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Archive for January, 2011

Any Reform Could Be Better than None

Bev Elliott and Bruce Gardner are trying to start a movement to reform the national education system. Reasons cited include:

  • States can spend twice as much per pupil on education than private schools.
  • Unions and pensions are draining education dollars.
  • American schools put too much emphasis on fun activities and not enough on core subjects.
  • America has fallen from 1st to 37th place in math, science, and engineering.
  • 30% of kids drop out and 60% of dropouts wind up in prison.

To remedy the situation, the duo’s group, known as Tea for Education and based in Haywood County, is suggesting raising the cap on the number of charter schools allowed. So far, so good. They also would like some kind of oversight commission to be appointed at the state level (which sounds like a slope often described with a word that starts with “slipper.”) They call for opening schools to the free market, but some of their requests ask for equal access to government perks. They would like charter schools to be able to float tax-exempt bonds for capital improvements and have something akin to first rights of refusal for surplus buildings. They favor a voucher system, which has been described as inferior to a tax writeoff because vouchers require greedy little fingers to get a piece of the pie for handling. They also approve a lottery system for deciding who gets to attend the schools.

If this sounds like your cup of tea, more information is available at teaforeducation.org.

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Might Explain All the O Stickers

The Asheville Metropolitan Statistical Area ranks sixth in the nation in credit card debt.

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Good Reason to Goof Off

The news is full of scares of teachers having to be laid off for the state to balance its budget. The state now boasts a 73.1% average graduation rate. You can check your county’s successes here.

Swell. I graduated in a class of about 220, and I only know of one person who dropped out. At least now the state is not claiming to have a dropout rate of 1-3%. In former years, they divided the number of dropouts per year by the number of K-12 enrollees, making their number 1/13 of what it was. Nobody I asked at the DPI could explain why the streets were full of dropouts when the percentage was so low.

If I catch the drift of the article in the Asheville Citizen-Times correctly, I am like the brother of the Prodigal Son. More out-of-the-box* kids are graduating because they are getting intensive care and incentives to place them higher in the job market than the dorky geeks who get to school on time and complete their assignments. There seems to be a call to put more than 30 disciplined kids in normal classrooms and then create special programs and hire special staff for those who don’t want to play by the rules.

*In a less enlightened era, they were referred to as truants and delinquents.

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Full of . . . . . .

. . . And yet the state has $20.9 million to pay for things like heating a school bus garage with landfill methane.

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UN in Cherokee

The United Nations sent a special rapporteur to Cherokee to investigate domestic violence. The UN is interested because tribal law requires non-tribal perps to be investigated by the FBI and tried in federal courts. Said rapporteur shall visit Miami, Minneapolis, and San Fransisco to investigate other women’s issues before holding a press conference February 7.

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Why People Buy Bread and Milk in the Snow

An article in the local daily helped solve one of life’s great mysteries. It is often asked why Appalachian folk clog the supermarkets for bread and milk when snow storms are announced. Methinks it has something to do with the kids getting free school lunches and parents not budgeting for snow days.

Even with the great government nutrition programs feeding so many kids, a large number are not chunky, not fat, but obese.

In Buncombe County, 28 percent of kindergartners are overweight and that number increases up to 39 percent for fifth-graders.

Methinks this has something to do with school poverty. The lottery is so impoverished, schools are having to apply textbook funds toward the construction of new buildings. As a result, students are reading five-year-old books in which carbs were evil. In poorer districts, students are even encouraged to get on the oat-bran diet. If more people gambled, the kids could have enough new buildings to learn that trans fats are the real perps. However, by that time, the enemy will be something else.

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Another Cause of Yuppie Flu

In another crisis of old age, I learned from the JLF’s Rick Henderson that CNN (big time) would be airing a report on all the funky science going down at the SBI.

My astute mother arranged for me to be enrolled in a BS program that taught about the misuses and abuse of science. Working several scientific jobs, I got to see first-hand the bad science my professors discussed. What I had not learned in school was how to persuade anybody with logic that immoral, unconscionable, unjust, and ignorant actions are not as good as honor. Real science is largely tedious, unprofitable, and inconclusive. You can find my name on a few online lists of physics dissidents.

In conclusion, I will draw from the teachings of my wise mother again. During the Watergate scandal, she said what was going on was no different from what went on elsewhere, except the guy in the red wig and his pals got caught. I would assume the same for the NC SBI.

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Excuses, Excuses

Last night was another when I let my narcolepsy get the best of me. There was nothing in the first few online news sources I checked. That is not amazing. The local daily has changed its emphasis to non-news. Furthermore, in the last three years half a dozen WNC newspapers have required subscriptions for online viewing. Information is free these days, and those who try to sell it at a profit are not doing well.

And yet, there was news on the international level. All over the radio and in online blurbs, one heard about unrest in the Middle East. As in an Orwellian novel, the same four talking points were about all that was said. Now, I’m no history or social studies major, and so I have narrow views on a number of subjects.

For example, we recently heard news reports about the two or three people who converged on Washington, DC. They claimed to be part of a movement of independents associating themselves with the Tea Party. These violent people spewed racist remarks and comported themselves in a manner unbecoming US citizens. They had no thoughts of their own. They only regurgitated the mush poured under their skull caps by the evil hate-mongering Glenn Beck.

Now, the stuff in the Middle East is different. People are peacefully rioting because they hate America. There is no ring leader. Each act of civil disobedience is the logical conclusion drawn by independent experts in sociology after careful analysis of the world’s best decision-science software programmed with 110%-accurate data.

To add to my agitation, I consulted a printed newspaper which contained an “Analysis” from AP of the unrest in the Middle East. This great News McNugget would be worth reproducing in its minuscule entirety, but I fear copyright infringement. It referenced a YouTube interview with the president and a Twitter feed from the State Department.

The article is so shallow it would take a bigger person than I to mine any data. The president mentioned “issues,” and said he had recommended “political and economic reform” in conversations with Mubarak. The president wants to encourage “stability,” as everybody has wanted in the Middle East, and “democracy.” Now is the time for the United States to devise a “regional strategy . . . for change” in the Middle East.

Mrs. Bill Clinton called for “restraint and dialogue,” considered by AP to be “more forceful calls for reform.” State Department specialist Robert Damin emphasized the need to balance interests. The analysis justified the president’s lack of engagement as due to “working in a very narrow space.”

And that’s all you need to know.

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Can’t See the Rain Forest for All the Trees in the Paper Mill

I heard on the radio today that the NC Constitution states, “The people have a right to the privilege of education . . .” I’m sure you’re asking why I didn’t notice that before. Asbestos I can tell, it is synonymous with, “Where is government going for I am the Creator?”

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Gotta Do More than Stab It With Our Steely Knives

The House Judiciary Committee of the NCGA voted 23-16 to cut off one of the heads of the Lernaean Hydra. The majority wanted to defend the right of North Carolinians to refuse federally-mandated healthcare coverage. Reportedly, Attorney General Roy Cooper continues to lack interest in joining the lawsuit backed by many other states challenging the Constitutionality of the entire 2000+ page beast.

The Senate seems to be making wonderful progress with the Second Labor of Hercules. What have you done today to obliterate the treasonous Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act?

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