Reviewing major developments that came to light this month ignites an almost irresistible urge for action–be it prudent or precipitous. Herewith, then, in the spirit of Jonathan Swift, I offer several modest proposals:

As the worm turns

As you might have noticed, geeky boyz (sorry, no geeky grrls as yet) have been playing havoc with our computer networks. School tech personnel from coast to coast have had their work schedules delayed by weeks, and some IT departments have confronted thousands of hours of unnecessary toil because of worms, viruses, Trojan horses, and all manner of other malicious maladies unleashed onto the internet.

At press time, as we report in this issue, an 18-year-old high school student in Minnesota was charged with spreading a version of the SoBig worm. A 24-year-old Romanian was arrested in London on comparable charges.

Enough’s enough! It’s time to stop mollycoddling computer criminals. We need radical measures. We need the ultimate deterrence.

So let’s add virus varmints to the expanded roster of those who would get the death penalty under the revised version of the Patriot Act. Then we could ask General Ashcroft to brand these miscreants as “enemy combatants.” That way, their processing wouldn’t have to take up a judge’s time or bog down our overloaded court system.

And where better, after all, to plant a malicious code kiddie than six feet under, where it finally would be his turn to deal with all the invasive worms!

For the record

When it comes to gloves-off remedies, we all could learn a thing or two from the recording industry, as we report on Page 20. By suing 12-year-old girls, college professors, aged grandfathers, and little old ladies, record company executives have struck a responsive chord with the jackboot set around the globe.

In spite of the propaganda subversive kindergarten teachers have been peddling for years, sharing is NOT a good thing. Sharing is wicked and must be punished.

In light of this revelation, we should change our ways. We not only should cease sharing music files, but we also should go the record companies one better. Just to let the lesson sink in, we should declare a six-month moratorium on all recorded music.

Don’t share it. Don’t buy it. Don’t listen to it. (And based on some of the music available nowadays this would not be such a terrific sacrifice.)

Without sales and distribution problems to think about for six full months, record-industry leaders might be able to come up with some innovative ways to make music available quickly and cheaply online. Then they could stop harassing schools and colleges and alienating their best customers.

Devious Plans

A music moratorium might be novel. But it pales compared to a truly inspired idea. In tribute to genuine innovation, my hat’s off to Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and the Florida Legislature.

During his re-election campaign last year, Gov. Bush opposed a California-style ballot initiative known as Amendment 9. It was to require class size reductions by 2010.

The class-size amendment to the Florida constitution would be so expensive, said Gov. Bush, that it “would blot out the sun.” That just wouldn’t do in the Sunshine State. But in a moment of off-mike candor overheard by a reporter on the campaign trail, Gov. Bush said he could sidestep the economic consequences of the amendment, because he had “a couple of devious plans” he could roll out in case the initiative should pass.

It passed. And true to his word, Gov. Bush last summer signed an early-graduation law, allowing high school students to forgo their senior year.

What a concept!

In one fell swoop, the early-graduation program both slashes costs and reduces class sizes. But why stop there? Just think of the savings and class-size reductions that could be achieved if Florida were to do away with high schools altogether.

And why not leverage this innovative thinking and do away with hospitals and highways, too? Once the ball was rolling, the opportunities could come non-stop.

Perhaps the ultimate savings wouldn’t be realized until the movement hit home in Tallahassee. Then Florida’s Sunshine Boys could do away with the Legislature and the governor’s office. Talk about a master stroke!

But hey, big challenges call for big ideas.

Those are some of my bright beauties. Why not let your colleagues in on a few of yours at the eSN Forum: http://www.eschoolnews.com/ubb/index.htm