PHILADELPHIA - EarthLink Inc. is pulling the plug on its troubled wireless high-speed Internet network in Philadelphia, once touted as a model for how big cities should deploy Wi-Fi.
which once pinned its future on municipal networks such as
Philadelphia's following rapid declines in its dial-up Internet access
business, said Tuesday that it could not find a buyer for the $17
million network and that talks to give it to either the city or a
nonprofit organization had failed.
City officials have said it would cost taxpayers millions of dollars each year to operate the network.
"It's been an unfortunate situation," Chief Executive Officer Rolla
Huff told The Associated Press. "It was a great idea a few years ago,
... but it's an idea that simply didn't make it."
Mayor Pro Tem Gary Perry said, "if we cut (the Budget), Town Council compensation should be cut."
Councilwoman Emilie Klutz added: "for pay that's given for essentially
a volunteer job, I have no objections to not being paid, just make it a
volunteer position." The Council compensation along with Federal
Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) totals $10,250.00 in the budget.
Council also recommended making cuts in the Public Works Department.
"We'll cut and slash whatever we have to here," said Gary Perry. "I don't want to raise taxes."
The proposed budget alloted $25,000 for the office trailer removal,
however, he suggested cutting the project out of the budget. "At what
point do elected officials say the economy is bad, we don't know where
it's going, we need basics?"
As the General Assembly returns to work today, lawmakers are hearing pleas for funding.
That includes a proposed $1 billion transportation bond package.
Senate Majority Leader Tony Rand, D-Cumberland, suggested in a recent interview with CJ that a bond package might be tough this year.
One potential casualty of a slow economy is a potential bond package.
Lawmakers left Raleigh last year without addressing a proposed
statewide bond referendum for roads, schools, or other priority items.
“We’ve talked about that, and we’ve looked at it, and we’ll look at
that and see, but I don’t know,” Rand said. “Borrowing money right now
is kind of a suspect operation, and I’m not sure we want to get into
borrowing right now with our economy like it is.”
If lawmakers decide to move forward with a transportation bond, Daren Bakst's recommendations about transportation priorities might prove helpful.
A class of California 6th grade students, organized by one of their teachers, has sent letters to the Heartland Institute complaining about its skeptical views on global warming. The letters were collected and sent to Heartland by Michael Steria, an earth science teacher at David A. Brown Middle School. Here's a sample from one of the letters:
"We are going to tell you about global warming. I don't care if you don't want to read [sic], but I'm making you read it you horrible people."
This is from three students named Brock, Anas, and Kyle.
Heartland has published all of the letters in a single collection, which can be found here.
In the new book, The Dumbest Generation, Mark Bauerlein argues that the digital age of communication, technology, media, computer games, etc. is increasing public ignorance especially in children. David Robinson writes a review of the book here.
Below are some interesting statistics from the book.
This daily media binge isn't making students smarter. The National Assessment of Educational Progress has pegged 46% of 12th-graders below the "basic" level of proficiency in science, while only 2% are qualified as "advanced." Likewise in the political arena: Participatory Web sites may give young people a "voice," but their command of the facts is shaky. Forty-six percent of high-school seniors say it's " 'very important' to be an active and informed citizen," but only 26% are rated as proficient in civics. Between 1992 and 2005, the NAEP reported, 12th-grade reading skills dropped dramatically. (As for writing, Naomi Baron, in her recent book, "Always On: Language in an Online and Mobile World," cites the NAEP to note that "only 24% of twelfth-graders are 'capable of composing organized, coherent prose in clear language with correct spelling and grammar.' ")
The state community college system issued the following news release this morning:
Community colleges to change policy on illegal immigrants
RALEIGH – Based on an advisory letter from the Office of the Attorney General, beginning immediately, the North Carolina Community College System (NCCCS) will no longer admit individuals classified as illegal or undocumented immigrants into curriculum degree programs. This action is in response to the recent advice provided to the NCCCS general counsel by the Office of the Attorney General on May 6, 2008 and a subsequent meeting with the AG’s Office on Monday, May 12. The System has asked the AG’s Office to pursue further federal clarification.
