As public schools edge closer to what's being called a "funding cliff," Kentucky educators are trying to carry out major new reforms on the cheap.
U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan has dubbed this "the new normal."
Duncan's entreaty to do more with less may be meant to inspire. But cash on the barrel head would come in handier, as Kentucky rolls out ambitious learning standards and builds a new assessment and accountability system.
This process of implementing 2009's Senate Bill 1 was once envisioned as part of a $175 million strategy melding state-of-the-art teacher development with the development of curriculum and new testing.
The legislature put up almost no money to pay for the changes required by SB 1, however. (Can you say "unfunded mandate?")
The hope was that Kentucky would be a winner in the Obama administration's competition for funding innovations in education.
Alas, Kentucky did not win. So, the reforms are being prepared for launch with the equivalent of baling twine and chewing gum.
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