How You Can Decide Whether Your School District Needs A Tax Increase Of Any Sort

Wi-Fi on the school buses?

Vote no every time the district comes to the voters, hat in hand, because it doesn’t have enough money for teachers or whatever vital educational need they’ll have for the next twenty years.

Because, brother, wi-fi on the school buses ain’t a vital educational need, and maintaining that technological expenditure is going to be on every annual budget from here on out, but it will be buried or hidden in the technology budget.

And next year, or maybe next ballot, funds for vital things will be dangerously low due to the recession/growing enrollment/lower property values (pick two, three, or four).

But funds will not be dangerously low because the school district buys shiny new cool things instead of focusing on educating children and marshaling its resources toward that goal now and in the future.

But….American Eductation Is The Worst In The World!

A pair of Russians who had lived in Japan for a number of years are willing to invest $500,000 to get US citizenship so their daughter can attend school in the United States:

That’s because the Russian immigrants came to the U.S. through the EB-5 visa program, a federal initiative that allows foreigners to earn a green card granting them permanent residency – and a path to citizenship – in return for investing at least $500,000 in an American business and creating at least 10 jobs.

For Anikeeva, she knew after spending her junior year of high school in Savannah, Ga., that she wanted to one day call America home.

The student’s return to the United States was not immediate or certain. She went home to Vladivostok, attended college, then spent seven years in Japan with her husband and daughter, helping run the family’s luxury automobile export business.

But as their daughter grew, Anikeeva and her husband decided they wanted her to have the advantages that come with an American education. And they were willing to pay to make it happen.

But…. but…. I thought people trotted out all kinds of statistics about how dumb American students are when it comes time to pony up other peoples’ money for teacher pensions?

But when it comes time for international-conscious people to decide where to raise their child to have the best opportunities, they come to the United States.

(Link seen on Hot Air.)

Doubtless, He Holds An Advanced Degree

I was reading this meaningless press release about the Marvel Universe and its latest goings on and encountered this job title:

Comic book historian Alan Kistler agreed: “Spider-Man is a scientist with a different perspective than Mr. Fantastic, and he specializes in different fields, so it could be very interesting to see how his own expertise rounds out this new Future Foundation. And from another angle, it could be interesting to see how Spidey feels about essentially replacing a person he considered a friend and what kind of pressure this will place on him.”

So do you think comic book historians have a deep grounding in Western Civilization or world history or does their specific training come in lieu of it?

The Anti-Scientific Curriculum at Nogglestead

Here at the old Nogglestead, we have two children that we’d like to educate so that they grow up to be good conservatives like us. Ha! some would say, but probably not those who read this blog, You mean you want to teach them all sorts of unscientific things so that they cannot see the logical, reasonable, scientific Progress of Man and his evolution into the highest form of life, the faceless vassal of the all-powerful State!

Well, part of the charge is true. Here at Nogglestead, we use texts that teach scientific untruths to our children.

Example 1:

The alchemy of Dinosaur Time
Dinosaur Time, written by the author of pseudo-rational Clues in the Woods and related series Peggy Parrish and illustrated by the author of the rational-for-having-an- anthropomorphic-mouse-antagonist Mouse Soup Arnold Lobel.

As a side note, this book is the source of one of my first remembered nightmares when I was in elementary school. True story: I dreamed that I and Chris something, who lived on the corner of 39th and Florist in an actual house and not a housing project apartment, were on some sort of raised dais with Greek columns all around and an altar or lectern or table. On it rested this book. Chris goes up the steps to it and looks at it and expresses impressedness and asks if I want to look at it, too. I lie on the ground with my hands behind my head and decline. At this point, a Tyrannosaurus head appears in the clouds above and says, “Don’t you want to learn about us?” and I scream and awaken. 30+ years later, I remember it vividly.

But look at the backward notions this book teaches:

The false teachings of Dinosaur Time Behold the backward thinking. As anyone who is up on paleontology discovered since Generation X came up through the minor leagues knows, the Brontosaurus does not exist. It is the Apatosaurus now.

Example 2:

The alchemy of the Dinosaur Book
The Dinosaur Book. A Golden Shape book, this verily is also a backward text even if I don’t have any particular nightmares to report about it.
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 

This book falsely educates us that:

The false teachings of the Dinosaur Book This book depicts a triceratops as though the three-horned lizard existed as its own independent kind of dinosaur.