“We asked the Attorney General’s Office for clarification of our present policy and will abide by their advice,” said System President R. Scott Ralls. “We will continue to be a primary source of economic advancement for the state by providing world-class education and workforce training to every student eligible to enroll.”
In December 2007, the NCCCS sought clarification from the Attorney General regarding a System Numbered Memo, dated November 7, 2007, that had been sent to all 58 community colleges mandating they admit illegal aliens at the out-of-state tuition rate. That rate is calculated to equal 140% of what it costs the state to provide a full-time education to one student. The November directive was the result of the NCCCS interpretation of an earlier Attorney General advisory letter that said community colleges could not impose nonacademic criteria for admission, which supported the “open door” policy of the NCCCS.
In the May 6 letter, the Office of the Attorney General advised the NCCCS to return to the directive in System Numbered Memo 01-271, dated December 21, 2001, that prohibits undocumented students from taking curriculum degree classes. That memo places no restriction on high school students taking any community college classes or on any adult who seeks non-college level courses which include GED, Adult High School, ESL, and continuing education classes.
“We have accepted the Attorney General’s offer to seek federal clarification of this issue, and they are pursing that information,” said Ralls. “Until we receive further clarification, we will no longer admit individuals classified as illegal or undocumented immigrants into curriculum degree programs.”
A clarifying System Numbered Memo has been transmitted to all 58 community colleges today. In the memo, colleges were told to allow students admitted under the earlier directive to continue his or her program of study at the out-of-state tuition rate. A survey of the colleges for the 2006-07 academic year indicated that 112 curriculum degree students without proper residency documentation were enrolled among the 296,540 total number of curriculum students at that time. The higher number of 340 undocumented students which was released in December 2007 included students who later produced sufficient documentation.
The North Carolina Community College System enrolls more than 800,000 students in 58 comprehensive community colleges. Internationally recognized for the scope and quality of its programs, the system is North Carolina's primary provider of workforce preparation and adult education.
Manitowoc County in Wisconsin offered employees the chance to health savings accounts (HSAs) and high deductible insurance. Employees got $4,000 of the $7,400 in savings and taxpayers saved $2,000 per employee.
Sorry, I made a few mistakes in my previous post. Here is the corrected quote:
There have been complaints that the Soviet school has so far failed to produce the qualities desired. In 1956 Khrushchev accused the Soviet school system of poor attainments in moral education. Both the school and the family were considered responsible for this shortcoming. Both, critics said, suffered from vestiges of the bourgeois order. To develop communist morality, the young had to be educated in state supervised institutions from the day of birth through university studies. This was originally Lenin's idea.
-"Soviet Preschool Education" by Abraham Kreusler The Elementary School Journal, Vol. 70, No. 8. (May, 1970), pp. 429-437.
The Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) has a new report on North Carolina's on the state's Economic Development Inventory. CFED rightly lauds the inventory as a helpful step in making state incentives transparent. The author's main suggestion is for the state to build on the inventory with a Unified Development Budget with details on how economic development money is spent.
A unified budget would be particularly useful if it provided a better definition of tax preferences, which have gone from 77 percent of the development budget in 1996 to 90 percent in 2007, according to CFED.
To get a complete picture, that budget would also need to include Golden LEAF money, which often supplements and supplants state incentives in the Global Trans Park and elsewhere.
A funny story from the Dome involving Sen. David Hoyle and a misunderstanding:
I got a call from the Governor's Office this morning asking me a question. I said I was making a comment this morning and I said this is what I would recommend to the Governor that he do it by executive order but the Governor is in Italy. One of the staff members said I called the Governor an idiot. I just wanted to make clear the word "Italy" and "idiot" are very close but the Governor is certainly my friend and not that.
Governor Easley is asking the General Assembly to add $45 million to the More at Four program budget. The massive funding that Easley and the NCGA have been pouring into preschool programs reminds me of an article published in the Elementary School Journal sometime in the 1970s.
Here is the key passage:
There have been complaints that the North Carolina school has so far failed to produce the qualities desired. In 1976 James Hunt accused the North Carolina school system of poor attainments in moral education. Both the school and the family were considered responsible for this shortcoming. Both, critics said, suffered from vestiges of the old order. To develop democratic morality, the young had to be educated in state supervised institutions from the day of birth through university studies. This was originally Hunt's idea.