Thursday, March 31, 2016

State budget talks break down over education, pension funding

House Speaker Stumbo: House and Senate couldn’t agree on cuts to higher education

Breakdown casts doubt on whether deal can be reached by April 15 deadline

If no budget, governor could make appropriations only to emergency services and federal mandates

Negotiations over a two-year, $21 billion state spending plan broke off Thursday after House and Senate leaders couldn’t come to an agreement over cuts to higher education and how much money should go into a fund for pension payments. 

Read more here:

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Lawmakers at impasse on state budget

This from Ronnie Ellis in the Richmond Register:
House and Senate leaders broke off negotiations on a new state budget around 10 p.m. Monday saying they are farther apart than when they began.
House Speaker Greg Stumbo

Afterward, House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, and Republican Gov. Matt Bevin each blamed the other for the impasse and the increasing tensions between the two sides.

Bevin released a video on his Facebook page giving out the legislative message line phone number and asking people to call and urge Stumbo “to sit down in good faith and negotiate a budget.” As he’d done earlier on his Twitter account, Bevin said he’s willing to negotiate but Stumbo isn’t.

Stumbo responded in kind.

Following the breakup of the meeting Monday night, Stumbo told reporters negotiators “are getting farther and farther apart.”

Stumbo said his Monday morning discussions with Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, seemed promising. But that changed after Stivers and other Republican senators met with Bevin around noon, according to Stumbo.

“I think the governor injected himself around noon and this afternoon there was a different tone,” Stumbo said.

Stivers didn’t seem to disagree the two parties aren’t getting closer, but he placed the blame on Democrats who don’t want to agree to cuts in higher education or give up their influence on projects in their districts funded by coal severance taxes.

Republicans are insisting the money be used to shore up the state’s troubled pension systems.
Stumbo countered that there is enough money in the budget to address pensions effectively and also invest in education.

“If you have the money, you don’t short-change education,” he said.

As previously reported, Bevin wants to cut spending by $650 million, primarily through 4.5 percent cuts to most of state government, and apply all of that and any excess revenues over expenses to pensions.

The House restored the cuts to higher education and to support services for public schools; they also eliminated a “permanent fund” sought by Bevin to collect those savings until audits can determine which pension funds most need the extra money.

After the House passed its budget, the Senate re-wrote it to more closely resemble — though not entirely — Bevin’s proposal.

After the morning’s meetings between Stivers and Stumbo — and apparently after Republicans met with Bevin — the conference committee of leaders from both parties and chambers began discussions around 2 p.m.

Senate budget chairman Chris McDaniel, R-Taylor Mill, kicked it off, saying the Senate proposes contributing $1.447 billion to pensions while the House would only commit $1.2 billion.

“We think that is a good number and a number we do not intend to deviate from,” McDaniel said of the Senate appropriation.

Stivers acknowledged Democrats’ concern about the permanent fund sought by Bevin, offering to insert language that its accrued funds could only be spent on pensions unless the governor received prior approval from lawmakers to use it for other purposes.

House budget chairman Rick Rand, D-Bedford, said the House feels equally strongly about its determination to protect higher education from cuts and to restore funding for public school support services like family resource centers.

“That is something we feel strongly about and we are willing to sit at this table and fight for it,” Rand said.

He said except for the permanent fund and higher education cuts, House Democrats “are allowing nearly all of what (Bevin) wanted.”

At that point, the discussion ended.

They agreed to come back around 6 p.m. but ultimately that was extended to 8 p.m.
When lawmakers finally settled into their seats, reporters were asked to leave. They were allowed back in when the meeting broke up just after 10 p.m.

Earlier, following the afternoon session, Stumbo hinted they might be unable to reach a budget agreement.

When the late evening meeting concluded, Stumbo again said he feared the tone of the discussions hinted the two sides may not be able to agree.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

A Way Beyond Our Public Education Weaknesses

Some surprisingly honest reflection from a Charter School guy....mostly correct. On March 10, 2016, NACSA President and CEO Greg Richmond delivered these remarks to a gathering of Philadelphia Charters for Excellence.

This from the National Association of Charter School Authorizers:

...If our generation is to rise up and meet our obligations to the next, the war between charter school proponents and opponents must end.
NACSA President and CEO Greg Richmond

There is no city in America better poised to lead this change than Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love. Philadelphia is facing significant financial and academic challenges in its public education system, like most American cities. It has a large charter school sector, like many American cities. Yes, Philadelphia has challenges, but Philadelphia also has solutions.

Philadelphia is poised to provide national leadership improving charter schools because it has local leadership, like Philadelphia Charters for Excellence, which is leading the way forward.

How do we move forward? How do charter school opponents and proponents across the country and in Philadelphia stop warring and start cooperating in the interests of children?

To make progress, we must honestly acknowledge what’s not working. What are our flaws? Let’s tell it like it is.

Here, as I see it, are three weaknesses of the charter school movement and three weaknesses of charter school opponents.

First, the three greatest weaknesses of charter schools.

ONE: Tolerance of bad schools.

We have tolerated bad schools and con artists among our charter schools. Perhaps no stain on the charter school movement is greater than this.

There are plenty of examples. For one: virtual charter schools. Most are performing terribly, yet they continue to operate year after year, delivering, not a better education to students, but a worse education at great taxpayer expense. Pennsylvania has more than 34,000 students in virtual charter schools and these children deserve a better education than they are getting.

Another example: across the nation, some for-profit companies that run charter schools engage in self-serving real estate deals, hide their financial practices from public view, assert that they own assets that were purchased with public monies, and spend large sums to influence state legislators. All under the charter school banner. Not all management companies are engaging in inappropriate financial practices, but some are and we should not tolerate those behaviors under the charter school banner.

And then there is academic performance. Charter school academic performance is improving nationwide and the results in urban areas are particularly positive. But average results often mask failure among a subset of schools. On average, charter schools in Philadelphia are providing better results for children in both reading and math, according to last year’s study by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes at Stanford University. But that same study found that 19 percent of charters in Philadelphia were producing worse results for their students in math and 14 percent were producing worse results in reading. So, roughly one in five or one in six Philadelphia charter schools are doing worse than the district-run schools. That is not acceptable.

Charter schools that persistently fail should be closed. This has not happened enough in Philadelphia. It is too hard and it takes too long to close a failing charter school here. I applaud the Philadelphia Charters for Excellence, PennCAN, Philadelphia School Partners, and StudentsFirst for providing leadership on this issue.

