Letters from the Lunar Outpost

Hate is ravening vulture beaks descending on a place of skulls.
- Amy Lowell, American Poet and Critic (1874-1925)

Nike Air Jordan Retro IV White Fire Reds on eBay

Got kicks? Every Detroit student who shows up on the cash-crucial Student Count Day will be able to answer “yes” thanks to a donation from Bob’s Classic Kicks in midtown.

BCK, 4717 Woodward, made an arrangement with the school district to give away a free pair of black leather Nikes to every student who comes to class on Oct. 3, the day when students are counted and their numbers used as the basis for per-pupil funding from the state and federal government.

The more bodies in class, the more money schools have all year.

source: CBS Detroit

Where do you even start with a story like this?

I guess you could start with the positive, which is a local shoe store willing to pony up 14,000 to 17,000 shoes for the neighborhood kids. When I read the headline, I assumed it had to be Nike themselves footing the bill for enough shoes to cover an entire school district, but for a single-location shoe store to offer that? I can’t even imagine how one store can afford to do that, but that’s pretty awesome to see a local business willing to give that much to the community.

On the idea of a thing called “Student Count Day,” I can barely put into words what an incredibly stupid idea I think it is to tie a school’s funding to a single day that’s publicly announced beforehand. Student Count Day was born to be rigged like this, an opportunity for a district to blatantly game the system. Yes, I know, some will say, “But it’s for the kids!”

Yes, but they’re taking a bigger share of the pie from the other districts. Aren’t we supposed to be against cheating in school? This is cheating just as surely as if the district decided they were going to count everyone twice (maybe once for each of their feet) which is probably roughly the spike they’ll see for attendence on Free Nikes, er – Student Count Day.

Reality is, the US spends more per child than any other nation. Period. It’s not a problem of not spending enough, it’s a societal and cultural problem more than anything. Next time you hear the teachers’ unions arguing that the problem is that we don’t spend enough and we need more money because “It’s for the kids,” realize that the majority of every dollar spent on education goes to bureaucrat and teacher salaries and pensions. All I know is, some explaining needs to be done when we spend more per child than any other nation and see our kids’ test scores falling farther and farther behind.

A few last thoughts . . . It would be interesting to see how they coordinate the exchange of 14,000 – 17,000 vouchers for new shoes in all sizes. It would seem to me just about all the kids would want to get those new shoes just as soon as attendance is counted and the vouchers passed out. (Staggered redemption dates on the vouchers, perhaps?) Let’s just hope it doesn’t turn into some chaos like some of the mega-hyped releases of top dollar Nike Air Jordan retros.

They’re not giving out the retro Air Jordans for sure, but for a brand that typically starts around $80 to get into, I’d imagine most the kids will be feeling pretty good about themselves in their new shoes.

It begs the question though – when everyone at your school has their own pair of Nikes, does that whole Nike shoes as a status symbol thing go out the window? Regardless, let’s just hope that when everyone has their own Nikes, kids will no longer get killed over their Nikes.

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