"A child's learning is the funtion more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Saturday, February 25, 2006

The Numbers Don't Lie

The numbers don't lie, people do.

As Republican lawmakers in Georgia, now the fourth state to pass the 65% solution, (aka the final solution for teacher unions and public schools) are getting brownie points for a slogan that sounds good, I thought it might be interesting to check on the business acumen of the bigshot Republican backer pushing this ridiculous formula. What a shock to discover that Patrick Byrne's company, Overstock, managed to lose $25 million last year on sales of $803 million. Perhaps Byrne should spend a little less time trying to find solutions for education and spend a little more time figuring out how to turn a profit on $800 million in sales. Maybe then people wouldn't be shorting his stock.

Unfortunately it looks like the GOP has found the right person to pull off their latest and greatest education scam on the American public.
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"This legislation... is a politically expedient public relations ploy," said Frank Petruzielo, the superintendent of Cherokee County schools. "It will sound good to the public. It will sound like an easy, no-cost fix to public education. But it will not in any data-driven way present the opportunity... for improving education."
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Could Byrne be looking to "overstock" America's classrooms with goods and services from his company? Luckily for investors, Greenberg and Dow Jones are onto him and his friends at the SEC. By shining a light on the true value of Byrne's company and warning investors to run for the hills, hopefully fewer people will lose their hard-earned money. Who will warn the American people about the 65% solution before they wake up one day and realize that they have been taken AGAIN.

The SEC's witch hunt against journalists like Greenberg and analysts at research firms is outrageous because the SEC should be investigating the financial statements and possible hanky panky going on at Overstock.

As for the numbers:
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"This is masking the real problem," Tim Callahan, spokesman for the Professional Association of Georgia Educators, said of the 65 percent rule. "The real problem isn't allocation of funds. The real problem is a billion dollars in cuts in the last three years and an antiquated funding mechanism, which is being held together by duct tape."
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When is this nightmare going to end?

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