TWO: An island mentality.

Charter school operators and proponents, of which I am one, have had too little concern for how charter schools impact the other public schools and students in our communities. We believed that each charter school could be an island unto itself.

We have created schools that will not enroll students in upper grade levels. We have some schools that believe it is appropriate to counsel children out mid-year. Some charters believe it is appropriate to tell families of students with disabilities that their charter school cannot serve them.

In short, charters have relied on the district schools to be a safety net for students not served by charter schools. That’s not right. If we believe that charter schools can provide a better education for children, we need to include all children.

Charter schools have also chosen to fight against school districts even when it was in the public interest to work together. When school districts have tried to manage the impact of charter schools on the rest of the public education system, charters have often resisted. For example, here, in Philadelphia, some charter schools have refused to abide by the maximum enrollment figures in their charters—figures they proposed in their own applications and agreed to in contracts with the SRC. When the SRC tried to enforce those limits, some charter schools sued instead of abiding by their contracts. That’s not right. If you sign a contract, you need to honor that contract.

The THIRD weakness of charter schools: Lack of community voices.

Though well-intentioned, charter school boards, advocacy organizations, and funders have not been representative enough of the communities that schools are serving.

Let’s be honest: this is a movement led primarily by white middle-class and wealthy individuals, yet primarily serving low-income communities of color. I am one of those white, middle-class people and I worry that my colleagues and I do not truly understand the experiences and values of the communities our schools serve. Too often, we have resisted including their voices in our organizations because of a fear that they might lead our organizations in different directions.
This weakness includes a lack of teacher voices. Al Shanker, former president of the American Federation of Teachers and the original proponent of charter schools, saw them as a strategy to empower teachers—to shift power out of districts’ central offices and into the hands of teachers. What many do not know is that the nation’s first charter school law, enacted 25 years ago in Minnesota, required a majority of the members of the board of a charter school to be teachers at that school.

Charter schooling was and still is a tool to empower teachers and communities. Yet, too often over the past 25 years, the charter school movement has supported the quick replication of national organizations over the slow development of local educators and community organizations.

We need to support more classroom teachers and communities to start their own new schools. When we do so, we honor a major pillar of the charter philosophy: more innovation, engagement, and empowerment.

That’s quite a list. It is a list that has led some people to resist, condemn, and oppose charter schools. But before charter school opponents get too comfortable in their condemnations, allow me to share three weaknesses of the opposition.

ONE: The profit myth.

Charter school opponents have manufactured and perpetuated a myth that a handful of wealthy philanthropists are getting rich off of charter schools and trying to destroy public education. They continuously repeat the myth that Bill Gates, the Walton family, Eli Broad, and Wall Street hedge fund managers are profiting from charter schools. They condemn and demonize these individuals. The reality is that these individuals have generously donated large portions of their wealth to improve many aspects of public education, including but not limited to charter schools. We should applaud them, not condemn them.

TWO: Stuck in the past.

Charter school opponents are fighting to maintain an outdated public school system that was first designed and built in the early 1900s. It is a system designed around an industrial model of top-down centralization and standardization. It may have worked well for the white middle class of the 20th Century, but it never worked for low-income children of color. Our 20th Century, neighborhood school model of education did a terrible job graduating low-income children and sending them to college, especially African-American children. In city after city, neighborhood schools in African-American communities were dilapidated and under-resourced. They did not help many children escape poverty; too often, they perpetuated it. Yet charter opponents ask us to go back to those days.
PhillyQuotePull1Charter school opponents need to stop romanticizing the good ol’ days of urban public education and start working to build a new system of public education that meets the needs of all children in the 21st Century. We’re 16 years into this new century. It’s time.

THREE: The blame game.

Charter school opponents consistently blame charter schools for the financial and academic failings of urban school districts. Yet they ignore the fact that urban school districts have been failing for generations, long before there was a single charter school. Charter schools did not create unfunded pension systems. Charter schools did not force school districts to borrow money that they could not afford. Charter opponents have the cause and effect backwards. Charter schools did not cause urban school districts to fail; urban school districts failed and caused parents to demand better options, like charter schools.

So, three weaknesses of charter schools and three weaknesses of charter school opponents.
There is plenty of weakness to go around.

What is shameful is this: for years, charter school proponents and opponents have been saying the same things and making the same mistakes. Year after year. It is time to change, to improve, to work with each other, not against each other.

Charter schools are not going to disappear from America. Neither are school districts. We need to stop fighting about what percent of children are enrolled in which type of school and start working together for the benefit of all children, regardless of what type of school they attend.

Let me conclude with five recommendations for how charter schools and school districts can move forward in order to prepare the best-educated generation in our nation.

One: Equity. All children, regardless of what type of school they attend, are entitled to their equitable share of public education resources. Thus, all schools—district schools and charter schools—should receive an equitable allocation of resources, including operating funds and facilities. That’s not happening right now in Philadelphia and it needs to.

Two: Fairness. All children, regardless of what type of public school they attend, are entitled to be treated fairly and receive an appropriate education. Both charter and other public schools need to do better with student discipline, with special education, and with English Language Learners. Philadelphia Charters for Excellence is emphasizing these student equity issues and I applaud them for that.

Three: Teachers leading. Our public education system needs to respect the professionalism of our educators and empower them with the autonomy they need to best serve the children in their schools. We must replace the early 20th Century, top-down model with a 21st Century model that supports educators and innovation. That means school district central offices need to trust and empower educators in schools more. And it means that the charter school movement needs to trust and empower more educators to start new schools.

Four: Consequences for failure. We must hold all of our public schools accountable for successfully educating their students. No school—charter school or other public school—should have a perpetual right to exist regardless of outcomes. If a school persistently fails, we have a moral obligation to those students to provide them with a better education. Pennsylvania’s charter school law is particularly weak on accountability and it needs to be strengthened.

Five: Choice for all. Our public education policies need to embrace, not resist, school choice as a vehicle that promotes parent engagement and empowers parents to match their children with schools that best meet their needs. Low-income parents love their children as much as any parents do and we need to empower them to choose schools that are best for their children. Providing parents with more choices means not just the power to choose a charter school, but also the power to make choices among good district schools.

