John E. Draud Administrative Ctr.
- He supported a fully equipped teacher resource center, implemented a 45-minute common planning time for all teachers, started a Saturday school, started an alternative assignment program and a teacher scholarship fund in Ludlow
- Stood for higher teacher standards
- Supported National Board Certification for teachers
- Passed a 3-percent tax on cable television in Ludlow
- Supported requiring public schools to conduct a criminal records check on volunteers
- Advocated full-day kindergarten
- Filed a bill requiring schools to offer instruction on all of the world's major religions without preaching or endorsing any particular religious point of view which gained the support of the American Civil Liberties Union and the Kentucky Council of Churches
- In the wake of the Randy Kimbrough scandal Draud filed a bill that would prevent educators from collecting their pensions if they are convicted of a felony. (Kimbrough was a former state Department of Education official who had been charged with embezzlement and money laundering but would still be allowed to keep her pension upon conviction.)
- He filed a bill that would require sheriffs to notify - in person or in writing - neighbors when a convicted sex offender moves in
- Supported tax free school supplies
- Filed a bill to raise Kentucky's cigarette tax to 47 cents per pack aimed at generating $200 million a year for teacher pay raises and public health
- Proposed a bill for the 2006 session that would have required high-risk sexual offenders to wear electronic tracking devices
- Said in 2004, "Again, our legislative leaders failed us miserably in not getting a budget…. You talk to the members at large, everybody wants a budget. But our leaders for some reason are unable to compromise to accomplish the one constitutional responsibility we have."
- He fussed at Congress for not fully funding IDEA
- Supported Kentucky's high school juniors taking the American College Test (ACT)
- Said universities shouldn't be required to get the blessing of legislators before issuing bonds that are supported by an independent revenue stream.
- He served as president of the Northern Kentucky Association of School Superintendents
- Golden Apple Award recipient, 1993
- Named Outstanding Administrator in 1993 by the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce and played a key role in the creation of the chamber’s Education Alliance
- In Ludlow, test scores improved 36 percent from 1992 to 1994
- President of Northern Kentucky School Superintendents Association
- Combined with 7 other districts to establish a regional alternative school
- Won the A.D. Albright award for outstanding administrator of the Year, 1993
- Kenton Co Educator of the Year, 1992
- In 2002 the Northern Kentucky Area Development District gave its top honor of the year the Intergovernmental Unity of Effort Award to Draud
- Received the 2003 Distinguished Citizenship Medal from the Girl Scout Council of Licking Valley
- In 2003 received Contribution to Collaboration Award
- The Kentucky School Boards Association named Draud the winner of its 2006 KIDS First Advocacy Awards
- In 2006 he received the Walter R. Dunlevy/Frontiersman Award for lifetime achievement and service to the community.
An immeasurable imprint
The Kentucky PostJune 12, 1997
In his 19 years as superintendent, Jon Draud gave Ludlow schools forceful, thoughtful and innovative leadership.
Earlier this week, Draud announced plans to resign to pursue a full-time teaching job at Northern Kentucky University.Ludlow will lose an outstanding administrator. Draud's depth of knowledge about teaching and his ability to work with teachers will be missed.
When he began in 1978, Ludlow schools were in turmoil. Under his guidance, the district became an award-winning district in every category.
In 1993, Draud was honored by the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce with an A.D. Albright Award for his work in education.He helped create the chamber's Education Alliance to support area schools, started a Saturday school and an alternative assignment program to meet students' needs and began a teacher scholarship fund for students interested in becoming teachers.Draud leaves an immeasurable imprint on Ludlow and Northern Kentucky education.
Draud the right choice
The Kentucky PostMay 13, 1998
With no Democratic candidate in the 63rd House District, it will be left to Republicans to decide in the primary who will go to Frankfort.
And the right choice on May 26 is Jon Draud.
Draud would bring the right mix of experience, leadership, knowledge and sound reasoning to Frankfort.He reflects the conservative views of his district, which includes the cities of Edgewood, Crestview Hills, Lakeside Park, Villa Hills, Ft. Mitchell, Ft. Wright and Park Hills.
