(1) RIGHTS FIGHT. Publishers Weekly reports “Federal Appeals Court Declares Literacy a Constitutional Right”.
In a potential landmark ruling, the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals held this week that access to a basic minimum education “that can plausibly impart literacy” is a fundamental, Constitutionally protected right.
In a 2-1 ruling released on April 23, the court held that basic literacy is “implicit in the concept of ordered liberty,” and central to “the basic exercise of other fundamental rights,” including political participation.
“The recognition of a fundamental right is no small matter,” the court conceded in its written opinion. “But just as this Court should not supplant the state’s policy judgments with its own, neither can we shrink from our obligation to recognize a right when it is foundational to our system of self-governance. Access to literacy is such a right. Its ubiquitous presence and evolution through our history has led the American people universally to expect it. And education—at least in the minimum form discussed here—is essential to nearly every interaction between a citizen and her government.”
The Appeals court ruling reverses and remands a 2016 case in which lawyers claim that the State of Michigan failed to provide a suitable education to a plaintiff group of Detroit Public School students, after invoking the state’s Emergency Management Powers to take over control of the plaintiff’s schools. At trial, the plaintiffs argued that they were forced to sit in classrooms that were “functionally incapable of delivering access to literacy,” marked by “unqualified instructors,” and “a dearth of textbooks and other school supplies.” The result: a number of students with “zero or near-zero” proficiency levels on state-administered tests….
(2) OR IS THAT FIENDLY? First Fandom Experience revisits “The Friendly Magazine” of 1930s Los Angeles fandom.
The fanzine Sweetness and Light was launched in Spring 1939 by the “Moonrakers,” clique of members of the Los Angeles Science Fiction League. The Editorial Board consisted of Russ Hodgkins, Fred Shroyer, Henry Kuttner, Jim Mooney and Art Barnes. The subtitle proclaimed the publication to be “The Friendly Magazine.” Like all of its contents over its five-issue run, the masthead was ironic.
Includes an array of screencaps from the zine, like this one –
(3) FREE AUDIO. Wil Wheaton has recorded another story — “Radio Free Burrito Presents: Satellite of Fear by Fred A Kummer Jr.”
Since I was going to read, anyway, I decided to grab something at random off the RFB Presents list, and record it.
I chose Satellite of Fear, by Fred A Kummer, Jr.
Inside the crippled Comet, a hard-bitten crew watched the life-giving oxygen run low. Outside, on Ceres’ fabled Darkside, stalked death in awful, spectral form.
Listen on Soundcloud.
(4) SIX PACK. In “6 Books with Andi C Buchanan” a New Zealand author shares picks with Nerds of a Feather’s Paul Weimer.
2. What upcoming book are you really excited about?
Oh no, this whole interview is going to have to be about choosing just one, isn’t it? I am very much looking forward to R.B. Lemberg’s The Four Profound Weaves. I’ve been following Lemberg’s shorter work for a number of years; it’s beautiful and warm and comforting, and hopeful without falling into the trap of skirting tougher issues or minimising them. The Birdverse verse (of which The Four Profound Weaves is a part) is filled with people you don’t find as often as one might like in fiction, and yet resonate so strongly for me. I’m really excited about seeing what Lemberg does at novella length.
(5) THE WORM RETURNS. Print Magazine shares “The Inside Story of NASA’s ‘Worm’ Logo”.
Earlier this month, the design world was delighted when NASA unexpectedly revealed it was bringing back its iconic “worm” logo, which Richard Danne and Bruce Blackburn created in 1974….
…By virtue of a connection, Danne and Blackburn eventually got an invite to bid on the NASA redesign, which they did on Oct. 1, 1974. They presented one concept—the worm—which they brought to life in a deck showing applications on everything from newsletters to vans to buses and, of course, the space shuttle.
And, of course, their firm of five (which included their receptionist) won. “It was against all the odds,” Danne recalled, noting they presented such a minimalistic design because the agency—which didn’t have any designers on staff—was producing a lot of “garbage.”
