Kentucky jumps in "Freedom in the 50 States" rankings

The Cato Institute, a Washington DC based think-tank has released the fifth edition of their “Freedom in the 50 States” report. The data set ends at year-end 2016, so most movement from the 2017 and 2018 legislative sessions is not included in this edition of the report. In the report Kentucky ranks 32nd, up 8 spots from 2014. It seeks to quantify and rank states based on human freedom. The rankings include three main categories; fiscal policy, regulatory policy, and personal freedom. A full breakdown of the factors that are included in those categories is available here. The two largest factors contributing to Kentucky’s jump are improved regulatory policy and labor policy stemming from pas

Medicaid Work Requirements Are Popular and Effective

A new report from The Council of Economic Advisers makes the case that work requirements should be added to non-cash welfare programs. Among many things, the report found that currently, 61 percent of Medicaid recipients are non-disabled working age adults. These are the people society generally accepts as being able to work. Approximately 60 percent of Medicaid, housing-assisted non-disabled working-age recipients work fewer than 20 hours per week. According to research from the Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA), "just 16 percent of able-bodied Medicaid enrollees work full time, year round." A 2018 survey from the FGA found that 90 percent of likely voters supported the idea th

Requiring Teachers to Have Master's Degrees Doesn't Benefit Students

Kentucky made some national news today in announcing that the Education Professional Standards Board voted to remove the unnecessary requirement for teachers in Kentucky to get master's degrees. Strangely, there has been some push back from labor unions despite the head of the KEA saying just last week that the organization did not have a position on the issue and acknowledging that the requirement did not improve student outcomes. Research has long been clear that there was no benefit to students in requiring teachers to obtain master's degrees. Here are just a few peer-reviewed articles and studies spanning multiple decades for good measure: 1990: Should National or State Level Technology

Kentucky Overdose Deaths Still Increasing, but Rate of Increase is Slowing

There has been a great deal of analysis in the national media in the last week about the most recent provisional overdose death count released by the CDC. For the nation as a whole, it found a year over year increase of 6.6%. For Kentucky, provisional data shows that we are still increasing in total number of overdose deaths but a) at a slower rate than national average, b) at a slower rate than many neighboring states, and c) at a significantly slower rate than the previous two years. This is positive news and hopefully a sign that we are nearing, or might even be past, the apex for overdose deaths. The most recent CDC data measures year over year increases ending in January of 2018. From J

Kentucky has below average ACT scores, but there's a catch . . .

Many students, who are going back to school this week, will be taking the ACT later this school year. After many years as the less popular test, the ACT surpassed the SAT in 2016, with more students nationwide now using the ACT for their college entrance exam. Kentucky has long used the ACT, administering the test to 11th grade students every spring. So, how do Kentucky students stack up? The national average composite ACT score is a 21.0 out of a possible 36. Kentucky students average a composite score of 20. In total, Kentucky students are below national average in every ACT category as compared to national peers. The national average for the English section is 20.3 versus Kentucky's avera

More Kentuckians Employed Today Than Any Point in State History

This morning, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) announced that there were more American's employed in July than at any point in the history of BLS data keeping. According to the BLS, the United States added 157,000 jobs in July 2018 on top of a revised 248,000 in June to bring the total number of Americans employed to 155,965,000, a record. Individual state data for July will not be released until later in the month, but should bode well for Kentucky, which is already at a record level of employment as of preliminary numbers in June. In total, 1,976,075 Kentuckians were employed in June, up 1,921 over the total in May. Much like the national trend, this is an all-time record for individua



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