Rep. Jill York, 96th District
February 12, 2016
York files bill to accurately reflect teacher accountability
According to Ronald Reagan, the nine most terrifying words in the English language are: “I’m from the Government, and I’m here to help.” That quip has gotten a lot of laughs down through the years and I will have to say deservedly so.
The guffaws come because the idea that when Government gets activated, shows up and stirs in something – you are apt to find yourself with bigger headaches than before the Big G got involved.
Even here at the State level, there is considerable criticism of legislators creating laws with little knowledge of exactly how those statutes will affect a given profession or way of doing things. As citizen legislators, I believe our best chance at crafting worthwhile and successful legislation is to consult those who would be most effected by a particular bill. Our job should be to sort out all the potential problems and see if we are actually improving something or merely creating a new subset of difficulties.
So this past summer, when I learned from teachers about a regulation that was holding them accountable for students that had never set foot in their classrooms – I knew we had a chance to improve the reporting to get a better picture of that student’s progress and who had actually instructed them.
The point I’d like to make is that the issue was raised by educators and got discussed with educators. On top of that, I solicited ideas for solutions from educators and together we closed in on a potential solution. None of that government “I know what’s best, even though I’ve never taught a day in my life…” scary intrusion like Reagan warned us about but good common sense collaboration of ideas.
Therefore, I filed House Bill 114, to change the way students who are in alternative education programs scores would be reflected with the school district rather than within a particular teacher’s classroom. It’s a simple switch as to where the child’s scores are reflected but it has a profound impact. The Kentucky Education Association supports the bill and I have requested that Chairman Graham allow it to be heard in the House Education Committee.
Elsewhere during my week here in Frankfort, much time and deliberation is being spent on how best to allocate the nearly $21 billion that makes up the Commonwealth’s biennial budget.
It is good to note that resolve among the General Assembly runs high to prioritize the immense pension deficits as our primary focus. It has always been my position that our obligation should be to honor the promises made to our workers and push for solvency to make the funds more secure.
The unfunded portion of the pension systems is so large and vast, over $33 billion and climbing, that if we were to designate every single dollar of the next state budget toward plugging the hole that it would not be near enough. I am encouraged by the ideas put forward that would allow us to begin to climb slowly toward a funded system as we protect the employees who are currently within the pension plans. More on this as we progress toward the final weeks of session.
I encourage you to visit my website, www.jillyork.com, and peruse the data from our most recent electronic legislative survey. Thank you to all who provided input and ideas. While there were fewer respondents to this year’s questionnaire, you are still able to discern the topics that citizens hope will find attention during this legislative cycle.
This past Saturday “NOT ALONE: A Suicide Prevention Workshop,” was conducted in Grayson to begin a regional dialogue about the impact of suicide deaths to our communities. Three counties were represented and attendees were treated to training, outreach, compassion and the resources one might use to intervene in order to save a life. Open to all, the workshop will teach attendees how to recognize the signs of a person in crisis and how a conversation may help save a life. We are fortunate here in the 96th District to have a robust collection of people and associations to call upon for guidance in such matters. Many thanks to the great folk with the Kentucky Suicide Prevention Group, Pathways and Community Hospice for their support and outreach at the event.
I do hope you will consider a trip to Frankfort to see the legislative action in progress. Not only is it a great experience but hopefully you will be able to stop by my office for a visit. I am sincere when I tell you that seeing people from home makes the time away from my district seem shorter. My heart remains in Lawrence and Carter Counties.
Don’t forget, you can contact me by e-mail at email@example.com, or call our toll free number at 1-800-372-7181 to share your thoughts about what is important to you.
If you are following a particular piece of legislation, you can use the Bill Status Line 1-866-840-2835 to track it’s progress or dial 1-800-633-9650 to check meeting schedules if you want to come and sit in on testimony.