This morning I investigated an online high school diploma at work that turned out to be fake. Looking at what the student bought in to, I thought I'd do a quick list on things to look out for when selecting a school.
The website in this case, Stanley High School, is set up to hook people and can look legit. Lots of pictures of smiling students, official sounding terms like accreditation, and a nifty seal complete with a Latin motto are plastered on every page. This helped convince the client to spend over $200 for a useless piece of paper.
So what are some red flags to keep an eye out for?
There are some real online schools out there, that is what makes this a difficult issue. Fortunately, it doesn’t take much digging to find the truth.
As the nation once again looks at the bodies of dead students at yet another school we hear some of the usual shouting about guns.
Predictably, many gun advocates are arguing that we should post armed guards or arm the teachers to solve the problem.
One “solution” meme that I have seen suggests that we hire veterans to be armed guards. It even went as far as to state three per campus would probably do the job. Sounds good on paper, gives vets a job they would most likely excel at and protects the children.
Let’s take a moment to look at the smallest school district in the Tucson valley, Tanque Verde School District. TVSD has only four schools, two elementary, one middle, and one high school. A bit of quick math tells us TVSD will get twelve armed veterans. How much will they get paid? The average teacher salary in Arizona is $46,000 a year. Using that as a starting point, that adds $138,000 to the budget. And don’t forget benefits.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Tucson Unified School district has 89 schools. Hmmm… Eighty-nine times three, times 46,000 --- $12,282,000 in armed vets to protect the schools. Plus benefits. In just ONE district.
That’s, um, kinda expensive.
OK! Let’s arm the teachers.
Going back to TVSD, they have a faculty of forty-seven at the high school. A quick Google search states that a “decent 9mm” can be had for between $250-$400. For this we’ll say $300 per teacher. So TVSD is looking at $14,100 in guns. Guns are useless without ammunition so considering a box of 50 rounds is around $15 we are looking at another $700 to the cost. Hey, Tanque Verde High School can arm its teachers for just under $15,000, that’s a gonga. $60,000 for the district. Not too bad. (We’ll look at blowing up the training budget on a later date.)
Just one small little problem…
Doing another quick search on Google, we see that there was about 3.2 million full time teachers in the United States in the fall of 2017.
To the calculator!
Just for guns.
Add in another $48,000,000 for ammo.
Let that sink in a moment.
To arm America’s teachers.
In a nation that already has teachers buying basic classroom materials because the schools have no money.
Now, some of you I’m sure are saying hang on, some of those teachers probable already have guns. I agree. Let’s say two hundred thousand teachers already have guns, leaving us with just an even three million to arm. You know what? I’ll bet those freedom loving gun manufactures would give us a group rate on guns and ammo, right? How does $150 a gun and $10 for a box of 50 rounds sound?
It sounds like $480,000,000.
That’s a lot of zeros. It also does not count the part time teachers, of which there are many. And the training, which we are still ignoring for now.
Spend all this money and we still have a huge hole to plug. Armed guards and armed teachers do nothing to stop the accidental discharge of a gun that some 3rd grader has in his or her backpack.
Which is why more guns us only treating the symptoms, not the disease.
It all started with the great False Pen Theft Accusation of summer 2017.
The party of the first part accused the party of the second part of misappropriating a pen that was later to be discovered misplaced. After the error steps were taken to safeguard against any further misappropriations.
Needless to say, tempers were running high.
In the name of clarifications, writing implements were labeled.
Questions were asked.
Insults were thrown.
Things were taken personally. Some considered reactions to be unreasonable in relation to events.
Sides were taken.
And as the saying goes,
“That’s when the fight started”.
The graphite community quickly organized against Imperial Decree 347.
As is the way with these types of community confrontations, blood was spilled in a most gruesome and violent manner.
The graphite community, in an effort stem the tide, banded together and drafted a response.
This proverbial olive branch resulted in a common enemy being identified.
Hal did not let this attack go un-answered.
The digit controlled writing implement community, both the graphite kind and the ink spillers, were unsure what to do with this as Hal’s singing was strange, slow, and off-key. Hal eventually gave up on trying to communicate, seeing it as a lost cause.
Many agreed there was nothing left to say.
