Bacon Bits: In Non Gun-Related News…

In the Virginia political world, everyone’s attention is riveted today upon the gun-rights rally in Richmond. We are all hoping that everyone behaves himself and the event remains peaceful. But other things of interest are happening around the Commonwealth.

Washington Metro ridership back up. The years-long downward slide in Washington Metro ridership reversed itself in 2019, increasing 4% over the previous year — about 20,000 trips per weekday on average, according to the Washington Post. One possible explanation for the turn-around: People now can use their cell phones as fare cards. Also, Metro now offers a money-back guarantee that credits riders whenever a rush-hour trip is delayed more than 10 minutes. The greatest growth occurred in Saturdays and Sundays. Metrobus ridership continues its steep fall, down 2.5% last year. But it’s encouraging to see that the Metro, after years of effort to improve safety and on-time performance, may be pulling out of its slump.

Cherokees will have skin in the game. With the surge in proposals by Indian tribes to build casinos in Virginia, a central question I have been asking is what value the tribes are providing. Do they contribute anything beyond bartering their privileged status as a federally designated tribe? Are outside investors doing all the work and taking all the risk? Or do the tribes actually have skin in the game? Well, in the case of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, which is proposing a resort and hotel in Bristol, it appears that the tribe is willing to invest $200 million of its own money. The Bristol Herald-Courier quotes tribe chief Richard Sneed: “Looking at the potential customer base and what the market would support, we’re estimating about a $200 million investment. The Eastern Band could come in covering the full cost of the investment as an owner operator.”

Well, there’s always home school. The culture wars in Loudoun County public schools are roiling around the appropriateness of LGBTQ literature in elementary school libraries and classrooms. Should public schools being legitimizing gay relationships and trans-sexual identity as early as elementary school (or at all)? Many parents, especially those of a fundamentalist Christian persuasion, object to books they consider “leftist propaganda” and “moral corruption”? Said one parent, according to the Washington Post: “They’ve removed everything with a Christian influence … and replaced it with smut and porn.” In a nation with irreconcilable value systems, this kind of conflict seems inevitable in public schools. Perhaps the best way to deal with the conflict is to let the majority’s values prevail (in this case, those who promote the LGBTQ agenda) while making it easier for those with minority views to opt out of the system, either through private school or home schooling.


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23 responses to “Bacon Bits: In Non Gun-Related News…

  1. I opted out of public education for my daughter. So glad I did. I think more and more like minded Virginians will go down this path. What troubles me is how many will be left behind in public schools because they lack the resources to get out or even the awareness of what has happened in education.

  2. Opting out carries a severe economic penalty, and removes those parents from the debate over public school standards and curriculum and the accountability of teachers. It’s too bad that public school boards turn such a deaf ear to what opt-out parents obviously value for their kids.

    • I see a long term economic reward. It is my belief that by investing wisely in a private school education a parent can fortify their children with real 21st century skills, a real work ethic, and old fashioned values that have withstood the test of time. The sky is going to be the limit for kids that are prepared in this manner.

  3. The public schools have to be for everyone – not the “majority”.

    If a private school kicks a kid our – the public schools cannot deny access.

    Similarly, if someone is homeschooling their kids and the kids end up needing services – and programs for advanced and the parent is not able, those kids also come back to the public schools.

    And I’ve said all along and continue to say – if schools other than public are willing to accept all demographics (like public schools do) and provide standardized testing info -they should also get public funding.

    And the irony is that most kids will have to be “bused” to those schools in they are not a neighborhood school.

    The simple truth is that it’s not really about “religion” or “values” per se, it’s about what the parents religion and values are that they want to instill in their kids and if the schools have to not deny other religions and values then some parents want out.

    We do not turn public schools into places where selective values and religions are accommodated and invite those that are not to leave.

    this is why public schools are between a rock and a hard place on these things. It’s literally damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

    If we actually did what some folks advocate, our public schools would become like a lot of private schools and I’m surprised to be honest that more than a few folks do not understand the basic mission of public schools.

  4. Here’s the deal: if kids are coming out not able to hold jobs out of high school (not MD’s or JD’s but basic reading, writing, math, common sense skills) then we get our money back. Julian Bond said “Violence is black children going to school for 12 years and receiving 6 years’ worth of education.” I think the man has a point.

    • Oh I agree VN but do you really think private schools will do any better with the Demographic that is at issue?

      My problem is we’re full of blame but we’re really not focused on real solutions. What is a GOOD solution for THIS problem? Is it REALLY private schools that won’t take every demographic and won’t provided standardized testing to prove they work?

  5. “Well, there’s always home school.”
    For now . . . for all we know that may be on the next session’s agenda.
    Remember, their diversity is everyone thinking the same thing.

  6. Books in Loudoun–This is just a continuation of the long-running battle to ban books that some people don’t approve of. Selecting the quote of one disgruntled parent who claimed that everything with a Christian influence has been removed as being representative of the parents of school children is unfair. That statement is probably erroneous as well. Furthermore, the post here ignores the fact that the school system did remove some of the LGBTQ books that parents objected to, just not all of them. As one of those parents said, “These all need to go.” In other words, she feels that the schools should reflect her religious values and not others. I agree with the nine-year old boy who asked his mother, ““What’s so dangerous? I don’t understand why they would do that.”

    • yes. And others in the school might feel that THEIR values should be represented. And even if a majority want THEIR values represented, it does NOT mean that other values should NOT be represented also.

      This is what the public schools are up against.

      And this is what the private schools are not.

      Private schools should NOT get public money UNLESS they WILL accommodate all legitimate values not just their own.

      You CANNOT have public schools that only support SOME values.