“We saw all this debris and it drove us toward a simpler solution.”
Danne paired Helvetica with the worm because the two blended so well together. (He was also quick to note that he has hardly used it since.)
Owing to Pantone’s rules for its numerical designations back in the day, Pantone 179 became “NASA Red,” and the rest is branding history.
(6) TRIVIAL TRIVIA.
You have to know French counting 1,2,3,4 …………un, deux, trois, quatre, ………..Quarantine
Year 1403: Despite the fact that nothing was known about how disease came to be (except for the usual theories of punishment by God or infestation by demons), people tended to avoid those who were sick with some particular fatal or loathsome disease. When the Black Death struck, people instinctively fled from those afflicted, often leaving the dying to die unburied. In 1403, the city of Venice, always rationally ruled, decided that recurrences of the Black Death could best be averted by not allowing strangers to enter the city until a certain waiting period had passed. If by then they had not developed the disease and died, they could be considered not to have it and would be allowed to enter.
The waiting period was eventually standardized at forty days (perhaps because forty-day periods play an important role in the Bible). For that reason, the waiting period was called quarantine, from the French word for “forty”. In a society that knew no other way of fighting disease, quarantine was better than nothing. It was the first measure of public hygiene deliberately taken to fight disease.
++ Isaac Asimov. From Chronology of Science & Discovery (1989)
(7) TODAY IN HISTORY.
- April 25, 1941 — In London, The Devil Bat premiered. It was directed by Jean Yarborough. The screenplay was by John Thomas Neville from a story by George Bricker who was responsible for House of Dracula and She Wolf of London. The film starred Bela Lugosi along with Suzanne Kaaren, Guy Usher, Yolande Mallott, Dave O’Brien and Donald Kerr. The film was re-released in 1945 on a double bill with Man Made Monster. It was consider one of the best films that Lugosi ever made, though it only has a 58% rating among audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes. It’s in the public domain as it has been since it was released, so you can see it here.
(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born April 25, 1873 — Walter de la Mare. His supernatural horror was a favorite of H. P. Lovecraft. Ramsey Campbell and Joan Aiken would also cite him as an influence on their writing. Though he did write a number of novels, I’ll hold that the short story of which he released at fifteen collections was his his true strength. Out of the Deep and Other Supernatural Tales is an excellent introduction to him as a writer. It’s available at the usual digital suspects. (Died 1956.)
- Born April 25, 1897 — Fletcher Pratt. He’s best remembered for his fiction written with L. Sprague de Camp, to wit Land of Unreason, The Carnelian Cube and The Complete Compleat Enchanter. I’m also fond of The Well of the Unicorn and Double Jeopardy. (Died 1956.)
- Born April 25, 1915 — Mort Weisinger. Comic book editor best known for editing Superman during in the Silver Age of comic books. He also served as story editor for the Adventures of Superman series, Before that he was one of the earliest active sf fans, working on fanzines like The Planet (1931) and The Time Traveller (1932) and attending the New York area fan club “The Scienceers.” (Died 1978.)
- Born April 25, 1920 — John Mantley. He wrote but one SF novel, The 27th Day, but it rated a detailed review in The Magazine of F&SF which you can read here. (He wrote the screenplay for the film version of his novel.) He also produced a number of episodes of The Wild Wild West, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century and MacGyver. (Died 2003.)
- Born April 25, 1929 — Robert A. Collins. Edited a number of quite interesting publications including the Fantasy Newsletter in the early Eighties, the IAFA Newsletter in the late Eighties and the early Nineties along with the Science Fiction & Fantasy Book Review Annual with Rob Latham at the latter time. He also wrote Thomas Burnett Swann: A Brief Critical Biography & Annotated Bibliography. (Died 2009.)
- Born April 25, 1957 — Deborah Chester, 63. Jim Butcher in a Tor.com interview says she’s his primary mentor. She’s authored nearly forty genre novels and I’ve read her pulpish Operation StarHawks series (written as Sean Dalton) which is good popcorn reading.