Nothing other than, of course –
My Bad Week ***Or*** How a Stolen Motorcycle Proves that Most Education Pundits Know Nothing About Education.
My brand new, owned it for less than six months, only had 2000 miles on it, motorcycle was stolen Saturday night.
What, you may ask, does that have to do with education policy? So glad you asked. Let me connect the dots for you.
As most anybody would, after I talked with the police I called my insurance agent, whose company will remain unnamed to protect the guilty, to report the stolen bike. Now, an important word in this reporting process is stolen. Filched. Misappropriated. Pinched. Purloined. Gone. In the arms of another.
This is important because a few days after making the report I was contacted by a claims adjuster that made the following request –
“Please make an appointment for us to inspect your vehicle.”
Um… You do understand that because it was stolen, it would be rather hard, you might even say impossible, to have my, again this an important word, stolen motorcycle inspected due to the nature of it being, you know, stolen, and therefore no longer in my possession.
So, I contacted the adjuster and left them a message letting them know that I couldn’t have the bike inspected. What with the being stolen and all. I got another call apologizing for the confusion stating that it is a standardized form and please download this app to continue the process.
On to the internet to download the app.
Aaannndd it wants me to upload a picture of the damage done to my stolen vehicle.
Sigh. The joy of standardized forms.
A major insurance business can’t be bothered to differentiate between a vehicle crash and a vehicle theft. You’d think that might be an important distinction to make as in the business of insurance it would be important to know what you are paying out for, because it could drastically change the size of the check your business needs to write. But no, it’s more important that the process have as little variation as possible to keep the costs down. Never mind that it might cause mistakes and cause you to look foolish.
This is where the connection to education comes in.
For the last thirty years or so, one of the constantly used and loudest refrains from the education reformers is that schools need to be run like a business.
OK. Based on the above business model as demonstrated by a very large and successful business and going on the knowledge that we need to be running schools like a business, this is what I propose:
No more Individual Education Plans for special education students. In fact, no more special education at all.
No more extra tutoring for all the various college entrance exams.
No more special low-cost lunch programs.
I can hear some of you cheering and to this I say not so fast! This mandate includes ALL extra non-standardized education costs.
No more Advance Placement classes for excelling students. (Fun Fact! Did you know that AP classes technically fall under the special education umbrella?)
No more band.
No more arts.
No more football.
No more baseball.
No more basketball.
No more track and field.
No more soccer.
No more sports of any kind.
No more late pick up.
No more early drop off.
Basically, if it does not pertain to the standardized class worksheets it needs to go. Just like in business.
There you have it: education running like a business as requested by the education reformers. I’m sure parents around the nation can’t wait for this system to get going and we all start seeing the results of this standardized business based school system.
You want to apologize. Voting for Donald Trump was, you now realize, a huge mistake.
I don’t want to hear it.
You went ahead and selected the most unqualified, undisciplined, reactionary, thoughtless person that could be found.
For this reason, I don’t want to hear it.
You freely chose to select a person that is openly counseled by those that are openly racist and have stated they wish to dismantle the federal government.
For this reason, I don’t want to hear it.
You voted for a person that repeatedly brags about sexual assault and ogling teenage girls.
For this reason, I don’t want to hear it.
You chose to put your faith in a person with multiple public bankruptcies and a well-known history of using said serial bankruptcies to stiff working people.
For this reason, I don’t want to hear it
You claim that you are surprised by the actions of Donald Trump as president. The only thing Donald
Trump has not lied about is who Donald Trump is. On that count, he is as true as the north star and nothing he has done as president should come as a surprise.
For this reason, I don’t want to hear it.
But her emails! But his emails, his son’s emails, his tweets, his leaking information directly to foreign officials, his constant golfing trips, his endless conflicts of interest…
I don’t want to hear it. I’m tired of hearing it. I don’t want to hear how you chose to waste your responsibility to society. I don’t care that you now regret giving nuclear launch codes to a person that obviously lacks any sort of self-control. You’re sorry that you are about to lose your health care. You sound like the twelve-year-old that is sorry he got caught throwing rocks and breaking windows. Just as the twelve-year-old is sorry he got caught, but does not connect that action with the windows he broke, you are sorry Donald Trump’s actions may adversely affect you, but you do not make the connection to how he and the rest of his backers got to office in the first place.
