Schools, schmools. Who needs ’em, anyway?

Jack and Jill went up the hill. Jack got robbed. Jill got jobbed.

Shortchanged J & J

It isn’t the classic nursery rhyme but it is what students may learn this year as school budgets across the country are gutted.

From Oshkosh, Wis. to Puyallup, Wash., schools will suffer the axe this year as districts and states continue to grapple with big budget holes due to the recession.

The Oshkosh School District, for example, is debating the closure of middle and elementary schools, larger classes and culling around 35 positions, according to WLUK-TV in Green Bay.

Oshkosh’s problems arose after Wisconsin ended the fiscal year with a $2.71 budget gap. Varying by state and district, schools are usually funded by a combination of local, state and federal money.

Thousands of miles away, the Puyallup School District faces a 21 percent budget cut that could result in layoffs, larger classes and a possible school closing, according The News Tribune in Tacoma, Wash.

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California Prisons Report: A Look Inside with Hastings Scholar Hadar Aviram

Despite a year of legal sanctions and budget cuts, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation takes an upbeat tone in its new annual report. Inspirationally titled “Corrections Moving Forward” [25 mb PDF], the report opens with a letter from the CDCR secretary Matthew Cate, who writes that “in the midst of significant challenges, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) has quietly had a remarkable string of successes in the last year. While it is easy to focus on the negative, there have been many positive developments at our agency.”

The Buzz is Catching

Second-hand smoke? Not an issue for electronic cigarettes, which emit nicotine-infused vapor. That’s good news for nonsmokers, and those who want to skirt anti-smoking laws. But should the FDA regulate them as “drug delivery devices” for nicotine addicts? Photo: Izuaniz