Bruce Lear

Denial is not a strategy for opening Iowa schools

Bruce Lear on what’s missing and what’s problematic in the Iowa Department of Education’s new guidelines for schools to reopen in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. -promoted by Laura Belin

Americans love to pretend. We dress up like our favorite character on Halloween. We tell our children about Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. But we can’t afford to pretend when a pandemic is sweeping across the globe.

The Iowa Department of Education issued guidance on June 25 for returning to school. The document pretends everything is normal, and offers only political guidance for the reopening of Iowa’s public schools.

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Return to Learn: Voices from the classroom

Bruce Lear talked with ten Iowa teachers and counselors about how schools should adapt to teach kids safely and effectively despite COVID-19. -promoted by Laura Belin

It’s hard to decide what song best captures the start of the 2020-2021 school year. Is it “Eve of Destruction,” or “Don’t worry be Happy,” or maybe the Fleetwood Mac classic “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow?” No matter the choice, the fall start to school is beginning to loom large in the minds of students, parents, and educators.

Pre COVID-19, those ads for back-to-school supplies in late June or early July would start a little tingle of anticipation in the hearts and minds of students and educators. Now, for many, that tingle is replaced with full-blown anxiety.

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Celebrating teachers through actions

Bruce Lear: Teachers need support from policy-makers, and public schools need federal assistance in order to guarantee a safe and healthy environment for children in the fall. -promoted by Laura Belin

Teaching and singing the national anthem have a few things in common. Both are really hard to do, and someone who knows how can make it look easy enough for anyone to do it. But not everyone can.

If you don’t believe me, try remembering where those bombs burst, and try hitting that high note on key at the end. It’s not easy, just like parents forced to teach at home are discovering about teaching even one or two kids.

Yes, real teaching is really hard.

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Dumb stuff during a pandemic

Bruce Lear: “America is waking up to yet another harmful condition that seems to be infecting the country. I’m afraid it’s a disease with no vaccine.” -promoted by Laura Belin

One of the baffling things about COVID-19 is the symptoms vary from person to person. One person may have few respiratory symptoms but will lose the senses of taste and smell. Others may have a severe head ache and stomach issues. Still others have severe breathing problems, a high fever, and need to be rushed to an emergency room.

Now, America is waking up to yet another harmful condition that seems to be infecting the country. In medical terms it might be called “Intellectualimbacility.” I’ll just call it, “Dumb stuff during a pandemic.”

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Easter story, pandemic story share common themes

Bruce Lear reflects on signs of hope and denial brought on by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. -promoted by Laura Belin

Christians just celebrated Easter with a big helping of ham and social distancing. For Christians, the Easter season story is about both hope and denial. The pandemic season story shares the same two themes.

Nurses and doctors, and EMTs give us hope that not all Easter seasons will require a ventilator, and a hunt for personal protective equipment (PPE) instead of the bright colored surprises the Easter bunny leaves. These people are risking their lives and the lives of their families to treat as many sick people under horrendous conditions to give hope a chance.

But the highly trained medical people are not the only hope heroes.

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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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