Draud has the political fortitude to think for himself and the mature discernment to know the difference between talking a good political game and getting things accomplished for your constituents.
Draud, of Crestview Hills, is challenged by John Middleton and John Link, both of Edgewood.The three are running to succeed fellow Republican Dick Murgatroyd of Villa Hills in the 63rd House District in Kenton County. Murgatroyd is stepping down to run for Kenton County judge-executive.
Since there is no Democratic candidate for the seat, the winner of the GOP primary will take office in January.Because the primary race will determine who will represent the 63rd District,
The Kentucky Post is making its endorsement in the primary election.
Draud, 59, is active in Northern Kentucky, particularly in the educational community. He served as superintendent of Ludlow schools for 19 years before stepping down last year. He now teaches at Northern Kentucky University.He also has served as a member of the Crestview Hills City Council and Kenton County school board.
He knows how to make government work because he made a school system not only work but excel. Under his leadership, Ludlow schools marked gains in excellence, surpassing goals in the state's testing program. With Ludlow school teachers and staff he built a comradery based on mutual respect. That skill will serve him well as one of 100 members of the House.
Draud has a compass. He knows Northern
Pendulum swings too far in protecting individual rights
The Kentucky PostMay 20, 1999
Author: Jon Draud
Recently I watched the "Today" show as Katie Couric interviewed some of the victims of the Columbine tragedy. Tears came to my eyes as I experienced feelings of frustration and anger. Ultimately, my thoughts and feelings expressed the same questions as most Americans: Why did this happen, and how can we prevent these senseless tragedies?
As a former teacher, principal and superintendent, it is clear to me that there are a multitude of answers to the question why. However, I would like to focus on the First Amendment to our Constitution as one of the major reasons for the increased violence in our society and ultimately our schools.
The First Amendment is fundamental to our democracy. It is the basis for what makes America's form of government different from many other forms of government. The founding fathers, e.g. Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and others, insured our government could not deny us freedom of expression.
However, I doubt if our founding fathers could have imagined what has happened to our Republic since July 4, 1776.
The major answer to the question, why did these tragedies occur in Columbine, Jonesboro, Paducah and other cities in our country, is that our culture has been changed by the entertainment industry under the protection of the First Amendment.
Research estimates that we are exposed via video to 45 images of violence per day. Pop music glorifies murder, suicide and other forms of violence. The movie industry produces movies like the "Basketball Diaries" where it is cool to murder teachers and students. Video games brainwash our young people into believing that violence is normal behavior. Our television industry glorifies violence. When we combine this with drug use, is it surprising that our young people have become violent?
All of this in the name of freedom of expression.
Throughout my 36 years of education, I have observed teachers and school officials attempting to discipline students. The wearing of trench coats, army fatigues and other inappropriate behaviors were not permitted when most of us were students. You may ask, why don't teachers and school administrators stop this behavior? Because today students are protected as parents complain that you are violating their child's First Amendment rights of expression.
When I taught American Government, we used the illustration that freedom of speech did not allow you to go into a crowded theatre and yell fire. It seems to me that we have a raging fire in our society to protect the right of expression over the rights and welfare of our society.
The pendulum has swung too far in protecting the rights of the individual to express himself with TV, video games, movies, pop music and the Internet all of which indoctrinate our young people with the belief that violence is acceptable in our society.
Furthermore, we have taken God out of our society and our schools.
Our major institutions are afraid to teach values, while many parents have completely abdicated their responsibilities. Parents frequently do not teach their children about God and traditional American values, and schools are forbidden to do so by our court system. Our political leaders are often terrible role models for our children who view their inappropriate behavior in office.
Then there are the adults who do weird and unacceptable things, write books about them, and reap huge economic benefits. We glorify the villains and minimize the accomplishments of our heroes. Is it any wonder, we have a lost generation of teens who are turning violent?
Yes, it is important that in a free society that free speech for our citizens is protected. However, it is my position that we cannot allow the entertainment industry to destroy our great country.
The entertainment business under the auspices of the First Amendment has created a new culture for us - a culture of violence protected by the First Amendment.