When all of those mothers and grandmothers were calling me each August, they did not care about the charter school versus district school debate. They simply wanted a good, safe school for their child, regardless of who runs it. We, the adults who make our living in this field, need to start respecting parents’ aspirations for their children.

If we follow these five recommendations, public education will improve. We won’t be on the receiving end of those kinds of calls. More children will graduate, more children will go to college, more children will stay in college.

We already know what to do. By working together, I believe we can and will.

The end of “no excuses” education reform?

“A mistake that we made was the assumption that schools were not successful 
because they weren’t well run, or they weren’t well organized, 
or that teachers weren’t trained and supported. That may … be true. 
But our communities face lots of barriers and problems – kids in trauma – 
that need to be addressed if we’re going to be successful.”
--Scott Gordon, the chief executive officer of Mastery Charter Schools

This from the Hechinger Report:

A Philadelphia charter school CEO leads the way 

as more schools question the get-tough school model


Several students sit around a conference table at Simon Gratz High School in North Philadelphia on a surly winter’s day, the kind that makes even the school’s drafty classrooms seem welcoming. They are there to give their assessment of the school – and they’re not afraid to be blunt.
Maggie Sieleman-Ross, a Reading Instructor at Simon Gratz H S
“I like this school, but I kind of don’t,” says Chynah Perry, age 15, a thin girl with straight posture and stylish black-rimmed glasses. “It’s strict. Real strict.”

Quaseem Foxwell, a linebacker on the football team, says several of his friends left the school because of the tough rules. Yet he defends the strictures. He says he improved his own behavior after a heart-to-heart with his teachers and administrators. “When I came here and got into a fight, they told me I could get kicked out, or I could talk to the teachers and some of the deans,” he says. “The strict rules are all for a reason.”
While he may be relatively invisible to the students, Mr. Gordon is hardly unknown outside the school: He has been one of the most revered and reviled figures in the bitter fights over public education in Philadelphia for the past decade, and now he’s starting to wield influence on the school-reform movement nationwide.

As the overseer of 21 charter schools in Philadelphia, he has carved out a reputation as a turnaround artist – someone willing to try to fix high schools that are failing, a task that many other reformers have shied away from in their quest to transform urban education. Indeed, even in the mission-driven charter school movement, reformers often only open high schools they can start from scratch, and then they may only admit students they’ve already indoctrinated with their approach in earlier grades.

Not Gordon. He frequently takes on the worst of the worst – and he’s had some success. As a result, he has become an increasingly important figure in the burgeoning charter school movement. People ranging from former Education Secretary Arne Duncan to Oprah Winfrey have praised what goes on in Mastery’s classrooms. One Mastery teacher calls Gordon an intensely passionate “quiet storm” who “doesn’t feel compelled to put on a big show.”

Yet not everyone is so charitable. Critics accuse him of being an outsider who is dismantling the city’s public schools in an attempt  to create a private education empire.

Now Gordon faces his severest test yet. He is shifting his approach in running the schools away from a “no excuses” model that has defined much of the urban charter school movement to a more supportive approach that takes into account students’ backgrounds.

“A mistake that we made was the assumption that schools were not successful because they weren’t well run, or they weren’t well organized, or that teachers weren’t trained and supported,” he says in an interview at Mastery’s headquarters in a wing of a struggling middle school the charter chain took over in 2007. “That may … be true.” But, he adds, “our communities face lots of barriers and problems – kids in trauma – that need to be addressed if we’re going to be successful.”

The changes under way at Mastery could signal a wider shift in the culture of charter schools and possibly the end of the no-excuses model nationwide. This is especially true as more private operators venture into the difficult territory of school takeovers, driven in part by states such as Tennessee and Nevada that have passed laws encouraging charters to try to resurrect struggling institutions.

But whether Gordon’s latest experiment will catch on across the United States will depend in part on what happens in the hallways and classrooms of Simon Gratz...


Thursday, March 24, 2016

The History, Uses and Abuses of Title IX

This from the AAUP:
The following summarizes a draft report released for comment by the AAUP. The drafting committee will review all comments received and issue a final version of the report and of this executive summary later this spring. Download the report (.pdf).

Executive Summary:

This report, an evaluation of the history and current uses of Title IX, is a joint effort authored by a subcommittee comprised of members of the AAUP’s Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure (“Committee A”) and the Committee on Women in the Profession (“Committee W”).  The report identifies tensions between current interpretations of Title IX and the academic freedom essential for campus life to thrive.  This report finds that questions of free speech and academic freedom have been ignored in recent positions taken by the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) of the Department of Education (DOE), which is charged with implementing Title IX, and by university administrators who are expected to oversee compliance measures.

The report concludes with recommendations—based on AAUP policy—for how best to address the problem of campus sexual assault and harassment while also protecting academic freedom, free speech, and due process.

While successful resolutions of Title IX suits are often represented as unqualified victories in name of gender equality, this report finds that the current interpretation, implementation, and enforcement of Title IX has compromised the realization of meaningful educational goals that lead to sexually safe campuses.  Since 2011, deployment of Title IX has also imperiled due process rights and shared governance.  This report thus emphasizes that compliance with the letter of the law is no guarantee of justice, gendered or otherwise.

Specifically, this report identifies the following areas as threats to the academic freedom essential to teaching and research, extramural speech, and robust faculty governance:
  • The failure to make meaningful distinctions between conduct and speech or otherwise distinguish between hostile environment sexual harassment and sexual assault.
  • The use of overly broad definitions of hostile environment to take punitive employment measures against faculty for protected speech in teaching, research, and extramural speech.   
  • The tendency to treat academic discussion of sex and sexuality as contributing to a hostile environment.
  • The adoption of lower evidentiary standards in sexual harassment hearings, i.e. the “preponderance of evidence” instead of the “clear and convincing” standard.
  • The increasing corporatization of the university, which has framed and influenced universities’ implementation of Title IX.
  • The failure to address gender inequality within a broader assessment of its relationship to race, class, sexuality, disability, and other dimensions of social inequalities. 
The contemporary interpretation, implementation, and enforcement of Title IX threatens academic freedom and shared governance in ways that frustrate the statute’s stated goals.  This occurs in part because the current interpretative scope of Title IX has narrowed to focus primarily on sexual harassment and assault on campus.  This narrow fixation strays far afield from the original intent of the legislation and belies the full range of educational opportunities for women originally envisioned by Congress as protected by Title IX legislation, including access to higher education, athletics, career training and education, education for pregnant and parenting students, employment, the learning environment, math and science education, standardized testing and technology.

