History missing from Social Studies


The need for pension, education and regulatory reform are on full display these days and offer plenty of fodder for this edition of Liberty boosters and busters.

Liberty Booster: Sen. Chris McDaniel.

While lawmakers understandably want to focus on implementing new programs, sometimes getting rid of wasteful ones is the most valuable service they provide.

McDaniel, R-Taylor Mill, has filed legislation tossing the fat-laden pork roast known as Kentucky Wired, a government-owned broadband network that state Auditor Mike Harmon speculated might hand taxpayers a $1.5 billion bill and may never be completed.

If McDaniel can get some questions answered in the process, so much the better.

For example, while Macquarie Group, a foreign operation, was hired as the commonwealth's private partner, how did the massive costs and risk of this project get shifted to taxpayers?

Plus, why isn't Kentucky at the very least following the example of neighboring states like Tennessee which incentivize private providers to expand and make high-speed broadband available to all citizens?

Better yet, lowering taxes, reducing regulation and generally getting government out of the way would result in our powerhouse private providers figuring out how to build such networks without publicly backed incentives.

Liberty Buster: Social studies standards committee.

It's been over a decade since Kentucky's social studies standards were updated.

Considering the revision proposed by this committee chosen by Frankfort education insiders, it might be better to keep the old ones a bit longer.

After all, how can you offer history standards to Kentucky schoolchildren that never even mention Abraham Lincoln, who, along with being the nation's 16th president, was a native of this commonwealth?

A major fallacy of this process is the omission of virtually every important historical person integral to understanding what makes America such an exceptional nation, with no apology to Colin Kaepernick.

In fact, I doubt even Kaepernick would be happy that Martin Luther King Jr. doesn't warrant so much as a mention in these proposed standards, which are far from ready for prime time.

Liberty Boosters: House leaders supporting legislation to expand educational opportunities for low- and middle-income Kentucky families.

Agreeing to become a co-sponsor of Majority Floor Leader John "Bam" Carney's bill making Kentucky the 19th state with a Scholarship Tax Credit program is one of the most positive and consequential decisions made by Speaker David Osborne, R-Prospect, and Majority Whip Chad McCoy, R-Bardstown, during this year's General Assembly.

This isn't just a move to pacify school-choice supporters who for years have clamored for more options, especially for lower-income parents to enjoy the same opportunity as wealthy families of placing their children in private schools.

By joining Carney, R-Campbellsville, during the current legislative session, Osborne and McCoy are doing what it takes to get controversial, if sound, policies passed: leading.

Liberty Buster: Forward Kentucky's Bruce Maples, who dismisses such school-choice programs as "a scam for the wealthy."

Most reasonable Kentuckians would expect a self-proclaimed progressive like Maples to support options helping poor children escape bad schools, especially when he claims on his organization's website that Forward Kentucky exists "with the goal of helping our state move forward and be all that it can be."

How can the nine out of 10 black students and two out of three whites across Kentucky failing to attain proficiency in the critical areas of math and reading and who disproportionately find themselves in failing schools "move forward" without a better education?

How can poor families "move forward" to get their children a different educational setting without financial assistance?

Creating a program where the wealthy help the poor to get their children into those settings sounds like the kind of forward movement Maples claims to endorse.

Jim Waters is president and CEO of the Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions, Kentucky's free-market think tank.