Bruce Lear

Messaging about culture wars needs to be clear, simple

Bruce Lear has advice for Democrats on how to talk about ginned-up controversies related to public schools.

My grandson and I love Marvel movies. We sit in the front row and bask in the over-the-top action. We’ve seen them all. Sometimes the plot is a little confusing, but my nine-year-old movie buddy quickly helps me sort it out.

What isn’t confusing is who the superheroes are. They clearly are the good guys. It’s straightforward and even in technicolor, very black and white.

Republicans are good at ginning up culture wars without facts, using plenty of accusations hidden behind a catchy slogan they repeat more than a 3-year-old begging for candy.

Too often, Democratic candidates go in culture wars unarmed. They are shocked when Republicans capture attention with some absurd issue that Democrats think the public can’t possibly believe. They are blindsided and without answers. Like in Marvel movies, Democrats should leave no doubt who the superheroes for public schools are.

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A contract with public schools

Bruce Lear: Iowa Democratic candidates at all levels need to put public schools at the center of their campaigns.

Whenever my dad saw someone doing things the hard way, he’d say, “That guy’s working with a short-handled shovel.” I know I did my share of short-handled shovel work.

My dad wasn’t being mean. He was just observing there was a better way to do the work. His long-ago quip now applies to Democrats as they try to win over voters for the midterm elections.

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A monster's lurking in the legislature

Bruce Lear analyzes a bill pending in the Iowa Senate, which would be disastrous for public schools.

We’ve all watched horror movies where the ominous music increases in intensity as the victim walks alone in the dark. The monster is about to attack, and the soda and popcorn are about to fly. 

Well, cue the spooky music and hold onto the snacks because there’s a monster lurking. This one is scary real, and it’s called Iowa Senate File 2369.

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Helping Governor Reynolds revise her big speech

Bruce Lear critiques Governor Kim Reynolds’ response to the State of the Union address.

When I began teaching, the first graduate credit I earned was through the Iowa Writer’s Project. It was a great summer workshop, which taught writing by focusing on the process as well as the finished product. Like in math, it’s about having students show their work. 

Using this method, students learn to edit and revise their writing by working with a partner instead of having a teacher slash and burn with a red pen after the final product is handed in for a grade.

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A storm's coming. It's time to act

Bruce Lear suggests many ways communities can help educators combat new threats to Iowa’s public schools.

On summer days when we need a shirt change by noon, and the breeze rustling the leaves feels like a winter furnace out of control, Iowans know there’s a storm coming.

They also know action is needed before it hits. They call the kids in and fasten down what could fly. They move their cars to a safer place, check flashlight batteries, and find the candles. Then they head for the basement to ride out the storm.

Only the foolish stand outdoors to shout at the wind. Only the naive rely on hope.

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