- Born April 25, 1961 — Gillian Polack, 59. Australian writer and editor. She created the Ceres Universe, a fascinating story setting. And she’s a great short story writer as Datlow demonstrated when she selected “Happy Faces for Happy Families” for her recommended reading section in the ‘04 Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror.
- Born April 25, 1981 — Silvia Moreno-Garcia, 39. Canadian of Mexican descent. She’s the publisher of Innmouths Free Press, an imprint devoted to weird fiction. Not surprisingly, she co-edited with Paula R. Stiles for the press, the Historical Lovecraft and Future Lovecraft anthologies. She won a World Fantasy Award for the She Walks in Shadows anthology, also on Innsmouth Free Press. She’s a finalist for the Nebula Award 2019 in the Best Novel category for her Gods of Jade and Shadow novel. And finally with Lavie Tidhar, she edits the Jewish Mexican Literary Review. Not genre, but sort of genre adjacent.
(9) COMICS SECTION.
- Rhymes with Orange sees a side effect of shortening.
- The Oatmeal has a nice one about jumping into a book during these trying times.
(10) ORIGINAL EC COMIC ART. The Bristol Board calls this a forgotten masterpiece —
Complete original art for “In the Beginning…” by Joe Orlando (art) and Al Feldstein and Bill Gaines (story) from Weird Fantasy #17, published by EC Comics, January 1953.
(11) THE DROID WILL SEE YOU NOW. The machine that danced over obstacles now protects against infection: “Meet ‘Spot:’ The Robot That Could Help Doctors Remotely Treat COVID-19 Patients” at NPR.
Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston has been testing a new piece of hardware to help them treat coronavirus cases — a robot called Spot.
Last week, the hospital began using the robot in interviewing patients suspected of having less-serious cases of COVID-19. It’s only been deployed a handful of times so far, but according to Peter Chai, an emergency medical physician at Brigham and Women’s, the hope is that using Spot could limit staff exposure to COVID-19.
“It also eliminates PPE,” said Chai in an interview. “Spot doesn’t need to wear a mask or gown.”
…”One of the hospitals that we spoke to shared that, within a week, a sixth of their staff had contracted COVID-19 and that they were looking into using robots to take more of their staff out of range of the novel virus,” Boston Dynamics said in a statement.
Boston Dynamics than consulted with MIT and Brigham and Women’s, outfitting Spot with an iPad and radio so a medical technician could interface with patients in the triage tent the hospital — and others — use for potential COVID-19 patients.
(12) SPACE SKEPTIC. In “NASA Astronaut Breaks Down Space Scenes From Film and TV” on YouTube, retired astronaut Nicole Stott discusses space scenes in sf and space movies, from the silly (the scene in Spaceballs declaring the ship would travel at “ludicrous speed” to realistic films such as Gravity and First Man.
(13) CAP-BUT-NO-PIE. A SYFY Wire writer regards these to be “The 10 Most Stylish Hats In Genre Movies And TV”.
…Even though hats are no longer as ubiquitous as they once were, there will always be a place for millinery in both film and fashion. So whether your own personal style is hat-centric or not, it is hard to imagine the following characters without their signature accessory. For inspiration or to simply relive these memorable moments, check out some genre hat highlights below….
One of the selections is —
The Sorting Hat – Harry Potter (2001-2011)
There are a variety of hats in Harry Potter including the traditional styling to Dumbledore’s flat top version. However, there is one hat that has a huge impact on every single Hogwarts student. The only sentient hat on the list has the task of sorting the Hogwarts pupils into one of four houses. It is a rather hefty task for a rather unassuming looking piece of headgear, but the Sorting Hat comes alive in its wear and tears. It might not be the prettiest of garments, but it is the only hat on this list that can sing.
(14) CREEP FACTOR THREE, MR. SULU. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] This story isn’t exactly genre, but it does have the feel of a horror show. In a recent museum #CuratorBattle, the chosen field of battle was #CreepiestObject. The taxidermied monkey/fish hybrid “mermaids” were but one type of item that strayed very near the genre boundary.
