Saturday, October 15, 2005

Saturday 10/15/05

The cost of higher education

includes embezzlement according to these Commercial-Appeal and Tennessean reports. $130K stolen from the school's dentistry program by some 70 friends, acquaintances and relatives.

The investigation began when officials with the UT Health Science Center's accounts payable department became suspicious about the number of reimbursement checks being issued to patients of the College of Dentistry between Aug. 15, 2002 and Nov. 3, 2003. From the AP via Kansas City Star.

I love bean counters. :-)

More money waste is outlined

in this opinion piece by Dr. Don Drennen-Gala in the and his solution is forthright:

"...we should do what Corporate America use to do with those who wasted money, terminate their employment. The next election should clearly show a strong vote for this termination from office."
This really only works well if better people are able and willing to run. It's a tough job and no one should consider taking this on without serious forethought. And once the decision is made, we mere voters, ought to support their candidacy with money and volunteer time.

What are they thinking

linking Cedar Bluff athletic funding to something as inappropriate as alcohol sales? AND, I assume, the school is vigorously educating those children about the evils of alcohol and wouldn't even consider a beer ad on the backfield wall. So on the one hand they want adults to drink so they can support the team but the team members better not get caught drinking or they're off the team, but their parents need to drink to support the team. And IF the school is successful in reducing the drinking rate in their students alcohol sales decline and the team withers. 'Round and round it goes. there wasn't a better plan--like increasing the sales tax rate?

A suckers game

Again we have a headline proclaiming the amount of money given to students via the lottery. This time the says it "$415 million for education." But the devil is in the details:

Nearly $1.5 billion in gross ticket sales
More than $843.8 million in prizes won by players
Nearly $96.5 million paid in retailer commissions
$25 million has been earmarked for pre-kindergarten programs

$1.5 BBBBBillion in gross ticket sales and we're supposed to be thrilled that 1/3rd of that is actually going to students.

Memphis Tomorrow

The news reader picked up this article from the Memphis Flyer about a little known group" called Memphis Tomorrow. Apparently their gig is to look at problems and find solutions. While the following goals looks hopeful. I like the charter school options. I always like options.
  1. Memphis Tomorrow members have supported the advancement of Charter Schools legislation, believing that Charter Schools offer choice to public school parents and create opportunities for the school system to try new education solutions.
  2. Memphis Tomorrow has also agreed to participate on the Mayor's appointed Community Task Force on Funding Public Education to help identify funding and governance solutions for our school system, and has also provided financial support for the coordination and administration of the effort at the request of the Task Force members.
  3. Memphis Tomorrow has produced, with the help of many community leaders, a Community Guide to Funding Public Education to provide a much needed source of information about how school funding works today.
According to the Nashville Flyer that "Community Guide to Funding Public Education" has been delayed and I don't see it on their web site yet.

Their Nashville counterpart was heavily behind the attempt at a sales tax increase in Nashville that was an embarrassing failure.

"Fundamental right to an education"

is the issue in this KnoxNews article.

Part of that fuzzy territory involves whether education is a "fundamental right" under state law. The courts here haven't definitively decided that issue, Fansler said. And so the fight continues over how best to handle educating students who break the rules.
We have a compulsory attendance law that doesn't require the parties to educate or be educated. If there's an instance where a school district was successfully sued for not educating a student, I've never heard of it.

At [plaintiff's attorney Dean] Rivkin's request, [Knox County Daryl] Fansler clarified the remedies Thursday: The district must allow students to take classes via computer for free if they need them to graduate on time. It also must allow students to request a waiver to pursue a GED at age 17.
This could get interesting.

"Rethinking Parent Conferences"

in the American School Board Journal seem to contain some pretty common sense advice about the issue.

Even when parents show up, they’re not necessarily satisfied. In a study by Boston’s family literacy project, several parents said schools should make meetings longer, ensure privacy, provide options for attending during the day or in the evening, and hold conferences more than twice a year.
We're a 24/7 society. It only makes sense that our government services start taking that into consideration.

Three things the article says should be kept in mind:

Family structure. A child’s caregiver and best home contact might be a parent, but it could also be a grandparent, stepparent, or foster parent.

Accessibility. Barriers to parent participation often include parents’ work schedules and home responsibilities, lack of transportation, and lack of telephones and home computers.

Trust. Parents are more likely to attend conferences and participate in their child’s school if they feel needed and welcomed.

Something to keep in mind

is that folks may actually utilize the options they have. While teachers in British Columbia are striking the parents are turning to homeschooling their children. What if parents discover they can actually do this and the result is that even fewer teachers are needed due to a loss of students?

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