      Why? Because the mission of public schools is, by definition, to support education for ALL citizens and funded by ALL taxpayers.

      I suspect this is one of those things that drives opposition to the CONCEPT of public schools and leads some to advocate for private schools funded by taxes.

      We may need to circle back as a society and revisit this but I strongly suspect the same cast of vocal characters will be involved.

      The fundamental purpose of “public education”, which is, by definition, publically funded is being questioned.

  7. “In other words, she feels that the schools should reflect her religious values and not others.

    Hold on Dick, that really is a leap in logic that ignores that old neglected aspect that there are probably plenty of others, not religious, who feel the same way.

    Larry, Why is it that public schools have to be for everyone? You constantly confuse a public education with a publicly provided education. Why is it that the government should be the only one providing a publicly funded education? Why do you assume that the reject from one private school will land in the government school? You assume that no other non-government school will take that reject. How is that different from the current situation faced by kids thrown out of the public school?

    • That’s a fair point. The woman who made the statement, a co-founder of Parent and Child Loudoun, did not couch her comment in religious terms (at least not as reported in the WP article). However, one of the other co-founders was quoted as saying, “God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve, right?” I think it would be fair to say that the basis of the Parent and Child Loudoun group’s objections are religious. If not, at any rate they want their values, whatever their basis, reflected, and not others.

  8. @Crazy – re: ” Hold on Dick, that really is a leap in logic that ignores that old neglected aspect that there are probably plenty of others, not religious, who feel the same way.”

    oh yes but NOT together about all the same things. And even if they were – the majority does not get to define the values at public schools if there are other, different , legitimate values also.

    re: ” Why is it that public schools have to be for everyone?”

    because that’s their DEFINED MISSION – they are supposed to be for all citizens, not some.

    re: ” Why is it that the government should be the only one providing a publicly funded education? ”

    Why is it we should use tax dollars to serve ONLY SOME students and have no accountability for performance?

    re: ” Why do you assume that the reject from one private school will land in the government school? ”

    why do you assume the public school should be able to deny them if all other schools have also?

    re: ” How is that different from the current situation faced by kids thrown out of the public school?”

    because the standards for throwing a kid out are not subjective and up to whoever is running the school. They are for ALL public schools and due process is a requirement.

    Why do you compare the rules in private schools to the rules in public schools and say that public schools are the same or should be?

    Crazy – what justifies localities taxing EVERYONE to pay for public schools ? what does that mean? If you tax everyone is everyone ENTITLED to a public school education no matter what?

  9. While everyone was debating public schools vs. private schools, 7,000 students nationwide dropped out of school in a single day. That is the stat from the US Dept. of Education. We are out of time. Virginia has had 150 years of a shot at public education and like a poor marksmen we keep missing the target.

    • Virginia is improving in terms of school dropouts. For the group of students that entered ninth grade in the 2004-2005 school year, only a little over 89 percent graduated on time, four years later in 2008, a dropout rate of 10.59 percent. For the latest cohort, those entering ninth grade in the 20015-2016 school year, over 94 percent graduated four years later in 2019, a dropout rate of 5.58 percent. For the economically disadvantaged, the dropout rate improved even more, from 17.12 percent for the 2008 cohort to 8.17 percent for the 2019 cohort.

      • I know the stats and they are not as good as they should be, but I question them being used to demonstrate that public schools are a failure.

        It’s the same old same old when it comes to opponents of public schools.

        Their standard answer is to let non-public schools “do it better” but they don’t want private schools to be forced to accept all demographics AND they do not want private schools held to the same performance standards as public schools.

        So the opponents would take us from the frying pan into the fire without any real strategy or plan.

        I support public money for private schools that do 3 things:

        1. – accept all demographics that public schools do
        2. – provide the same performance data that public schools do
        3. – do not discriminate against anyone – adhere to the concept
        of fair and equal opportunity for all,

        I AGREE that public schools need to get better – we are near the bottom of developed countries on academic performance but tearing down our existing system is not a solution. It’s self-destructive.

        • I was not citing the dropout statistics to criticize the public schools. I was responding to johnrandolph’s lament that Virginia keeps “missing the target”. My point is that the state is getting better at keeping kids in school until graduation. There is always room for improvement, but we are getting better.

          • Dick, It is true that dropout rates are declining, which on the surface would seem to be an unmitigated good thing. My concern is that the value of high school diplomas may have eroded in the process. To say a person has graduated is not necessarily to say that he has mastered the material and skills a high school graduate should have. I hope my fear is unfounded, and I will be the first to admit that I have no hard evidence at this point to support it — only anecdotal observations that standards seem to be slipping across the board. I do think it’s a possibility we should all be aware of.

          • Dick Hall-Sizemore

            I understand the concern about standards slipping; that is a different issue. I think it is still important to have the credential of high school graduation. And, even if the standards may be slipping, at least more kids are staying in school and not dropping out.

          • I’m inclined to agree with you that it’s a good thing that at least kids are staying in school and not doing whatever they would be doing on the street. My only concern — again, it’s a concern that needs to be confirmed — is that kids who really don’t want to be in school are more likely to be disruptive in class and harm the educational experience of other students. You may trust the political class to tell us the truth, but I don’t. To reiterate, though, I may well be wrong, but I think more questions need to be asked.

          • Dick Hall-Sizemore

            Asking questions is never a bad thing to do.

    • and the solution is ???????????????

      isn’t this like saying VDOT has failed at reducing congestion

      or the police at stopping crime?

  10. How many graduates actually had a good attendance record? You would be shocked to find out how many days you can miss from school. Here is what is happening in Front Royal. The principal is doing the right thing too. Knocking on doors and asking questions.

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