Entries Tagged 'Politics Blogs' ↓

Trump Dilemma

Republicans are wringing their hands over the Trump candidacy. It has nothing to do with the candidate’s unfavorables, rhetoric, style, personality, or business record. It has to do with polls that show he will lose battleground states and the election.

The Republican party has two options. Divide the party by dumping Trump (and losing the election), or divide the party by keeping Trump (and losing the election).

If I am wrong, and Trump is elected, the American electorate will have demonstrated the three vices taught in our public schools:

  1. intellectual incompetence (Don’t think for yourself.)
  2. fear of truth (America may not be the greatest country in the world.)
  3. pride (first of the seven deadly sins).

Science that really matters

When educators make sure the “science” part of STEM focuses on building a healthier, more physically fit society, I will be its biggest proponent. Here is the plan:

  1. School boards establish standards for the improvement of health and fitness of its middle and high school graduates.
  2. Schools, teachers and students are rewarded for meeting or exceeding the health and fitness standards set for them. And, of course, they are punished for failing to meet them.

Students are taught the science behind all aspects of healthy living — diet, exercise, leisure, bio-metrics, and fitness. And their learning is evaluated by their health and fitness results. Naturally, everybody would work with Physical Education teachers to improve student health and fitness; which is, by far, the most important science related to the science portion of STEM.

Until then, public education’s emphasis on ScienceTEM is just more learning of unimportant facts. We teach enough of those already.

 

UNC Chancellors get raise

This morning’s Asheville Citizen-Times (11/20/2015) reported the salary increases granted to Chancellors across the UNC system. According to Lou Bissette, acting Board of Governors (BOG) chairman,  “We looked at our chancellors’ salaries as compared with chancellors across the country and very frankly we were so far below the median it was a little embarrassing for all of us.”

I met Mr. Bissette many years ago. He is a good, generous man who gives to his community in many ways. I shudder to think how embarrassed he and his colleagues will be when they realize salaries of faculty are also far below the median. Feeling such enormous embarrassment, they will hardly be able to sleep at night.

Update on embarrassment:

I just received my WCU salary increase letter. The university gave me a 1% increase because my salary is 86.6% of the “market value”at my rank and professional responsibilities. Now I make 87.5% of market value ($10,000 annually below market value). Thanks WCU.

And to Mr. Bissette:

I am sorry my salary is such an embarrassment to you.

Cut the Crap

Nobody is embarrassed over my salary because I get paid fine for what I do. And nobody should have been embarrassed over the Chancellors’ salaries because nobody put a gun to their heads when they were hired and accepted their salaries. Apparently Mr. Bissette is embarrassed about the poor salary bargains made by our Chancellors.

I thought Chancellors and BOG members were supposed to be smart people. They are not, when they make these kinds of judgments:

1. (Chancellors) accepting embarrassingly low salaries.

2. (BOG members) granting salary increases because of Chancellors’ embarrassingly bad judgment.

The airlines went too far

The flight attendant bragged that we were flying in one of American Airline’s new A319 aircraft.

Really? We were squashed into three seats, where there should have been two. And when I reclined, the person behind me said I was too far into his space, which I was.

On a recent Delta flight I was on an older A319 — way too little room, again. This aircraft takes profit to a new level of discomfort and indignity.

Capitalism is a good economic system, but not when the owner class treats the lower classes like animal cargo. The best economic systems dignify human experience for everyone, not just the few.

Remember airline deregulation was going to make air travel better and cheaper? “Competition in the market place” was the owner class’s mantra as they joined hands and laughed about what they could do with additional profits. Can you say fascism?

“Rotten Apples” and TIME

Dear Defenders of Public Education:

Get a grip. Outrage over the TIME magazine cover (November 2, 2014) reveals your ignorance of American capitalism. Describing teachers as “Rotten Apples” on the cover is meant to sell magazines — nothing more, nothing less. The real article headline (pp. 34-35) is “Taking on Teacher Tenure,” which is placed under a picture of three good apples and a rotten one.