Abraham Lincoln said during the Civil War that the danger in our country was destroying ourselves from within. Our new"everything goes"culture seems to be our path of destruction.
Can we save our great Republic?
What can we do to put the brakes on this trip to social chaos?
We can pass laws to have police officers for schools, require metal detectors and other security measures. We can require our teachers to teach conflict-resolution skills and to develop skills to identify emotionally disturbed young people. We can demand that our judges stop the media industry from brainwashing our society with violence and indecent conduct.
We can do it. However, it will take a strong will of our citizens to relieve the destruction of our culture.
The question is, "Do we have the commitment?"
State Rep. Jon Draud, R-Crestview Hills, represents Kentucky's 63rd district.
DRAUD'S A FRESHMAN FOCUSED ON EDUCATION 2000 GENERAL ASSEMBLY
Lexington Herald-Leader (KY) January 24, 2000
…[Jon]Draud became well-known for Ludlow's academic successes and made headlines when he found funding for the first two teachers in Kentucky to become nationally certified.
While there are plenty of legislators who are professional educators, Draud has attracted attention because of the number and substance of his proposed legislation, says Robert Sexton, director of the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence.
"Jon just stands out because he was an exceptional superintendent and was always out there on the cutting edge," Sexton said. "Now, because of the thoughtful way he presents things and handles himself, he is probably going to make a mark."
Other legislation Draud supports includes a bill that would require schools to offer an elective class in comparative world religions, an effort, he says, to introduce some reason into the school and religion debate.
KENTUCKY MUSTN'T ALLOW EDUCATION GAINS TO BE LOST
Kentucky Post, The (Covington, KY) December 18, 2002
Author: Rep. Jon Draud
Kentucky, like many of our states is facing a financial crisis. There are a number of reasons for our financial dilemma, among them a faltering economy, reduction in state taxes, an antiquated tax structure and bureaucratic waste. As a result of our financial picture, education in Kentucky is at another crossroads.
Prior to 1990, Kentucky education was often ranked 48th or 49th in most variables that measure the quality of education.
As a school superintendent, I remember we used to say, "Thank God for Mississippi" because Mississippi was the state most often ranked behind Kentucky. We were known nationwide as a backward state that did not support education.
The Kentucky court decision in 1989 brought about drastic changes in education.
The Kentucky Legislature took seriously their constitutional responsibility for providing an adequate and equitable system of education for over 176 school districts when they passed the Kentucky Education Reform Act.
Furthermore, in 1997 higher education reform became a reality.
Let's look at a few of the dramatic improvements in education in our state since 1990.
* Our students in elementary, middle and high school are continually making progress on our state accountability-testing program.
* Most of our schools are on target to meet proficiency goals by 2014.
* Kentucky Community and Technical College Systems are enrolling 44,500 students.
* In 2001, Kentucky ranked 10th in the nation in the number of GED's awarded.
* Kentucky has increased its national ranking from 32nd in 1994 to 17th in 2000 in the percentage of high school students going to college.
Moreover, the most significant accomplishment of Kentucky's educational progress is the change of attitude toward education by the citizens of our state. The data reveals that a new culture of education has developed in Kentucky.
Kentuckians are realizing that education is our No. 1 issue.
Unbelievably, in a brief span of 12 years Kentucky has developed a national reputation as a leader in education. All Kentuckians should be very proud.
Yet, as Kentucky approaches this crucial education crossroads, we are about to take a step backwards. The Legislature has not been able to adequately fund education.
Since 1992 the percentage of funds from the general fund has decreased from 62.29 percent to 57.02 percent. This represents a decrease of 5.27 percent.
Funds are very scarce because of demands from Medicaid and prisons.
This decrease cannot continue. Education is in danger, and all Kentuckians must hear the alarm.
The Legislature will convene on Jan. 7, 2003. We must decide if we are going to cut education, raise revenue or do a combination of both.
Most policy makers agree that we have eliminated most of the fat in the budget. The budget experts predict that we will need to cut 2.6 percent in fiscal year 2003 and 5.2 percent in fiscal year 2004 in order to have a balanced budget.
