Bruce Lear

Let's not change the definition of local control

Bruce Lear: Instead of allowing elected school boards to make decisions for a school district, Iowa’s governor now defines local control as parents deciding what’s best for their own children.

I’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating, especially since Governor Kim Reynolds has altered the definition of local control to justify signing a mask mandate ban for schools. There’s a reason “Community” is the middle name for almost every public school district in Iowa. 

Public schools are often a town’s largest employer as well as the community center. On Friday nights, the school’s fields or gyms can be the center of the universe for young athletes and their parents.

In fact, the relationship is symbiotic. The community helps the school thrive, and the school helps a community survive.

Too bad Reynolds distrusts Iowa communities so much she won’t allow local control over safety decisions fitting the community. Instea≈ and is appealing a federal court decision that put the mask mandate ban on hold. 

Continue Reading...

Iowa could learn from Sin City

Bruce Lear shares lessons learned from a recent visit to Las Vegas, where mask mandates are enforced.

I just returned from Las Vegas. Yes, sin city. Where “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.”  Yet, Iowa could learn from this place of no limits.  A sentence I thought I’d never write.

Vegas has a strict mask policy in all casinos, shows, restaurants, bars, and public transportation. It’s enforced. You can enjoy your freedom to lose your money, marvel at a glitzy show, watch the Raiders, the bad boys of the NFL, but you don’t have freedom to skip wearing a mask.

But in wholesome Iowa, land of the Field of Dreams, we just can’t bring ourselves to mandate masks at the grocery store or in schools. In Iowa, we’re quicker to help a down-and-out neighbor harvest corn than to wear a piece of cloth over our mouths and noses to protect that same neighbor’s health. Ironic, don’t you think?

Continue Reading...

Sophomore smugness a real political problem

Bruce Lear discusses some questionable state and local decisions on how to use federal COVID-19 relief dollars. -promoted by Laura Belin

When I was in college, I came down with a bad case of sophomore smugness. In the middle of what I thought was a brilliant rant, my dad reminded me, “There is a reason you have two ears and only one mouth. Consider using them in proportion.” He was right.

As federal COVID-19 relief funds flow to local and state governments, there has been little listening and a whole lot of group-think and group-speak. After all, the only thing harder than cutting a budget for politicians is deciding how to spend one-time, unexpected money poured into their coffers. 

Continue Reading...

Following some rules of thumb

Bruce Lear: If Iowa Democrats insist on sacrificing the possible for the perfect, we’ll lose again. -promoted by Laura Belin

As a kid, when I heard adults talking about “rules of thumb,” I kept looking at my thumb, but couldn’t figure it out. I didn’t get it then, but I do now. The dictionary definition is, “A general principle regarded as roughly correct, but not intended to be scientifically accurate.” 

My definition is similar: “What I believe to be true, based on experience.” It isn’t always accurate, but it’s served me pretty well.

Here are a few of my rules. I never eat a hot dog that comes off that roller thing at a convenience store. They aren’t convenient for my stomach.

I’m not amused by amusement rides that soar above the height of a step ladder. 

I know tomorrow is another day I won’t use algebra, and none of my junior high screw ups actually went on my permanent record.

I know if my wife or daughter asks, “Are you wearing that?”, I’m not.

Some rules of thumb about politics have also served me well. 

Continue Reading...

Let's keep the Big Lie from attacking local elections

Bruce Lear: In several Iowa communities, conservatives have formed pressure groups, seeking to influence school curriculum and school board elections.

After the 2020 election, the U.S. was forced to fight two raging viruses. COVID-19 killed more than 600,000 Americans and continues to plague the world. The “Big Lie” virus killed a once proud political party and continues to threaten our system of government.

The COVID-19 virus continually mutates and spreads. We don’t know the exact origin, and it’s hard to identify its carriers, but we’ve sure seen the destruction it causes. Fortunately, the coronavirus vaccine is now easy to get. 

The antidote to the “Big Lie” virus is believing the truth, but that’s harder to administer. Unlike COVID-19, we know its origin: a narcissistic ex-president who refuses to acknowledge he lost an election, citing non-existent voter fraud without shred of credible evidence.

Continue Reading...

Classroom meddling in Iowa can’t go unanswered

Bruce Lear on how a new law banning certain “specific defined concepts” in diversity training could affect Iowa teachers. -promoted by Laura Belin

Yes, it’s been a horrible, terrible, very bad year for public schools in Iowa. As usual, the Republican-controlled Iowa legislature underfunded schools. Also typical for them, they tried again to pass a voucher law to give public money to private schools. 

When that didn’t work, they passed “vouchers lite”: a mostly unregulated, for-profit charter school law, that will no doubt siphon money from the already underfunded public system, and that could leave rural Iowa as an education desert.

What wasn’t quite as typical was the legislature’s meddling in the classroom.

Continue Reading...
View More...