Monday, November 30, 2009

The Med

Posted By on Mon, Nov 30, 2009 at 3:09 PM

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If The Med gets emergency financial relief, it probably won't be from Washington.

U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen told a small group of activists Monday that it is "doubtful" that The Med's salvation will come from Washington. He said funds are more likely to come from Tennessee state government and neighboring states Arkansas and Mississippi whose indigent residents use The Med.

At the same meeting, Dr. Arthur Sutherland, a retired cardiologist and head of the Tennessee Chapter of Physicians for National Health Program, said The Med is likely to get some kind of stop-gap funding to stay open but still needs long-term help from passage of the national health care bill.

"Medicare for all is the way to go," said Sutherland.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tommy West's Excellent Suggestion

Posted By on Wed, Nov 11, 2009 at 10:50 AM

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Tommy West is a truth teller.

He said the University of Memphis should get serious about football or do away with it. The second part of his suggestion deserves serious consideration. And the university has the experts for the job.

The U of M's Sparks Bureau of Business and Economic Research should produce a report on the costs and benefits of football. It should include, at a minimum, actual attendance figures for the last ten seasons, the football budget, the deficits from football, the athletic department budget, the cost of West and his coaching staff, the likely cost of a new (and more expensive) coach and assistants, and the cost of an indoor practice facility. And the most likely sources of funds.

Then it should address the other half of West's syllogism, with a twist. What if the university got super serious about academics and deemphasized football? Football coaches aren't the only superstars. Taking a suggestion from Memphis entrepreneur Bob Compton, how many professors of Mandarin, Farsi, entrepreneurship, and business could be hired for the $2.7 million still owed Tommy West? How many students would use a new health, wellness, and recreation center open to everyone, not just 85 football players? And how much does annual giving actually depend on having a Division 1 football team that drew 4,100 people to a recent game?

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Friday, November 6, 2009

Tennessee Report Card and MCS

Posted By on Fri, Nov 6, 2009 at 3:44 PM

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An important number is missing in the annual report card from the Tennessee Department of Education that came out this week: the number of graduates from each high school.

It’s a bad omission. Graduates are the end product of the system. Attendance and passing grades and accumulating credits are simply parts of the big picture. The goal is to graduate.

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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Is "safe e-mail for students" nuts?

Posted By on Tue, Nov 3, 2009 at 2:13 PM

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Memphis City Schools is going to start providing student e-mail accounts and message boards through a company called Gaggle.Net.

The first guinea pigs will be middle schoolers, notorious for their maturity, thick skins, concentration, and tech savvy. This is either (a) a green, paperless way to connect students and teachers with the conveniences of the Internet or (b) as crazy as giving each student a firearm, cell phone, squirt gun, an unlimited hall pass, and a six-pack of Coke.

Having no children in MCS, I don't know. But I have heard of very rare occasions in which email and social networks have been used for non-serious purposes as well as a tiny number of accidents and technical glitches. I would like to hear from parents and teachers on such Gaggle.Net reassurances as "the teacher is in charge," "safe, productive email for your students," "easy for the teacher to control unwanted SPAM, pornographic mail, etc."

Here are some more:

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