The CNN story “Museums reveal their creepiest objects in Twitter battle” has several excellent entries, but a quick Twitter search for #CreepiestObject will turn up many more.
Fish-tailed monkey “mermaids.” A snuff box for storing pubic hair. Enough creepy dolls to fill a haunted schoolhouse.
With their doors closed due to the pandemic, museums in the UK and beyond have been taking to Twitter to showcase the most terrifying items in their collections, and it might be enough to make you glad to be safe at home.
I’ve included herein a link for a tableau of unfortunate tabbies having tea. The article references it, but I felt it appropriate to highlight these SJWCs.
(15) VIDEO OF THE DAY. “How Walt Disney Cartoons Are Made” on YouTube is a short film made by RKO (DIsney’s distributor at the time) explaining how Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs was created. From 1939, but it’s news to me!
[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, JJ, Martin Morse Wooster, Chip Hitchcock, John King Tarpinian, Michael Toman, Kendall, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jack Lint with an assist from Anna Nimmhaus.]
(8) I think one of Pratt’s nonfiction works turns up in Harrison’s A Rebel in Time.
(12) With all due respect, Gravity is not a “realistic” film.
@Andrew I did like Pratt’s BATTLES THAT CHANGED HISTORY. I found his choices interesting, and the descriptions and explication of the battles detailed and absorbing.
@1: judging by its territory, the Sixth is not one of the more liberal circuits. I wouldn’t bet on the current SCOTUS upholding this, but the reactionaries on that bench may not be able to find much to argue with if the defendants appeal.
@6: The BBC discussed earlier this week that Venice was not the first with the practice; they lengthened the 30-day period used in Dubrovnik (as it was not known then). The term probably spread from Venetian pronunciation because they ruled so much of the Adriatic coast.
@8 (Pratt): The Complete Compleat Enchanter, plus commentary and two Harold stories by de Camp alone, is available as The Mathematics of Magic.
@11: the NPR story draws from an article (probably paywalled) by local tech columnist Hiawatha Bray, who at least used to be an SF reader; I’m not sure whether he was at Noreascon Four on business, but he was asking more-knowledgeable questions than heard from mundane reporters.
@13: I’d call most of those examples distinctive rather than stylish — although Carter’s number is certainly dashing.
@15: quite a period piece.
11) “It also eliminates PPE,” said Chai in an interview. “Spot doesn’t need to wear a mask or gown.”
Remind me again how long Covid-19 lasts on hard surfaces? (I suspect that sanitizing such a complex object as a four legged robot would be close to impossible, as opposed to simpler shapes like R2D2 or even BB-8.)
They can use stuff on Spot that is too hazardous for humans.
@JeffWarner: That was my first thought, too.
(13) I thought most of those were fairly pedestrian. Wouldn’t even make a Jägermonster look twice. Now Prince Vultan’s helmet in Flash Gordon (either the original serials or the 1980 version) is a hat. Or maybe the Rocketeer’s hood ornament look.
If you’re going to quibble and say a helmet can’t be a hat, then maybe one of the many hats Doctor Who has worn over the years. Or whatever it was that Guinan was wearing on Star Trek. Or Jayne’s hat from Firefly. “A man walks down the street in a hat like that, you know he’s not afraid of anything…”
(8) It’s Hank Azaria’s birthday. Best known as the Blue Raja from Mystery Men, Kahmunrah in Night at the Museum 3 or Gargamel from the Smurfs movies. Also does some voice work for Fox.
Finished Cadwell Turnbull’s The Lesson yesterday. I really enjoyed it — Turnbull does marvelous character work, and while the book has this life-changing alien first-contact looming all over it, it really is all about its characters.
Has any of you read it? I need to process a little bit (I read 60 pages last week, and then 200 yesterday), but it seems like an interesting book to discuss, and also there are some points at the ending which I feel like I was meant to understand but didn’t.
