Monday, July 18, 2005

Cleaning out the inbasket

A potpourri of stuff that I've been meaning to comment on but real life keeps calling me away. :-)

Number Please: The federal government would assign every student in America a number, then follow them from kindergarten to college to work. From Denver Post. (Thanks Ben.)

I thought they already had--it's called a social security number. But apparently, in a admirable effort to actually track our money the feds give students they're considering creating a huge database. Privacy folks should be up in arms. Parents, as advocates for their children should be
up in arms. But what do I know. The few times I've ever been to Starbucks and they've wanted my name I've responded "23".

Lottery numbers: Is there a reason that reporting lottery numbers has to be so confusing? There is no way you can read this Tennessean article and figure out what money went where. All I know for sure is that we're supposed to be pleased that 40% of the ticket revenues went to schools. I don't mean to appear greedy but just where did the other 60% go? Is there anyway for Joe Voter to understand whether or not the bureaucracy wasn't eating up too much of this? Wonder how this scholarship scheme would rate at Charity Navigator.

Graduation numbers: At a recent meeting of governors it was agreed by 45 govs that they adopt a standard formula for reporting graduation rates. About time.

Alluding to what many governors said needs to come next, a universal definition for dropout rates, Gov. Phil Bredesen of Tennessee, a Democrat, said state calculations were so incomplete that they often led to "vast disparities," even within a state. From NY Times.
Parents need info. Too bad, so sad. Metro Nashville has decided not to hold their All Schools event leaving a lot of parents in the dark at the very time they need the most illumination--enrollment time. From the Nashville City Paper.

If my own experience in trying to get a hold of Metro Nashville Public School spokesman Woody McMillan is any indication I think the new "Customer Service Center" is long overdue. Communication has been a sore point with this system for some time. I was transferred twice, dumped once and eventually given wrong information. Let's hope this effort works. But it wont' even be up and running until well after school starts, in 'late August'. Try 259-INFO then, In the meantime, you can contact Woody at: 615-259-8404. From Nashville's Channel 5 and the Tennessean.

Numbers enrolled in Catholic schools is up. There's a clue in here for public school proponents.
However, Broekman said that, based on conversations he's had with the families of new students and surveys he's read nationally, students choose a Catholic education for reasons of academics, discipline and safety, and not just faith and character development. From the Tennessean.

Not quite done...but life calls again.


Anonymous said...

kay -- good variety of topics!

We are very confused and concerned about MNPS dropping the All Schools Fair. It is definitely needed so the public can see what MNPS has to offer. There is a lot of choice.


Anonymous said...

Lottery: Well, it appears from threshing out the 12-mo. stats from the 17-mo. ones that:
$844.3M in sales were made.
$496M in 'prizes' were won.
$227.4M went toward scholarships. Only 27% of the sales go toward the "purpose" of the "education" lottery- and falls under the original estimate which I believe was in the 30% range - reason enough to vote against the stupid thing. Also note that the winnings exceeded the 50% estimate from the pre-lottery days. I guess that made it o.k. to steal half the unclaimed winnings "for the children". Despite R. Paul being the third largest beneficiary from the "education" lottery, administration took the biggest hit from original planning (falling to 14% from 20%). Of course, I guess we paid for the startup of pre-K with some of that too...

Eric Holcombe