Bruce Lear

Binge-watching West Wing and why I support Joe Biden

Bruce Lear: The first step to healing is to elect a healer in chief who will return the White House to normal while fixing what this president has destroyed. -promoted by Laura Belin

I know we just finished a full season of Hallmark Christmas movies written to keep the Kleenex industry in business. But for a political nerd, the big-city girl coming home to find Christmas love with the flannel shirted, widowed, veterinarian just doesn’t cut it.

For me, I get emotional when I binge watch a president who never was, in a political world that I wish existed.  That’s why I recently binge-watched all seven seasons of the West Wing.

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No crystal ball needed to predict Iowa legislative moves

Bruce Lear predicts five ways the Republican-controlled legislature may impact public schools and educators this year. -promoted by Laura Belin

There’s no need for a crystal ball, Tarot cards, or tea leaves to predict some of the public education moves the Iowa legislature may likely make during the 2020 session.

But educators need to do more than hold their collective breaths until the legislature adjourns in April or May.  Hope is not a strategy. Here are some thoughts on what might happen. To prevent these predictions from becoming a reality, educators will need to team up with community members and use their teacher voices to protect the profession. 

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Reaching rural America

Bruce Lear suggests a Democratic message resting on “four pillars that sustain small towns.” -promoted by Laura Belin

When I was a kid, my mom always warned, “Keep a screen door between you and the Fuller Brush Man.” Back in the day, Fuller Brush salesmen were mobile carnival barkers. They would literally get a foot in the door and then grow roots on the couch until Mom gave up and bought something.

They were fast talkers.

They weren’t from around here.

I am afraid that too many candidates now treat rural America like the Fuller Brush man of old. They barnstorm a small community without ever stopping to hear what makes the heart of rural America beat.

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Virus-free school board members

Hundreds of Iowans won school board elections last week. Bruce Lear has ideas on how to combat some pitfalls that may await them. -promoted by Laura Belin

Since that cold day in 2017 when Republicans demolished public sector collective bargaining in Iowa, our kids and our educators have needed independent thinking school board members more than ever. But how can independent thinking candidates stay that way after being elected?

I have often marveled at the transformation of some candidates when they begin sitting around the board table. The once feisty crusader becomes as timid as a Donald Trump cabinet member. What happens?

There are at least three kinds of viruses that may threaten independent thinking on a school board. Fortunately, if the virus is caught early enough, the board member can be safely inoculated.

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What's scarier than Halloween?

Bruce Lear examines how large class sizes affect teachers and students. -promoted by Laura Belin

What’s scarier to a teacher than a room full of kids on a sugar bender from Halloween Reese’s pieces and Kit Kat Bars?

One thing that keeps educators awake beyond the witching hour of Halloween is overcrowded classrooms. I’m not just talking about raw numbers, because that’s just one dimension of the problem. Overcrowded classrooms are a multi-dimensional fright.

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School board elections matter. How to find out where candidates stand

Bruce Lear: “For too long, many communities have elected nice, willing, sincere people to school boards, without an understanding of what they believe. That leads to trouble.” -promoted by Laura Belin

It was my third year teaching in a tiny Iowa town. I was a rookie no longer. I was off probation now, a seasoned veteran teacher with six preps in charge of the yearbook. Also, because of the six preps and no time for the restroom, I had left an Association meeting to pee. When I returned, I found my campaign, and my inauguration for president had occurred in my absence. It had not been a vigorous campaign.

As a result, on a cold night in February of 1983, I found myself at a school board meeting to help defend a popular principal who was being fired by an unpopular superintendent. No, the Association doesn’t represent principals in Iowa, but in a small town where everyone played cards and went to church with other school people, it didn’t matter. I was the defense.

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