Education Week offered ten questions that it assumed Betsy DeVos, incoming education secretary, would not answer. However, Real Wisconsin News has obtained the following answers from the Trump appointee (in bold). 

  1. You've been a strong advocate for charters. Nationally, only about 6% of students attend these schools. Leaving aside the question of whether charters have outperformed non-charter public schools, what are your plans to improve the non-charter public schools: improve the teacher force, build capacity, and strengthen leadership and teaching? The way to improve most public schools is to shut them down. When you have a business that fails, you declare bankruptcy and default your creditors, and that's the way education needs to work. Schools are terrible.
  2. Do you believe in adequate school funding? You have been a major supporter of ALEC, which has encouraged governors to cut funds for public education. Following the ALEC playbook since the recession, Indiana reduced funding for public schools which serve 93% of the children by over $3-billion while giving a $539-million increase to charters and $248-million increase for voucher students who represent only 7%.  Many other states such as North Carolina have followed suit.  Is this your plan for the nation? Yes. That sounds terrific. When the schools that are failing fail, then those that are run by for-profit corporations will take over. If these fail, it's not a big deal. Another company will step in. Your percentages confuse me because it's about doing what's right.
  3. The federal IDEA requires states and school districts to provide all necessary services to students with disabilities, but federal funding to support these services has steadily declined, and there is evidence that spending on special education is encroaching on spending for other educational services.  Should federal funding for special education be increased, or reduced?  Should states and local districts be given more flexibility in how they serve students with special needs? We will continue to mandate IDEA to public schools, so there should be no whining from special ed teachers or militant parents. Federal funding, however, will be reduced. Thank you.
  4. President-elect Trump has pledged to allocate $20-billion of funding for voucher programs nationwide. Do you believe this is a realistic figure? If so, where will that money come from? Would you consider allocating Title 1 funds for this purpose? The money will come from public school districts that pay teachers big salaries and huge retirements for disastrous performance.
  5. In your voucher plans would all religious sects be allowed to have a voucher school? If no, who would choose from among the sects? Just not Muslims. Or Satanists. Or Spanish Catholic schools. The rest are fine.
  6. One of the critical roles played by the U.S. Department of Education is to protect the civil rights of children in our nation's public schools.   Among the kinds of issues that the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has dealt with in recent years are charges of denial of services to disabled students and English learners, discrimination against LGBT students in terms of access to services and facilities, and charges of sexual harassment and assault on college campuses.  What steps do you as Secretary plan to take to ensure that no students in any of the protected classes is denied the educational services to which they are entitled under the law? I couldn't even make it to the end of the question because I was laughing so hard. Have Hollywood make a movie about it.
  7. Last month, a coalition of human and civil rights groups signed a letter voicing their concerns about your commitment to protecting civil rights of all students, including LGBTQ youth. How do you answer the charge that your past support for groups such as Focus on the Family and the Family Resource Council raise legitimate concerns about your commitment to safeguarding the civil rights of all students? Do you believe that the government should help to create safe environments in schools for LGBTQ youth? The current safe environment in schools encourages all students to be dumber than their counterparts overseas. Education is not about singing around a campfire together.
  8. In 2015, you made the following comment during a speech: "Many Republicans in the suburbs like the idea of school choice as a concept...right up until it means that poor kids from the inner city will invade their schools. That's when you will hear the sentiment - 'well, it's not really a great idea to have poor minority kids coming to our good suburban schools.' Although they will never actually say those words aloud."  What resources and oversight will your office provide to school districts seeking to desegregate their schools? Vouchers for everyone. Then it's up to parents to transport kids and schools to let them in. It's really a moral choice. Maybe sports-related, sometimes. But no one really wants to have to hide their purses when they visit the local school.
  9. Former Michigan state schools Superintendent Tom Watkins, a fellow advocate of charter schools, has said that in Michigan, "in a number of cases, people are making a boatload of money, and the kids aren't getting educated." The vice president of the state Board of Education cited the lack of charter school regulation that has led to "financial oversight and transparency" issues.  On your website, you state clearly that you are an advocate of "strong accountability." Yet, groups you are connected to, including the Great Lakes Education Project and the Michigan Freedom Fund, opposed legislation that would have increased accountability for charters in Detroit. Can you clarify your position on regulating charter schools, in that instance, and more broadly? What should regulation for charter schools look like, in practical terms? If a company makes a boatload of money, then it deserved that money. Parents will decide with their vouchers which schools deserve boatloads of cash and which public schools will close. That's making America Great Again.
  10. Over 1-million U.S. students live in isolated rural areas.  How do your ideas about charters and choice help them? Really, out of your ten questions, one was about retards, one about queers, and then one was about the one million kids living in the middle of nowhere? This is the perfect example of how political correctness has destroyed public schools. The answer, to all three, is, who the hell cares? We can educate most of the US kids for half as much, and then the parents of the sub-groups can all ship their kids off to boarding school in California. Whatever.

