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Kentucky Reform Group Worries NCLB will Dismantle Reforms

Ohanian Comment: Be careful what you wish for. All these complaints about NCLB, including NEA's, are about money. With all the money imaginable, NCLB is still an atrocity.

LUCAS - Kentucky's best-known education-reform group began gearing up yesterday to battle what its leaders described as grave threats to school reform.

Joe Kelly of Georgetown, the new president of the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence, said he is worried about the "erosion of state revenue" and some who are attempting the "systematic disassembling" of the Kentucky Education Reform Act.

Kelly, the executive vice president and chief operating officer of Columbia Gas of Kentucky, spoke during the first day of the two-day annual meeting of the Prichard Committee at Barren River Lake State Resort Park near Glasgow.

Kelly said the 100-member committee must mount a determined campaign to get more state money for education because polls show that the public is opposed to new taxes.

In addition, Kelly said "it's going to be a real killer for us" if the state is required to enact all of the Bush administration's No Child Left Behind program, even where it conflicts with Kentucky's policies.

Robert F. Sexton, the committee's executive director, said funding for the No Child Left Behind program could give the federal government 50 percent control of state and local school systems.

Sexton said the federal government currently provides about 7 percent of the total funding for local schools.

The most significant part of the meeting will occur today, when the committee will hear from Blake Haselton, superintendent of the Oldham County schools and vice chairman of the Council for Better Education.

The group, which includes 164 of the state's 176 school districts, is expected to file a lawsuit in September alleging that the school districts suffer from inadequacies and inequi-ties in state funding.

A lawsuit challenging inequities in state funding led eventually to the passage of the Kentucky Education Reform Act, more commonly known as KERA, in 1990.

Gene Wilhoit, the state commissioner of education, will respond to Haselton.

— Art Jester
School reform threats targeted
Lexington Herald-Leader
http://www.kentucky.com/mld/kentucky/news/local/6298397.htm
July 14, 2003


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