Parents Not Happy with Blue School

Back in April I wrote about the Blue School.  By some measure it’s not doing so well.

Parents are yanking their kids out of the “progressive,” $32,000 per-year private school founded by the Blue Man Group — which has no books and no tests — because their kids are barely learning to read, The Post has learned.

One mother, who is yanking her son at the end of the school year, complained that the school is “unstructured.”

“It’s true,” she said when asked if her kid was struggling to read.

In all, she added, four of her son’s first-grade classmates are leaving the Financial District institution.

Another parent who dropped her first-grade son off yesterday said he’s not coming back next year — because he’s got nothing to do.

“When a 6-year-old says they’re bored, there’s a problem,” the mother said. “I think they bit off more than they can chew.”

via NYPOST.com.

So I guess school choice works then!

Of course, people who can afford $32,000/year tuition do have a lot of choices.  This story shows that they are willing to take their money elsewhere when they do not feel (think?) that they are getting a good value for their dollar.

But what about those who cannot afford private school tuition?  Why do we deny them the same choice?  Just because one is poor does not mean that they’re not interested in their children’s education.

And aren’t so called “public schools” funded with tax dollars?  In sending their children to private schools the rich are in fact double-taxed on education.  This might not be perceived as a problem (they can afford it) by some but that argument missed the point.  When the “rich” pay to have their children in private school they care less about the performance of the public schools.  They’re basically walking away on the taxes they’re paying, accepting it as a loss.  And they invest not only their money but their time and energy in the private school.  This leaves our “public schools” weaker.

I prefer to think about “public schools” as government run schools.  In reality, every member of society has a vested interest in the education of the youth.  In reality, ALL SCHOOLS ARE PUBLIC SCHOOLS.  The difference is that some schools are run by the government, and some are not.

What we find in the end is that government schools are run about as well as the government runs anything.  Which is why everyone, just like those who used to send their children to the Blue School, should have the option of sending the children to the school of their choice.

Personal Safety Demonstrated by Two Cases

Two different stories in the papers recently on the same day (April 25, 2012.)

The first:

For nine years the “teardrop” rapist was one of Los Angeles’ most prolific serial predators, preying on women from Melrose Avenue to Manchester Boulevard.

The assailant, sometimes described as having a teardrop tattoo below one of his eyes, targeted girls and women walking alone in the early-morning hours. He would force them into a secluded area at the point of a gun or knife before raping or sexually assaulting them.

via L.A. Times.

And then there’s this:

Authorities in Georgia say a grandmother foiled a robbery attempt by two armed men by getting into a shootout with them, injuring one man.

Police told The Telegraph that Lulu Campbell just dropped off her grandson at her daughter’s house early Saturday morning when someone demanded money outside her car, threatening to shoot her.

“(The suspect) shouted, ‘Give me the (blanking) money and open the (blanking) door!’” Campbell told The Telegraph, describing her ordeal. “I said, ‘Oh my God, somebody is going to rob me.’ I said, ‘Baby, you’re going to kill me anyway, so I don’t have to open it!’”

Campbell says the man fired at her, missing. The 57-year-old fired back, striking him in the chest. Her truck sustained eight bullet holes in the hood, one in the grill. Both front side windows were destroyed. The second man fled after she shot at him.

“I thought that the only way to protect myself was to run him down,” she told The Telegraph. “Otherwise, he would have gotten away.”

via CBS Atlanta.

Note the differences:

In LA, much like Chicago, people are not allowed to carry guns for their own personal protection.  And in our LA story, we have young fully able bodied “girls and women” are a serially sexually assaulted by some piece of scum while walking along city sidewalks.  Running away could not save them.  Yelling for help could not save them.  The police could not save them.

In Macon Georgia, where people enjoy their Second Amendment rights, a 57 year-old woman was able to defend herself against not one but two stone cold criminals.  Grandma didn’t need to run, in fact she was trapped inside her car!  Grandma didn’t yell for help.  Grandma wasn’t helpless until the police showed up to survey the damage.  Grandma had a gun.

The Media’s Unholy Relationship with Obama

On the evening of Tuesday, June 30, 2009—just five months into his administration—Barack Obama invited a small group of presidential historians to dine with him in the Family Quarters of the White House. His chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, personally delivered the invitations with a word of caution: the meeting was to remain private and off the record. As a result, the media missed the chance to report on an important event, for the evening with the historians provided a remarkable sneak preview of why the Obama presidency would shortly go off the rails.  …

Over the two-hour dinner, Mr. Obama and the historians discussed several past presidents. It wasn’t clear from Mr. Obama’s responses which of those presidents he identified with. At one point, he seemed to channel the charismatic John F. Kennedy. At another moment, he extolled the virtues of the “transformative” Ronald Reagan. Then again, it was the saintly Lincoln…or the New Deal’s “Happy Warrior,” Franklin Roosevelt….

Mr. Obama told the historians that he had come up with a slogan for his administration. “I’m thinking of calling it ‘A New Foundation,’ ” he said.

Doris Kearns Goodwin suggested that “A New Foundation” might not be the wisest choice for a motto.

“Why not?” the president asked.

“It sounds,” said Goodwin, “like a woman’s girdle.”

via Fox News.

Absolutely amazing the collusion between  these “historians” and a sitting President.  How can they claim to be objective when they participate in such pandering?  Why doesn’t the media point out the obvious problem with these sorts of meetings?  …

That last one I can answer.

Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed:
everything else is public relations.
― George Orwell

There continues to this unholy relationship between the media and Obama specifically and politicians generally.  The media wants, no needs, access to the pols and the pols need access to the media.  It’s a symbiotic relationship where each benefits the other.

The New York Times was just last week busted printing stories whereby national secrets where “leaked” from the White House.  What we have is a major news organization dishing out exactly that the White House wanted printed.  That’s not journalism; that’s public relations.

Thankfully the internet is killing the mainstream media faster than the plague raced across Europe.  At least with citizen journalists the bias is out in the open.  People can make up their own minds considering the source.

Drivers Get Creative to Avoid High Toll Fees

Drivers fed up with New York City’s expensive toll roads are carpooling to save a few dollars on the George Washington Bridge, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Bridge commuters can save $6 a vehicle by using the “carpooling” lane. Because of this, some rogue drivers have started picking up hitchhikers determined to save money (and help others save money, too).

According to the WSJ, the George Washington Bridge’s toll booths bring in $625 million for the city. Toll cheats like this cost the city $7 million.

Port Authority police have caught on to the carpooling scheme. Officers patrolling the bridge have started issuing citations to drivers who pick up passengers near the toll booths. Picking up a hitchhiker isn’t illegal, so the police nab these drivers through tickets for an illegal lane change or stopping at a bus stop (a bus stop near the bridge is popular place for these drivers to pick up passengers).

via Business Insider.

Before I took a little break, I wrote about Cook County raising cigarette taxes and have revenue plummet.  This is just another fine example of people changing their behavior in order to avoid taxes.

The more you tax something the less you get of it.

CPS’s Safe Haven Funding Slashed

With money tight,Chicago Public Schools’summer Safe Haven program will be scaled back and serve fewer students.Last year, the district used $975,000 in federal stimulus funds for Safe Haven, which encompassed 100 churches working with 5,000 students on issues including conflict resolution and anger management, as well as reading programs, tutoring and arts.

via Chicago Tribune.

That’s 100 churches getting nearly 10,000 each to do what exactly?

Like nearly all government programs Safe Haven was doomed from the start.  It was a “spread some money around” plan that had no measure of success or failure.  Nearly a million bucks was doled out to politically connected reverends who held a few meetings, played a little basketball, and then sent the children back into the mean streets.  No one knows where the money really went.  But it’s safe to say that Safe Haven did little to curb violence.

Raise Taxes — Lose Revenue

The current taxes on a pack of cigarettes in Chicago include $2 from Cook County, 98 cents from Illinois and 68 cents from the city. If Quinn signs the latest increase, the taxes in Chicago will be $4.66 per pack, compared with 99 cents in East Chicago.

On Monday, a pack of Marlboros at a 7-Eleven on North Wells Street in downtown Chicago ran $9.69, before the state tax increase. At a 7-Eleven on Hohman Avenue in Hammond, the same smokes went for $6.20.  …

“The cigarette tax increase passed the Senate last week. Quinn has said the hike is necessary to generate about $350 million for the Medicaid program.  …

In 2006, the Cook County tax doubled to $2 per pack.  …

But even as taxes on cigarettes climbed, the revenue in Cook County dropped. In 2006, the county garnered more than $200 million in cigarette taxes. That number plummeted to $131 million in 2010, according to annual reports.

Let’s stop here for a second and think about that.  In 2006 the Cook County Government DOUBLED the cigarette tax in order to RAISE REVENUE.  What was the result?  Revenue fell by a third!!

Legislators and experts agree some drop-off can be expected as tax increases price people out of the market or alter smoker behavior. The percentage of U.S. adults who smoke declined from nearly 21 percent to 19.3 percent between 2005 and 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  …

So during roughly the same period smokers (albeit nationally) kicked the habit to the tune of 8%.  But Cook County revenue off by 34.5%.

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart has said he thought most of the revenue dip was due to fraud.

Dart and County Board President Toni Preckwinkle joined forces in September to add more staff to the county’s Revenue Department to investigate fraud claims. Within three weeks, investigators seized more than $353,000 in unstamped cigarettes and imposed more than $400,000 in fines, Dart said.  …

Well Mr. Dart, if your own statement is true then you completely suck at your job.  Your missing $69 million and you find $400,000.  You’ve located 0.58% of the missing money.  Less that one percent.

So what’s really happening here?  We know that the double the tax, yet revenues off by a third, only 8% quit, and Tom Dart can’t find the missing money.  So where’s the money?

Larry DeBoer, professor of agricultural economics at Purdue University, noted that Indiana benefits as taxes spike in neighboring states.”There’s no doubt that commerce goes back and forth across the borders,” DeBoer said. “If Illinois increases its tax by $1, we’ll realize about $10 million more in cigarette tax revenue.”

via Chicago Tribune.

Aaaah.  There’s the money!

In Illinois we’re governed by complete morons.  The Laffer Curve is a real thing.  People will change their behavior to engage in tax avoidance.  In this case is primarily involves not buying cigarettes in the City and County but in the collar counties and in Indiana.

More to the point, wouldn’t you think that when you double the tax and see revenue falling and falling and falling that someone would have stood-up and said, “Maybe we should roll-back that tax before we lose any more money?”  But not in this county.

Stupid Quinn and his ilk are going to keep raising taxes until there’s no one left to tax.