Why the high cost of Metro high?
I was really surprised to read that Metro High costs $10,000 or more per student ("Getting an Education in Jail," 1/2/09). While I support the mission of the school, as well as year-round classes, I find the cost out of whack.
The Madison school district has an average per-pupil expenditure of $13,280. This is for schools that have a building to clean and maintain, office staff, special classes, transportation, cafeterias, theaters, swimming pools, sports teams, special programming, etc.
With that in mind, I can't fathom how a school with 20 students and two teachers can manage to spend $191,195 in a single year. How many classrooms do they have? What is the rent for a classroom in the jail? How many staff people do they have? Is there a full-time nurse, principal, secretary, custodian and guidance counselor at Metro High? Do they pay transportation and security costs for a deputy to walk the students to class in the morning? Do they buy all new textbooks and computers and refurnish the classroom(s) every single year? I would seriously like to know!
Stop monkeying around
Bill Lueders' report on the number of monkeys used in experiments in Madison ("We're in the Monkeys," 12/25/08) raises again the question of how ethical such experiments are. Research proves that monkeys think, feel and relate to each other much like people do.
But UW-Madison and Covance hold thousands of monkeys in neurosis-inducing conditions and conduct brutal and fatal experiments on them. Kevin Reilly, UW System president, has refused to study the ethical problems raised by these animals' similarity to us. John Wiley and two bioethicists at UW-Madison have refused to speak with research opponents. Regent Jeff Bartell expressed no interest in the subject when I spoke with him. And legislators and Wisconsin State Journal editors ignore the issue.
If the sound ethical basis for the experiments is so obvious to Mr. Reilly, Mr. Wiley, Mr. Bartell and other regents, legislators, bioethicists and researchers at the UW and Covance, then explaining it should be easy. So I challenge any of them to appear with me in a public forum so the citizens of Madison who help fund the experiments can decide for themselves.
Who among you has the courage?