Bruce Lear

When good people make dumb decisions

Bruce Lear examines some common mistakes by school districts “that help the critics take aim, fire, and reload on public education.” -promoted by desmoinesdem

In sports, we call them unforced errors. In real life, we call them dumb stuff that someone thinks is a good idea. I’m talking about decisions that, when implemented, leave most people scratching their heads wondering why we ever made that stupid choice in the first place. Yes, it’s “Monday morning quarterbacking,” but sometimes those Lazy Boy quarterbacks are right.

Like private business, public education sometimes suffers from unforced errors that make the critics howl and redouble their efforts to privatize. But remember “New Coke?” Few Americans believed the only way to solve that corporate problem was to dissolve the company and start guzzling large quantities of another brand. Instead, the problem was quickly fixed by going back to the tried and true recipe, and “New Coke” became a footnote on bad decision making. The company learned from the mistake.

Because public education is now under heavy fire from the likes of Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and her disciples, it’s hard for school leaders to look inward, examine some of their own mistakes, and find ways to avoid repeating them.

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Back to school with the family

Bruce Lear calls on members of the “public education family” to “unite to defend what we love.” -promoted by desmoinesdems

The back to school ads have started. Even with heat indexes of 100, those ads send chills down the spine of educators. Those chills are a cocktail of optimism, excitement, worry, and dread, with a garnish of hope and a twist of anger.

As the new school year begins, it’s important to have the public education family around the kitchen table for a meeting. That family includes teachers, professional support staff, administrators, school board members, and parents. Like all families, there is always the weird uncle or cousin you want to hide in the attic, but with November looming, the public education family needs all its members to be speaking in one voice.

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Thoughts from Disney World

Seven Orlando parks in eight days equals gallons of sweat, aching legs, and gigantic lines. It means grandchildren smiles and fast food overdose. Days divided into ride time waits, Fast Pass deadlines, and heat-induced observations before being dropped and twirled. These are those observations.

If a party is going to defend ripping babies from their families at the border, it can’t call itself pro-family or even pro-life.

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One and done!

Bruce Lear reflects on the president’s negotiating style. -promoted by desmoinesdem

You don’t make lasting deals with 140 characters. The price is sometimes wrong, and definitions matter.

As a candidate for president, Donald Trump convinced enough voters that he was a master negotiator who always wins. Now, many Americans are left wondering if that keen negotiator should be on a milk carton as missing.

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Wishing is not a strategy

Bruce Lear, a longtime regional director for the Iowa State Education Association, ponders what a new governor could do to help pass a fairer law on bargaining rights for public-sector workers. -promoted by desmoinesdem

I wish the new Democratic governor could simply wave a magic wand and restore public sector collective bargaining rights.

I also wish every day in Iowa were 70 degrees, the Cubs won the World Series, and I lived in Mayberry. But wishing is not a strategy.

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Of black holes and school boards

Former educator Bruce Lear explores how school district administrators or attorneys can often control decisions made by school boards. -promoted by desmoinesdem

It’s a mystery. It’s a phenomenon. It’s the political black hole. Where do those fired up well-meaning school board candidates go after they are elected? The black hole sucks them in and dampens their resolve and fortitude.

What causes this bad thing to happen to good people? It’s caused by lack of independent information, group speak, with a little magical thinking added. Combine all three, and you have the ingredients for a black hole, so deep the escape is difficult.

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