Not so fast. Recently, paleontologists have determined that the triceratops is just a juvenile torosaurus. That is, it is not a separate species, and scientists will henceforth stop talking about the triceratops, and those of us who did not read Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology are just troglodytes who oppose the government meting out of radiology.

Example 1:

The alchemy of the Atlas of Stars and Planets
Facts on File Atlas of Stars and Planets by Ian Ridpath. You would think that the Noggles would teach modern truths about the cosmos, such as the Earth revolves around the sun.

After all, Noggle himself reads science fiction. Surely he would not teach falsity to his children here.

You would be wrong.

The false teachings of the the Atlas of Science and Planets Pluto.

As you know, semantically speaking, the astronomers’ consortium determined the definition of planet no longer fits Pluto. So, after a hundred years, it’s off the list. And Mercury is on notice.

Conclusion.

The Noggles are therefore anti-science Republicans. Granted, these particulars of science represent a portion of the angels-on-the-head-of-a-pin branches of science and semantics. Pluto is there, the bones were there, but every other part of the controversy and the changes represents a change in an inference or a definition on the part of scientists.

And although they would prefer you simply bow to their new definitions, the scientists really aren’t changing facts at all.

So pardon me if I’m just as skeptical of scientists as I am of everyone else. Reality is as reality is, but reality as revealed by the scientists is still reality filtered through chosen acolytes.

The Reason for the Season

I just got this e-mail from my alma mater:


Happy Holidays, signed, the Catholic Church
Click for full size

You’ll notice first, as I did, that Marquette University, a Catholic institution, sends out greetings for the holidays, not for Christmas. I guess fundraising from nonbelievers trumps celebrating the birth of Christ, the ultimate basis for the existence of Marquette University (but no longer the ongoing reason for its existence).

Secondly, you might note that Marquette has sold the naming rights to its college of arts and sciences. I have to say I’m glad that doesn’t appear on my diploma.

The Meaning of Education

My 24th State colleague Van has a long post up at his personal blog on the meaning of Education and why modern approaches don’t Educate and are not designed to do so.

He refers to this Cato chart that shows that costs of education have gone up drastically, but the results have not improved:


Does this remind you of the Price is Right Mountain Climber game?
Click for full size

I’ve discussed this very chart with a former classmate at the University, now a doctor of rhetoric and professor at a snowy university himself, and he thinks the expense justifies the outcome as long as the new, expensive education elevates minority students. Think of it as spreading the education around.

Were that true, it would be spending a bunch of money to elevate favored students at the expense of nonfavored students since it would statistically require an offset of lower scores for nonminority students to keep that line flat. But to a raging liberal statist, that’s okay. Education, apparently, is a zero-sum game like wealth.

Protect Their Phony Baloney Jobs?

They can’t find them in the first place.

With the nation investing billions of dollars in clean energy, it stands to reason that tiny Crowder College should be quite popular these days.

After all, this is a place that has been educating students about alternative energy for more than three decades. The school offers degree tracks in solar, wind and biofuels. It offers courses both locally and through its online program.

Yet fewer than 60 students are pursuing green degrees from the school. That’s not terribly surprising, considering that jobs in this sector have been slow to materialize. It’s a market, instructors say, that depends heavily on using government incentives to get companies to invest in green endeavors. And that’s just not happening right now.

Of course, Crowder is a junior college, so when kids come out of it with an Associate’s Degree that includes such education as 3 hours of Ethanol production and 3 hours of math classes, it’s hard to guess what sort of role they would fill in a phony baloney job that a high school graduate could not.

Richard Grieco Film, Interrupted

So the other night, I was sitting down for my once-every-sixteen-years viewing of the Richard Grieco film (If Looks Could Kill) when the telephone rang.

It was a student at Marquette University, calling to check my phone number, address, and whatnot and to see if I’d simply overlooked sending them a check.

She asked for my current address, having established logically that my phone number was still correct. Then she asked me the best part of the Marquette experience for my lo those 20 years ago. I’m sure I said something curtly. I was a commuter, essentially, since I lived in my father’s basement for the duration, so my job was way off campus on the Northwest Side and most of my friends where on the Northwest side (either people who worked in the grocery store where I plied my trade at the time or a guy who lived two doors down from my father, whom I’d gotten to know during summertime visits to Milwaukee).

My distance from Marquette as well as my upbringing that differed from the suburban put a lot of distance between me and the school as An Experience. By the time I had spent enough time with any of them to make anything like friends, I was a senior and off to live the life of a wage slave in Missouri while the rest of them prepared for a life in the Academy and the gossamer feel-good shawl of Progressivist thought.