Today’s lesson on the chalkboard as you enter the classroom:

Examples of Partial Truths

1. Teachers are rotten.

2. The percentage is 25%.

When it comes to magazine covers and graphics, partial truths are good enough, just as they are in all forms of advertising/marketing/promotion. “Rotten Apples” is a partial truth because, although it is not true that a high percentage of teachers are rotten, some teachers are. Using an illustration that says the ratio is one in four is also a partial truth because the actual percentage depends on the definition of “rotten.” Few people believe 25% of teachers are “rotten,” (as that word is commonly used), but some believe at least one out of every four teachers is “rotten.” There you have it — partial truth. We can’t know the actual percentage, and some people believe it is at least 25%.

Instead of outrage, do your job. Teach young people how our society works by helping them understand partial truths in advertising/marketing/promotion. Examples are all around them.

More neo-con ugly

AOL headline:

Donald Rumsfeld: ‘A Trained Ape’ Would Be Better At Foreign Policy Than Obama

I love irony.

Honest and dishonest opinions

Opinion columnists try to persuade readers to their point of view. The honest way is to be true to facts and ideas on the other side while explaining a different opinion. The dishonest way is to distort facts and ideas on the other side to make your opinion look like the better one.

Here is an example of the second from John Hood, regarding the latest chapter in North Carolina’s Leandro lawsuit:

Continue reading →

An Ugly Yard Sign

I recently saw a yard sign that said, “Fire Obama.” It made me wonder:

If the homeowner is that angry with a president who has done nothing to destroy American life, he/she must have been livid with the Bush administration’s intelligence failures leading up to 9/11, thousands of dead and wounded American soldiers in Iraq, and the economic collapse of 2008.

The yard sign must have been REALLY ugly back in 2008.

 

The irony of Dick Cheney

According to former Vice President Dick Cheney:

The performance now of Barack Obama as he staffs up the national security team for the second term is dismal.

I love the irony of Dick Cheney denouncing what might happen in the future. Does he think we don’t know what happened in the past?

At the 1:45 mark of The Daily Show on February 12, we get Jon Stewart’s explanation for why we should not listen to Dick Cheney.

Who is responsible for wasted $1 million?

I love these stories about bad teachers (story available but not video).  This one is especially juicy because it involves the waste of more than $1 million over thirteen years. Teachers have the right to what lawyers call “due process.” In states with teacher bargaining rights, all the technicalities of this process are spelled out in the Master Contract, which is agreed to by the school board and the teacher union.

So, let’s be clear about who is responsible for this person receiving more than $1 million in salary. It is the school administration and the school boards that agreed to the Master Contract language.

Have we learned anything from this gross misuse of resources?  Apparently not. The last statement in the video is, “No major plans to change the policy have been announced.”

If you don’t need to know more than (1) we have this situation that needs to be changed, but (2) nothing is being done to change it, you can stop reading here. But if you want to know how we got to this point, here is the short story:

Collective bargaining involves lawyers in crafting language and strategies aimed at getting what they want for their side — either the school board or the teacher union. For many years school boards sought to hold down teacher salaries, so they gave teachers what they wanted in the “language” part of the Master Contract, which includes procedures for supervising and evaluating teachers. Board members agreed to many unwise language provisions so they could say to taxpayers, “I kept salaries low; teachers didn’t strike; re-elect me.”

So — to all who revere the democratic process, how is that working?  Do you like that we are paying this person more than $1 million to not teach? Do you like that we have no plans to change the policy? If not, why do you like the democratic governance of public education that created this situation?

Or is there somebody out there who wants to replace democratic governance with educational governance — governance that models the six virtues of the educated person? If not, we will continue to have uneducated school board members elected by uneducated citizens. Of course some of our most “uneducated” board members and citizens will have multiple college degrees. I love irony.