Snow on Basketball weekend? If the folklore is right….

Since I moved here I have heard bits and pieces of folklore.  Folklore comes from experience and the wisdom of the ages, with a little whimsy thrown in to keep things interesting.

Two tidbits come to mind this morning.

1.  There is always a blizzard around or on the weekend of the Boys High School Basketball Playoffs.


2.  You can expect snow about 60 days after a fog.

Here’s the deal… The Boys Playoffs start on March 15 in Aberdeen (fifty plus days)


We have had two mornings of heavy fog.

Hmmmm. This could get exciting.


On education

I sent a note to a friend of mine this morning concerning the failure of our public education system.  He lives in Arizona and is not convinced that the private sector can do a better job educating our kids than the government.  After I read it I thought it might make a good post:


South Dakota, like Arizona is constitutionally bound to provide an education.  I don’t have a problem with that.  What I have a problem with is the institution created by government to perform this function.  It has failed and, in many places, failed miserably.

I propose taking the money from the Department of Education (or Arizona equivalent), local school taxes and all other education funding and divide it by the number of school age students in your state (or mine) and send each parent or guardian a voucher for that divided amount (less 2% for administering the program).  This would force education into the private sector and still meet the obligation of the state.  With all education in the private hands, the power to choose (spelled liberty) would fall on those most concerned with their child’s welfare.  Good schools would flourish and bad schools would go out of business.

“What about the inner city schools?”, you ask. “There is a possibility that crack moms will sell the voucher to a disreputable “school” and the child will get no education?” Good question, I’ll answer it with a question, What are they getting now?  Chicago has a 50% percent drop out rate, Baltimore is worse.  Washington DC (which has the highest cost per child/year) is worse still. What is Phoenix?  Six percent of the graduates of the Philadelphia school system (which is less than half of those who initially enrolled) can read at grade level.  What is the rate in Nogales? 

No, Jon, government schools have done no favors for these kids,  and that includes our current under thirty  generation.  We need to disestablish the education system with all the administrators and lobbies that go with it.

Get back to the roots of local control – the parents.  The inner city kids  stand a much better chance of being in jail than graduating high school with the system in place today.  Perhaps, just perhaps, with a 100% voucher system, some of the kids might actually get an education and get off the welfare / drugs treadmill.

Other than the above, I have no strong opinion on the subject.

This time the Judge got it right.


Judge Upholds South Dakota’s School Funding System
A circuit judge has upheld the constitutionality of South Dakota’s school funding system.
Circuit Judge Lori Wilbur of Pierre filed her decision Wednesday morning on a lawsuit that accused the state of violating a constitutional provision by failing to adequately fund school districts.

Here’s where I got the above:,83020

For those of you who do not live in South Dakota, let me tell you what has been going on.  The folks in the public education lobby decided that the state Legislature was not increasing their budget fast enough, so they sued the state for more money.  That’s right they filed a lawsuit saying the state was required by it’s Constitution to provide a “quality” education.  If they won then they, of course, would get to decide what “quality” was and how much it would cost.

As you can see from the opening paragraph…. They lost. 

In my opinion this has simply been a case of a bureaucracy attempting to feed it’s own belly and I am glad that it is over (at least for now).

I am not so cynical to think that ALL persons involved in the education lobby are out purely for the good of that lobby.  I know that there are some great teachers, coaches and administrators in the South Dakota government school system.  If we did not have them, we would not rank as high on the education ladder as we do.  I thank them for their individual efforts and dedication.

I agree it is in the best interests of a society to educate the younger members, I do not believe it should be a function of government.  I am convinced that government mandated, government regulated and government controlled education is the worst possible method of educating our youth.  It runs into the tens of billions of dollars annually and brings us results on a level with Turkey and Sri Lanka.

Just as a for instance, Washington DC has the highest per student cost in the nation and the lowest graduation rate.  Not to mention the fact that a significant percentage of those graduates can’t read or make change.

We in South Dakota have one of the best (if you can use that word in this context) public education programs in the country.  We currently rank #2  with only Iowa as first.  This is at a fraction of the cost of other bigger states like California and New York.

In a nutshell….. I Ain’t The Money!

I think the best thing to do would for the state to go 100% vouchers and get out of the education business altogether.  That’s right, take the total cost of K – 12 education in the South Dakota budget and divide it by the number of school age children.  Take that amount and send a voucher to each parent or guardian and be done with it.  We would get a far better product with some competition in education.


The American Work Ethic Is Not Dead In Flyover Country

I had some excitement yesterday afternoon:

There was a crew across the road harvesting the wheat.  Well, yesterday afternoon two young (high school age) gentlemen drove up and said their combine was on fire.  They had tried to put it out with the water they had on hand but it was not enough.  Could they drive it over here and use the hose?  Hmmmmm….  Wanting to help but not wanting a blazing piece of multi ton equipment that is larger than a semi truck near my house, I told them to bring it up the south driveway half way (that would be about three hundred feet out) and I would meet them with the hose.  The shallow well is out that way and I have over 200 feet of hose hooked up to it.  So…..  I turned on the pump the the well and pulled the hose down the driveway.  They drove the thing in and proceeded to remove access panels and covers in order to get to the smoke.  Seems that something had overheated and had blistered the paint.  Some of the chaff from the wheat harvest was also smoldering.   No real “fire” as such, but a lot of smoke that had to be checked out.  They used a bunch of water to cool the area down, put the whole thing together, said thanks, drove back across the road and went back to work.

The OLDEST of the three of them was 18.  THAT is what I mean when I say the Midwest has not forgotten the basic work ethic.  These kids have been here (from a town 90 miles away) for the last several days, by themselves, and are doing a grown up’s job.  They have hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of equipment here which they are using and are bring in a harvest from 320 acres.  The wheat from that square half mile is worth right about $200,000.00.  All without an adult.

If you live on the East or Left coast, I’ll bet you can’t even get a high school kid in your neighborhood to properly mow and trim your lawn!!!

Published in: on August 8, 2008 at 7:55 am  Comments (1)  
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