The best part of Marquette University, I realized after the phone call, was the library. In those slightly pre-Internet days, the Memorial Library had books on everything I wanted to read. I spent a lot of time as a freshman blowing off Biology and Sociology to read Black Like Me, then a collection of Langston Hughes to see what the title of Black Like Me was from, then serious scholarly studies of Ed McBain, and some Existentialism for fun. That, coupled with the big Swedish mechanic who lived next door, had a library in his basement, and asked me if I’d read this or read that and how could I be an English major without reading them? made me who I am educationally today more than the Marquette University community and its $11,000 a year ticket ever did.

So I cut short the connect-and-make-them-feel-a-part questions with a declaration that I wasn’t going to contribute. She said okay, and then I asked how much Marquette cost.

$30,000 a year, she said. Without emphasis, because this is the milieu in which she swims.

“It sucks to be you,” I said.

She giggled and said, yeah, but that’s why scholarships are so important and that the tuition was only 3/4 the cost of educating a student.

“Someone’s getting overpaid. You could get a couple tutors and have them spend 40 hours a week with you for that,” I said. And I rang off shortly thereafter. Ringing off happens when you read a lot of British literature, and by British literature I mean “Agatha Christie” and “Alistair MacLean.” See, Marquette wasn’t influential in making me sound like the hoity-toity affected Anglophile.

After I did, I kind of felt bad for her. She was a junior, working the phones to work off part of her $30,000 a year. At some point, $120,000 is too much for what a college degree buys you. It took me fifty hours a week of working while I was going to college and ten years’ worth of student loan repayment (coupled with a good marriage which allowed me to be DINK to pay those loans off in only 10 years). And I left school only $20,000 in the hole with an English/Philosophy degree. For the first couple of years after I graduated, I made somewhere in the middle teens in income, sometimes working two jobs for that amount. I cannot in my mind justify spending what amounts to a middle manager’s salary to go to school. I cannot imagine coming out of school with $60,000 in debt and stacking produce, if I was lucky to have any job in 2010.

Instapundit talks a lot about the higher education bubble about to burst. It’s going to happen, and I feel really bad for the last people in the scheme like this poor kid, calling hard-hearted Hannahs like me for a pittance against her pitiable annual costs.

Oh, and without segue, I’d like to point out I’m a little miffed what college costs have done to my personal puff narrative. Working fifty hours a week while in school to cover the shortfall between my remaining grants and loans, begging the bursar to let me register for the next semester when I was a couple hundred behind in my monthly schedule (he laughed even then, commenting about how much other students owed), and paying off $20,000 in debt. Kids these days are going to look at my hardships and say, “You pansy, you had it easy.” And then they’ll get into grad school to get the Master’s Degree they’ll need to work in outcalling sales in 2020.

The Meaning of Aid

A St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist discovers that government aid helps the irresponsible:

    Let’s consider two families with kids. The first mom and pop buy fancy cars, head off to Vegas, buy the biggest house they can afford. They take a lackadaisical attitude toward work and generally blow money.

    The next mom and pop work hard and advance in their careers. They drive clunkers, vacation in Porchville, live modestly and sock away savings.

    Guess which family is going to get the most financial aid when their kid heads off to college?

    Hedonism has rewards beyond a good suntan, and they come in the form of college financial aid. The federal financial aid formula punishes thrift and hard work.

The aid system for whatever need-based program offers the government money not only helps people who need it through bad circumstance, but also those who either game the system or who are irresponsible.

Then the column goes on to show parents how to game the system.

Swell.

Law Of Averages Leaving Some Students Behind

The pièce de résistance of a piece de commentary in the Sacramento Bee is:

    “I don’t doubt that Jim Sweeney loves children and had dedicated his life’s career to improving education,” she said. “The school district has done some wonderful things … but (on state tests) half the students are still below the 50th percentile. That’s a problem.”

Sacramento City Councilwoman Lauren Hammond apparently wants all students to be above average. And she’s right. For two long, the law of averages has been a TOOL OF OPPRESSION designed to WRECK THE SELF-ESTEEM of otherwise talented adolescents of all ages. To be a truly effective school administrator, you must ensure that all students achieve the same level of suckcess, which probably means lowering the double bars of the equals sign until the only standard applied is “better than nothing.”

(Link seen on Best of the Web Today.)