Entries Tagged 'Politics Blogs' ↓

UNC Chancellors get raise

This morning’s Asheville Citizen-Times (11/20/2015) reported on 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 how many salaries of faculty and staff are below the median, too. Feeling such enormous embarrassment, they will hardly be able to sleep at night.



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 be two. And when I reclined, the person behind me said I was way 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 sometimes a good economic system, but not when the owner class treats the lower classes like animal cargo. Economic systems are supposed to dignify human experience for everyone, not just the few.

Remember when deregulation of the airlines was going to make air travel better and cheaper? “Competition in the market place” is the owner class’s public mantra as they join hands and laugh about what they really intend to do with their 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:

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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.

Fool me once, twice, three times?

Those who want me to vote for Mitt Romney purchased a billboard in our area that refers to the presidency of Barack Obama this way: “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”  Republicans must think I can’t remember 2008, when it was apparent that we were already fooled twice — in 2000 and 2004.

Their billboard says we were fooled in 2008, but not even the staunchest Republican knows that for sure, since we are still trying to dig our way out of near economic collapse. We all know for sure, however, that the 8-year administration of George W. Bush brought us to the brink of economic collapse.  That is beyond dispute.  A Republican President was handed a surplus in 2000; and in January, 2009, he handed President Obama an economy in free fall.  The billboard sponsors must think I have forgotten that history.

Thanks to their attempt at being clever, I ask who should be ashamed if we are fooled a third time?  I love irony.


Politics on an education blogsite?

Why do I blog about politics here?  It’s because those who work in public schools know that education is directed and controlled by elected officials. As explained in TSVOTEP, however, that does not mean teachers and principals should wait for policy makers to steer public education in a positive direction. Whenever my graduate students say their superiors should read TSVOTEP, I remind them that, if we wait for central office administrators or politicians to define the educated person in six-virtue terms, we will wait forever.

Richard Elmore argues a similar point from a different angle.

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