Thursday, April 27, 2017

Charter Schools

In an article on the closing of a Cobb charter school the AJC offers this definition:
"Charter schools are public schools that operate independently and are held accountable for academic results, finances and governance."
It should be noted that DeKalb County public schools do not meet these criteria. 

Just Say No

Colleges and Universities across the United States are dropping entrance exams like a hippity-hopper droppin' da mike. And this isn't just your local community college trying to grow enrollment at any costs, there are some big names including Harvard Law. It don't get no better than that.

Some believe this allows them flexibility in favouring diversity over competence without discoverable evidence that could put them on the losing side of a civil lawsuit. Maybe, maybe not. But there is some merit to the argument that lowering application requirements encourages a greater number of applicants without increasing the number of asses-in-classes thereby decreasing their acceptance rate. Acceptance rate is one of US News & World Reports key performance indicators, the lower the better and better numbers mean greater prestige. This is close but no WEO. They do want significant increases in the application numbers but not just to appease a questionable rag. Applications are not free and no one gives a refund to any applicant accepted or not. So these Colleges and Universities are tapping their brand for new and growing revenues.

And this isn't chump change:

  1. University of California-Los Angeles:$5,369,840
  2. University of California-Berkeley:$4,681,320
  3. Stanford University:$3,632,130
  4. University of California-San Diego:$3,608,290
  5. University of Southern California:$3,419,440
  6. Harvard:~$3,000,000

Millions of dollars taken from dumb chumps many of whom don't belong in any college let alone a big name school. This is taking candy from babies. 

Monday, April 24, 2017

HOPE Not

North Fulton is looking pretty chill on the Milestone end of grade assessment:
Hell, it is over twice as good as South Fulton! And yet, in no category does North Fulton score better than fifty-fifty. Then it gets interesting. In the same AJC article we find that neither SAT nor ACT scores are blowing anyone away and yet sixty percent qualify for the HOPE scholarship.

Your education dollars at work.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Outlawing Amway

The Smart City is working to ensure that the Amway Showroom you keep in your house is verboten as you cannot keep any for-sale merchandise at home. Not sure yet about selling out of the trunk of your car or the back of the van.

Sec. 27-168. - Home occupations.


(g) Use permits and supplemental regulations for Type B home occupations.


(2) Supplemental regulations.
e. page2image23456No stock in trade may be displayed or kept for sale on the premises and no on-premises sales may be conducted.  
This also impacts Tupperware parties but that is redundant as they will also be outlawed under the "no more than one customer on-prem at one time" rule. Unless burping the bowl is a "learning experience" in which case you can have up to three. And those lingerie parties? Fuggedaboutit!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Anencephalic Journalism

Folks are wondering why respect of and trust in mainstream media is at an all-time low. This little gem showed up recently an AJC article about millennials:
"In 1980, two-thirds of 25-to 34-year-olds were already married. One in eight had already been married and divorced. in 2015, just two in five millennials were married, and only 7 percent had been divorced."
Did you get all that? For starters these "journalists" really like to mix up their numerical metaphors, like "how many olympic sized swimming pools does it take to stack up to the top of the empire state building?" Now they could have normalized using percentages replacing "two-thirds" with 66.7%, "one in eight" with 12.5%, "two in five" with 40% and just left "7 percent" alone. That would enhance the clarity but somewhat undercut the dramatic effect and isn't "journalism" just about dramatic effect?

But the waters are muddied in other ways. In the first case, the near-but-post-boomers, they examine a cohort spanning 10 years - count fence posts, not rails. In the second case, without an explicit definition from the "journalist" but relying on Wikipedia (the only real source of truth) we can place the millennials' birthdates from 1985 thru 2005. To make it apples and apples let's say it ranges from early eighties to the early naughties to cover the 25-35 year old range.

So why didn't the author just say "when comparing two 25-34 year old cohorts, the first from 1980 and the second from 2017 we see these percentages of marriages and divorce?" Could be ignorance on his part or presumed ignorance on yours. Could be he just needed words to waste ink. No matter, he did more to undermine the overall credibility of the media than he did to inform the public. And that is why media gets no respect.



Thursday, April 13, 2017

Bullshit Walks

TOD has already pontificated on the absurdity of local government supporting a business that will put folks in a sweaty state of dehydration, likker 'em up and dump them into rush hour traffic and the supporting ordinance has been pulled. For now. The backpedaling sponsor clearly intends to ground-hog-day the measure: "I believe [...] that there will be a right time to introduce this." So expect the hammer to come back out and drive this screw in. When you least expect it. Until then the policy is 'go back to the "don't ask don't tell like" we have always done' which is a blatant statement that our elected officials are a bit more beholding to whoever "we" might be than to the wee folk who put them in office. 

More importantly this fundamentally undermines rule of law and the very ordinances that Council is responsible for crafting. Do any ordinances really matter when those responsible for them address being on the losing end of a debate or compromise by simply ignoring the law of the burg? This kind of attitude has no place in civil society let alone in representative government. 

Monday, April 10, 2017

Money Talks

In his letter to shareholders Jamie Dimon, J.P. Morgan Chase Chairman and CEO, offers this observation:
Education is leaving too many behind.

Many high schools and vocational schools do not provide the education our students need – the goal should be to graduate and get a decent job. We should be ringing the national alarm bell that inner city schools are failing our children – often minorities and children from lower income households. In many inner city schools, fewer than 60% of students graduate, and many of those who do graduate are not prepared for employment. We are creating generations of citizens who will never have a chance in this land of dreams and opportunity. Unfortunately, it’s self-perpetuating, and we all pay the price. The subpar academic outcomes of America’s minority and low-income children resulted in yearly GDP losses of trillions of dollars, according to McKinsey & Company.
The inexorable decline of Government Schools is a "wrap-around service" that has stabbed society in the back. 

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Government Mandates

Recently a member of the left wing punditry pontificated on the potential passing of a campus carry bill. Let's dissect a few bits of what passes for logic in those circles.
"Georgia law mandates no firearms safety training to carry a gun on campus."
In fact Georgia law has no training mandate to acquire a carry license and carry anywhere, on or off campus. Training, practice and range time are not prohibited by law either. And this is important as one seeks a thread of continuity in what appear to be random synaptic firings.
"It is hard to fathom that my children or anyone else's would be safer sitting alongside an armed classmate with no training."
This author has demonstrated time and again a difficulty to fathom things involving the simplest of logic and this self-awareness should be nurtured. On the one hand it is posited that no one, particularly those seeking a concealed carry license would have or acquire any form of training unless it is mandated. This is a paternalistic world where a mandate is necessary to compel behaviour. OK. But. There is no mandate saying that "if you can get a carry permit you must get a carry permit" is there? So by the logic of the author's mandate manifesto a law merely allowing legal carry on campus will result in no guns on campus because carry is not mandated.

Then the author offers "the right answer."
"The only people who should be carrying guns across our colleges are campus police." 
A more coherent argument could be made that there should be no campus police and certainly not armed. 

Monday, April 3, 2017

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Double Taxation

Sam bought his car, new, two years ago for twenty grand. At the time he paid fourteen hundred dollars in Sales Tax to the state of Georgia. Yesterday he sold the car for ten grand to his nephew and now the state wants an additional seven hundred dollars because of another transaction on property that has already been taxed on this value. Keep in mind this is not tax on increased value of an appreciating asset. Instead it is a second bite at the apple on the remaining value of a depreciating asset and is commonly considered double taxation.

In the early days of the TEA party this would have caused an uproar but today it doesn't warrant a peep out of the formerly anti-tax crowd.