The cuts in fiscal year 2004 will surely stop the progress that we have made in education.
There is an alternative. Kentucky must raise revenue.
Personally, I don't like the idea of Kentucky citizens having to pay more taxes. However, when I consider the damage that will be done to education compared with raising revenue, it is obvious to me that we need to raise revenue to help improve the quality of life, for all Kentuckians.
Soon schools in Kentucky will experience a loss of teachers, a decrease in technology and drastic cuts in all innovative programs. We need revenue, but I am opposed to raising sales tax or property taxes.
However, I think "sin taxes" are the right approach. The 44-cent cigarette tax would have raised over $200 million. Likewise, gaming at the racetrack would have generated $400 million in new revenue.
I realize gambling is a moral issue with many Kentuckians, and likewise, I don't think it is the best way to fund government. However, in these harsh economic times, it does seem to be our best alternative to keep our state revenues up and provide a way to save the education and future of Kentucky children.
I have always believed that education should not be a partisan political issue. It is too important for our children for partisan politics to hurt education.
I hope that our Democratic-controlled House of Representatives, Republican-controlled Senate and our Democratic governor will realize that we cannot allow education in Kentucky to regress. It is too important for the quality of life for our citizens.
We are at a crossroads. Now is the time to choose the correct path because Education is our No. 1 issue.
State Rep. Jon E. Draud, R-Crestview Hills, represents Kentucky's 63rd district. He is a former schoolteacher, principal and superintendent of Ludlow Independent Schools.
MAVERICKS CHALLENGE GOP ON TAXES - BACKING NEW LEVIES GAINS THEM FEW FRIENDS IN PARTY
Lexington Herald-Leader (KY)March 4, 2003
FRANKFORT -- Jon Draud wants to raise the cigarette tax and Jon Draud is a Republican.If you want to know how strange that combination is, try to find many more like him.
There are only about a handful among the 57 Republican legislators in Kentucky's statehouse who openly say new taxes are crucial to solving enormous budget shortfalls, not just cuts in expenses.
Of course, Republicans as a rule do oppose taxes. So why would even three or four decide to abandon the party line, especially when that means they're shunned by both party leaders and rank and file?
Draud, a Republican member of the House of Representatives from Crestview Hills in Northern Kentucky, says his previous work as a school superintendent makes the choice to support some new taxes and comprehensive tax reform pretty easy." My main reason in coming here is education," he said. "It requires additional revenue, and not raising taxes is in conflict with my main interest."
Draud co-sponsored a bill with Louisville Democrat Mary Lou Marzian that would have taxed cigarettes at 44 cents per pack to raise money for health care and education. It soon died, but with much more public support than in previous years.
Draud, still considered a new kid on the block in his third session, admits that at a time when party leaders have flatly refused to consider any new taxes, he's not making new friends among Republicans.
"Colleagues don't like you," he said. "But I didn't come here to be liked."
Last session, he angered Senate Republicans by filing a bill on power plants supported by the governor's office. They not only killed it, they also filed a new and very different bill rather than amending the one with his name on it.
Draud says he knows he won't be part of high-level strategy discussions by either House or Senate Republicans anytime soon. "If you want to move up, you have to play the game and I don't care about that," he said. "In my opinion, the legislature hasn't lived up to its responsibility with tax reform, and I'll keep on saying that."
And how will he manage to hold onto a seat in a conservative district?
He thinks voters care more about lawmakers sticking to their principles than their party. (And, he admits, it doesn't hurt he was a popular superintendent of Ludlow Independent and the father of basketball star Scott Draud.)"
My security in my seat comes from the fact that people respect me for doing what I think is right," he said. "If they don't like it, they can elect someone else."
EDUCATION REFORM NEEDS HONEST LEADERS
Kentucky Post, The (Covington, KY)May 16, 2003
Author: Jon Draud
Recently I have heard individuals who aspire to be governor or lieutenant governor make disparaging remarks about education in Kentucky.Campaign literature distributed by Ernie Fletcher, Republican candidate for governor, stated "only Mississippi is below Kentucky in education." Because this statement is totally inaccurate, I am compelled to respond regarding the progress of education in Kentucky.