Critically, the current focus of Title IX on sexual violations has also been accompanied by regulation that conflates sexual misconduct (including sexual assault) with sexual harassment based on speech. This has resulted in violations of academic freedom through the punishment of protected speech by faculty in their teaching, research, and extra-mural speech.  Recent interpretations of Title IX are characterized by an overly expansive definition of what amounts and kinds of speech create a “hostile environment” in violation of Title IX.

These problems of interpretation and implementation demand close attention to the scope of actionable Title IX claims and as well as concentrated efforts to ensure that the procedural rights of the accused are respected.  Sexual harassment’s definitional imprecision has been accompanied by an OCR-mandated change in evidentiary standard that conflicts with due process protections of faculty and students.  The OCR has prohibited the use of the standard calling for “clear and convincing” evidence (highly probable or reasonably certain), and replaced it with a lower standard: that there need be no more than a “preponderance of evidence” (more likely than not) to assess sexual violence claims and by extension, all sexual harassment claims.

The effects of such practices are compounded by the increasingly bureaucratic and service-oriented structure of the entrepreneurial (or “corporate”) university, characterized by a client-service relationship between universities and their students.  This client-service model can run counter to universities’ educational mission when, as in the case of Title IX, universities may take actions that avoid OCR investigations and private lawsuits but that do not significantly improve gender equity.  This client-service model in turn has serious implications for academic freedom, as universities create administrative offices that make and enforce Title IX policies outside of the shared governance process.

Finally, this report reveals that the current interpretation, implementation, and enforcement of Title IX can actually exacerbate gender and other inequities on campus.  Recent student activism protesting institutionalized racial biases in universities reveals the need to ensure that Title IX enforcement initiatives do not, even unwittingly, perpetuate race-based biases in the criminal justice system, which disproportionately affect men who are racial minorities.  The report also cautions against the extraction of gender equity from more comprehensive assessments of bases of inequality—including race, class, sexuality, disability, and other dimensions of social difference—both on and off campus.

Recommended Best Practices

The report recommends the following:

For the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) and the Department of Education
  • The OCR should interpret Title IX as protecting students from sex discrimination, while also protecting academic freedom and free speech in public and private educational institutions.
  • The OCR should increase its attention to protecting due process in all stages of Title IX investigations and proceedings.
  • The OCR should refine its compliance process to develop the potential to work with universities to create policies and procedures for receiving and addressing Title IX complaints in ways that address problems of sexual discrimination while also protecting academic freedom and free speech and providing due process for all parties.
For University Administrators
  • Universities must strengthen policies to protect academic freedom against incursions from overly broad harassment policies and other regulatory university protocols.
  • University policies against sexual harassment should distinguish speech that fits the definition of hostile environment from speech that individuals may find hurtful or offensive but is protected by academic freedom.
  • Through shared governance processes, faculty must be included in all stages of development, implementation and enforcement of sex harassment policy.
  • Universities must clarify their relationship to the criminal justice system and work in coordination with it.
  • Universities should consider adopting restorative justice practices for some forms of misconduct.
  • To further secure the rights of the complainants and the accused, campus initiatives to secure sex equality must be conscious of potential bias on the basis of race, gender identity, class, and sexual orientation in sex discrimination claims and enforcement processes.
  • To meaningfully address inequality, universities should encourage and improve the conditions of interdisciplinary learning on campus by funding gender, feminist, and sexuality studies, as well as allied disciplines.
For Faculty
  • Faculty should participate in shared governance to develop university policies and practices that address problems of sex discrimination, while also protecting academic freedom, free speech, and due process.
  • Faculty should act in solidarity with student attempts to alleviate campus inequalities.

KERA-like accountability scheme arrives in Higher Ed

Colleges and universities will have 25 percent of funding
based on performance in Senate budget, Sen. Givens says

I was under the impression that conservatives, in general, weren't all that keen on the Kentucky Education Reform Act (1990), but I guess things change. Wednesday the Republican leadership introduced a KERA-like performance-based funding system for its universities. College presidents have every reason to be concerned. The good news is that the governor's proposed 100% has now been trimmed to 25% of the state allocation. Approaching reasonable...

This from cn/2's Pure Politics:
Public colleges and universities could see a quarter of their baseline funding based on multiple performance indicators in the second year of the Senate’s biennial budget proposal.

Senate President Pro Tem David Givens, R-Greensburg, presented the upper chamber’s performance-based funding model to the Senate Appropriations and Revenue Committee on Tuesday.

It calls for schools to be grouped into three separate sectors: the universities of Kentucky and Louisville in one, all 16 Kentucky Community and Technical College System institutions into another and the remaining schools except Kentucky State University in a third category.

KSU was exempt from the Senate’s plan because of significant challenges faced by the state’s only public historically black institution, Givens said.

Schools would be graded based on degrees or certificates conferred, retention rates, student progression, graduation rates, shrinking achievement gaps and sector-specific metrics, he said, noting that 32 states have implemented some type of outcomes-based financing model and another five soon will be joining them.
Institutions would then be ranked in their respective categories, with the top achievers taking 100 percent of their performance-based dollars and others earning less accordingly.

Degrees in areas of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and health would be valued more than those earned in other studies, Givens said.

“Whoever’s shown the best performance for the budget period we’ve described would get 100 percent of their allocation,” Givens said. “The other members in that sector would get a percentage relative to that 100 percent.”
Some on the Senate’s budget panel complained that the proposal could harm sections of the state’s non-traditional student body as schools look to earn as many performance-based dollars as possible.

“I do fear that the non-conventional workforce that we try to send is going to maybe fall and be a detriment to some of these institutions and the enrollment policies will continue to be prohibitive for them, so that is my fear,” said Sen. Robin Webb, D-Grayson.
Givens said the Senate’s budget language would allow Gov. Matt Bevin to fully fund an institution based on recommendations by CPE.

Bevin’s original budget called for a third of public higher education dollars to be issued based on performance, envisioning a transition to 100 percent outcomes-based funding over three years starting in fiscal year 2018.

Givens told reporters that Senate Republicans had not discussed moving postsecondary financing entirely to a performance-based model.

“The governor’s had that conversation,” he said. “We’ve never discussed going beyond 25 percent.”
He said he did not envision a scenario in which schools fall behind because they hit their goals but do not receive 100 percent of their outcomes-based funding because they’re not the top-performing institutions in their respective sectors.

