Thursday, February 06, 2003


If you’ve been watching the Nebraska Legislature and following some of the proposed bills, you know there are too many in the hopper that have to do with education for any one of us to “major in” to the degree we probably should.

So let’s share the load: announcing Go Big Ed’s “Adopt an Ed Bill” program.

Pick a proposed bill, research it, and advise the rest of us on what kind of a stand we should take on it. Then let’s all let the Education Committee senators in particular, and our own senators in general, know what the scoop is from the private-citizen point of view.

Our first adoptee is LB 778 on assessments, from Sen. Chris Beutler, adopted by longtime Nebraska State Board of Education member Kathy Wilmot of Beaver City, Neb.

Here’s what she says about it:

“I know we need to watch 778, although I would probably support it with an amendment attached.

“I doubt it will make it out of committee.

“It calls for ONE test in math, science, social studies, etc.

“That would be much better than (State Education Commissioner Doug) Christensen's multiple assessment.

“The Nebraska Department of Education will fight this bill. It would be good to get it out of committee and then attach an amendment that stipulates: 1) the tests be machine scored (hard to put "touchy-feely" psychological questions in a machine scored "right/wrong" test), and 2) that the tests be made public so there is true accountability.”

Keep the tests academic? And accountable? Twin concepts that apparently have not occurred to the educracy . . . but wouldn’t that be an improvement?

Thanks. Who else will adopt an education bill and keep us informed on Go Big Ed over the coming weeks? You can be named or anonymous, too.

Consider LB 263 (extra money for all-day kindergarten; ick), 372, 17CA, 534, 660 and 682, slated for public hearing at 1:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 10, in Room 1525. Then there’s all the state aid wrangling; there may not be a more important issue this session.

If possible, email me at swilliams1@cox.net with your statement of adoption, similar to Kathy Wilmot’s, by the end of business Monday, and I can file it in a Legislative Update being published by the Nebraska Civic Digest as the centerpiece of their March issue. See their online edition at www.ncdweb.net for some reporting by yours truly and others who are either natural-born or adopted sons and daughters of the great Cornhusker State.

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