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Re: “You-Do-It Op-Eds

Bill is a pompous windbag, who loves the sound of his own voice (i.e., opinions and writings), any other opinion or ALTERNATIVE perspective must be wrong, and any other discussion, totally pointless. Funny thing since the BW is supposed to be an ALTERNATIVE newspaper, the voice of the people. Apparently it's become the voice of Bill Cope and the few who agree with his opinions or issues of importance. Sound familiar? I think I've seen this attitude elsewhere...FoxNews, anyone? Same behavior, different opinion. For shame!

Posted by MizzJules on 03/31/2011 at 5:27 PM

Re: “Crumbling Foundations

Agreed, the slight on homeschool students is ridiculous and uncalled for, as if those students don't have the right to an education as well. But my point was that IDVA students are not homeschool students, they're enrolled in a public charter school which requires the same standards and testing as any other public school. In fact, IDVA actually has much higher testing standards. My kids have to pass their lesson and unit assesments at or above 80% before they can move forwared in the curriculum. This ensures that students have an appropriate grasp of the subject matter before moving on and building upon it. I love that IDVA and K12 require that my kids be A-B students, anything less is unacceptable.

Posted by MizzJules on 02/27/2011 at 8:56 PM

Re: “Crumbling Foundations

I won't even comment here on whether or not I am in agreement with the current education reforms currently underway in Idaho. What I will comment on is Bill Cope's deliberate misrepresentation of data to further his own agenda. In the paragraph regarding Idaho Virtual Academy he states that Idahoans should be outraged at spending $12.8 million on students enrolled in this academy, which is currently roughtly 3500 students statewide. He also insinuates that apparently these students do not have the right to state-funded education, simply because they attend a virtual charter school from home instead of a brick and mortar public school. Let's make one thing clear, IDVA is not homeschool curriculum, it is a public charter school, and therefor is just as entitled to public funding as any other public school. IDVA students have just as much right to education as any other student in Idaho. IDVA parents pay taxes that go toward education, just like every other Idahoan. In fact IDVA parents have made a significantly larger investment in their childrens' education than simply paying taxes by also contributing their time, as virtual learning requires diligent parental involvement and guidance. Contrary to popular belief, students of IDVA do not learn from a computer, in fact they spend less than 20% of their time in front of a computer. The online school merely directs and facilitates the educational process, but utilizes traditional forms of curriculum as well, i.e., text books, workbooks, hands on learning tools, science kits, games, assessments, etc., which are administered and facilitated by the parent. Online classes taught by licensed teachers IN Idaho are incorporated for certain subjects, like math labs, science lectures, and literature discussion groups. IDVA employs 62 teachers, including specialized and special education teachers. ALL of these teachers are licensed in and live in Idaho, so I don't know where anyone is getting the idea that we are shipping teaching jobs out of state. Now let's do some basic math. According to Bill, taxpayers spent $12.8 million on IDVA last year, with 3500 students that breaks down to $3657 per student. By contrast, according to the education budget last year, as posted on the State's website, average per student spending for public schools was $7452. If you're curious how I came to this number, it was as follows: 2010 public school budget was $1,663,625,200. There are roughly 225,000 public school students in the state of Idaho. If we subtract from those numbers the $12.8 million and 3500 students that account for IDVA budget and students, you're left with the rest of the education budget and students in Idaho. You simply divide the budget by the students and that's the number you come up with. So IDVA actually saves the taxpayer more than 50% per student, and we're supposed to be upset by this?! If funding were to cease for programs like IDVA, and those 3500 students had to enroll in public schools, the money spent to educate these same students would more than double to $26 million for this group of students, versus the $12 million currently being spent. It's basic math Bob, perhaps you should have done it before being outraged over a 50% tax savings. With regard to the argument that the K12 program is somehow inherently evil because it is based out of Virginia is absurd. Anyone who has taken the time to actually sample the program, or spent significant time using it, knows that it is an exceptional program utilizing high quality curriculum. Isn't this what we want for our kids, the very best? Furthermore, do you honestly believe that all the curriculum, text books, and supplies used in public schools were produced and purchased in Idaho? I seriously doubt it. I'd venture a guess that most of public school text books and curriclum come from around the country and the world. In light of this, I believe that where IDVA procures their curriculum and programming is a non-issue, unless we're going to decide that all public school curriculum must come from within Idaho. As far as investments that have been made by key players into K12, I don't see how this is a conflict of interest. Personally, I'm only going to invest my money in something that I find to be worthwhile and successful. If K12 were not a great program, no one would buy it, no one would invest in it and the company would fail. When competing in the marketplace for investors and buyers, a company has to produce a quality product if they hope to succeed. So I only see great investment in this company as a testament to it's high quality and success. If it ceases to produce a quality product, people will stop buying it and investing in it. So you see, K12 has a vested interest in providing the very best educational tools for students possible, if they hope to see a profit in the marketplace. Profitability doesn't automatically equate with greed, while competition in the marketplace spurs growth, progress and innovation, all of which are GOOD for education and student success. Teachers are paid a salary, but we'd never call them greedy for profiting off the sale of their time and skills. But when a company produces a high quality educational product, they're automatically greedy for wanting to profit from their own development and investment. I doubt many opponents of K12 would ever say that they'd like to write a book, invent a useful product, or work full time, and give it all away for free. Just because someone wants to profit from their own labor doesn't make necessarilly make them greedy, but I think pretty darn normal and reasonable. If a private company produces superior educational tools for our students, why shouldn't we employ it? If we truly want what's best for our children we should provide them with the highest quality tools for success, and where they come from is really irrelevant.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by MizzJules on 02/27/2011 at 7:24 PM