For these reasons, and many more, to quote the immortal words of George Costanza,
“You can stuff your sorrys in a sack.”
We had a minor emergency in the home last night.
Specifically, The Demanding Cat, in one of his more graceful moments, got stuck in the bedspread and ended up hanging by a claw. At one in the morning.
As I have stated in the past, The Demanding Cat is a very vocal animal with some Siamese in his background and one of his forms of communication has been dubbed The Death Yowl. The Death Yowl is a particularly loathsome sound that rattles you spinal cord and makes you feel like your soul is being torn asunder. It is a sound that expresses despair and longing. Seriously, it is up there with the Banshee of Irish legend. It would be a perfect way of expressing, “Excuse me human, but I seem to be rather stuck here and could use some assistance.”
The Demanding Cat uses The Death Yowl for such things as wanting to go outside, or being hungry, and when he is board. When it comes to being stuck and hanging by a fingernail would actually be a good time to yowl, death or otherwise.
Hanging by a few threads and The Demanding Cat says…
Not even a squeak.
I am instead awakened by the sounds of threads gently popping. So of course I lie in a half asleep fog wondering what that pop, poppoppop, pop, poppop, noise is before the realization kicks in forcing me up with an adrenaline shot that keeps me awake for the next two hours.
(P.S. The Demanding Cat is just fine and wants you all to realize that he meant to do that. Not that anything happened anyway.)
Dixie Chicks state they are embarrassed that President G.W. Bush is from Texas.
Conservative reaction -
"Shut up and sing." Parties to burn Dixie Chick albums. Dixie Chicks are blacklisted. They are aiding the enemy by criticizing the president. The office of the president deserves more respect
Ted Nugent threatens to physically harm President Obama.
Conservative reaction -
The man has a right to speak his mind. He's a patriot fighting oppression. The FBI investigating a threat made on the president is just proof that Obama is going to take our guns. People wanting to stop him should read up on the 1st amendment.
Meryl Streep makes a speech critical of President Elect Trump.
Conservative reaction -
She’s overrated. She’s dividing the nation. Typical out of touch elitist. Stop being so disrespectful. Shut up.
Just to be clear, I have no issue with people that disagree with what Mrs. Streep said nor with them saying she is wrong. You can even call her names if you want.
The problem is hypocrisy. (That thar is a big liberal educated word for saying one thing and than doing another.) You can’t give one celebrity a pass for making a threat to the president and then turn around and tell another that you have to respect the office of the president and make nice-nice. It doesn’t work that way. I seem to remember something about people being against one rule for the select people and another rule for everybody else somewhere in our past.
I’ve been seeing a lot of blame running around the internet the last few days. Electoral College for being outdated. Democratic Party for not nominating Sanders. Republican Party for not stopping Trump. Third party candidates. FBI for last second email findings/non-findings. Liberal media. Conservative media. The list goes on and on and on yet fails to hit the target.
It’s not the politicians. It’s not the media. It’s not the back room wheelers and dealers.
It’s the voters. Period.
I find myself wondering just how many of the protesters over the last few days actually voted. I think it is a safe bet that a large number of them didn’t. After all, I’m sure somebody else will take care of it, right? And we can always start an on-line petition. Of all the absurdities of this election, the most absurd I saw was a petition about a month prior to the election to declare Trump unfit for office. Here’s an idea, if you don’t think the guy is fit for office, don’t vote for him! Speaking of non-voters, Hispanics here in southern Arizona were all bent out of shape after Jan Brewer said they didn’t matter because they don’t vote. Well guess what Southern Arizona Hispanics, Jan was right, you didn’t vote. So the lesson here for all those that want power in this nation is go ahead and call Mexicans thugs, rapists, and murderers, because there will be no consequence.
And then there are those that did vote. The ones that ignored a long history of cons, bankruptcies, failures, and shady deals to elect a “proven businessman”. Religious voters that ignored multiple affairs while married and questionable parenting. The ones that glossed over the numerous active court cases simply because he was good at coming up with schoolyard names for his opponents. The voters that cut off their own noses to spite a single issue.
