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Tag Archive | "education"

Main Street


So long, Steve, and thanks

The paper you’re reading was produced on a Macintosh computer. By “produced,” I mean typeset, proofed, designed, and sent out of town to the printer directly from the Mac. Steve Jobs’ invention changed publishing in ways that are nearly indescribable. You had to have been there, and I was.
The Post and Squire have at least a dozen Macs and we couldn’t do a paper without them. Personally, I’ve owned five or six Apple computers.
The early electronic computer was “Eniac,” built at the University of Pennsylvania and put into operation in 1945.  It occupied a whole floor of the Engineering building and weighed 30 tons. Steve Jobs had not been born.
In 1976, as you’ve probably been hearing this week, the Apple Computer was invented in Steve Jobs’ parents’ garage.  Steve was 21 yrs old.  From then on he took control of the company, imagining things he would like to have and then making them.
My own first computer was an Apple II, a desktop model. You had to hook it up your TV because there was no monitor. There was also no hard drive.  You got a manual that told you how to write your own programs. You could save your programs if you bought a “floppy drive” and “floppy discs” (which were actually floppy). My Apple II was great. It had a mouse!
Steve Jobs went on to imagine and produce the iPod, iPhone, and iPad. All have been extremely popular.
Steve is gone now, too soon at age 56. Let’s hope that somewhere there’s another communications genius driven to think up products we might like to have—only to discover that we couldn’t do without them.

High stress

The doctor remarked on a new patient’s extraordinarily ruddy complexion. “High blood pressure, Doc,” said the man. “It comes from my family.”
“Your mother’s side or your father’s?”
“Neither,” replied the patient. “It’s from my wife’s family.”
“Oh, come now,” said the doctor. “How could your wife’s family give you high blood pressure?”
The man sighed. “You oughta meet ‘em sometime, Doc!”

Best try

“Dad,” said Marcus, “I’m late for football practice. Would you please do my homework for me?”
The father said, irately, “Son, it just wouldn’t be right.”
“That’s okay,” replied Marcus, “but you could at least give it a try, couldn’t you?”

Primary education

A second grader came home from school and said “Mom, guess what? We learned how to make babies today.”
More that a little surprised, the mother said, “That’s interesting. And how do you make babies?”
“It’s simple,” replied the girl. “You just change ‘y’ to ‘i’ and add ‘es.’”

Disclaimer

These sentences were composed  on a Macintosh computer. No animals were killed or injured in the preparation of this column.

Posted in Roger on Main St.Comments Off

United Lifestyles offers Diabetes education


United Lifestyles, a member of Spectrum Health United Hospital in Greenville, is offering a three-session Diabetes Education group class. The classes will be held on Mondays, beginning October 10, 2011 from 5 to 8 p.m. at 407 S. Nelson, Greenville.
This American Diabetes Association recognized program includes education on glucose levels, dietary guidelines, and management techniques.  Most insurances cover all or part of the class fees, with a physician’s signature. Registration is required.  For more information, call 616.754.6185, ext. 100 or 800.406.4551.

Posted in Arts & EntertainmentComments Off

Inside the state house


With Rep. Peter MacGregor, 73rd District

I am pleased to announce that the 2011-2012 budget passed before Governor Snyder’s May 31 deadline. We set an ambitious goal to pass the budget early so that schools and local governments could plan for next year without any guess work. The resulting budget is fiscally responsible and structurally sound. This has not been achieved since the Reagan administration.

I want to address K-12 education because I know how important it is to our local school districts. The final agreement distributes $150 million to schools that show “best practices” and $160 million to pay down pension obligations. This restores approximately $200 per pupil from the Governor’s original $300 cut.

These “best practices” include the 1) district paying at least 90 percent of employee health care contributions, 2) the district being the health insurance policy holder, 3) bidding out non-instructional services (the district doesn’t need to necessarily take the bid), 4) creating a performance-based dashboard for parents and 5) service-based consolidation sharing. These are all potential cost saving measures for school districts and therefore can be applied for every district. If a district meets four of the five “best practices”, they will receive an additional $100 per pupil. I am confident that the schools in the 73rd district can, and will, fulfill these “best practices” and therefore qualify for the additional $100 in per pupil funding.