John Hertz responds by carrier pigeon:
Gillian Polack was the 2014 GUFF delegate.
GUFF is the youngest of the three intercontinental traveling-fan funds.
TAFF the Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund sends fans in alternate years between the United Kingdom – Republic of Ireland – Europe at one side, and North America at the other; it was founded in 1954.
DUFF the Down Under Fan Fund operates between Australia – New Zealand and North America; founded 1972.
GUFF completing the triangle is the Going Under Fan Fund when southbound from the U.K. – Rep. Ireland – Europe, the Get Up-and-over Fan Fund when northbound from A – NZ; founded 1979.
Delegates, chosen by nomination from each side and then by votes, attend the Worldcon (World Science Fiction Convention) if held at the destination side, otherwise the natcon (national convention), and travel round the destination side as much as can be, meeting fans, giving and receiving goodwill, publishing a report, and becoming the Administrator on the sending side in turn.
This was Polack’s platform:
I love conventions and fandom and quiet chats in bars. I also love volunteering and panels and workshops. Mostly, I enjoy meeting new friends. I’ve been (quietly) a fan since joining MUSFA in 1979 and (more noisily) a Canberra fan since 2002. I’m the Australia/NZ correspondent for Europa SF. I was on the Conflux committee for seven years (but only designed five banquets) and am sometimes a writer, sometimes an editor, sometimes an academic, always a fan. Before and after LonCon, I’d love to meet fans in Europe. I especially want to attend Shamrokon and Finncon. I will have chocolate.
Her nominators were Ross Temple, Gene Melzack, Bruce Gillespie, Ben Roimola, and Petra Bulic.
Her trip report is Gillian’s Book of Lists (2015). For a while a paper copy could be ordered through Irwin Hirsh’s Website https://ozfanfunds.com. You might try sending E-mail to [email protected], or write to me by real mail and I’ll see what I can do, 236 S. Coronado St., No. 409, Los Angeles, CA 90057, U.S.A.
13 *thinking “if Peggy Carter’s hat isn’t on there it’s not a complete list” *
And it’s there.
I have that hat. I just need to get around steaming it into the proper shape.
@Rick Lynch: By any sort of reasonable standards, you’re perfectly correct, but by Hollywood standards, Gravity was amazingly realistic. Hollywood ≠ reasonable. 😀
13) Where’s Steed’s bullet proof bowler from The Avengers? Or any of the classic hats of Doctor Who – the First Doctor’s revolutionary hat from “The Reign of Terror”, the Second Doctor’s high-crowned hat from “The Power of the Daleks” , the fur hats of “The Ribos Operation”, the perspex hats of “Castrovalva”, the Fifth Doctor’s panama, the Eleventh’s fez? Doctor Who has that lot out-hatted all by itself…
I just assumed Jayne’s knitted hat from Firefly HAD to be there. How could it not?
I looked it up. The villain in “A Rebel in Time” uses Pratt’s Ordeal by Fire as a reference for his time-travelling meddling in the Civil War – but since Ordeal by Fire doesn’t mention John Brown at all (and the villain wasn’t a particularly good student of history anyway), the villain has no idea why visiting Harper’s Ferry in October 1859 was unwise (one might suspect that Harrison was teasing Pratt a bit, too).
(13) I quite like ‘Bitey’ from the webcomic Skin Horse!
@Jeff Warner: C19 lasts various times on various hard surfaces — although Spot is probably not plated in copper, on which the virus is viable for only a few hours. More relevant is that the virus is not a flea/tick/…; it doesn’t propel itself anywhere, so it must be picked up either by physical contact (e.g., touch a contaminated surface then touch eyes or nose) or by inhaling droplets someone with the virus has expelled (by coughing or breathing — I’ve seen reports that viral *NA can be found in sewage in areas the virus is found in, but no indication that it can be transmitted the way cholera is). This means that any number of people could cough on Spot without infecting either the interviewing practitioner or uninfected interviewees; sanitizing would only be necessary if somebody had to service the beast — which, as noted, is designed to take harsher treatment than a human. I suspect the hardest thing to disinfect non-destructively is the tablet — but (a) tablets are plentiful and (b) the tablet could be covered with clingwrap and still be readable, then rewrapped as necessary.