The voters that claim Trump is not an insider and they are voting for change. In some ways, these hypocrites are the worst. The David Duke supporters voting for Trump I can understand. (Although even they hated Trump a few years ago calling him a wanna-be Jew.) All you “outsider gonna change the system” voters are the worst. In case you missed it, there were congressional elections happening also, and you know what? The majority of those congress critters got re-elected. That’s right. Once again, some of the supposedly most hated people on earth again won their particular popularity contest. Just like they always do.
So much for outsiders changing the system.
The average American Voter is lazy. They sit in an echo chamber listening only to that which fits their chosen narrative. No matter if that chamber is liberal or conservative.
The average American Voter is greedy. People love to wax philosophical about what happens to a Democracy when the majority realizes they can vote to give themselves stuff. These are the same people that forget that W ran his first presidential election on how much money he was going to give people.
They are hooked on tax breaks for the rich because someday they may be rich. This voter conveniently forgets the fact that trickle-down economics (once termed “Voodoo Economics” by Bush Sr.) hasn’t worked as advertised for thirty years.
Single issues are all the American Voter can be bothered to think about when Dancing with the Stars and The Kardashians are so much more entertaining.
American Voters have been mainlining fear for so long now that they will fall at the knees of anybody that even hints at protecting them. They will shun anybody that might possibly, maybe sort of one day sixty years in the future, give them a hangnail, even quicker.
Nobody was forced to vote the way they did last Tuesday. It’s easy to think the system is rigged, broken, or outdated, but the reality is that a large enough group of people went to the poles and selected R that we now have a person that brags about assault, insults veterans, and seems to have no ability to ignore a petty feud with anyone as President Elect. Some were stimulus response voters selecting straight along party lines. Some actually thought about the choice they made. But they all voted freely.
Everybody wants the system to change. Everybody thinks politicians are only out for themselves and will gladly stomp on the little guy. They are right. The system does need to change. Politicians will gladly kick the little guy out of the way. But here’s the thing. Why should politicians change? Why should they listen to the little guy? Why bother with the call of a population that keeps telling them to stop, yet gladly reelects them? The American voter has proven time and time again that they are more than willing and happy to reward politicians that step on them, piss on them, and kick them aside.
The United States does not have a politician problem. The United States has a voter problem. Nothing will change until the voters of the United States realize that.
So, everybody is talking about the "brexit".
As you may have guessed based on the title of this entry, I have a problem with "brexit", and it's not what you think. My problem is that "writers" are smashing word parts together without thinking about what it does to the clarity of their writing.
First off, it took me a week to figure out what the hell "brexit" was. And that was as I was reading news stories about the British exit from the EU. After seeing it several times I finally realized that brexit was a mashup of British exit.
Secondly, is it really that much of a strain on your little fingers to type a whopping five extra characters!? (Holy crap, I just realized that I could have saved .000765 milliseconds if I had typed 5 instead of five. Just think of what I could have done with that extra time!) Or are people attempting to cutesy up a serious debate by making it look something like the hooking up of two (dammit, could could have saved anther .000765 milliseconds there) actors like JayLo some other such nonsense.
Which leads to thirdly, a cartoon mashup of a very serious issue that impacts the entire world cheapens the debate. A perfect example of this is that here I am ranting about the term brexit and ignoring the main issue itself. See how this garbage distracts us? (Or perhaps just me, I can latch on to SQUIRREL!)
And finally, as a writer, part of my job is to be a tour guide. A good tour guide keeps track of the people on his or her tour and doesn't loose anybody. Whenever you are reading something and you loose the train of thought because you are wasting effort on figuring out the slang used you have a bad tour guide. (Don't get me started on those text speak, sorry txtspek, dipshits.)
I can hear the apologists now - language evolves and changes.
Blah blah blah. Sure language evolves and changes and I am fine with that as long as it makes communication clearer. This does not do that. Smrandom woparts tofobrevity ancuteness oncrconfusion. Translation - Smashing random word parts together for brevity and cuteness only creates confusion.
Thanks for listening.
Now get off my lawn ya damn kids.
Step inside the mind of me.
Hi. Welcome to my little electron of the internet, where you will find random comments about whatever pops into my mind!