Monday, November 12, 2012
Thursday, June 28, 2012
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Saturday, March 24, 2012
Thursday, December 15, 2011
Saturday, February 19, 2011
This has been a topic I’ve thought writing about for some time. Today’s culture is losing the sense of expressing itself in complete, accurate, thorough, written communication.
I am guilty of participating in most of today’s social media. I do too much Facebook time, according to my brother. I dabble a little with Twitter and play the Foursquare game. I have read there are many other sites out there, but I think I would go into technology overload.
What I have been noticing has been the overuse of communication shortcuts – the use of numbers or symbols as replacements for words or parts of words. Even more fascinating to me has been the lack of spelling accuracy and incorrect grammar, especially when many programs offer spell check/grammar check before sending a message.
Of course, there used to be the use of shorthand, the use of symbols to replace words as a method of recording conversations.
When I taught a class at IPFW, I gave the students one essay question on each test that gave them the opportunity to express their opinion and justify why. I did not grade according to their opinion, but, rather, their ability to express their opinion in complete sentences.
I guess the quality of the English language is slowly deteriorating. First goes the spoken language – the word “ask” no longer exists, it has instead become “axed.” Next, we lose the written language. Oh well, before long everybody will be speaking Chinese, so I guess it really doesn’t matter.
Saturday, January 15, 2011
This is probably going to be one of my oddest posts for this blog.
I went to see the new movie “The Green Hornet.” Obviously, what drew me to this movie was the fact that I grew up watching the original 1960’s television series. I spent most of the movie comparing the movie to the TV version.
The TV series only lasted one season and can be associated with the “Batman” series as they were made to overlap – production resources and scripts. GH was made to be somewhat futuristic with a dependence on electronic gadgets. The most important aspect of the show was the level of crime-fighting intelligence and understanding of the criminal mind. He and his sidekick Kato worked well together.
What I saw in the movie was the “hero” Britt Reid as selfish, dimwitted, dependant, lush, inability to judge others’ character…and on and on. In other words, this hero really had very few redeeming values.
Finally, the hero tries to do what is right and even manages to succeed. One incident was even copied from the TV series.
What makes this movie so disappointing – along with some of the Superman and Batman movies – is that the heroes are made out to have significant personality flaws. The heroes of old could be depended to not only catch the criminal, but also make the right moral decisions.
Young people look at these movies and see no sense of right and wrong, only gray areas of poor choices. I believe that one reason young people today make bad choices is the lack of superheroes with bedrock right morals and cutting edge crime fighting capabilities.
Yeah, this movie was a waste of movie.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
The Indiana General Assembly election results are very encouraging. Economic issues, I believe, will be central for the 2011 legislative session. I do believe there needs to be a discussion from the General Assembly regarding a couple of central fiscal issues to local government.
With the approval of property tax caps to the Indiana Constitution, the GA must address the up-and-down cycles of business that naturally happens. The general economy will always have its cycles of expansion and retraction. Associated with economic cycles come the tax revenue increases and decreases. Many local government services were dependent on local property taxes. That issue is now changing. Many of these services are dependent on revenues from the state. The increase of sales tax was the offset to property tax caps. Sales tax revenue will follow the economic cycles. The GA must look to smooth out the disbursement of revenues to local governments.
This should include greater expansion and controls on the use of local “Rainy Day” funds. The use of these temporary savings accounts should have greater definition regarding the amount (percentage or dollar) that can actually be accumulated and then also how and when these funds should actually be used.
I ask local legislators to begin an in-depth discussion and evaluation of this issue.
Saturday, October 30, 2010
A few months ago I wrote about my defense as a school board member of East Allen County Schools. Much of this directly revolves around the economic forecasts of not only EACS, but public education throughout Indiana.
Now the debate has become focused on New Haven’s mayor advocating the possible secession of the city’s schools from EACS. I won’t discuss the educational reasons the mayor has listed for the proposal because I agree with many of them.
When I was a board member, General Fund revenues were generated by local property taxes. Now they come from the state based on student populations. The money now follows the student. This is a significant change because local school districts’ budgets are dependent on the state’s economy and financial status. Again, I am not going into the pros and cons of this change. The significant change is that student tuition follows the student throughout the state, not being generated from property taxes within the school district.
When I was in my last term on the board, the state authorized the limited existence of charter schools. I favored this because it created a competitive environment for public education. Charter student populations continue to increase in the Ft. Wayne area. This represents a significant budget loss for the local school districts. Yet, they continue to silently ignore this competition. They complain that budgets are in decline, yet fail to admit that charters are taking that money from them. There must be perceived reasons – real or not – why parents are using this option to educate their children.
I say all of this because a possible secession from the school district will hinge on the financing of the school district. As this issue is researched, would a new school district be able to afford a duplicative administrative structure? Doubtful. Would a new school district be immune from current capital debt obligations? Would they be trying to create new debt while paying for old at the same time? How does that protect local taxpayers? Starting a new school district means hiring an entirely new administrative structure, new classroom teaching structure, educational supplies, books, etc. A support staff would also be needed. Hire your own or contract for services? Perhaps contract with the old school district for support services. Can an entire K-12 program be created new for a community in a period of weeks? Doubtful.
The alternative which I suggested to the mayor a couple of months ago, but he dismissed at the time, was to pursue charter school management companies to implement a progressive program to meet the educational goals of the community. Companies could literally create competing programs designed to meet precisely the needs and desires a community would outline. Technically, the mayor has no authority to start charter schools, but if the area is fertile for a charter school, a management company could get authorization through Ball State University. Much – if not all – of the administrative work would be completed by the charter company. The state student tuition would follow the student. This option could be implemented much quicker than trying to establish an entirely new school district.
I agree with the mayor’s end goals – better educational opportunities for New Haven residents. Since my input was not sought, I offer it here to the public.