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Some school districts are taking on positive practices

Some American school districts are catching onto some positive practices.

Administrators at High Tech High in San Diego are banning students from having their cell phones during the school day and are reporting that students are more engaged in the subject matter, feeling a stronger sense of belonging at their school and improving in grades.

In the United States, more than three-quarters of K-12 public schools prohibit cell phone use, according to data from the 2021-22 school year. But only 43 percent of public high schools have such a rule and it is often not enforced.

Also, in the Whitehall School District in Whitehall, Ohio, students are allowed to spend part of their school instruction day down the road at a church where they study Scriptures and pray as part of the Lifewise Academy, a non-profit which brings the Bible back to the public school day. The program started in 2018 with two schools and now partners with more than 300 schools in a dozen schools. The program is legal provided students go off-campus and go at their choosing and not attend during classes considered essential. One dad, Darrell Brady said the program positively motivates his two kids.

I learned about the program watching NBC Nightly News last week. Of course, the reporter felt the need to insert doubts. She asked Brady if he was concerned that his children was missing library time. So what? His kids are reading the Bible, he noted, going through 39 Old Testament books and 27 New Testament books! Imagine that! Practicing reading and learning about history, humanity and faith!

The reporter also quizzed the director of the program, in a pointed question about don’t the other kids feel left out? If they did, they could join the program!

I see nothing but positives in such a program.

* * * * *

I wasn’t born yesterday so when I see a self-serving politician pumping out press releases containing pure manure, it jumps out at me.

Last week it was a press release from California State Assemblyman Devon Mathis (R-33AD). It was about him heralding his Assembly Bill 2818 passing the Public Safety Committee. It requires county jails to provide soon-to-be released inmates with contact information for local social services so have access to resources to keep them from landing back in jail or prison. Are we to believe the problem with recidivism all this time is because ex-felons didn’t have information on where to get help? Really? And I thought it was because it’s hard for a criminal to go straight. (The Bible refers to a foolish person as it to a dog returning to its vomit).

Forty percent of prisoners released from jail or prison learn nothing from incarceration and go back to stealing, drug dealing and other fun things for a peace loving community. Some people never learn from their mistakes and they don’t care. No brochure is going to steer them in the right direction.

What riled me up was the first part of this statement from Mathis: “We must make every attempt possible to keep Californians out of prison without sacrificing public safety.”

Make every attempt to keep Californians out of prison? Let’s accurately change a word there to read: “…make every attempt to keep criminals out of prison.”

People who cannot behave in society actually do belong in prison. It’s sad that people unnecessarily throw their lives away but there should be serious consequences for bad behavior.

Our problem with crime is the state is closing prisons and turning out criminals from where they belong. We see time and time again dangerous people released from prison early only go back to threatening the wellbeing of Californians.

Mathis admits “many of the repeat offenders in our prisons, which include people suffering from mental health disorders, poverty, homelessness and substance abuse, don’t understand the potentially-life changing resources that are available to them.”

Which begs the question, why is the state releasing mentally ill inmates and others who have no plan to obey within the constructs of society? We’ve all read stories of those freed from prison who only go kill for the fun of it.

Handing brochures to a highly defective person is probably not going to lower the crime rate in California. Tougher sentencing and tougher judges will.

* * * * *

New data has revealed the top 10 best and worst states with the quality of roads and California is nearly at the bottom.

The research conducted by personal injury attorneys Munley Law analyzed Bureau of Transportation Statistics data on the acceptable road miles in each state from 2011 to 2020. It calculated the average rate of acceptable road quality.

The study suggests that the 10 best roads are in: (in order), Idaho, Georgia, Tennessee, North Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, Kentucky, Alabama, Montana and Oregon. The report suggests that those states “may be prioritizing road maintenance and infrastructure improvements, resulting in high-quality road surfaces and efficient driving conditions for motorists.”   

California, on the other hand, rates 45 out of 50! We are near the bottom and to be honest, that could be because we have more people beating the hell out of roads; or it could be state lawmakers just mismanage everything.

Things will only worsen while Newsom and cohorts push all of us to buy EVs (that won’t take us as far on a charge) and we won’t be buying gas or paying that exorbitant gasoline. That means less revenue for roads and California already ranks 46th out of 50 states in rural interstate pavement condition and 47th in urban interstate condition.

Don’t be surprised if the Democrats in Sacramento decide to make up the difference by:

• Jacking up the already highest in the nation gas tax;

• Keep raising your vehicle registration fees;

• Impose fees on EVs or those that run on hydrogen fuel cells;

• Impose a road charge based on how many miles we all drive.

* * * * *

Republicans have been warning the Gov. Newsom that the state of California has been spending way too much money but have they listened?

Newsom has a super majority of Democrats in the Legislature which run roughshod over all Republicans so they made a budget deal to pare down the deficit by $17.3 billion. That leaves the state overspending by $55.7 billion!

Assembly Budget Committee vice chairman Vince Fong said of the $73 billion deficit: “budget gimmicks, cost shifts and deferrals are not enough.

“The majority wants to spend half of the state’s savings without a clear and a sustainable plan for the future. What happens if the state faces another deep deficit next year? Until spending is under control, the Rainy Day Fund should not be touched. 

 “There are no structural reforms. We have an ongoing spending problem, but there are no ongoing spending solutions. The public needs and deserves more transparency. This deal continues to rely on delays and gimmicks creating uncertainty and instability in the future.”

Assembly Republican Leader James Gallagher had tougher language, saying: “This deal is a swing and a miss from Democrats. California’s budget has major league problems and Newsom is proposing JV solutions. With a $73 billion deficit, this gimmicky agreement is not the homerun Gavin thinks it is. The emotional, real truth of this budget is visceral to the Californians who will pay the price for Newsom’s delusions and exaggerations.”

Getting the governor to quit overspending is like getting a cocaine addict to walk away from his vice.


This column is the opinion of Jeff Benziger, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Ceres Courier or 209 Multimedia Corporation.  How do you feel about this? Let Jeff know at