Bruce Lear

Iowa needs level playing field for collective bargaining

Bruce Lear connects the dots on how state funding for public education plays into contract talks between administrators and the teachers union. -promoted by Laura Belin

For weeks, the Republican-controlled Iowa Senate and the Republican-controlled Iowa House debated whether public schools should get punched in the stomach or punched in the face. Both will hurt. Both will leave a mark.

There is no doubt the 2.5 percent increase in state funding for public schools, proposed by Governor Kim Reynolds and the House, as well as the 2.1 percent increase favored by the Senate were woefully low. That funding won’t match rising costs for school districts, no matter what contortions the Republican party goes through.  In the end, the punch came right to the face from both chambers when legislators agreed to split the difference: a 2.3 percent increase in State Supplemental Aid.

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Lessons from a fight

Bruce Lear questions whether President Donald Trump has thought through his approach to Iran. -promoted by Laura Belin

It was an Iowa night thick with humidity and lightning bugs.  We’d gathered in a vacant lot to test our virgin manhood.  I was 13 years old, and I was standing in a circle of friends watching as each skinny armed boy tied on overweight boxing gloves and met his opponent in the center of the circle.

No referee.  No adult.  Just a whole lot of testosterone mingling with nervous adolescent sweat.

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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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