Friday May 29, 2015
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I seem to remember Pat Randall being concerned about the existence of such a rope course and the problems and future costs associated with covering all of the insurance and safety aspects. Looks like Pat was correct.
C'mon Pam, what happened? Today is the first day I haven't driven by there.
Pat, I see you read the article, glad you found it.
There had to be a first time that Pat was correct. :-)
Anyway, as you already know if you read my earlier comments on that thing, I see that whole affair as someone with his hand in our tax pockets. As is aid in the first place, that monster is so outlandish, and so obviously an insurance problem, that I cannot imagine anyone even looking at it twice. Someone made a lot of money selling and installing that thing — tax money. And now more tax money is going to go down the drain to tear it down and get rid of it.
Left to me I would donate it to a scrap yard, with the condition that they remove it and leave the area in its original condition, with new grass planted.
But what I think we should push for the hardest is an investigation of who authorized tax money to be spent in a grant for a piece of junk. Some legislator somewhere worked a deal with some company, and both of them should be charged with collusion to defraud the United States government. Until we start putting white collar crooks in jail where they belong we will keep on seeing things like this.
Yes, unfortunately the lawyers who were slobbering all over themselves waiting for the inevitable will have to find some other source to fund their BMW payments. Not sure who is the most at fault in this issue, the folks at the school that didn't see "lawsuit" written all over that setup, or the sharks in the legal profession who make a sizable living off of stupid people. I think this country could prosper very well without either.
Mr. Garrett: I do not think it was "a piece of junk". The students who used the course had to earn the right to do so with correct behavior and grades. My grandson was excited to be in the group that got to accomplish the task. The course was designed to instill in the students that hard work does pay off for them. Shame on the company that took advantage of the Grants offered for Physical Education. Shame on our School board for not doing enough research and seeing into the future far enough to know that they would not be able to afford the course when the grant monies ran out! This is the same School board that voted to sell a perfectly good building to a private school and that decision also came back to bite them in the rear! Once again our students suffer because of someone's lack of integrity, honesty and poor decision making!
Barbara, I agree with your point of view. It is the obvious, logical, sensible point of view. I only characterized the rope walk as a "piece of junk" in reference to the bottom line: Of what educational use was it. I taught, as you may know, for a number of years, and I am happy to say that in all the time I taught I never saw a school board make those kinds of errors. I worked for the wealthiest school district in Texas, one of the wealthiest states in the union, and we didn't waste money on glitz; it went into solid education.
And down in Mesa the same thing was true. I watched Mesa dip down into the budget and become one of the 40 largest owners of Macintosh computers in the world, but I also watched the results. Those kids came away with a real education where technology was concerned. No games, no frivolities, but solid education in an area that meant a lot to them.
Mind you, I have to add that it is hard today to tell what school districts would be doing if they were left alone to teach. The numbers shock me every time I see them. Total cost of education per student:
1960 $175 (in 1920 dollars)
1970 (just before I entered public school teaching) $816
Those numbers reflect a steady increase in what kids were learning. The number of lab courses vastly increased between 1940 and 1970, and those numbers reflect that fundamental change, and what it cost us. It also reflects a change from an average of 33 kids per classroom (real numbers, not faked by adding in teachers who don't teach) to 24 kids per teacher. The curve emulates the curve for improvement in knowledge.
But then? About that time things began to go wrong.
1980 $2,272 per student
1990 $4,980 per student
2000 $7,394 per student
2010 $10,337 per student.
The next numbers are almost beyond belief. The total cost. of education.
In 1940 we spent just $2 billion on education, and with the upgraded education of the '60's and 70's that had grown, not unexpectedly to $40 billion. That's a big number, but one we can afford.
1980 $97 billion
1990 $205 billion
2000 $372 billion
And now? Can you believe that in 2010 $562 went into education?
Why? Politicians trying to buy votes. I taught through those years, and what I saw was a steady decline in our schools because of federal interference. The chemistry courses I taught in 70's and 80's could not have been improved; they represented the maximum amount a high school kids could learn in one year. The ones they teach today? Watered down, barren, and content empty.
Another example of a board not exercising "due diligence"
Pam — and everyone else, come to think of it.
There isn't anything much more difficult than having to criticize people who are serving voluntarily and without reward in some public office, and it is even more true when it's a local office; we are talking about people we know, people from out own town, and sometimes even out own neighborhood.
That's what makes it so hard at times to run a forum like this one; you want to pat people on the back for donating their time and energy, not to carp at them. But when you can't even get the answer to a simple, honest question what are you supposed to do? Just walk away and forget it?
Walking away and forgetting it is what allows our system of government — at any level — to fail. It's easier perhaps, but we owe it to ourselves to stand up and demand answers, and if we don't get them to take steps to see to it that we change the way things are being run. It may be close to impossible to do that at the federal level in these times, and even at times at the state level, but at the local level we still have the means and the numbers to control our own future, and if we don't do it we have no one to blame but ourselves for the results.
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