Monday, April 30, 2007

Michigan and Frank Burd

In the April 2007 edition of "Wastewatcher" from Citizens Against Government Waste ( I read about a legislative proposal for House Democrats in the State of Michigan. They announced a plan on April 5th to spend $38 million in TAX revenues for an education plan that includes the purchase of MP3 players/iPods for every student in Michigan public schools.

Now while audiobooks and podcasting might be proven useful for supplementing classroom lectures the Michigan Legislature should also consider the potential harm caused by such a plan. While this is an extreme example it is worth knowing that two students in a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania school were arrested for assaulting a teacher -- Frank Burd -- when he took away the iPod of one of these students:,2933,254278,00.html

"High School Teacher Assaulted After Confiscating iPod
Saturday, February 24, 2007

PHILADELPHIA — A high school teacher was assaulted by two students and hospitalized with broken vertebrae after he took an
iPod away from one of them during class Friday, officials said.
Frank Burd, 60, was in a hallway at Germantown High School shortly after 11 a.m. when he was confronted by the 17-year-old who brought the iPod to class, officials said.
A 15-year-old student joined the confrontation and either punched or helped trip Burd, who fell and hit his head, said Fernando Gallard, spokesman for the
Philadelphia School District.
Burd was taken to
Albert Einstein Medical Center with two broken bones in his neck, said Paul Vallas, the district's chief executive officer. The teacher's injury does not involve paralysis, Vallas said.
The two students, who were not named because of their ages, were charged Friday night with aggravated assault, simple assault and reckless endangerment, police said. Vallas said they will be expelled."

By no means am I suggesting that every student given an iPod via plans like this (crazy) Michigan one -- remember the plan from the Governor of Georgia years ago to send an audio CD of Mozart music to every baby in Georgia??? -- is going to turn into a violent criminal but when government adds yet another dimension to the culture of entitlement that has corrupted so many Americans (think "welfare") then the potential for trouble is huge.

If the Michigan Legislature truly wants to "help" people it could start by phasing out the state's income tax system thus allowing citizens to choose whether or not to buy an iPod for their children.


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