The Friday Five School's Out Edition By Pete Herr

"No more pencils, no more books, no more teacher's dirty's out for summer"

1. Charter Schools and competition. What could possibly go wrong?

One of the big arguments about the condition of American schools is that the free market can do it better. The competition tide will raise all boats forcing all schools to be better. The best way to do that? Charter schools, which have to compete. Great idea. Have a look at the Business First rankings of high schools and see how the charter schools fared. To save you time, I am only linking to the final page of the list. Also to save time, you should skip to the end of the list to see how the Charter Schools are doing. Further proof that big business and the free markets know exactly what they are talking about when it comes to education. Remember big business brought us awesome educational reforms like "No Child Left Behind" and are backing the Common Core Standards, so that they can hold those lazy teachers accountable.

2. Clarence School Budget Battle

I have watched the budget battle in utter stupefaction. The school system is efficient. The school system is excellent. Both of those can be evidenced by the same Business First Schools report I cited below. Clarence also already had some of the lowest per pupil spending in WNY. Even with the new levy, taxpayers in Clarence would still be paying less than they did four or five years ago. I was pleased that the revote passed. I am also pleased that I am no longer associated with Clarence. I am a product of Clarence Schools and those extracurricular activities helped make me who I am and led me into a very fulfilling career. I got a degree in Theater and I even have a job and pay taxes. I said it earlier. Clarence was low hanging fruit for "Americans for Prosperity". As Lisa Thrun, a confirmed Tea Party activist, continued her call for a professional contract negotiator, it became apparent that this whole campaign is nothing more than disdain for teachers in action.

3. Casinos Are A Bad Bet

I've never been a fan of casinos. Not because I am anti-gambling. I am not. I am not a fan because they are sold to the communities as an economic stimulator. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Casinos are self-contained money suckers. They give you everything you need, except for a reason to go outside and spend money. They don't even give you a window so that you can see that there is a neighborhood outside that you could go spend money in. (That being one of the largest reasons I was against a waterfront casino. Why waste the views on a windowless building?) In Delaware, the casinos are taking "not an economic stimulator" even farther, and are receiving bailouts out from the government. I kid you not. Struggling casinos now get government bailouts. You can't make this stuff up.

4. Obesityitis?

The American Medical Association has recently approved a measure that approves the labeling of obesity as a disease. I actually failed out of Pre-Med, so what the hell do I know, but I feel like this might not be right. I also can't figure out what the end game is. Does the new designation allow for either a better way to "cure" the disease, or does it in some way allow for doctors to make more money off obesity? Excuse my cynicism, (which is in line for disease status in 2021) but if it isn't one of those two things, why waste the time. If I were to guess, due to my Chronic Cynicism, I would guess the latter over the former.

5. NY Assembly Justice League

Buffalo area Assemblyman, Ray Walter posted a great ad on his Facebook page depicting the Assembly GOP caucus as super heroes because they have brought a package to the body that will address at least some of the corruption that has been plaguing New York government. I'm not pointing it out for any other reason than I agree that Speaker Sheldon Silver and the Assembly Dems are being derelict in their duties to address this. I said that I will continue to say it. Sheldon Silver should resign or be fired and Democrats should demand it. This is personally embarrassing to me. By the way, in looking at the GOP Justice League poster, I tried to figure it out and I think that must be Ray Walter all the way to the right.

Honorable Mention - RIP Tony Soprano.

Here's a pretty cool article about James Gandolfini, complete with links to some of his more memorable Soprano moments. Happy summer, everyone.

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