Friday, June 29, 2012

Student Gets Library Ban For Wanting To Study???

I recently read an article which is just mind-boggling. This story takes place in Ifield, England but I can see this happening here. In this story there is a student who clearly wants to study and is to the point of being neurotic about it. That aside, he wants to study. His desires should be accommodated, but they aren't. Why you say? It is because the college which he is attending just won't make it happen - very sad.

Back in the Middle-Ages when actual education was very rare colleges were unique places to be. Students there, their eyes being actually opened to the world - demanded education. The students demanded that teachers do their job and teach them. If the teacher failed in that task by not showing up or just not doing the job well that teacher stood a good chance of taking a physical beating. Yes, students would actually violently lynch professors for not doing their job. What a radically different world we live in today.

So, back to England, this student got into a confrontation because he wanted to set up an after school session with his professor. The professor did it once earlier in the year, but in the second-half the professor balked (no reason given in the article as to why). Well, the student (I think rightfully) got upset. I'm sorry - teaching is not just a job it is a profession with a duty. The subject was Psyche so I can imagine this arrogant teacher who feels his precious free-time is being assaulted. Yes, I know, so sad for the prof making six  figures, easily.

So, there was a blow up with the Head Teacher (i.e. Principal). In response, the school bans the student from the library. This kid WANTS TO STUDY. Fine, the stupid teacher doesn't want to help, but don't totally shut the student off a week before exams. The student is already amped-up and nervous. I don't care if this kid is the most annoying student in the school - he deserves to receive his due which his family has paid for. Well, the student shows up at the library anyways to study because his family doesn't have a computer. So what does the school do? They call the police and he is escorted from the library. I honestly hope that his family sues.

I'm sure the student did fine he was a top-line A student there. Still, the situation was handled very poorly by the school. The value of education has become so commonplace it is wasted and malapportioned. Yes, this is a singular incident, but it just never should have happened. I laud Mr. Jamie Gagliardi for standing his ground. Seven or eight centuries ago he would have been among allies, but now sadly his act of defiance just merits a blurb in a tabloid. Sad.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Local Library Branches on the Chopping Block

The party seems to be over world-wide and the debts are being called in. Those of you who pay attention to the news have heard the reports coming back from Greece, Italy, Spain... Europe in general of economic doom. There are those who mind-bogglingly think that even more government spending is the answer. The cliff is here and spend happy, loopy Europe is at the edge. Throw the usual mix politics, war and strife into the pot and you have the world today.

So it is not surprising to hear that here in the States and locally here in WMass that the economy is still slumping. No, President Obama, the private sector is not doing fine. Thanks to your policies it has declined steadily. Being an economic conservative people always assume that I have no compassion and I want to cut everything in sight. No, I want to spend our public monies wisely and not just score points with a public sector unions or to spend money on a needless projects. [Driven to Hadley lately? Near Atkins Farms? If you want to see a golden example of wasted money before your very eyes go there. Take a look at the round-a-bout which is being built. WTF?! Honestly?!]

I am a fiscal conservative but how can support libraries? You may want to ask that of me. Precisely to avoid the news that just came down that three Springfield Public Library branches are on the block. Springfield was in receivership not too long ago. That period helped the city somewhat. However, the damage which accrued over years of political machine waste and bad contracts left the city in a very bad position. So I am not going to fault the current mayor and city council for proposing this budget. Everything has to be put on the table. Honestly, it is the fault of the voters of the City of Springfield that those branches are on the block. Decades of voting for fiscally irresponsible politicians put those branches on the block. Look yourself in the mirror before casting blame. 

Now the negotiating begins. Now the boosters need to go out and find support. Now those who utilize those library branches need to go plead their case. It never should have come to this but it has. It is what it is. I know the value of the public library system. I will mourn the loss of those branches if they are closed. Private funding can be found out there. Holyoke is refurbishing their library. Libraries are being built around the state. The will and the funding are there.  However, are those private donors willing to invest in Springfield? The task is out there now. Springfield needs to prove the case.

There is big point to this which I know a majority of the library boosters out there are going to miss. Let's just say those branches are saved through an outpouring of support. What is going to prevent this from happening again in the future? I looked at a selection of the proposed cuts. I think that the fire dept and police are getting whacked just as hard, perhaps harder. This was no frivolous choice to put those branches on the table. Yes, the city could be bailed out if the national economy picks up. Still though, the underlying problem in the city is still there. The city can't depend on handouts from the State to fund its budget.

Mayor Sarno blamed the city's budget woes on what he called the
triple negative forces of  reduced property tax revenues, a lack of
increased support from the state and an increase in non discretionary

That is one of my biggest pet peeves with all municipal government. You can't depend on State funding for everything! The budget needs to be sound before the aid comes in. That I truly have no faith in ever happening, but that is one of the core problems. The economy flags, the money is no longer trickling down from Heaven and the cuts have to be made.

It is possible to get those branches saved. Just make sure that it not just a temporary fix. If it is this problem will come back again.

The above quote was selected from this webpage article -