Articles tagged with politics

The week in blogs

Should we be paying school board members who serve in large school districts? Lynne K. Varner, a columnist for the Seattle Times, thinks so. Citing the growing complexity of K12 education and the increasing demands on board members’ times, Varner says it’s time for Seattle to follow the lead of cities like Los Angeles, which pays board members $46,000 but requires that they not take other jobs. She cites NSBA’s School Boards Circa 2010 for her statistics.

I see where she’s coming from, but I doubt that the LA schools’ payment system has much to do with how well the system is governed. And $46,000 doesn’t sound like a lot to raise a family on in the LA area.

Have you heard any of NPR’s series this week on dropouts in America? It’s pretty disturbing but very well done. Joanne Jacob comments on it in her blog, “Linking and Thinking on Education.”

Elsewhere in the news, it’s been a tough week for President Obama, who can’t seem to get Congress to agree on a bill to increase the debt ceiling. Adding insult to injury, the leaders of the “Save Our Schools” rally in Washington apparently turned down a meeting with the president as well.

Speaking of the debt crisis and Congress’ apparent paralysis, The Onion, a satiric weekly, has the answer: Just air-drop in a team of 8th grade civics teachers to the nation’s capital for some serious remedial instruction.

Now that’s a plan!

Lawrence Hardy|July 29th, 2011|Categories: Uncategorized, School Boards, Teachers, Week in Blogs|Tags: , , , , |

Satirical rally also sends serious message about lack of tolerance in U.S.

This past Saturday, more than 200,000 people descended on the National Mall for a rally about restoring sanity, or poking fun of those trying to rev up fear. (And thousands more watched from home or got stuck trying to get there).

I was there–sort of–as comedians Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert led Comedy Central’s Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear, a satiric counterprotest to the Glenn Beck/Sarah Palin rally a few weeks ago. I walked many blocks and got as far as the porta-johns and couldn’t see or hear anything because of the huge masses of people. Still, it was entertaining.

Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear  
Jon Stewart – Moment of Sincerity
Rally to Restore Sainty and/or Fear The Daily Show The Colbert Report


Naomi Dillon|November 3rd, 2010|Categories: Governance, American School Board Journal|Tags: , , , , |

Role of teachers unions shifting, as public shifts attention to education

1210-1240955295Hn8QIt looks as if the teachers unions are coming around to the realization that the education world is changing.

Or, more specifically, the political support for teacher tenure is changing—and teachers are slowly coming to terms with that.

One sign of realization is the agreement between the Baltimore city school district and its teacher union to, as the Baltimore Sun put it, “end the longtime practice of linking pay to years of employment” and to develop a new pay scale to “reward skills and effectiveness.”

The new pay system still must be ratified by the rank and file. But with the Obama administration pushing for such changes nationwide, and tenure-bashing hitting a strong chord in “Waiting for Superman,” it’s likely that teachers see the writing on the wall. They’ve got to give a little—or they’ll see lawmakers take matters into their own hands.

And that’s never good. Just ask any school administrator or school board member about legislative fiats.

Certainly other local union affiliates are worried—or, if you’re an optimist, teacher attitudes are realigning with the rest of the nation, enough that the union leadership is coming around, too.

Most recently, school districts in Pittsburgh, New Haven, Conn., and Washington, D.C. have taken steps to revamp their teacher pay plans. This summer, D.C. teachers agreed to a voluntary plan that would trade job security for big salary gains based on performance.

Naomi Dillon|October 7th, 2010|Categories: Governance, Teachers, Policy Formation, American School Board Journal|Tags: , |

Rhetoric around America’s biggest issues don’t always fall along party lines

alice-wonderland“Curiouser and Curiouser” – those words from Alice and Wonderland  popped into my mind today as I read page A8 of Monday’s New York Times.

First there was the story about the head of a major political party, who said of the war in Afghanistan: “This is not something the United States had actively prosecuted or wanted to engage in…. “that’s the one thing you don’t do, is engage in a land war in Asia.”

Green Party Platform?  Musings of the (new, old, resuscitated) Left? No. Michael Steele chairman of the Republican National Committee, letting his thoughts run on. And on. His GOP colleagues, understandably, were not amused.

Then, on to education and to Column Five:

“Today our members face the most anti-educator, anti-union, anti-student environment I have ever experienced,” Dennis Van Roekel, president of the National Education Association, said at the union’s annual conference in New Orleans.

Naomi Dillon|July 6th, 2010|Categories: Governance, Policy Formation, American School Board Journal|Tags: , , , |

Democracy in America is turning into a one-sided debate

How many Americans truly understand how democracy is supposed to work?

I was pondering that question this morning as I drove to work. I kept thinking about those television images of town hall meetings where the debate over health care reform was dominated by frightened, ill-informed people talking about Nazi political agendas and death panels.

Where were the thoughtful, informed citizens who wanted a reasoned debate about the costs of health care reform-or had questions about the wisdom of expanding the federal government’s role in health care?

Then I got to work and started reading news articles about parents who are upset that President Barack Obama plans to address the nation’s students next week to talk about the importance of studying and staying in school.

It seems some people are worried the president’s webcast is “political recruiting.” The president apparently intends to indoctrinate our young people, to sway them to a liberal political doctrine.

Oh, good grief.

Okay, it’s America. People are entitled to their opinions. But so am I, although as a journalist for ASBJ, I must choose my words carefully on this blog (and note that I’m speaking for myself, not the magazine).

Naomi Dillon|September 3rd, 2009|Categories: Governance, American School Board Journal|Tags: , , |
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