Turning to KSU, Givens said there was some debate about keeping the Frankfort university in the mix for performance-based funding because its gains could outpace other competitors schools.

“I truly think of any institution that could excel and move against their baseline the fastest, KSU could be that institution,” Givens told reporters after the meeting.

“So if you had a perpetually poor performer, I could argue that that institution should have more latitude to move quicker than anybody else simply because the bar is so low for them. It is truly a self-refining sort of process. As you set the bar higher, then you’ve got to set it higher each time.”
He declined to say whether KSU would be spared from higher education cuts in the Senate’s version of the two-year spending plan. Bevin called for 4.5 percent spending reductions in the current fiscal year and 9 percent over the biennium for postsecondary education. Those cuts were restored in the House’s version of the two-year spending proposal.

“The beauty of this model is it will overlay any funding amount we decide to do,” Givens said. “I think you’ll get answers to those questions tomorrow.”

House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, said he had not been briefed on the Senate’s performance-based funding proposal, but he noted that the House’s budget included language to study outcomes-based financing for the state’s higher education programs.

“I believe it has merit and I think others believe it has merit, so we’ll take a look at the Senate plan,” Stumbo told reporters Tuesday. “It sounds like they’ve done some research and gotten some information about what other states have done. This is happening in a lot of states across the nation, so it’s not like we’re reinventing the wheel.”

When asked about the Senate’s call for 25 percent performance-based funding for higher education, Stumbo said that proposal “doesn’t seem to me at first blush to be unreasonable,” but he and House Democratic leaders will review the proposal once the Senate completes its version of the budget.

The Senate budget committee has scheduled a special meeting for noon Wednesday ahead of a likely floor vote on the biennial spending plan that day.

Givens’ presentation was part of a broader discussion on the House’s proposed budget in House Bill 303.
John Chilton, Bevin’s state budget director, reviewed a number of the administration’s concerns with the House’s version of HB 303, such as cutting $12 million for heroin addiction efforts, lowering inmate estimates while providing direction on moving prisoners to private facilities if the prison population increases, a $4 million unfunded mandate to design jails in Oldham, Rowan, Laurel and Knox counties, and a $4 million unfunded mandate to transition Operation Unite from coal-severance dollars to the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet’s budget.

While the House’s budget includes less debt than originally proposed, it also lifts limitations on universities looking to bond projects, Chilton said.

“Currently universities are required to get legislative authorization for projects exceeding ($600,000),” he said. “I heard discussion early on in the budget process about raising that limit from ($600,000) to $1 million or maybe $2 million, but the House’s version releases all restrictions on university debt for the next two years.”

Senate sides with Bevin, revives budget cuts

This from the Courier-Journal:
The Kentucky Senate sided with Gov. Matt Bevin on Wednesday in passing a state budget that imposes deep funding cuts to education and many other areas of government to find money for huge new outlays for Kentucky's ailing pension plans.
Sen. Chris McDaniel

The Republican-controlled chamber passed its revised version of the 2016-18 budget on a vote of 27-2, with nine Democrats voting "pass."

As it leaves the Senate, the budget bill includes the 9-percent funding cuts that Bevin originally proposed for state universities, support programs for public schools and many other state agencies. The Democrat-controlled House restored funding for those cuts in the budget bill it passed last week.
"It's not something we particularly wanted to do.  It's something that we had to do," Sen. Chris McDaniel, the chairman of the Senate budget committee, said of the cuts to education. "We have got to make our primary investment in getting these pension plans solvent. The problem only gets worse and worse and worse every year."

All three versions of the budget - Bevin's, the House's and Senate's - make big new direct appropriations to address the crisis in state pension funds, which together have unfunded liabilities of more than $31 billion.

McDaniel, R-Taylor Mill, said the Senate budget appropriates more overall to pensions than the House budget did - particularly for the Kentucky Employees Retirement Systems.

And the pension watchdog group Kentucky Government Retirees released a statement later Wednesday commending the Senate's approach.

McDaniel, R-Taylor Mill, said his committee's budget is a sound one that leaves $371.5 million in the state's "rainy day" fund to protect against revenue shortages and $250 million in a new reserve fund called the "permanent fund," which is to be used to make future additional payments to pension funds. Bevin had wanted more in both funds.

But the House had left the rainy day fund at $283 million and spent all of the $500 million Bevin wanted in the permanent fund to pay for restoring the funding Bevin proposed be cut to education and other areas.

Among scores of changes it made to the budget, the Senate budget would:
» Delete all funding for the House priority of scholarships that would make community college tuition-free for high school graduates who enroll in the state's community colleges.
» Begin basing 25 percent of university funding in 2017-18 on its complex model for grading university performance.
 » Delete $450,000 per year that the House added for Louisville Waterfront Development Corp.
» Delete $550,000 per year that the House added for the Home of the Innocents in Louisville.
 » Delete a $65 million bond issue for renovation of the Lexington Convention Center that both Bevin and the House had included in their budgets.
 » Delete funding both Bevin and the House had provided to add 44 additional attorneys for the Department of Public Advocacy.
 » Restore $32 million in appropriations to the Justice Cabinet to fight the heroin abuse problem. The House had reduced this to $20 million.
 » Restore two provisions Bevin had included: one that would ban any public funds going to Planned Parenthood, and one that would repeal Kentucky's law requiring prevailing wage be paid to workers on public construction projects.
 » Apply the same cuts Bevin proposed for programs that support public schools like preschool, textbooks and safe schools. However, McDaniel said his committee provided more money than Bevin did for one program: Family Resource and Youth Service Centers.
The two senators who voted no were Reginald Thomas, D-Lexington, and Brandon Smith, R-Hazard. Thomas objected to the education cuts and the scrapping of the bond issue for Lexington's convention center. Smith protested changes made to the House budget that will reduce the amount of coal severance tax revenues that are returned to coal counties.

The budget bill, House Bill 303, is a plan for spending about $22 billion in state tax revenues (plus additional federal and other funds) for the two-year period beginning July 1.

It now goes back to the House, which is certain to reject the Senate’s changes. That means leaders of each chamber will attempt to resolve the differences in a conference committee.

The conference committee has only a few days to accomplish that task. Wednesday was the 54th meeting day for the legislative session. Under the Kentucky Constitution, lawmakers can meet no more than 60 days in this session.