Re: “Idaho Hanging by a Thread

James, I respectfully disagree. Obama's so-called health-care reform plan is ludicrous. It doesn't reform the root of the problem (corrupt insurance companies), it gives their customer base a huge boost, while still leaving many Americans un or under-covered. The only real health care solution is single payer. See this informative link: http://www.pnhp.org/facts/single-payer-res… .

1 like, 1 dislike
Posted by MizzJules on 01/06/2010 at 6:57 PM

Re: “Spuds and Duds

For a liberal, alternative newspaper I'm a little disappointed in your representation of a few of the issues involving Walt Minnick. Voting against the stimulus package should be a "spud." Very little, if any good, will come out of this. This is no social action, it will not actually help most main street Americans facing unemployment or foreclosure. It's just another bail out for banks and big business. Kudos to Minnick for trying to protect my tax dollars from going down another corporate drain. Minnick also voted against cap and trade, SPUD! Of course we need to address the real problem of climate change, but making carbon emissions a commodity that can be sold, traded, manipulated, and extorted is ludicrous! The cap and trade proposal is full of loop holes and wide open for abuse and corruption. Trillions will be made to make the rich richer and nothing real will be done about the climate problem, DUMB! See this link for a concise description of c&t and it's problems: http://storyofcapandtrade.org . An alternative and effective solution needs to be found. And finally, Minnick voted against the health care reform bill, SPUD! Don't let Washington trick you into thinking this bill is any kind of social reform or justice for citizens. This bill is a travesty. The only ones who'll benefit from it are the insurance companies who are about to get a LOT of new customers. Have you seen their stocks soaring?! Capitalized health care is absurd to begin with. Companies shouldn't be profiting off your illness. But setting that aside for a moment, what this bill does is mandate that every citizen buy health insurance from a government-approved company (that already wreaks of corruption). If I could afford the massive insurance premiums, I'd already have insurance. What makes the federal government think I can afford it now just because they tell me I have to? This isn't providing health care for American's, it's providing customers for already corrupt insurance companies. Even if I pay the premiums, all I can afford is catastrophic insurance, so great, *maybe* I'll be covered if I get hit by a mac truck, but for my family's routine medical care I'm still paying out of pocket. So how is this helping me? And what if I don't buy coverage? I am now essentially criminalized, I've broken the law, and I have to pay the federal government a fine. RIDICULOUS! This isn't providing quality health care and services for my family, it's taking our dollars and giving them to corrupt companies or an inefficient government, and to no practical benefit. STUPID! 33% of every dollar spent on health care goes down the drain toward administrative costs and red tape. Single-payer is the only real solution to this. Cut out the corrupt and fraudulent insurance companies who are in it for profit, eliminate the administrative red tape, and all that money saved could provide health coverage for every American citizen. See this link for a brief and informative explanation of single-payer: http://www.pnhp.org/facts/single-payer-res… . You might want to look outside corporate media from now on to get the real scoop on the issues, I'd recommend a daily dose of news at: http://www.democracynow.org/ and a little NPR. ~A Note From The Real Left

Posted by MizzJules on 01/05/2010 at 7:34 PM

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