Commenting on the morning papers in Nashville:
In zoning, whose voice is heard?
I have a lot of empathy with the Sylvan Park/Whitland folks in their recent struggles. We've experienced a bit of this in our own neighborhood. Years ago I remember the local councilman suggesting that folks send all the ballots regarding neighborhood opinion about a project to him and he'd let us know what the outcome was. I rose and pretty much asked him if he'd lost his mind. There was absolutely no accountability in that plan AND he'd be Mr. Mudd if he wasn't careful. This fall we learned that it matters less to some people what the immediate neighbors think about a project than what's in the Sub-area plan devised with input from folks from miles away that don't have to deal with the local problems and might actually benefit by impeding a project. It's a tough situation. I don't have a better plan other than PARTICIPATE at every opportunity.
"Good Start for teacher fast track" and "Teachers want protection"
come together to remind me that what taxpayers and parents want ought to be more important and one of the things that would meet the needs and wants to those taxpayers, parents and students is the ability to hire, fire and pay teachers on a competitive basis. I'm betting there are a lot of teachers that wouldn't mind getting paid competitively either.
The Tennesseean tells us that schools are short on qualified math and science teachers. The reality is that these folks can make more money in the private sector. The reality is school systems are impeded from providing higher wages for teachers filing slots that are in demand by the very union that is calling for protection from NCLB changes. The teacher's union says it's not fair. Darn right it ain't. It ain't fair that people doing excellent work and meeting a need are paid the same as the mediocre who are just passing their students on from grade to grade without ensuring they actually know the material.
I'm all for 'fast tracking' qualified folks to get into classrooms. What counts more than that education degree is that the potential teacher knows the material and has a passion for sharing that.
UPDATE: Sarah Moore seems to agree that Fast Track is just a good start.
"I like the idea - but it’s still too hard. That I could walk into a college classroom and am qualified to lecture, but cannot do the same in a high school setting is mystifying. It probably has something to do with college professors not being unionized."
And this just in--Metro Nashville Public Schools has communication problem.
"The communication gap between Metro staff and parents during meetings to re-evaluate student services was found to be the most serious of seven allegations investigated by the state. " Tennessean
If there is one thing that MNPS is consistent at...it's poor communication. Somehow these folks have got to understand that if they want more money, more resources and support for the changes they feel are needed in their system they've GOT to communicate better.
Iraq rebuilding ends with much left undone
It's January and the Tennessean, via the LA Times, is predicting that come the end of the year much of the promise to rebuild Iraq will have failed. Move over Cassandra, there's a new prognosticator in town. Let's try and remember that during the rebuilding of Europe we didn't have Nazi's coming around blowing up what we'd just repaired, killing teachers in newly opened schools or taking out the folks conducting the Nuremberg trials. This isn't, wasn't and won't be our grandfather's war.
Finally, where are the women?
I can't find this Tennessean page online but it's page 3B in today's edition. It's a great resource sheet for the Tennessee legislature apparently intended for classroom use. It's mostly a seating chart of both the house and senate along with a list of the legislators and some demographic information. But what seems to be missing is skirts. All of the silhouettes look like guys in suits. By their own statistics there ought to be five women depicted. And at least one should be wearing a hat.