I missed it this week, but I've been taking pictures of the Natchez pier Mississippi River gauge at the edge of the Quarter and posting them on Twitter as "This week's edition of The River Is Too Damn High" in partial homage to this movement and also because the river IS too damn high. My father-in-law understands the phenomenon of drought while a river rises from his visits as a kid to summertime Hannibal, Missouri, further upriver, but it really is something to experience. My Twitter pal and local blogger E.J. has taken the RITDH theme and run with it as a campaign manager for my run for the governor's office. There will be levees around every house, a Flood Deduct Box to steal...er, centralize contributions to the effort, "priority boarding for campaign contributors on all future rooftop helicopter rescues," (credit E.J. with that one) and we will get together to tell the higher ground all the way up in Yankee Minnesota where it can shove all this extra water in an action I call the Billion Gallon March. We are currently amending the platform to address the heat by proposing a temperate dome over Louisiana, which is a pretty insular state to begin with, so why not make it a physical reality? Wow, what else is Too Damn High? Let me know, citizens.
As a consequence of the heat and the stupidity, too many children are dying in locked cars in this heat. One is certainly too many, but that number is actually rising. I was afraid to even let the little guy in the car for a few seconds while I went to return the shopping cart to the bin in the grocery store parking lot. Take your kids inside with you when you gotta go places with them in this heat, or make arrangements for them to be indoors with a responsible sitter if you can't take 'em with you someplace. This goes for pets, too. In all seriousness, it's dangerously hot.
And finally, Karran Harper-Royal has been tweeting from the Orleans Parish School Board teacher firings trial in civil district court for the past few weeks and is wondering why in hell the mainstream media is not covering this. Don't start with the possible reasons, just check her Twitter stream and go look at the website for the trial for further updates. Why is this trial important?:
Keep checking it out and spread the word. This trial is simply another way in which state and local governments seem to want our tax dollars to be spent. I don't know about you, but I don't want my money to be going towards endless idiotic fights in court over these asinine decisions that hurt too many people. Do we really elect our legislators on this basis? If so, stop the world, I wanna get off...or maybe I'll amend the gubernatorial platform to include a Trial Costs Are Too Damn High tenet.
After Hurricane Katrina, the Defendants (local and state education officials) took arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable actions in the aftermath of a national disaster to enact legislation that abrogated the plaintiffs’ employment rights and “property rights.” Political newcomers to the OPSB used Hurricane Katrina as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to carry out an old political agenda to abolish the New Orleans Public School System as it existed before Hurricane Katrina, and replace it with quasi-private, Charter Schools, using public funds.
Effective November 30, 2005, the Louisiana Legislature passed a law known as “Act 35” which resulted in the State takeover of 107 public schools in New Orleans---with the publicly stated intent to authorize national Charter School operators to take over these schools. Of the 50 State-controlled public schools which reopened nearly a year after Hurricane Katrina, 31 became Charter Schools and 18 were operated by a new State-controlled agency called the “Recovery School District.” It was no surprise that State education officials also refused to allow even tenured pre-Katrina NOPS employees to transfer to the 18 state-run public schools. They seized an inopportune time…a tragedy…to advance their political agendas.
The combined actions of the local and state education boards threatened the economic and personal survival of 7,500 public school employees and their families. The establishment of 31 quasi-private, publicly funded Charter Schools threatened the future of a public education system in New Orleans. Prior to Hurricane Katrina, these employees enjoyed a property right in their employment guaranteed to them under Louisiana’s Constitution and several State statutes. The storm took their homes but local and state education officials took their jobs.
...Court documents and testimony show that 88 of the 120 NOPS schools met or exceeded their state-required School Performance Score (SPS) for the 2004-05 School Year (just prior to Hurricane Katrina) but this fact has not been reported in the media. Nor has it been reported that immediately after the storm, Louisiana State Department of Education officials changed the definition of an acceptable School Performance Score from “60” to “88” which allowed the takeover of 107 NOPS schools---- leaving the local school board with only five (5) schools post-Katrina.