(6) NOT the origin of the word quarantine, obviously, but an interesting related bit of history. In 1666, the plague was back, and the English village of Eyam decided to quarantine itself. The unpopular new rector (the previous one had been removed for refusal to comply with the Uniformity Act, mandating the use of the Book of Common Prayer), looked at the mounting deaths and decided the village shouldn’t be responsible for spreading the plague to neighboring villages. Knowing he was unpopular, he met with the ousted, far more popular, previous rector, and they agreed on the plan and jointly let a public meeting proposing the idea. The Earl of Derbyshire agreed to provide regular deliveries of food on the outskirts of the village, so that the villagers could stay put until the plague passed.
Everyone abided by the quarantine until the plague was gone, and in the village, a total of 269 people, at least a third of the population, died of plague.
But they didn’t spread it to anyone else.
Eyam plague: The village of the damned
What that article doesn’t mention is that the descendants of the Eyam survivors of the plague have a particular mutation that gives immunity to the plague–and that having two copies of the mutation, rather than one, gives a person immunity to HIV. 10% of Europeans have the two copies, and are immune to HIV, the highest known percentage in the world.
Quarantining souls: the impact of plague village
@Chip Hitchcock: I’d be surprised if whatever tablets they used weren’t fine to disinfect the same way Apple recommends for iPads (“a 70 percent isopropyl alcohol wipe or Clorox Disinfecting Wipes”). So their tablets should be the easiest parts to disinfect, methinks.
1) Justice Murphy’s caution about creating a positive right to education is well reasoned. There are other, more important, elements of life to which there is no positive right. Thank goodness we have more judges on the bench interpreting the US Constitution as written rather than as imagined. That being said, I support properly funded and properly run public schools with the objective of creating numerate, literate, thinking adults.
The State of Michigan took over the Detroit public school system precisely because the elected board and administration were unable to provide a safe and effective learning environment. They simply failed to place student education at the center of their efforts. The administration was bloated with little fiefdoms that sucked money out of the classroom…where it belonged. It’s kind of ironic that it is the State of Michigan being sued for trying to help improve education for Detroit area students.
Michigan does have a “schools of choice” option. Parents are free to take their children to another public school system that will provide sound education. I’ve had the pleasure of knowing several of those families over the years. They struggle and sacrifice to make it happen. So their families did have options. We also have a statewide minimum education grant so that every district has enough funds to educate.
Thinking back to Heinlein, while these plaintiffs were claiming a right to education, do they also have any obligations to the process? Preparing their students with their numbers and letters before kindergarten? Ensuring that students will not disrupt the class and deny others an education?
Whatever crushes individuality is despotism, by whatever name it may be called and whether it professes to be enforcing the will of God or the injunctions of men. – John Stuart Mill
Dann665: There are other, more important, elements of life to which there is no positive right… Michigan does have a “schools of choice” option. Parents are free to take their children to another public school system that will provide sound education.
The ignorance and arrogant privilege of your comment are absolutely staggering.
Yes, there are a few things which are even more important than education — healthcare, food, and shelter — and there should be a positive right to those, as well as to education.
Our society and our economy benefit as a whole when the populace is educated and healthy — and society and the economy suffer when the opposite is true.
As far as Michigan’s “choice” schools? Those are options only for the privileged and well-off. And not only do the poor not have have access to them, the funding of choice schools has cannibalized the public schools, which is what has made them so much worse.
Gah. Shame on you. 🙁
I must have missed that part. We paid to send my daughter to private school and still paid every tax levied for the support of public schools.
Mike Glyer: I think JJ is referring to the vouchers.
