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Education
6:46 am
Mon April 29, 2013

Kentucky Charter Schools Movement May Get Bump From Carl Rollins' Resignation, Advocate Says

Carl Rollins
Credit Legislative Research Commission

A leading Kentucky charter schools advocate says he’s hopeful the state House leadership will choose a new chairman for the House education committee who is open to charter schools.

The chairmanship became vacant last week when Democratic state Rep. Carl Rollins resigned to lead the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority and the Kentucky Higher Education Student Loan Corporation.

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Local News
7:16 am
Sun April 28, 2013

Two Southern Indiana Landmarks on Endangered List

Old Clarksville Site
Indiana Landmarks

Two southern Indiana sites are on the latest list of the state’s Most Endangered Places, compiled by the preservation group Indiana Landmarks.   

One of the places, the Old Clarksville Site, is a holdover from last year.

The nearly 300 acre site along the Ohio River includes remnants of pre-historic settlements, and the spot where Lewis and Clark launched their expedition of the western U.S. in 1803.

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Local News
7:01 am
Sun April 28, 2013

What We're Reading | 4.28.13

Eve
Credit Wikipedia Commons

Each week, members of the WFPL News team spotlight interesting stories we've read and enjoyed, for your weekend reading pleasure:

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Education
7:00 am
Sun April 28, 2013

What Would JCPS' District of Innovation Look Like

School of the future, according to the hit children's show The Jetsons.
Credit Hanna-Barbera

Jefferson County Public Schools officials have laid out any early blueprint for what its application for the Kentucky Department of Education's "District of Innovation" designation may look like. So far, the ideas being tossed around include an online classroom available 24 hours a day, Saturday courses and more teacher collaboration.

Under a law passed last year, Kentucky school districts can seek waiver from certain Kentucky Department of Education regulations in order to improve student achievement.

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Politics
10:30 pm
Sat April 27, 2013

Noise and Notes: Is Kentucky Compatible With Gay Marriage?

Credit Shutterstock.com

When it comes to gay marriage, America is moving in a direction of growing acceptance while Kentucky remains steadfastly opposed.

National figures show a majority in the country back the idea, which has changed at a rapid pace in the past decade.

Rhode Island took a historic step and is set to become the 10th state to legalize same-sex marriage. A new lobbying group founded by prominent conservative donor Paul Singer is pushing for gay marriage legislation as more Republicans join the cause to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act.

Even two prominent Kentucky Democrats—Auditor Adam Edelen and Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson—came out in favor or marriage equality.

But new poll numbers indicate Kentuckians are still overwhelmingly against same-sex couples getting hitched with 65 percent opposed. The opposition isn't based on political party either because the PPP survey shows 54 percent of Democratic voters are against the idea.

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Strange Fruit
11:36 am
Sat April 27, 2013

Strange Fruit: Who Counts as a Terrorist? (Hint: White Guys Don't)

Terrorist.

What image pops up in your mind when you hear that word? "When we think of the word 'terrorism,' most people get an image in their head of somebody who, of course, is a foreign national or somebody who's immigrated to the United States, who's Muslim, typically," explains clinical psychologist Dr. Kevin Chapman. "We think of things like violence. Guns. We think of airport screening."

Defining terrorism is challenging (even for the United Nations, apparently), but in common usage, it's an act of violence intended to intimidate or coerce, often for ideological reasons. The word itself has a long and emotional history, but this week, we were interested in how that word is applied, or not applied, following mass killings like the Boston bombing.

"We in America tend to react differently to terrorism depending on the ethnic, demographic, religious, and national profile of the alleged assailant," explains David Sirota. David is a political commentator who wrote a piece for Salon called Let's Hope the Boston Marathon Bomber is a White American. In it, he points out the double standard in public reaction to mass killings.

If the perpetrator is white, like in many recent shooting cases, it will be seen as an isolated incident, an aberration, possibly related to mental illness. We'll likely hear folks on TV mention how many hours a day the shooter spent playing video games. Any political fallout will probably be limited to gun control debate and will not involve taking action against the attacker's nation of origin, or adding surveillance against people who share his background. Or as Tim Wise wrote last week, "[I]f he's an Italian American Catholic we won't bomb the Vatican."

We spoke to Sirota this week about his piece, and the fallout from it. "My email box has been filled with the worst kind of anti-Semitic, racial epithets from the n-word to everything, for simply raising a point that should be obvious."

That reaction reveals just how deeply invested some folks are in their need to believe these acts are committed by people who are not like them. To understand what it is in our psychology that spurs this need to categorize "them" and "us," we called on friend to the show Dr. Chapman. "It's human nature to categorize, and unfortunately we dichotomize too often: ingroup, outgroup," he explains.  "We lump groups of individuals and profile them as a result, and that maintains our ingroup ideology."

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Local News
8:38 am
Sat April 27, 2013

Indiana General Assembly Ends With Budget Approval

The Indiana General Assembly has approved a two-year, $30 billion budget that gives Gov. Mike Pence a partial victory in his quest for an income tax cut and restores some money cut from education and transportation.

Lawmakers worked into early Saturday to reach final agreement on the budget and other issues, including an expansion of the state's school voucher program and changes to sentencing laws that would require those convicted of the most serious crimes to spend more time in prison.

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Politics
11:44 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

Update: Indiana General Assembly Winds Down; "Ag-Gag" Bill Fails

A proposal making it illegal to secretly take videos or photographs that could make a business look bad has failed in the Indiana egislature.

Bill sponsor Sen. Travis Holdman said Friday night he wouldn't try to advance another version of the bill a few hours after it was withdrawn in the House. That followed a lengthy debate during which several opponents criticized it for exposing industrial whistleblowers or even unhappy restaurant customers to possible criminal charges.

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Local News
4:57 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

"Ag-Gag" Bill Apparently Dies in Indiana General Assembly

A bill that would have made it a crime to secretly videotape the operations of a farm or factory with the intent to harm the business may have  died in the Indiana General Assembly.

Without comment, House Speaker Brian Bosma abruptly withdrew the measure during floor debate today, the final day of the session.    

The heavily amended legislation had earlier won Senate approval, but some lawmakers raised concerns about its constitutionality.

Opponents of the bill say it would weaken effort to expose the mistreatment of workers or animals, or other illegal activity.

Local News
4:23 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

Byline | JCPS Audit; KY Woman Ordained Priest; Medical Debts Cleared

Here are the topics covered in this edition of Byline (full audio available below):

At the top - Kentucky State Auditor Adam Edelen has accepted the Jefferson County school board’s request to review the district’s finances and central staff operations.  WFPL’s Devin Katayama speaks with Edelen, who says because his review isn't based on any specific complaint, the scope of the audit will be broad.

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