The agreement also provides $160 million to help districts pay for future retirement costs. I wholeheartedly believe that this is the right thing to do because we are applying funds to address long-term debt that cripples school districts. It is no secret that Michigan has pension liabilities it must address ($27 billion in pensions liabilities alone). This funding supports our retired teachers who contributed so much to Michigan’s future. We must ensure that money is in the pension system when our current teachers are ready to retire.  It is estimated that paying down this obligation will save school districts approximately $100 per pupil.

The smaller, remaining portion of funds from the revenue estimating conference is being applied to address future needs. Over the last decade, we have reacted to the economy instead of planning for it. The Budget Stabilization Fund (“rainy day fund”) is designed to help offset budget difficulties during economic downturns. In 2001, Michigan had nearly a billion dollars in that fund. Currently, the fund has a balance of $2.5 million. We are now placing $256 million back into that fund so that we can fund education, public safety and other critical departments in times of serious economic need. These dollars meet our present needs while planning for the future.

I also understand many of your frustrations, one being the transfer of money from the School Aid Fund (SAF) to Higher Education. I do not support this, but I worked with leadership to get $50 million restored into the School Aid Fund in the House version and was assured that more was on its way after the revenue estimating conference, which they have done by giving us back the $330 million in the areas mentioned above. If a school district meets the criteria for the additional funding I stated above, the overall cut in education will only be an average of 1.4 percent. If they do not meet either of the criteria, the cut will be 4.1 percent. I understand that funding for our children is critical but I am confident that our schools will continue to thrive because of how much our community values education. As I look at the funding around the state, one thing is clear: funding is not nearly as important as quality teachers, loving families and passionate communities. We can fund many schools to the gills but students succeed because they come home to a loving family that supports their education. That being said, I take the cuts very seriously and understand your frustrations.

The federal stimulus money over the past three years ($900 million for education), which came with much hope and hullabaloo, created as many challenges for our state as it solved. Please keep in mind that from 2004 to 2010 the state has added over $8 billion in spending to a collapsing and shrinking economy. State spending needs right-sizing, because it is not sustainable.

Overall, I am pleased with the budget. Despite our original shortfall, and the elimination of federal stimulus money, we were able to address long term debt that has long been ignored. It’s easy to spend all of the available money, but we must think of our children five, ten or twenty years from now and the Michigan they will inherit. As we move forward, please keep in mind that I am one of 148 legislators. I am committed to continuing the fight for our public schools, keeping in mind that I have a responsibility as your legislator to balance the budget and ensure other core functions of state government such as public safety, roads and caring for the vulnerable are protected as well. Although I am anxious to find inefficiencies in government, cutting vital programs is NOT something I enjoy. However, the state’s ability to pay is limited. We cannot settle for the status quo and my decision-making will always prioritize long term solutions rather than Band-Aid fixes. We are laying the foundation for a long-term economic recovery and job creation for Michigan.

Posted in Voices and ViewsComments Off

Banking on Education


By Sarah Read

Elementary students from Greenville Michigan Home Learners were taught the three S’s of money last Friday at their weekly learning cooperative.

“Share, spend and save,” explained Nancy Martin, the bank manager at United Bank of Michigan in Rockford. Martin was a featured guest speaker at the homeschool group for a Teach Kids to Save Day. A field trip to United Bank followed, where students glimpsed the workings of a bank, teller duties, how the drive-up tube and counterfeit light worked and a walk-in look at the vault and safety deposit boxes.

During the class presentation, Martin led the kids through examples they came up with for each category of share, spend and save. For share, the list included suggestions such as church, the humane society, and the Red Cross. For spend, Martin also had the students examine all the ways their parents had to spend money, on things like food, clothes, home repairs, and gasoline—with ideas of ways they can help around the house to make meeting those needs easier on the family. For save, Martin broke down the list of goals into things that take either a short time to save for, like a toy or video game, versus things that take a long time, such as college or a house.

After the discussion, the students, ranging in ages from 4-12, tossed money bean bags into a piggy bank toss and won dollar sign pencils. A drawing to give the kids “Moon Jars,” small banks divided into the three categories they had learned was also a big hit. “My kids had a blast,” said homeschool mom, Jennifer Dugan. “She did great with all the ages. They were all very entertained and learned too!”

To learn more about this home learning group, visit www.greenvillemichiganhomeschoolers.com.

Posted in Featured, NewsComments Off


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