To be honest, even though I played high school football and baseball, I saw it as a giant waste of resources when I became a teacher myself. The fact that voucher schools will often not be able to field a team does not really bother me. When I was nine years old and my dad wanted me to play baseball, he found a league for me. That's the system a full voucher system will force us to form for all sports, and it's probably the right way to do things.


Honestly, when did education become so much about high school athletics, anyhow. In some towns, it starts in middle school or before. The stat I liked to use with my students is this: about 1% of varsity football players make it to a D1 college. About 1% of D1 college players make it to the pros. Clearly, most of the kids are out there to have fun, and most of them have only a small chance of even getting a scholarship for their efforts, so why are SCHOOLS and communities focusing so much attention on high school sports while academic programs suffer? If schools can't afford to have tech ed, gym, art, music, creative writing, home ec, and other ACADEMIC classes that help to make students whole people, then those schools certainly should not be funding sports. The towns themselves will probably refuse to make the decision to cut sports, however, so tiny, underfunded schools will continue to field teams and put together referendums to build new facilities or hire coaches.


I guess if a community votes to keep playing sports amid loss of actual classroom programs, they should be allowed to do so. The graduates will be ill-prepared for college or careers, but they will have memories of going up state. Don't get me wrong, I love the high school sports memories I have, and I see the guys I participated with as friends to this day, but was high school football really more important than the French, CAD, and woodshop classes I took? No.

Therefore, I say sports for the few IS a positive result of the new voucher school system. Parents who want sports will put their vouchers into schools that focus on sports. I had an idea about a dozen years ago to start a sports-only voucher school, and we'll probably see it soon. Vouchers also give the rest of the parents, those not looking to raise meat heads. the option to choose a wider liberal arts education over a sports curriculum. Sure, I'd RATHER have a fully-funded school that offers sports and electives, but if it's not possible, I'm fine with signing my kids up for sports on my own.

If you want to see how we can help each other as educators as funding declines, visit Educabana.

Jacksonville News

New Jax Witty

Articles, reviews, advice, and legitimate research to go along with some back-handed comments. Think of us as Jacksonville's mother-in-law.
  • Only Way to Avoid The Reverse Mortgage Disaster
    I've seen several news articles about the pitfalls of reverse mortgages. I also saw that we've set up a fund to help people when they get stuck with a reverse mortgage here in Florida. But the simple answer that most older people don't want to hear is that there's only one way to avoid disaster with a reverse mortgage: don't get one.

    The ad that inspired this reverse mortgage article claims that Americans have trillions of dollars just sitting there, not being used. The problem is that a reverse mortgage isn't using that money, either. It's using the house that's worth that money as collateral for a LOAN. It's a loan that needs to be paid off when your house is sold. You can make mistakes and end up losing your house.

    The better advice for anyone already retiredor looking to retire is to sell. I know, you love your house, all the stuff in it, the neighbors you wave at, the same big box retail down the road, and all the stuff in the house. It's basic economics: if you own something outright worth $500,000, sell it for $500,000 and rent a nice condo for 20 years. If you take out a reverse mortgage, then you can get $250,000 towards a condo for 10 years, still pay property taxes and insurance on the house, and continue to maintain it so that in a decade, you'll make enough money to pay off your reverse mortgage loan. New AC, new roof, new driveway? That would all eat into the profit on selling your house that you'll need to cover all the interest on the loan. Don't pay a bank for the right to live in a house for your entire life. Avoid reverse mortgages at all costs.
  • Rental Bikes Aren't Exactly For The Homeless
    Local news was down in St. Augustine covering the newly-proposed use of some kind of bike-share rental system. Since it's standard operating procedure, a homeless man was interviewed about the program. He said something to the effect that it would be good to have options for someone like him who can't afford a bike. FYI local news and homeless people: bike rental programs are not really created for the homeless.

    Since I don't claim to know the biking habits of the typical homeless individual, I'm going to assume it involves getting to a place and then back home. Home being a structure in a field outside of town, not where you'd be able to return the bike for credit. My understanding would be that these folks would need the bike to get to and from "work," each and every day. Based on a similar rental system I found online, the 24-hour rental is $24. Alternatively, an annual pass is $80. The problem is that the trips can only be 60 minutes each. Assuming the homeless camp is close enough to downtown, this might work as a way to get around once in St. Augustine. Not a bad yearly price to not have to worry about bike maintenance, anyhow. If you're homeless already, and now you can get as many maintenance-free trips on a bike as you can use each day, then $80 for the year isn't bad at all.

    But wait, there's less. The yearly pass will need to be paid for with a credit card with a fob mailed to an address. So even if these ride share bikes makes sense to homeless people, it might not be something that can be purchased without the help of someone with credit and an address. It might seem like a lot of people would volunteer to do this, but any extra time or any damage would be billed to the credit card, so I certainly wouldn't volunteer my credit in the hopes that someone else will always return the bike in time (or at all). The Cincinnati bike share, for example, charges $1,200 for a bike that is not returned.

    I have a $1,000 bike. At least someone paid $1,000 for it back in 1986. I picked it up amidst college moving day garbage at UW-Milwaukee back in 1999. It was already worth $0 at that point. I've used some tape to hold it together, but it's still worth about $0. Since I'm probably not the only person in the area with a worthless bike, I'm thinking a bike donation for the homeless might make more sense than saying they should be using tourist bikes. That's not to say that bike shares don't have a place in St. Augustine, just that it might be meant for rich tourists instead of homeless interviewees.