After 100 years of neglect and politics in education, the Kentucky Education Reform Act passed in 199O set our state on a new path. KERA changed attitudes and brought tremendous positive national attention to education in Kentucky. Likewise the 1997 Postsecondary Education Improvement Act has had the same kind of positive influence on our colleges and universities.
To play politics and distribute inaccurate data about education is a great disservice to the thousands of educators and students who have worked hard to improve education in our commonwealth.
I want the citizens of our state to have accurate information. Therefore I would like to enumerate a few of the many achievements the Kentucky Department of Education has cited in its research on the impact of education reform in our state.
In late 2001, the National Assessment of Educational Progress or NAEP, as it is called, released results from its 2000 mathematics and science assessments. Results from this test billed as the nation's report card showed Kentucky's 8th-graders had made significant progress from 1996 to 2000.
In both math and science, 8th-graders gained five points, which NAEP considers "statistically significant."
In science, Kentucky's 8th graders' score was, for the first time, above the national average.
And, according to NAEP, nearly 30 percent of Kentucky's 4th-graders and 8th-graders are at or above proficient in those subjects.
The 2002 Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills results showed that Kentucky continues its progress in the areas of reading, language arts and mathematics.
For 3rd-graders the overall test score percentile was 60; for 6th-graders, 53; and for 9th-graders, 51.That means Kentucky's students are outscoring more than half the other students in the country who took the exam.
While the dropout rate among Kentucky high school students remains a cause for concern, the latest data show that the statewide rate has dropped slightly. Data released in 2001 indicated that the rate had dropped by about one-third of a percentage point -- from 5.1 percent to 4.79 percent.
The statewide retention rate also dropped by nearly one-third of a point, indicating less need to "hold back" students from grade to grade.
Since the Commonwealth Accountability Testing System or CATS, as it is called, was implemented in 1998, students at all grade levels have shown progress.
In the elementary grades, students are performing at high levels in all subjects.
Schools have decreased the percentages of novice performers (the lowest level) in every subject.
On-demand writing, in which students must write what they know about a particular subject, has shown the greatest decrease in novice performers from 60.4 percent in 1999 to 31.7 percent in 2002.
Although middle schools are traditionally lower-performing than elementary or high schools, Kentucky's middle schools have shown progress, succeeding in moving students from the novice category into higher categories, particularly in the subject areas of writing and science.
As in elementary schools, high school students are moving from the novice category in each subject, with on-demand writing showing the highest percentage of change.
Scores on core subjects such as mathematics also show progress -- the percentage of novices in mathematics decreased seven points from 1999 to 2002.
On the ACT, more students than in 1990 -- some 4,500 more -- take the college entrance exam now.
The average score has inched up but not nearly as much as we would like. Still, there's been a slight increase.
Kentucky set ambitious goals in 1997 with the General Assembly's passage of the Postsecondary Education Improvement Act. That reform effort set in motion a process of positive change that had one word as its foundation -- excellence.
With the funding that became available to finance this quest for excellence, we've succeeded in attracting top-flight scientists and researchers to our institutions.
Why does this matter?
Not only does it provide greater opportunities for students, it also helps us connect with the real world of a knowledge-based economy in ways that we didn't dream possible before.We've also become more attractive to students.
In fall 2002, there were more than 8,800 students enrolled in our public colleges and universities than in the previous year. Since 1998, enrollment has increased by more than 31,500 students -- up by almost 20 percent.
The marriage of our community and technical college systems has been perhaps one of our biggest success stories.
Since 1998, enrollment in the Kentucky Community and Technical College System has grown by 20,800 students -- nearly a 45.8 percent increase. We've also succeeded in removing the economic barriers to education for many Kentucky students.
Since 1998, support for student financial aid has grown by more than $64 million -- a 242 percent increase.
If all of this has been accomplished in just a few years, just imagine what might be possible with a long-term commitment. Yet all of it is threatened by a lack of funding.
The facts clearly demonstrate that Kentucky has made tremendous progress in education since 1990.
