Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The Planet is Hot, But You Are Hotter....

Green boxers, or green briefs?

An article on....well, it's hard to say.

(Nod to Anonyman, who tries to save the planet one ironic observation at a time...)

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Okay....NOW I'm Mad.

A child is not revenue. She's a child.

This gem of statist reasoning, from the Raleigh NEWS AND OBSERVER, got me thinking about school choice, and "revenue":

Some excerpts from the story by Samiha Khanna, Staff Writer for N&O, with my most insightful comments in caps:

DURHAM - ...The opening of Durham's eighth charter will expand a $6 million dent in the school system's budget.

Though charter schools are public schools, they operate independently from the local school district. They receive money from the state, and for each student from the Durham school district who enrolls in a charter, a certain per-student allowance follows him. (BUT...BUT...BUT THE SCHOOL DISTRICT ALSO DOESN'T HAVE TO PROVIDE A SEAT FOR THAT STUDENT, OR SCHOOL BUS SERVICES! AT A TIME WHEN SCHOOLS ARE OVERCROWDED, HOW CAN THIS BE A COST? UNLESS...UNLESS YOU JUST THINK THE LOSS OF CONTROL OVER CITIZEN CHOICE IS A COST, RIGHT?)

This will make difficult several projects coming up for Durham Public Schools, including the opening of a new middle school and three small high schools in the fall. (AGAIN, THEY ONLY NEED TO DO THAT IF THEY ARE OVERCROWDED. AND SENDING KIDS TO CHARTERS RELIEVES OVERCROWDING. FURTHER, CHARTERS SAVE THE STATE MONEY, BECAUSE THEY DON'T PROVIDE LUNCH, OR BUS SERVICE, AND GET MUCH LESS PER STUDENT THAN THE STATE-RUN SCHOOLS.)

"We're trying to do a lot of things that require revenue," said Hank Hurd, associate superintendent of administrative services for Durham Public Schools. "Charters are depleting some of the resources that we need to address the student population at large." (STOP DOING THOSE THINGS! THAT'S NOT "REVENUE!" THAT'S MONEY TAKEN AT GUNPOINT FROM PEOPLE WHO ARE DESPERATE TO SEND THEIR CHILDREN TO BETTER SCHOOLS!)

When it opens in the fall, Voyager will serve about 320 students in grades four through seven. Its home will be the 40,000-square-foot former Little River Elementary School in the northern Durham town of Bahama. (NO NEW BUILDING, AND NO STATE COSTS, EXCEPT THE RENTAL. LESS THAN HALF AS EXPENSIVE FOR TAXPAYERS, AND HIGHER QUALITY EDUCATION.)

The school will expand to eighth grade the following year, and eventually cap growth at 500 students, according to a plan the school's board of directors submitted to the state.

As of this week, the school received about 400 letters of interest from parents in Durham and as far away as Hillsborough and Roxboro....(GOSH, SOUNDS LIKE MAYBE THE DURHAM SCHOOLS AREN'T REALLY DOING THEIR JOB. AND THEIR PROPOSED SOLUTION IS...PREVENT PARENTS FROM HAVING ANY CHOICES? IT IS TRUE THAT WITHOUT CHOICES, THE DURHAM SCHOOLS WOULD HAVE MORE STUDENTS. WHY NOT PURSUE THAT A LITTLE FURTHER? IF WE CRIMINALIZE READING, WE CAN JUST USE THE PRISONS FOR SCHOOLS, AND THEN WE CAN REALLY MAKE SOME REVENUE! USE THE SCHOOLS MONEY TO BUILD NEW PRISONS!)

...At Voyager, the emphasis will be on hands-on projects and other interactive activities, said Christy Whiteside, a contractor who worked with the school's board to create its education plan.

Teachers also will focus on character education and public speaking. Directors are still trying to solidify a partnership with the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University, Forsyth said.

Parents and students won't know until March 31 who will attend Voyager. If the school gets more applications than there are spaces available, it will choose by lottery. (I'M GUESSING THEY ARE GOING TO NEED A LOTTERY. SOUNDS LIKE A PRETTY GOOD EXPERIMENT IN EDUCATION, AND IT WILL CUT COSTS TO TAXPAYERS.)

Most of Voyager's students are likely to come from Durham, so administrators with the school system can expect to send at least an additional $800,000 to the new school in per-student allowances, plus state resources allotted based on enrollment, Hurd said. (AAARGH! WHERE DO YOU START HERE? IT IS NOT DURHAM'S MONEY TO LOSE! THAT IS TAXPAYER MONEY. CHARTER SCHOOLS JUST LET PARENTS MAKE THEIR OWN CHOICES WITH THEIR OWN MONEY! HOW DARE DURHAM BUREAUCRATS TALK ABOUT "LOSING" MONEY? THEY HAVE LOST THE SENSE THAT THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO SERVE THE PUBLIC, THAT'S WHAT THEY HAVE LOST!)

....Durham administrators tried to drive home the point last fall, when enrollment in traditional public schools in Durham increased less than 1 percent and charter enrollment soared by almost 22 percent.


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After reading that story, I had to just go sit on the floor in the corner, hugging my knees, rocking back and forth, and making little whimpering sounds.

Remember, charter enrollment is capped by capacity. That 22 % growth is not the number of people who WANT to send their kids to charters. That is the actual number of seats filled by parents who are going crazy with worry about how their kids are treated in the schools runs by teachers' unions and indifferent, revenue-maximzing bureaucrats.

If more charter schools were available, thousands of parents would transfer their kids. Some would be good schools, some not so good. But what would happen to the bad ones? They would lose enrollment, and close? What happens to Durham PUBLIC schools that are bad? We all spend more money on them. They never close, because there is no competition and no standard of quality to meet.

Anything that improves choice, improves education. Charters, and vouchers, are a good start. Let's get started!

Friday, March 02, 2007

Those....Those Swiss! I thought they were neutral....

Swiss troops, who had no ammunition, invade Lichtenstein, which has no army.

ZURICH, Switzerland (AP) -- What began as a routine training exercise almost ended in an embarrassing diplomatic incident after a company of Swiss soldiers got lost at night and marched into neighboring Liechtenstein.

According to Swiss daily Blick, the 170 infantry soldiers wandered 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) across an unmarked border into the tiny principality early Thursday before realizing their mistake and turning back.

A spokesman for the Swiss army confirmed the story but said that there were unlikely to be any serious repercussions for the mistaken invasion.

''We've spoken to the authorities in Liechtenstein and it's not a problem,'' Daniel Reist told The Associated Press.


ATSRTWT

(Nod to LC, who knows things)