While we are enjoying a break from the heat we are amazed by the continued heat in the south. My jaw dropped when the news reported that some people had to replace air conditioners which melted from the load. The highs aren't the only thing about the heat wave that is amazing--how long this phenomenon has lasted (33 days in a row in Dallas) is also mind boggling.
This item from MSNBC bring up a problem I have seen for the last 30 years. The issue has kicked into a higher gear thanks to the economic problems but has actually been in the background for a very long time. I remember newspaper accounts (back when I subscribed to and read newspapers) of a school district which didn't have enough money to repair the toilets and whose text books were more than 10 years out of date while another not far away had computer labs (at the beginning of the computer age) with one machine for each child. Needless to say the toilets in the second school district worked.
On another aspect of modern education--Sister and her partner invited Mom and me to lunch the other day. She filled us in on all of the family news. Her daughter lives in a relatively affluent town and has two young kids in school. The school district decreed that all students will be 'given' a laptop and their parents charged $250 per year per child for the computers and after 4 years they would it. That raised a stink because although the town is relatively affluent they do have a sizable number of people who are not all that affluent. So they changed the program only $150 per year per child and at the end of five years the parents could pay there remaining $250 on the cost of the machines to keep them. I had would have had a number of objections if I were a parent in the school district. No choice of brand, no choice of available programs, and no choice of whether giving a young child (including kindergarteners) a computer at all. And, adding to my disgust with the whole issue, the schools there are no longer teaching cursive writing. Instead they have instruction in 'texting.' Evidently my niece asked how the thought the kids would sign their names in the future and she was told that they won't have to because they can sign with and electronic 'x.' My comment: Oh, my what a long way we come. One hundred years ago illiterates signed with an x and now the modern illiterate signs with an x.
I saw this mishigas coming three years ago when the layoffs started to soar and a lot of states borrowed from the U.S. treasury to cover their increased costs. I wondered at the time what would happen when those bills came due. I guess we are going to find out. Don't you just love the states cutting the original 26 weeks of benefits back to as little as 20? At a time when the average time between losing one job and finding an new one is somewhere north of 45 weeks? I think that our leaders have failed to imagine exactly how deep and prolonged this 'recession' would be. Or how long (as in how many years not weeks or months) it will take to reduce the unemployment rate.