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Real public servants are free enterprising individuals who, inspired, embrace challenge, take risks, and create, sometimes big, and often, they create jobs in the process, all out of their ideas, and self initiative...

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Dan Walters: School advocates talk more dollars than sense - Press-Telegram

11/16/2011
...The California Budget Project, a liberal group that advocates for more spending, continues the money obsession with a new report contending that public education is being woefully underfinanced.

The CBP calls it "a decade of disinvestment" that has "left public systems and programs ill-equipped to cope with the ongoing impact of the Great Recession and the challenges of a growing population and an ever-more-competitive global economy."

The report, citing data from the National Education Association and federal agencies, declares that California is 46th among the states in per-pupil spending at $8,908 per year, nearly $3,000 under the national average; 47th in school spending as a percentage of personal income; 50th in the number of students per teacher, and so forth.

It's a selective array of data, perhaps chosen to support a proposed tax increase for schools. It does not, for example, include the fact that California teachers are very nearly the highest-paid in the nation.

Moreover, it paints a much darker picture than data from other sources.

The Census Bureau, for instance, surveys all forms of school spending and pegs California's per-pupil number at $11,588, just $662 under the national average and 27th-highest in the nation, not 46th.

And it's much higher in some big-city school systems, such as Los Angeles Unified, which has more than 600,000 students, spends $14,100 per pupil and has about a 50 percent high-school dropout rate...
Read more here.

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Botched Paramilitary Police Raids: An Epidemic of "Isolated Incidents"

"If a widespread pattern of [knock-and-announce] violations were shown . . . there would be reason for grave concern." —Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, in Hudson v. Michigan, June 15, 2006. An interactive map of botched SWAT and paramilitary police raids, released in conjunction with the Cato policy paper "Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids," by Radley Balko. What does this map mean? How to use this map View Original Map and Database

Key

Death of an innocent. Death or injury of a police officer. Death of a nonviolent offender.
Raid on an innocent suspect. Other examples of paramilitary police excess. Unnecessary raids on doctors and sick people.
The proliferation of SWAT teams, police militarization, and the Drug War have given rise to a dramatic increase in the number of "no-knock" or "quick-knock" raids on suspected drug offenders. Because these raids are often conducted based on tips from notoriously unreliable confidential informants, police sometimes conduct SWAT-style raids on the wrong home, or on the homes of nonviolent, misdemeanor drug users. Such highly-volatile, overly confrontational tactics are bad enough when no one is hurt -- it's difficult to imagine the terror an innocent suspect or family faces when a SWAT team mistakenly breaks down their door in the middle of the night. But even more disturbing are the number of times such "wrong door" raids unnecessarily lead to the injury or death of suspects, bystanders, and police officers. Defenders of SWAT teams and paramilitary tactics say such incidents are isolated and rare. The map above aims to refute that notion.

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