Remains of the Day, 7-1-07

So. The only reason I’ve been resisting July is because its arrival signifies the proximity of the present to my next birthday.

1. The Columbus Dispatch with an interesting breakdown of the now-legal Ohio budget.

2. If you remember that the U.S. Supreme Court decided some case on race and school assignments, but you’re not sure what it said or why it mattered? Try this Q&A from the Wall Street Journal. This SCOTUSBlog commentary by Lyle Denniston explains the importance of Justice Anthony Kennedy’s concurring opinion (important for those of us who never quite got what a concurring opinion really meant). Here’s an article on how Cincinnati Public Schools is taking the decision in stride – with no comment from Rosa Blackwell, wife of Republican and defeated GOP candidate for Ohio governor in November 2006, Ken Blackwell.

3. Bill Sloat forgot to mention how titillating Buffalo Gals Won’t You Come Out Tonight (and dance by the light of the moon) is and was, even nearly 163 years ago when it first hit the dance floors (it’s even got a line in it about a girl having a hole in her stocking, a la Joni Mitchell). Peter Bronson needn’t worry about that federal money Ohio won’t get for abstinence only education: it’s not going to pass the Congress anyway.

4. Paul Lambert at Save the Hilliard Schools has this excellent “show your work” post about one district’s teacher pay. The only thing I would like Paul to add is whether this is a good or bad thing, deserved or not deserved. I gather the implication is that it’s outrageous, or something. But – I’m not sure. Paul?

5. Mayor Bruce H. Akers, anyone from Pepper Pike or surrounding communities: this issue will be coming back. We said so when it got torpedoed a few years ago and with the way house sales aren’t going right now? You can bet it will be back. I drove past what it looks like on Liberty Road down to Twinsburg – very, very nice. And very unobtrusive.

6. Why isn’t anyone asking or reporting on what precisely James Beasley, ODOT director, is going to say has to give, given his comment that ODOT has promised to do $1.2 billion dollars more work that it can afford? And what does this sentence in the article mean:

James G. Beasley noted the deficit is another $7 billion for projects without financial commitments, including the Brent Spence Bridge that carries Interstates 71 and 75 across the Ohio River. Early estimates top $3 billion for that project alone.

Is a financial commitment an appropriation? So the total deficit for work promised is $8.2 BILLION? How can that be, when before Beasley came in, the annual budget for ODOT (annual, not biennual) was only $2.2 billion?

Anyone?

This stuff comprises our state’s infrastructure, yes? Someone should know this stuff, yes? Someone does, presumably, yes? Just not us, yes?

7. Did you know that 121 schools opted out of U.S. News and World Report’s annual college round-up? Meanwhile, bloggers and others interested in law school rankings have devised alternatives to the USNWR’s rankings. Clever kids, those law school students.

8. I have a better idea: give your money to a fund so that your classmates can do public interest law while you’re out cruising and boozing. Duh.

9. Law students and lawyers are emotional wrecks. This is news to anyone?

10. In favor of community-based radio stations. I don’t know much about this topic, but given what’s happening with cable franchising, maybe such community-based options become more important?

11. Last but definitely not least is the New York Times Magazine article about Wikipedia. My school district has banned the middle schoolers from using it (it’s blocked).

I decided this morning that I’m going to start telling people that I’m 50, just to hear them say, “But you don’t look 50.”

11 thoughts on “Remains of the Day, 7-1-07

  1. Pingback: Why didn't ODOT task force get created in July so we'd be on the way to solutions, not shortfalls, now? | Writes Like She Talks

  2. Hey! Unique! Quit that! Someone actually asked me yesterday, someone who reads the blog, You aren’t really 50, are you? 🙂

  3. Jeff – I believe it’s the latter. I’m more or less okay with it but it’s going to look dumb in the future, given how much a part of the fabric of research the tool has become. Did you read the NYT’s piece this past Sunday on it?

  4. Paul – so many people are content to complain. You go FAR beyond that and hold up information for them to compare their concerns.

  5. Shalom Jill,On being 50: plus you have the added advantage of being asked how you managed to snag such a handsome younger stud for a husband.B’shalom,Jeff

  6. Shalom Jill,If the school is blocking Wikipedia because some of the entries are R or even X rated, that’s justifiable.If, on the other hand, the school is blocking Wikipedia because it makes it too easy for kids to cut-and-paste answers to teacher’s questions, then the school is taking the lazy way out.We can no longer ask questions that require no processing such as: what are the three achievements of the Truman administration?Wikipedia (or more likely Google) are going to give the student the answer in about 30 seconds with no learning taking place.B’shalom,Jeff

  7. Jill:Thanks for the citation.Since starting my blog about our school system, the mission has been the same: transparency.I’ve spent a long time in business, including a stint in mergers & acquisitions for a decent sized international corporation. One of the most important skills one develops in such an assignment (i.e. buying other companies) is the ability to ferret out the answers to a few key questions, such as:1. Where does the money come from?2. How is it spent?3. Are income and expense driven by the same factors?4. What are the trends?It’s like criminal forensics — the evidence is usually right in front of you, but it takes skill, intuition, and mostly persistence to dig out the truth.In our community, both the municipal government and the school district publish lots of facts, but not much truth. While they continue publishing glowing reports, our property taxes are exploding. It’s going to come to a head with our next operating levy, which I predict will ask for a 40% increase in our local property taxes.In the case of teacher salaries, I expect they’ll look to jack their payscale in the 2-3% range. The district officials will sign a new collective bargaining agreeing to this, and both will announce that they are pleased with the deal. The public, who doesn’t understand the built-in length-of-service increase already in the contract, will think it sounds like a great deal, and applaud both parties for a successful negotiation. Neither the union nor the Board will explain the whole truth.I personally don’t think teachers are overpaid. But most people think they’re underpaid, and forced to live with paltry 2-3% annual increases. They really need to understand the whole of the deal buried in the union agreement before forming an opinion about whether teachers are appropriately compensated.PL

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