For now, legislative leaders are planning to pass a final budget bill by Tuesday. But the constitution gives them until April 15, when this session must adjourn.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

How do the schools really stack up?

Over at School Finance 101 Bruce Baker is doing his year end review of education data on the New Jersey schools. But his review contains some news that applies to Kentucky and all other states as well. I have added a few bits to highlight Kentucky's performance.

This from School Finance 101:
On many occasions I’ve pointed out better and worse uses of national and international assessment data – of Mis-NAEPery and PISA-Palooza… wherein the media and punditocracy go wild with gross misrepresentations and misinterpretations of relatively limited albeit not entirely useless assessment data.

In New Jersey, we’ve been told in recent years that while our average scores remain high, we must not rest on our laurels, because our gains pale by comparison to reformy standout states like Tennessee. We’ve been told that while our average performance is high, our gaps in achievement are among the largest in the nation and certainly not improving at any reasonable rate. We’ve also been told that these findings provide strong proof that all the money New Jersey has thrown at schools in response to years of litigation over school funding has not only been unhelpful, but that the additional funding to high poverty settings has actually caused harm. As such, the way to repair that harm is to reduce funding to high need settings and redistribute those harmful resources across other, less needy districts likely to use it more wisely (yeah… really… they did say that… and they’ve followed through on that redistribution plan!) And that will help fix the achievement gap!

But what really is the state of student outcomes in New Jersey, if we apply a few basic principles to the analysis of NAEP data – guidelines I have addressed in numerous previous posts:
  • First, average state contexts differ and those differences strongly influence average NAEP scores at all grade levels. In short, poverty matters! As such, performance levels should be adjusted for poverty.
  • Second, NAEP gains over time (which are cohort gains), are strongly influenced by initial NAEP performance. That is, those who started lower and had more to gain, gained more. As such, changes over time should be adjusted for initial scale scores.
  • Third, achievement gaps between low income and non-low -income, or among races are substantially influenced by the income gaps between these groups. As such, achievement gaps should be adjusted for differences in income between groups.

Average Performance Level Adjusted for Poverty

This first figure shows us the scatterplot of state average poverty rate and average 8th grade NAEP scale scores. Those states falling above the line have greater than expected scale scores and below the line have lower than expected scale scores. Notably, the correlations are quite strong. New Jersey beats the odds on both 8th grade reading and math. That is, NJ scores are higher than would be expected even given New Jersey’s low poverty rate?

Figure 1

If we rank states by their average difference from expectations, New Jersey comes in fifth (averaging the math and reading differentials). [Kentucky comes in 7th!]

Figure 2

But that’s only because the whole U.S. stinks, right?

Of course, some might argue that its really nothing to cheer about – doing better than other U.S. states, because of course, we all know that the U.S. performs miserably compared to other nations. But as I’ve pointed out previously, when conducting similar poverty adjusted comparisons across countries, the U.S. doesn’t look so bad. (see here for more explanation/discussion)

Figure 3

Ah… but you say… outcomes of even high performing – non-low income kids in the U.S. still stink compared to those in other countries. Again, I respond by pointing out that most such comparisons are deeply conceptually flawed. Perhaps most importantly, as I’ve explained on numerous previous posts, the U.S. average is only as low as it is in international comparisons because of the large number of low performing (relatively high poverty) states that have largely thrown their education systems under the bus for the past several decades...

Here are a few more pictures...

Friday, March 11, 2016

Madison County students competing, learning to be business leaders

This from the Richmond Register:
Despite Thursday’s clouds, many Kentucky high school students, including those from Berea High School, Madison County ATC and Madison Southern High School, gathered on Eastern Kentucky University’s campus to compete in the Future Business Leader’s of America (FBLA) Region Six Leadership Conference.

The conference's theme was “Let the Magic Begin,” and it took a year to plan.

“It is really neat to study business in our classes, and then get to come to an event like this to apply the concepts,” said Jamie Orr, a Madison County ATC student.

According to Region Six FBLA Chair Paula Short, the conference hosts 33 schools, 35 advisors and 742 high school students.

During the single-day event, students competed in 72 event categories through business classes, Short added. Some categories included business ethics, client services, impromptu speaking, job interviews, social media campaigns, help desk and cyber security.

As with any competition, stress was high, but friendly faces, both old and new, made the day fun and exciting.

“Everyone has been really nice,” said Berea Community high school student Elvia Rojas, who competed in the social media campaign. “My classmates and I have even made friends outside of the Berea (competitors).”

Isaiah Owsley from Madison County ATC also agreed.

“It has been awesome,” he said. “We have gotten to meet so many new people and make new friends.”

For students such as Berea Community FBLA president Greg Schloemer, the event was a test not only of his business skills, but also in multitasking.

“I had to compete in my own competition (network design), while also ensuring that all of the other BCHS members made it to where they were supposed to be,” said Schloemer.

Jamey VanDyke saw the conference as a grand finale of sorts. As a Madison Southern high school senior, this will be one of her last FBLA conferences.

“It is kind of sad,” said VanDyke. “But I know I can do well. I got first place in my category last year.”

VanDyke, who competed in insurance and risk management, said that her category was required to take an online test, which they were given an hour to complete.

“I can’t say enough about the opportunities (events such as this one) provide,” said Kentucky FBLA State Advisor Connie Witt. “My own two kids have gone though the program and I just feel there are so many positives. Students learn commitment, professionalism, communication, leadership, even how to dress and speak professionally.”

Witt added that FBLA students are often provided scholarship opportunities and can even win money if they place in nationals.

However, if Madison ATC student Charles Simpson Jr. is correct, self-satisfaction just might be the biggest reward.

“I’ve learned more about myself than I ever have during this competition,” Simpson said.

Currently there are six FBLA regions in Kentucky, of which Madison County is in the sixth. At the conference, 21 students represented Madison County ATC, 20 for Madison Southern and 67 for Berea Community.

The top three contestants in each category will go on to compete at the State Leadership Conference in Louisville on April 18-20.

