The Root Cause of Gun Violence

Since the mass shootings in Roseburg, Oregon where a lone gunman singled out Christians and killed them, I have given much thought to the plague of mass murder this nation has and is experiencing.

I waited for the predictable calls for an end to gun ownership. I was not disappointed. There are many in government who fear the guns belonging to the people. While the atrocities committed by gunmen are bad, they pail into insignificance when compared to the atrocities committed by governments against an unarmed populace. Stalin, Hitler, Mao and Pol Pot killed millions of unarmed civilians. There are many other similar examples.

Armed populations have probably prevented similar atrocities in free nations. In the USA we have some examples. In 1993 a religious sect known as the Branch Davidians were attacked in their compound near Waco, Texas and destroyed. Seventy four people were killed by the FBI when they attacked these people because of unproven charges of child abuse. Who needs assault weapons? Maybe the Branch Davidians did. I don’t know much about their religion, but you don’t attack a any community with tanks and flame throwers and kill all the innocent children there to save those same children from allegations of child abuse.

Guns are not the problem, evil is the problem.

I remember going to school in 1962. I was in the second grade. One morning the teacher stood up and announced that we would not start school with prayer that day. A group that I knew nothing about; The Supreme Court, had said that we had to stop. I remember thinking of something that my Mother had said; “King Nebakanezer of Babylon had made it against the law to pray to any god but his god. Daniel was tossed into the lion’s den because he broke this law.” My Mother then said that because of our constitution that could never happen here.

Now more that 50 years have passed since that ruling. When you make prayer in school illegal, and attempt to prohibit any religion in school and the public square, you also give the impression that there is something wrong with religion. When you also mandate that evolution, with all its flaws, be taught in public school, you also teach that there is no God. If there is no God, then there is no ultimate accountability. It also follows that there is no good and no evil, only nice and mean.

It is self evident that you cannot trust people with self government if they will not govern themselves. Christianity and Judaism teach that there is a God and that we are all ultimately accountable for our actions. Religion also teaches that we have an internal compass known as a conscience. The conscience helps us to know right from wrong. Everyone attending public school used to receive a basic religious education. They were taught right from wrong. This is no longer the case. Theodor Roosevelt once said; “To educate a person in mind but not in morals is to educate a menace to society.” That is what this nation has been doing for over 50 years.

And now we wonder why we have mass killings in school.

Go figure.

New Study: First Two Years of College Largely Wasted

USA Today is reporting on a study published in a book titled Academically Adrift.  The study that included twenty nine unnamed universities found that students showed little or no learning for their freshman and sophomore years.  Those who graduated did only slightly better.

With parents shelling out between #30,000 and $35,000 a year to send their little darlings off to an elite private university you would think that the institution could deliver value close to the cost.

As a hopelessly left brained engineer I insist that things make sense.  Let’s assume that the average class size in college was 20 students and the tuition was $5,000 a semester ($10,000 a year).  That would mean that the university would get $200,000 per classroom. It is difficult to calculate exact costs at the university level.  Research Professors only teach one or two classes.  Many classes are taught by graduate students (almost slave labor wages for what they do).

I would love to see a performance audit on some top public universities.  The results would be very revealing. With many professors only teaching one or two classes, they are only in the classroom for three to six hours a week and they are paid for forty hours.  It would be more reasonable if they spent twelve to fifteen hours in the classroom each week.  If they did this, and used graduate students for grading assignments where reasonable, etc. the cost of a university education would tumble quite quickly.

The study indicated that many students don’t even have twenty pages of writing assigned to them in a semester.  That is less than one page a day. More traditional majors, such as math, chemistry, biology, engineering, etc. are producing much better results.  Nontraditional fields of study (women studies, Latino studies, etc.) appear to have about as much academic value as they have in the job market.

It would seem that even our university system is in dire straights at this time.

Conclusion:  Choose your child’s university carefully.

By Paul R. Stone

Bogus Budget Based on Bona fide Bottom-line Bucks

Back in the early 1990’s, before I even thought of homeschooling, I became appalled with what I saw regarding education funding in my school district.

I live in Federal Way, Washington.  I had always believed in supporting the school.  My father was a teacher as were his four brothers, my grand mother and great grand mother. I know the value of an education.  I had always just automatically voted for any and all requests the schools had for money.

Then I did some digging.

I learned that schools were spending $5,500 per student. (That figure today is $12,500 per student).  That seemed a bit high.  Schools are exempt from property taxes and they enjoy several other benefits that should help keep costs down.

I decided to prepare a budget for a single classroom of 30 kids.  I called this:

“A Bogus Budget Based On Bona fied Bottom-line Bucks”

Let’s see, the schools get $5,500 per student and there are 30 students per class so $5,500 X 30= $165,000. So we have an operating budget of $165,000 for a class of 30 kids.

The building is paid for out of another budget. So are school lunches. So what does this $165,000 cover?

  • Teachers Salaries ($60,000 including payroll costs to the district).
  • Books (Six classes so there must be six books at a cost of $50.00 each for a $600 total per student or $18,000 per year). This of course assumes that they never reuse any books.
  • Utilities (Heat, water, lights, maybe $1,000 a month for ten months).
  • Bus Transportation.  Let’s assume $3.00 per day per student and that half of them will travel by bus.  This comes to $8,100

So far we have successfully spent $96,100 of the $165,000.  Only $68,900 to go.

To make a long story short I could not think of enough ways to spend all the money they had so I went to a school board meeting and asked for their help.  I gave them all a copy of the Bogus Budget and they just sat there staring at it.

Today they have a budget of $375,000 per classroom.  The costs have not changed significantly from what they were in the early 1990’s.  I am still wondering where all the money goes.

Sure, schools need principles, librarians and libraries, counselors, etc.  I still cannot conceive of anything that could result is a true need for $375,000 for a class of 30 kids.  Just imagine how much money could be saved if families were to homeschool.  Per Pupil costs drop from $12,500 to $1200, unless they are using A2 Curriculum in which case it can easily be accomplished for $500 a year.

With our nation facing massive deficits as far as the eye can see, isn’t it time that we stop and examine what we are doing as a nation, and how we are spending our financial resources?