However, we will be able to continue this forward progress only if we properly fund education.
That is why I believe it is crucial for the public to have accurate information and support only leaders who support Kentucky's educational progress.We are at a critical juncture in education, and we need honest leadership to continue our progress.
MUCH IMPROVED - LUDLOW SCHOOLS A CASE STUDY IN KERA IMPACT
Kentucky Post, The (Covington, KY)July 12, 2003
In the 1980s Ludlow was one of the poorest school districts in the state.It didn't have money to hire music or physical education teachers or a school nurse. Former Superintendent Jon Draud served double duty as curriculum director and facilities manager for the district because the school system didn't have the money to hire additional people.
It was one of the poster child districts for the Kentucky Education Reform Act.
In 1990 Ludlow's fortunes changed dramatically with the passage of the Kentucky Education Reform Act. The sweeping law overhauled education in Kentucky, including how schools are funded. The law took aim at a funding system that relied too heavily on property values, boosting funding for property-poor districts like Ludlow.
The school district, located in an old railroad town of modest homes and corner stores, saw an immediate increase in state funding. That infusion of funds helped the district hire a curriculum coordinator, buy computers, update its buildings and establish a family resource center.
The changes also set Ludlow on a trajectory to become one of the state's high achievers.
School officials say more money isn't the only reason Ludlow has excelled, but it has been a major factor in helping the school system improve."Before KERA (education reform) we weren't a bad school district; we were a good school district," Draud said. "Since then, Ludlow has become an outstanding school district."
Before the General Assembly passed its sweeping education reform law, Kentucky ranked near the bottom nationally on many education indicators.
In 1983, the state ranked 42nd for per-pupil spending; 49th for the number of adults with a college degree; and 50th for adults with high school diplomas.
Poor school districts throughout the state, including Ludlow, banned together to fight the legislature over school funding. In 1989 the Kentucky Supreme Court order the state to fix education by creating an equitable and adequate system of schools.
Draud, now a state representative from Crestview Hills, points with pride to the progress that many school districts, including Ludlow, have made in the past 13 years. But school officials worry current funding won't be enough to keep that progress going.
While the General Assembly increased taxes to sink an extra $1 billion into education in the 1990s, the financial commitment from legislators has since faltered.
Faced with a budget deficit the last two years, the General Assembly eliminated funding for school rewards and textbooks and cut the budget for the state Department of Education.
The push for more funding -- and the General Assembly's less than enthusiastic response -- has prompted school districts to seek relief once again in the courts.
The Council for Better Education -- the same group that sued over school funding in the 1980s - reformed last year. The council, comprised of 164 school districts, plans to file a new lawsuit over the adequacy of the state's funding for schools.
Two recent studies recommend pumping between $740 and $2.3 billion more into education in the state. The money would pay for higher teacher salaries, more school workers, more technology and an expansion of preschool services.
Those educational ticket items mirror what Ludlow school officials say they could do with more money.The tiny school district in a working-class city would upgrade its computers, renovate its science laboratories (last remodeled in the 1970s,) buy more library books, hire more teachers, offer more high school courses and provide enrichment programs for its 1,000 students…
…In recent years, however, the state's school funding increases haven't kept up with inflation, said Greg Wheatley, who just completed six years on Ludlow High School's site-based school council. In Kentucky, school councils decide how money to spend money at the school level."The money that is forthcoming never meets the cost of living, so you immediately get behind the eight ball," Wheatley said. "It's not just teacher salaries; it's materials, travel budgets, extracurricular activities, all expenditures. You can't keep up. The payouts are nice, but they don't meet demand. You always have to find something to cut or divert."
Wheatley thinks the Ludlow school system will continue to improve, but "will hit a wall eventually if something is not done to increase (school) expenditures in the state."
Draud echoes those concerns, especially if the state doesn't put more money into teachers' salaries. "You have to have money to pay teachers competitive salaries," he said."They haven't had a good raise in a long time. It's all been cost-of-living raises. It keeps things from deteriorating, but if we don't do something dramatically, you'll see morale sink to a new low.