Morehead State announces 5-day unpaid furlough for faculty, staff

Unpaid work week will be during spring break, March 21 to 25

Move attributed to declining enrollment, proposed budget cuts

Total cuts need to reach $4.5 million by June 30

Higher education is the solution, not the problem. 
Kentucky students, families, and taxpayers 
deserve more — much more — not less.
-- Morehead State University President Wayne Andrews

This from the Herald-Leader:
Morehead State University will furlough without pay all of its faculty and staff during the school’s spring break, March 21 to 25, because of current and expected economic woes, Morehead President Wayne Andrews announced Thursday.
Wayne Andrews

In a campuswide email, Andrews said Morehead must cut costs by $4.5 million to erase a $2.6 million tuition shortfall and comply with Gov. Matt Bevin’s proposal to cut $1.95 million, or 4.5 percent of the state’s appropriation to the school, during the fiscal year that ends June 30.

“We have carefully examined all current-year expenditure budgets and have identified reductions to address the $2.6 million tuition revenue shortfall,” Andrews wrote. “However, addressing the $1.95 million cut in current-year state appropriation is a more significant challenge given that the cut was announced late in this fiscal year, when most of our discretionary budget resources have been spent or committed.”

Some crucial staffers will have to work during spring break and will have to schedule their furlough later, he said.

The governor’s proposed budget, which also calls for a 9 percent cut to universities over the next two years, will go through numerous changes in the House and Senate.
This week, House Speaker Greg Stumbo said the House’s version of the budget would lessen or reverse Bevin’s proposed cuts to higher education. The House is expected to release its version of the budget early next week. The final document must be completed by April 15, a deadline set by the state Constitution.

No matter what happens with the state budget, Andrews said, declining enrollment and other concerns will require additional belt-tightening and reprioritizing in the coming year.
In a phone interview Thursday, Andrews called the furlough “proactive.”

“We were faced with the unknown,” he said. He and his executive team decided that the option that would affect students the least was a furlough. “It’s preferable to doing layoffs or salary reductions.”
In the past two years, enrollment has declined about 4 percent, Andrews said, mostly because of families dealing with job losses caused by the depressed coal market in Eastern Kentucky.

That left a $2.6 million hole in expected tuition revenue. The university, which has seen its state appropriation decline $6.8 million since 2008, also faces increased fixed costs. For example, Andrews recently received a letter from the Kentucky Employees Retirement System, to which Morehead and several other regional universities belong, saying it must increase its contribution to the system by $1 million next year.

“I’m very mindful that the House is working hard to restore cuts, but I’m also mindful of the fact that the Senate will do what they do,” Andrews said. “I believe there will be cuts; what I don’t know is how much. I thought it was prudent to take advantage of this opportunity” of spring break, when not many people are on campus.

Morehead will hold a series of open forums about its budget for the upcoming fiscal year during the first week of April. An operating budget will go to the board of regents on May 13.

The proposed 9 percent cut would reduce Morehead’s budget by about $3.9 million.

“This may not be the end for us,” he said of the furlough. “Everything may be on the table: programs, staffing. My highest priority has always been to preserve and protect our most valuable asset: our people.”

Other Kentucky universities also face difficult choices. Kentucky State University President Raymond Burse initially said the proposed cuts might force that school to close, although he softened those remarks later.

“These cuts, and the additional cuts proposed, strain our ability to provide affordable access to quality academic programs, to educate students for careers and jobs so important to the advancement of our great state, and to take care of our community,” Andrews said. “Higher education is the solution, not the problem. Kentucky students, families and taxpayers deserve more — much more — not less.”

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Ex-principal suing Fayette County schools claims retaliation

Former Cardinal Valley principal complained about treatment of Hispanic students

Lawsuit: She was told, ‘No one cares about those Mexican kids with a bunch of illegal parents’

Fayette County school district seeks ruling to avoid jury trial

KSN&C Backstory:

This from the Herald-Leader:
Ivonne Beegle, the former principal of Cardinal Valley Elementary School who said she was asked in 2012 to resign or be fired, alleges in a court document that she was retaliated against because she complained about unequal treatment of her and Hispanic students.

Beegle tells her side of the story in a document filed Feb. 29 in her lawsuit against Fayette County Public Schools officials in response to the school district’s request for a summary judgment. Fayette Circuit Judge Tom Clark is scheduled to consider the district’s request Friday. A summary judgment would cancel a mid-April jury trial.

Beegle, who became principal in the 2007-2008 school year, said that at one point, she was told by a supervisor, “Do not complain. No one cares about those Mexican kids with a bunch of illegal parents.”

The document cites a 2014 deposition that then-Fayette Superintendent Tom Shelton gave in which he was quoted as saying that it was shocking to him that the district didn’t have an adequate focus on “what I consider equity for students such as those that made up the majority of the student population at Cardinal Valley.”

Beegle, who is a native of Nicaragua, said she made numerous complaints of illegality, mismanagement and discrimination while she was at Cardinal Valley.
After her resignation, Beegle filed a lawsuit in 2013 asking for lost wages and benefits, emotional distress damages, and attorney fees and costs.

In the court document, Beegle said that district officials knew she had nothing to do with her administrative dean placing a tape recorder in a flower pot and taping teachers as they talked to district officials. The district officials were investigating a grievance that Beegle had harassed a teacher. The taping incident led to Beegle’s suspension, and district officials told her she could resign or be fired.

Beegle contends in the court document that as a manager, she demanded accountability from employees, and her management style angered a few employees.

In 2012, an attorney for the school district told Beegle in a letter that her conduct fell below the conduct required of a Fayette County school employee because she was aware of the secret recording of private employee interviews during a civil rights investigation conducted by a district staffer. The letter said Beegle shared the recordings with Cardinal Valley employees, failed to report the recording with district leadership and retaliated against certain employees who were interviewed during the civil rights investigation.

Beegle said in her court document that “knowing that she did not do these things, but desperate and confused, (she) resigned her employment in lieu of termination.”

In a Jan. 19 court document asking for a judgment that would avoid a jury trial, school district attorney Bob Chenoweth said Beegle has failed to state a claim on several fronts.

The district’s motion said Beegle can’t show that her employer took action or threatened to take action against her.

On Tuesday, Chenoweth declined to comment beyond the court documents.

Beegle’s attorney, Chris Miller, also declined to comment..

In the court document signed by Miller, Beegle said that Cardinal Valley was regularly treated differently than other schools.

During her tenure as principal, Beegle said, she had complained about black mold in the school buildings, overcrowded classrooms, a teacher getting into a fist fight with a student, and the district’s misappropriation of federal funding by allowing a teacher to attend leadership meetings instead of working with underprivileged children as required. She voiced concerns about buses dropping off students at the school before staff had arrived and about a school bus monitor who had leered at students and kicked students off the bus for speaking Spanish.