Probably depends on the local area. In the UK we’ve recently had a sprouting of privately-run “academies” which take public funding from the exact same pot as true government-run schools (reducing the funds available for same), and we’ve also always had private schools which fund themselves through student fees and other private sources of income. If Michigan’s “choice-schools” are taking public funding, they’re more like academies than private schools.
I see. We didn’t have a voucher option. To complete the story I might also mention my daughter did the last four years in a public high school.
Mike, Jeff got at what I meant. I can’t speak for California, but in Michigan the “choice” schools take funding away from public schools.
Well, I’m hardly going to criticise anyone for choosing to educate their child outside the publicly funded system, I was a home ed kid and my mother and grandmother both went to independent schools (ones with wikipedia pages, even). My problem with academies (and probably vouchers/choice-schools?) is more about the privatisation-by-the-back-door thing and the public-money-diverted-to-private-pockets thing and also the underfunding-publicly-run-schools thing and nothing at all to do with the parents-making-choices-about-education thing.
I blame the system, not the parents who have to navigate it, basically.
Interesting read, the animation/ motion graphic designer side of me wants to think that
Snow White has all the makings of a modern masterpiece, but it is definitely older than we like to think! Beautifully animated and with poetic movements, it’s a timeless classic that encapsulates everything we love about animation.
@OGH: “school choice” has become a dogwhistle in much of the U.S. for “Let’s hand over a share of the public-school system’s budget to some corporation that will make noises conservative parents like while burning out promising teachers with overwork — and/or to religious schools.” In Boston this came with pious noises about the corporate schools doing experiments from which systems could import the successful ones; at least in Boston, there is zero evidence of this happening, at least partly because the corporate schools’ primary experiment (cf the Kappa Maki in Good Omens) is how many less-than-stellar students they can reject (to make the results of their student bodies’ tests come out better) before some public authority shakes a finger at them. @JJ was … mild … with @Dann’s demand that parents take more responsibility; on average, parents in many cities are already trying desperately to keep a roof over their kids’ heads. (e.g., in Boston ~80% of the students in public schools qualify for free lunches.) In some cities, “choice” is outright racist; parents who took their kids to parochial (etc.) schools rather than let them be educated with N-word children are demanding that the private schools be subsidized.
Michigan had a huge school funding disparity problem a while back. Rich districts had tons of money but decent millage (tax) rates. Poor districts didn’t have enough money and had a high millage rate. So we instituted a statewide millage. Then we distribute that millage on a “per pupil” basis. The wealthy areas end up subsidizing the poor areas as a result.
We have private schools. Those students (regrettably) do not get any of that tax money.
We have normal public schools. They get tax money on a per-pupil basis.
We have charter schools that are also public schools. They get tax money on a per-pupil basis.
We have “schools of choice” where a student can go to any public school (normal or charter) and their per-pupil funding goes with them. Lots of families stuck in underperforming school districts take advantage of that option to get their kids into a school system (normal or charter) that provides a better learning environment for their children. My local/normal school system accepts students from neighboring districts. While the net is generally students coming to our system, we do have students that opt to go to the “big city” system.
I believe the correct focus should always be on the student. If a school system is not meeting the needs of the student, then the student is under no obligation to stay in that system.
“Too often … we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.” – John F. Kennedy
@Kendall: as a former chemist, I was wary about any meeting between plastics and strong liquids — but I don’t use tablets, so I don’t know the specifics; if they’re fronted with something proof against some sterilant, that does make the process easier.
The wealthy areas end up subsidizing the poor areas as a result.
Funds were being allocated equally, so that all students could have a fair chance at a good education.
There, Fixed That For You.
Sure, any parent would want to do the best they could for their own kids. But the Politicians and Big Business interests in Michigan have broken the public education system there — possibly beyond repair, unless some decent judges and politicians manage to get into positions of power where they can fix it — and are using the system they broke to justify making decisions which further disadvantage non-wealthy people.
Justice Murphy is a participant in the attempt to keep the system broken and keep disadvantaged children from getting a decent education. Shame on you for defending him.