These people have been working extremely hard, but it will be hard to maintain that.
"I think Ludlow is a perfect example of where KERA made a tremendous difference with funding. Before KERA we were a property-poor district. We were one of the poorest in the state. Our facilities were in bad shape.
With more state money, we built an extension on the elementary school, remodeled the cafeteria and created family resource center. We couldn't provide services other districts had. -- Without more state money, I think we'll fall back simply because we're not going to be able to stay competitive."
Kentucky Post, The (Covington, KY)September 29, 2003
…You've got to admire Rep. Jon Draud's persistence. We do, at any rate. Even though he's been stymied every time he has proposed it in the past, the state representative from Crestview Hills is trying again to increase Kentucky's embarrassingly low cigarette taxes.Draud prefiled a bill for the next legislative session that would increase the state cigarette tax, now 3 cents a pack, to 75 cents.
POLITICS MUDDYING EDUCATION PICTURE - LOSING SIGHT OF GAINS WILL HINDER PROGRESS
Lexington Herald-Leader (KY)October 13, 2003
Author: Jon Draud
Sometimes a campaign season prompts rhetoric that misses the mark on accuracy and fairness.
We hear some of that from time to time in Kentucky in the form of disparaging remarks about the quality of the state's education system. But the progress we're making is something to celebrate -- not denigrate. As a result, I am compelled to set the record straight.
After 100 years of neglect and politics in education, the General Assembly set our state on a new path with the 1990 passage of the Kentucky Education Reform Act. KERA changed attitudes and brought tremendous positive national attention to education in Kentucky.
Likewise, the 1997 Post-Secondary Education Improvement Act has had the same kind of positive influence on our colleges and universities.
Playing politics or distributing inaccurate information about education is a great disservice to the thousands of educators and students who have worked hard to improve education in Kentucky.
Kentuckians should have accurate information, so here are a few of the many achievements the Kentucky Department of Education has cited in its research on the impact of education reform in our state:
* In late 2001, the National Assessment of Educational Progress released results from its 2000 math and science assessments. Results from this test, billed as the nation's report card, showed that Kentucky's eighth-graders had made significant progress from 1996 to 2000. In both math and science, eighth-graders gained five points, which NAEP considers "statistically significant." In science, Kentucky's eighth-graders' score was, for the first time, above the national average. And nearly 30 percent of Kentucky's fourth-graders and eighth-graders are at or above "proficient."
* The 2003 Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills results showed that Kentucky continues its progress in the areas of reading, language arts and mathematics. For third-graders, the overall test score percentile was 63; for sixth-graders, 54; and for ninth-graders, 52.That means Kentucky's students are outscoring more than half the other students in the country who set the norm.
* While the dropout rate among Kentucky high school students remains a cause for concern, the latest data show that the statewide rate has dropped slightly. Data released in 2003 indicated that the rate had decreased by about three-fourths of a percentage point -- from 4.76 percent to 3.97 percent. The statewide retention rate has dropped about half a percentage point from 1999 to 2002, indicating less need to "hold back" students from grade to grade.
* Since the Commonwealth Accountability Testing System, or CATS, was implemented in 1998, students at all grade levels have shown progress.In the elementary grades, students are performing at high levels in all subjects.Kentucky's middle schools have shown progress, succeeding in moving students from the lowest category, called novice, into higher categories, particularly in the subject areas of writing and science.As in elementary schools, high school students are moving from the novice category in each subject, with on-demand writing showing the highest percentage of change. Scores on core subjects such as mathematics also show progress -- the percentage of novices in mathematics decreased seven points from 1999 to 2002.
* On the ACT, more students than in 1990 -- some 4,900 -- take the college-entrance exam now. This is up from 62 percent in 1990 to 73 percent in 2003. The average score has inched up, but not nearly as much as we would like. Still, there's been a slight increase.If all this has been accomplished in a few years, imagine what might be possible with a long-term commitment. Yet it is threatened by a lack of funding.
The facts clearly demonstrate that Kentucky has made tremendous progress in education since 1990.