 

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Jacksonville News

New Jax Witty

Articles, reviews, advice, and legitimate research to go along with some back-handed comments. Think of us as Jacksonville's mother-in-law.
  • Using Walgreens For Covid Vaccine Semi-Fail
    I was recently deemed eligible For a Covid-19 vaccine. Gateway Mall was a good site when my wife went, but I decided I'd save some time driving and choose a local Walgreens. Kind of a mistake, though I am vaccinated.
  • JAXEX Craig: Loud Sunday in East Arlington Probably New Norm
    I know some folks from Holly Oaks contacted me about the noise from JAXEX Craig Airport a while back they had video of planes continuously circling, reminiscent of something I'd see months later over my own neighborhood. Maybe complaints from Holly Oaks moved some of the routes. Maybe airport traffic means everyone in East Arlington must suffer. 
  • Jax Local Ad of the Week: Those Krazy Kids
    First off, support local businesses, whether they use kids, animals, or inanimate objects in advertising. 

    Let's take a look at some of the local ads that use kids, who obviously say the darndest things. We'll look at five local Jacksonville ads that use kids as part of their pitches in order to see if it's effective as it is cute. 

    The first ad uses a slightly older kid than the rest, and we'll assume it's a daughter (heir) to the Air to Air company. She suggests, "Let's give away a $350 WIFI Thermostat with every Carrier 15 Seer Replacement Heat Pump." Even if this kid was raised in a household of HVAC folk, it's very unlikely she'd make this statement. Most kids would be like, "Buy a new Carrier system from my dad so he can get me a PS5." Maybe, if it's a really altruistic kid, she'd say, "Buy a new Carrier so that our company can donate food to homeless people or something." The latest ad for Air to Air features a teenage girl (not sure if it's the same girl), and she also suggests the same giveaway. Whereas I can almost buy that a little kid wants to give stuff away to customers, I'd think a teenager would be like, "Just buy a Carrier from my dad already so I can get a Jeep Wrangler for my Sweet Sixteen. Or don't. Whatever."


    The next ad for Southern Home Additions features Erich, who says, "Don't wait til I take over...CALL NOW!" He's dressed in a tuxedo and seemingly dancing, perhaps at a family wedding. While he looks like he might be saying, "A cha cha, I love Kool Aid!" it's entirely possible that he was just told at the wedding that he would one day take over the family construction business, perhaps because his aunt just married some guy from a rival construction company. Still, I can't imagine he'd have the foresight to suggest people should invest in home additions now rather than in twenty years when he's the boss. He'd probably really say something like, "I love trucks and mac n cheese and puppies!" when asked what he wants to tell potential customers. And, honestly, who doesn't love those things?



    The next ad from Elite AC features another cute kid who is looking shyly away from the camera and saying, "Kids like Clean Air, Trust us!" This is an interesting statement, coming from a kid. First off, kids are very self-centered, and it's unlikely this child would say that all kids like clean air if he's really talking about himself. Also, most kids don't use the royal we in a sentence or consider themselves to be part of the company. So a kid, when prodded to do so, MIGHT say, "I like clean air; trust me!" You notice how I also don't capitalize random words and use a semi-colon properly? If this wasn't a speech bubble that's quite obviously coming from a kid, I'd say it was the disembodied voice of the owner of Elite AC saying it, with "us" representing the employees of the company. If you really want to go out there, you could say that the eyes rolled to the side are more creepy and the possessed child is speaking as Legion, but most people wouldn't trust a child who's in need of an exorcism. 



    Precision Carpet features a little boy and a pit bull, two of the most destructive entities known to suburbia. The boy has a smudge of dirt on his face and maybe in his hair while wearing overalls (reminiscent of Dennis the Menace). He's not really saying anything or even doing anything, but I suppose he will make a mess, given the chance. However, the irony in this photo is that neither the boy nor the dog are on carpet. The vans are. I have not yet seen a carpeted garage or driveway in Jacksonville, but I guess Precision Carpet will clean em if you got em. 

    Side note: I did see a carpeted driveway while walking through Winnipeg (of all places), and I have seen some ratty carpet in enclosed patios here in Jacksonville, though I'm not really sure carpet cleaners can handle engine oil or grease from a grill. 

    Credible AC uses a baby with his/her family to sell UV light filtering and duct cleaning. While neither will actually protect anyone from Covid, my wife definitely made me get the ducts cleaned in our house when our first baby was born, so I get it: the billion-year-old dust just sitting in your ducts is better off aging in a vacuum or a landfill in Georgia. Guys, just humor your wives and get the ducts cleaned the one time you have a firstborn. 

    There is one other detail that might need some explaining: the extremely appealing model-parents both sport thick and dark hair, while the cute baby seems to be totally blonde or completely bald. I'm sure the kid will look like dad eventually, but that's one father who might be doing the math of his deployment and when his wife scheduled the construction work, carpet cleaning, and AC installation.  I'm kidding. The real question is why the dad's dressed like a lumberjack when the family lives in Florida and has a working HVAC system. 





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  • Jax Local Ad of the Week: Pro Glass
    Remember to support local businesses. Now to the ad.

