Sentinel-Echo.com

Opinion

June 19, 2014

Accountability in public education

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —

Opponents of giving Kentucky parents control over where their children attend school claim such policies would result in a lack of accountability.

Louisville Rep. Mary Lou Marzian fretted on KET’s “Kentucky Tonight” in February that charter schools - which simply are innovative public schools chosen by parents rather than assigned by the system - “have been rife with scandal,” and how important it is to her that bureaucrats “maintain control and accountability over our public schools and our tax dollars.”

For good measure, she repeated: “And that’s what so important to me - is to be able to have accountability and control.”

Yet since state Auditor Adam Edelen released on May 21 the results of his year-long audit of the Jefferson County Public Schools revealing a system “rife” with wasteful spending practices, overpaid bureaucrats and lack of proper controls concerning the use of precious taxpayer resources - which he clearly believes keeps needed funds from getting into classrooms - nary a peep has been heard from Marzian or her campaign-contributing pals at the teachers’ unions. 

On that same TV program, Jefferson County teachers’ union boss Brent McKim rightly noted that parents “want the public schools that they have to be successful.”

Then came the audit. 

What have we heard from McKim about any dismay he might feel about the auditor’s report concerning the fact that there are 369 administrators in his school district alone who are paid in excess of $100,000 a year - more than the 281-person executive branch that oversees the entire commonwealth — while many teachers in the system struggle from a lack of resources and where 58 percent of students are below-proficient readers? 

What happened to holding systems “accountable” and giving parents what they want: “successful public schools? 

When might we hear something from Marzian about plans to hold her district’s education bureaucrats accountable for the mammoth financial failures revealed by Edelen’s solid and politically courageous audit?  

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