Beegle contends that despite high numbers of low-income children, and children who were learning the English language, she was able to show double-digit gains in test scores in both math and reading. Before being suspended, she received outstanding evaluations and awards, the court document said.

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Not time to abandon education

This from the Courier-Journal:
House Speaker Greg Stumbo indicated Tuesday that House Democrats will dip into big reserve funds that Gov. Matt Bevin wants to set aside to deal with the pension crisis to find money to restore some money Bevin has proposed to cut from university and other education programs.
House Speaker Greg Stumbo

"I think the consensus of our members is that it's not a time to abandon our commitment to education in Kentucky," Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, told reporters when asked about the major changes that the House majority Democrats are about to make to Bevin's proposed 2016-18 state budget.

Stumbo said House Democrats are not quite finished with the budget, and could not say whether the House plans to restore all, or how much of, the 9 percent cuts Bevin has proposed to universities and many important support programs for public schools other than base school funding which Bevin does not propose to cut.

"Our goal is to restore and make whole our educational community as best we can..." Stumbo said. "I don't think it's a time that we should make the draconian cuts that (University of Kentucky President) Dr. (Eli) Capilouto spoke of...The time is to invest. Our economy is growing."

Stumbo said the House will likely leave much of Bevin's budget intact.

"We didn't take any money from his retirement initiatives - the ones that were funded, that were earmarked, that were dedicated," he said.

But Bevin's proposed budget also calls for building up Kentucky's "Rainy Day" fund to guard against future revenue shortages to more than $500 million, and to transfer $500 million in surplus funds of the public employees health insurance fund to a new "Permanent Fund" the governor says will be used to help fund the pension problem in the future.

Stumbo said House Democrats are looking to those reserve funds "and some other places" to find money to reduce Bevin's proposed cuts.

Bevin's office released a statement later Tuesday that said in part, "The number one financial threat to Kentucky's future is our pension crisis." The statement also said, "We are still waiting for details from Speaker Stumbo, but Gov. Bevin has been clear that he will not sign a budget that robs from our pension fund or adds to our debt."

The House budget committee actually approved the Bevin budget bill - House Bill 303 - on Tuesday, but only to get it moving through the legislative process with the understanding that the bill will be sent back to the committee for it to make the changes worked out by the Democratic majority.

Stumbo said the full House will vote on it "probably some time the first of next week." Despite criticism of Bevin and other Republicans that the House is taking too long to amend the budget and send it to the Senate, Stumbo said this is "about on time."

However, a check of the legislative record shows that if the House votes on the budget bill March 14, the date would be a little later than the most recent comparable years. March 14 will be the 47th day of this 60-day session.

Most recent comparable years are 2004 and 2008 - budget sessions after the election of a newly-elected governor when the law gives the governor five additional days to present a budget to lawmakers. In both 2004 and 2008, records reflect the House voted on the budget bills on the 44th legislative day.

And the House's consideration of the budget bill could be significantly complicated if Republicans win all four special elections being held Tuesday to fill vacant seats in the chamber. If that happens, Republicans and Democrats would each hold 50 seats and be required to cooperate in order to move a budget bill down to the Senate.

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Bevin Pulls a Political Stunt

stalks House chamber claiming no one working

Democrats claim Bevin either misleading or ignorant of the process

This from cn/2's Pure Politics:
Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin is taking an unconventional approach to negotiating with House Democrats on a two-year spending plan.

Bevin released a video Monday morning on his social media sites claiming lawmakers aren’t showing up for work on the budget.

In the video posted below, Bevin goes straight to his supporters with what he claims is inaction on the state’s $21.8 billion biennial spending plan which the House received on Jan. 26.

Since the House got the budget their committees have been holding hearings and vetting the spending proposals which call for 4.5 percent cuts in the current fiscal year and a 9 percent reduction in fiscal years 2017 and 2018.

Bevin’s budget pumps more dollars into struggling state pension systems, and it carves out $100 million bond pool for workforce development projects and $64 million from the Kentucky Lottery to expand dual-credit programs in the state’s high schools with assistance from the state’s postsecondary institutions.

The video features the first year Republican governor speaking direct to camera in the state Capitol. Bevin leads viewers to the empty House chambers claiming Democrats have been dragging their feet and not working.

“It is 11 o’clock on a Monday there is nobody in here, this House, we have less than 19 days left now for this House to be in session together in the Senate and there is nothing being done,” Bevin said. “There is not a soul in here except for me. What are people doing?”

#Get2Work #PassTheBudget
Imagine my surprise when I went to see how the budget debate was going...and found this...#Get2Work #PassTheBudget
Posted by Governor Matt Bevin on Monday, March 7, 2016

Bevin’s video and commentary misses the fact that lawmakers work from the Capitol Annex next door to the Capitol in committee meetings and behind the scenes working groups, and not gavelling into session in the chambers in both the Republican led Senate and the Democratic led House until 4pm on Monday.

Bevin’s budget has gone through numerous House and Senate committees in the 27 working days since the House received the $21.8 billion biennial spending plan and complicating the matter is vagueness within the plan, House Speaker Greg Stumbo said.

“Our budget subcommittees have been meeting every day,” Stumbo said. “The governor, if he’d been here Friday, would have known that we don’t go in until 4pm on (Monday) because we have so many members that we don’t have the benefit of the state airplane like he does.

“If he cared to walk across here, maybe someone would be happy to send a trooper to give him a tour, this is where the work goes on as it has today,” Stumbo said, speaking of the annex where legislative offices and meeting rooms are located.

One of the problems, Stumbo said House budget subcommittees are running into is a lack of information from cabinet secretaries on specific issues, he said pointing to the bond issuance of $100 million for the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet in Bevin’s plan.

The Kentucky Democratic Party also took offense to Bevin’s video, in a statement KDP Chair Sannie Overly questioned the video as either ignorance or purposefully misleading.

“Either Gov. Matt Bevin doesn’t know how the process works, or he was trying to distort the truth and mislead people with his video today on social media,” said Rep. Sannie Overly, chair of the Kentucky Democratic Party. “While Gov. Bevin was trying to be the star of his own phony reality show at the wrong place, House lawmakers were heading to work in the Capitol Annex, where committee meetings happen every day during session.”