Friday, October 27, 2006

School Daze: LA Unified Blasts Charter Schools For Giving Parents What They Want

I have many very smart friends who oppose charter schools and voucher programs. I disagree with them, but I respect their view.

After reading this news story about how the LA Unified School District's school board is reacting to the charter school movement, I may have to reconsider my willingness to live and let live.

Allying oneself with such unreasoning choice deniers is like joining forces with opponents of gay civil unions.

"But the explosion of charters concerns the Los Angeles Unified board. The growth in the number of charter schools has caused enrollment to drop in the nation's second-largest school district, which has to compete with the independent campuses for students - and funds.

District officials, as well as the president of the teachers union, bristle at assertions by the Charter Schools Association that middle and high school charters are significantly outperforming their district counterparts.

A fairer comparison would be with the district's magnet schools, which outperform charters, school board member Jon Lauritzen said.

"I think it's basically unfair to compare an entity that is able to take their entire budget and focus it entirely on their own schools," he said. "They have some real advantages over our schools in the flexibility of actually providing the type of education that a particular community wants, whereas we are trying to provide a curriculum that works for everyone all across the school district."

Not only does Mr. Lauritzen invoke an apples to oranges comparison of charter schools to magnet schools, he then states that it's unfair to compare charter schools to public schools because charter schools A) Can focus their entire budget on the school itself, and B) Can provide the type of education that a particular community wants.

What kind of bizarro world do these public school officials live in, where it's considered standard practice to spend education funds outside the schools (administrators outnumber teachers in many school districts), and where schools are not supposed to provide the kind of education the community wants?

I fervently hope that the voters are paying attention and will turf out Mr. Lauritzen and his insane troll logic in the next election.

Thanks to the libertarians at Coyote Blog and the Cato Institute for pointing me to the original news story.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Quote of the Day: Accept The Truth, And Make It Good

The quote of the day comes from the very cool Janice Fraser, one of the founders of Adaptive Path.

I think it's an important lesson to learn for entrepreneurs. Often times, reality isn't the way we'd like it to be. The best response is not to expend one's energy trying to deny the facts, but rather to accept them, and figure out how to make reality work for you.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Portfolio Company Jobs

I'm not a VC, but I've always wanted to do one of those postings about one of "my" portfolio companies.

As it turns out, thanks to a ready supply of entrepreneurial friends I do have my own portfolio of startup investments (although the amounts I invest have 3-4 fewer zeros than your typical VC), and some of them are looking for great people.

One of these investments is Siteler, which provides on-site services like car washes to the employees of companies like Google. Siteler is growing gangbusters, rated as highly as Southwest Airlines in customer satisfaction, and recently raised a first round of funding from Tugboat Ventures.

The two founders are looking to bring on their first business hires. Mike and Tom are great guys, and these are great opportunities for recent grads.

Senior Marketing and Product Manager
You will report directly to our Co-CEOs, and be responsible for crafting and executing our marketing efforts. You will study and refine our understanding of our customers, hone our products, and lead our marketing programs.

New Partner Acquisition Team Manager (traditionally known as Sales Operations)
You will report directly to the Co-CEOs, and be responsible for managing and refining our highly successful, proprietary sales process, from lead generation to close of sale. You will use your creativity and analytics to drive innovation and efficiency into every aspect of this process.

Interested parties should send their resume to employment@sitelerwash.com.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Quote of the Day: Inhabit life gently and add more beauty than ugliness

In the end, you know, we are very minor blips in a cosmic story. Aspirations for importance or significance are the illusions of the ignorant. All our hopes are minor, except to us; but some things matter because we choose to make them matter. What might make a difference to us, I think, is whether in our tiny roles, in our brief time, we inhabit life gently and add more beauty than ugliness.

--James March, Stanford University