Monday, December 19, 2005

Damn you 2005

I thought my immediate family had lost enough for one year, with my mother's death in April and Hurricane Katrina later but 2005 has struck again.

This past Saturday my 16 year nephew simply died of unknown causes. He began moaning in his sleep and was not breathing. CPR efforts by us and the paramedics had no effect. I held his head in my hands as he took his last breath.

My sister and all of us are devastated. My nephew had been living in Texas with another sister and her family and was doing extremely well.

2005 will not be gone soon enough.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Colorado school district opts out of NCLB

Via Schools Matter comes this story about the folks in Kit Carson, CO who have voted to make up lost federal money so the local school district can opt out of NCLB.

Jane Urschel of the Colorado Association of School Boards said she has never heard of another Colorado district asking voters to make up for the lost aid with a tax hike.

"I think it says that the best education occurs at the community level and the best decisions are made right there," she said.

Finally, some parents are beginning to see the light and react, like this group of Texas parents.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

An interesting question from Polski3

My colleague Polski has posed an intersting question? What is the oddest job you have held?

For me the answer was easy. I worked in the last single screen theater in the New Orleans area. Every Friday and Saturday night at midnight we showed "The Rocky Horror Picture Show". One of my duties was to stand guard in front of the screen when Susan Sarandon sang "Toucha Touche Touche Me" and keep people from rushing the screen and fondling the screen boobs.

Visit Polski3 and tell him about your odd jobs.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Texas cuts per student spending

In their never ending quest to make their corporate buddies rich, I mean improve education for all Texas children, the Republican controlled state govt. has actually decreased the amount of per pupil funds its sends to schools.

According to Science Daily Texas was the only state in the nation to cut per student funding. The study, done by the National Education Association, says Texas per student funding dropped by 1 percent. The study also notes that state share of funding for education has dropped to 35%, down from a high of around 60% last decade. According to the NEA, Texas is spending $7, 132 per student, compared to the national average of $8,618. A spokesperson from Gov. Goodhair’s office was quick to claim that the Texas Education Agency had reported actual per-student spending at $7,358, which if I’ve done my math correctly, shows the state only actually cut per student funding by .7%.

In a related story, the Houston Chronicle points out that:

The governor's press secretary, Kathy Walt, questioned the accuracy of the NEA figures Monday, saying they don't reflect the small funding increase that the Legislature approved for public schools for the 2004-05 school year.

They also pointed out:

Mr. Perry has cited statistics from the annual NEA survey in the past to support his claim that education spending in Texas has been more than adequate.

In short, Gov. Goodhair’s office is saying Texas didn’t cut spending on students by that much, and you can’t believe the NEA’s statistics, unless they agree with what he’s saying.