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We don’t need no education, Part 24
by Andrew Barbano
Aug 21, 2013 | 1424 views | 0 0 comments | 30 30 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The dead body of evidence is growing: Cutting school budgets increases graduation rates.

Sound too much like the discredited excuses justifying wholesale firings, cutting unemployment insurance and gutting government spending as remedies for recession?

As I predicted last year, it didn’t take long before someone assumed cause-and-effect between education cuts and quality improvement.

On June 12, 2012 edition of Sam Shad’s Nevada Newsmakers TV show, local chamber of commerce coach Len Stevens said a lot of people are noticing that our education statistics continue to improve as the budget is slashed.

This week comes news from Washoe school boss Pedro Martinez that despite crippling budgetary mayhem, he will soon announce continued graduation-rate improvement, as he did in Gomorrah South when he worked there for a year between Reno-Sparks gigs.

His predecessor/mentor, master statistical manipulator Heath Morrison, just announced a miraculous uptick in his first year ministering to the hicks in Charlotte, NC. Flaunting maximum chutzpah, he even bragged about his deck-shuffling.

Charlotte Observer education reporter Ann Helms, who spent a week in Nevada researching Morrison’s record, wrote that “Morrison introduced a door-to-door campaign to locate the hundreds of students a year who were listed as ‘vanished,’ along with those who had officially dropped out, and get them into school.

If dropouts who are 18 or older enroll in the Washoe Adult High School, they are switched into the ‘transfer out’ category, which means they’re removed from the calculations entirely, counting neither as graduates or dropouts...” (Barbwire 20 May 2012)

Wiping students off the books inflates graduation rates.

Washoe County commissioners new and old seemed charmed and relieved this week that Martinez is providing them with political cover for a school-maintenance tax hike.


Cutting the budget for school upkeep should make school buildings fix themselves — if you believe the Alice-in-Wonderland mushroom eaters of latter-day Reaganomics.

THE MORE THINGS CHANGE ... This Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon, a rally will take place in front of Reno’s Bruce Thompson Federal Courthouse at S. Virginia and Liberty streets. It will mark the 50th anniversary of the fabled 1963 March for Jobs and Freedom in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. Organized by Sleeping Car Porters union leader A. Philip Randolph and activist Bayard Rustin, it provided the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the platform to proclaim his legendary call to action.

...THE MORE THEY STAY THE SAME: The execution of Trayvon Martin continues to bring to the surface more vitriolic venom from freedom-loving racists and otherwise intelligent people than I have ever experienced in more than three decades of columny.

Jobs and justice remain elusive half a century down the road but hope springs eternal.

HEALTH ADVICE. Remember as you slog through forest fire smog worthy of the seventh circle of Hell: Breathing is voluntary.

Esté bien. Haga infierno.

Be well. Raise hell.

Andrew Barbano is a 44-year Nevadan, editor of and first vice-president of the Reno-Sparks NAACP.
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