Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for August 15th, 2022

Another water-loving plant

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In addition to pickerelweed, another water-loving plant I found at the edge of the pond along Gault Lane on July 7th was Ludwigia octovalvis, known as narrow-leaf water primrose, Mexican primrose willow, and seedbox. Its yellow flowers always bring cheer, and its drying seed capsules make colorful miniature sculptures; the one above even suggests a windmill.


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I was familiar with the school choice movement but hadn’t ever heard it called backpack funding till two days ago. As things are structured in the United States, property owners pay taxes based on the value of their property, and a portion (usually the largest portion) of those taxes is given to local public schools. That’s the case even for taxpayers who don’t have children because education is considered a public good.

Two main objections to that system have arisen in the past few decades. The first objection is that many public schools receive plenty of tax money but fail to educate their children. You can go online (as I reported last year) to see how abysmal many of the scores on standardized tests have been, even as funding has kept going up. The second and more recent objection is that increasingly many public schools have been turning into “social justice” factories to indoctrinate students in “woke” beliefs.

While people in the school choice movement agree that education is a public good, they also believe that tax money should not automatically go to our existing public schools but instead should follow each student to a school the student’s parents choose. The idea is that if a certain public school is failing to educate its students, parents can send their children to a public school that does a better job with education. If no public school in a given area is doing a good job, discontented parents can choose a private school that does a good job. If no good private school exists in the area, parents can pool their children’s allocated tax money and fund a new school that will follow principles designed to provide a good education.

Objections to the school choice movement come from where you’d expect them to come from: vested interests like educational bureaucrats and teachers’ unions, who don’t want to give up their monopoly and the sinecures that come with it. Objections also come from ideologues who don’t want to lose their power to indoctrinate students.

Me, born on the Fourth of July, I’m all for freedom here: my school, my choice.


© 2022 Steven Schwartzman




Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 15, 2022 at 4:29 AM

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