    Pro Glass is advertising frameless shower doors, but the door itself, along with the rest of this bathroom scene, seem just a little bit off. At first glance, it's a beautiful master bath, but the fun (and the devil) is in the details. Let's take a closer look at that room.
    The glass door looks great. But something seemed weird about it swinging in to me. When I looked it up, building code generally says that shower doors CAN swing in but MUST swing out. That's why I've never seen one swung in, and you probably haven't, either. My assumption is that this door swings in AND out, and maybe people tend to like the look of it swung into the shower area. The reason for the code is that a door that only swings in would trap someone in the shower if he or she falls, which is why this one must swing both ways (insert pop icon joke here). So I get that, but why is it swung in or out in the photo? Would anyone leave the shower like this? My wife certainly wouldn't let me leave the shower door open after I was done. Just in case you want to duplicate this look without hiring pros like Pro Glass, be sure to avoid installing a shower door backwards in order to save space.

    The bathtub seems to be in the middle of the room, which is fine by me. I assume it makes plumbing a little more difficult, but that's a homeowner's choice. The little end table/stool next to the tub is a bit more questionable. It seems to be leather or some other soft material. On top of the table is a tray with bath oils or whatnot. Also, two towels. One towel is rolled up while the other is draped over the table. Why? I guess it looks fancy, but also, no towel racks. Is that a Florida thing? Because when I bought my house, it only had one towel rack in the shower and one over the tub, neither of which were convenient. I had to add more to the walls, where towel racks go. Or, you could add a door towel rack. But this bathroom has no towel racks at all. Just a window to allow sun-drying, but no rack in the shower or near the tub or on the door. I guess you're supposed to drape your wet towel over your beautiful shower enclosure, but that kind of defeats the purpose of all that beautiful glass.

    The last detail that is odd and maybe even a bit frightening is the bird. 
    The bird is standing in the way of a door that clearly opens in. Is it a doorstop? Maybe it's a towel rack. But when I searched online for bird doorstops and towel racks, I could not find this bad boy. I did notice that the bird stands out more than anything else in the room, so it must be important. But it's blocking EMTs from getting into the bathroom, just like a shower door that opens in. It also looks like it has sharp edges, like something I'd stick in the garden rather than where naked people walk around. If it's iron, it would probably rust as a towel rack. My wife says it's a crane. Do you want to have a crane, whether it's a towel rack, a doorstop, or a piece of art, staring at you in the shower or tub while blocking your only exit? No, thank you.



  • 1986 Bertone (Fiat) X 1/9 in Jacksonville

    I've been asked by a reader to add some photos of my X. I don't think she'd mind. 

    I've seen a few people snap photos of her as I drive around, but I've kind of neglected to take many of my own. Her permanent, legal home is in Wisconsin, where most of the photos were taken. 
  • Section 8 Housing In Jax and St. Johns


    I first heard of Section 8 housing when I saw a news story about St. Johns County. That story said St. Johns had some kind of law against Section 8 housing, which resulted in fewer options to house the homeless contingent in St. Augustine. I never looked up Section 8 at the time, though I did wonder how St. Johns could ban Section 8 while Duval can't. I'm still not all that sure about how or why, but I do know most of us don't want Section 8 in our back yards. In fact, I just discussed something similar to Section 8 with my kids, as we drove past the Dunes Apartments next to Ed Austin Park. I said the apartments looked so bad that it might make sense to pull them down and build some smaller single-family homes, which might result in some of the people who no one really wants hanging out in a park being forced to move away. But then one of my kids asked me where they'd go, and that's what makes it complicated. I'd like to say, "St. Johns County," but I can't. And so that means that those of us in Duval who live too close to Section 8 housing will eventually move to where that type of housing can't exist.
  • Jax Local Ad of the Week: Beachside Swimwear and Gifts
    First and foremost, support local businesses. Now, let's look at the ad. 

    At first glance, this week's ad might seem like standard swimwear fare, but (like most ads) there are some strange details as you look closer. But maybe it's just because the business is trying to sell off those old 2020 swimsuits. Or it's just really difficult to make swimsuit models look natural in a tiny print ad.
  • Jacksonville's Two Civil War Burnings

    At some point, most of us who live in Jacksonville learn about the fire of 1901 that destroyed most of the city. That's why I was surprised to learn of two other fires in the city's past, both during the Civil War. Neither fire was as destructive property-wise, but I think the argument could be made that both of these fires were more destructive to relationships between locals that extended to the rest of the country. These fires were burnings rather than an accidental fire like in 1901.
  • Polar Blue Skies?
    What are polar blue skies? 

    I saw the term used on the First Coast News Weather Channel. When I asked Google, she said she didn't know how to help with that, so I just searched the term "polar blue skies" myself on Google. The top results were from old First Coast News posts about the weather. So is it a Jax thing or a local meteorologist thing? Or a real thing that most weather people ignore?
  • Jax Local Ad of the Week: Milano's for Valentine's Day

    Local ads can be fun because they are not always as polished as national ad campaigns. This is the first in a series that will take a look at some local ads from mailer magazines.

    Support local businesses, even if their ads weird you out a little.

    My wife enjoys Milano's, and we have used the restaurant's promotions in the past. And if it wasn't for a pandemic, we might have done the Valentine's Day Special, even with it being presented in this somewhat odd ad.

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