However, we will be able to continue this forward progress only if we properly fund education. That is why it is crucial for the public to have accurate information and support only leaders who support Kentucky's educational progress.We are at a critical juncture in education, and we need honest leadership to continue our progress.
LEGISLATOR: 10 REASONS WE'RE FAILING KY.
Kentucky Post, The (Covington, KY)September 16, 2004
Author: Rep. Jon Draud
I have been a member of the Kentucky General Assembly for almost six years. I have been very discouraged by the legislature's inability to enact a budget two out of the three sessions I have served in Frankfort.I am a Republican and believe strongly in the mainstream principles of the Republican party. However, I also believe that our democracy depends on legislators being willing to compromise. As an educator, I feel compelled to improve things. I want to share my observations as to why the General Assembly is not working together for the benefit of our commonwealth.
1 -- Both Republicans and Democrats have been unwilling to accept our new roles. Democrats are having a problem being the minority party in the Senate, while Senate Republicans are dealing with being in the majority. Furthermore, House Democrats are having difficulty accepting a Republican governor.Recommendation: Both parties must mature into their roles with the willingness and understanding to do what is right for our citizens.
2 -- It's never the right time for tax reform.Almost all legislators will tell you that we need tax reform. The legislature has spent large sums of money on studies to substantiate that we need tax reform. Unfortunately, it is never the right time. There is always another election to worry about. However, it is always the right time to do what is right.Recommendation: Both parties must have the courage to change our tax code.
3 -- Spinning. It has become a sophisticated strategy in American and Kentucky politics to take issues and spin them in a manner that favors your party with minimal interest in the truth. The only objective is to make my side look good and your side look bad.Recommendation: It would be refreshing if occasionally party leaders would admit they were wrong on an issue. Being "wrong'' can lead to more discussion of issues, evaluation of issues and needed change.
4 -- Leaders have too much power. To get people engaged in solving problems, the General Assembly needs to look at the shared leadership model. I proposed a bill to allow proportional representation in our committee chairs in the House and Senate. The end result would be mutual respect of both parties.Recommendation: We need a system that involves rank and file members in a more democratic manner.
5 -- No willingness to compromise. I was always taught that the art of good policy-making was the willingness of both parties to compromise for the common good. Compromise is uncommon in Frankfort.Recommendation: Each party must respect the other, present the truth and be willing to compromise.
6 -- Posturing has become a normal way of doing business. Each side has become creative at playing games, much to the detriment of our state. I have encouraged co-sponsorship of bills by Senate and House members to provide mutual ownership of bills.Recommendation: We need to be genuine and participate in problem solving without hidden agendas.
7 -- There is always another election. Obviously, political leaders cannot be naive and expect to be re-elected without hard work and support of constituents. However, there are important issues that require us to do what is right, not what will get us re-elected.Recommendation: It is axiomatic that we need our legislators to be courageous and to act as statesmen.
8 -- Starting on time. It has become the norm in Frankfort to start everything late. Some could say that I am being petty, but being well-organized and starting meetings on time is a crucial component of effective leadership.Recommendation: Leaders must insist that time management is important.
9 -- Our current atmosphere emphasizes personalities instead of issues. I have observed that some individuals are not using their best judgment because of personality conflicts. This has hurt our ability to solve problems.Recommendation: Legislators must not allow personal feelings to interfere with helping our state improve and move forward.
10 -- Commitment to education is abating. We have made great progress with the 1990 KERA and 1997 higher education reform. Every legislator who had a part in the reform should be very proud. However, we were so far behind when we started that we have only just begun to catch up.
Legislators must recognize that if we do not solve our education problems, we will never be a great state. Funding for education must remain a high priority.
Some critics will be amused by my comments, but I have made them in the spirit of proactive problem solving. I hope that some legislators will pay attention and make a commitment to improving the legislature.
When we can't get a budget two out of the last three sessions, I don't think anyone can say that we are functioning at a high level.
We can do better. We must do better.
There are many honorable men and women in the General Assembly. It is a noble cause. Our democracy cannot survive without responsible people willing to serve. That is the key -- willing to serve for the best interest of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.