Bruce Lear

A teacher supply list

Bruce Lear suggests a “shopping list” that could “help save a precious Iowa resource.” -promoted by Laura Belin

Less than a month after the final day of school, I saw a big glossy newspaper ad announcing “Back to School Supplies.” That’s the kind of thing that makes a teacher’s heart skip a couple of beats. Like a terrible joke made after a tragedy. It’s just too soon.

Yes, kids need pencils, paper, and crayons, but I started to think about essential supplies for teachers, which are sorely lacking in Iowa. My list may not be something to shop for at Target or the Dollar Store, but these are some things that teachers desperately need to start a fresh school year.

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Come on, progressives

Bruce Lear challenges Joe Biden’s critics on the left: “For me, Biden’s record shows he understood tactics could be compromised as long as core principles remained untouched.” -promoted by Laura Belin

When I bargained educator contracts and became exasperated, I often resorted to the tried and true, “COME ON.” Until now, I really haven’t felt a need to use it.

So here goes: COME ON, progressives. Do you really think the way to separate yourselves from Vice President Joe Biden is to criticize him for getting stuff done in the 1970s by working with some pretty despicable, but elected senators? COME ON.

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They turned back time

Bruce Lear floats ideas on how to start repairing the damage from Iowa’s 2017 collective bargaining law, a “devastating step back in time” for public sector employees. -promoted by Laura Belin

It was a time of bell bottoms, shiny shirts, and men with shoulder-length hair. Disco was born, and Vietnam escalated. Nixon visited China; Americans loved the tv shows All in the Family, M*A*S*H, and Sanford and Son. It was America prior to 1974.

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Learning from baseball

Bruce Lear: “Swinging for the bleacher seats every time will often leave a player sitting in the dugout with a sore back. The same is true for candidates.” -promoted by Laura Belin

I love baseball. It’s a game of chess with four bases on a field instead of knights and rooks on a board. The object is to defend against runs and advance your runners around the bases. An easy game? No!

It has no clock, so the game isn’t lost until the final out at the plate or in the field. It’s slow. It’s methodical. It’s a game of statistics. The season is 162 games, so there are times of utter despair and utter joy.

James Earl Jones sums it up best in the now 30-year-old Iowa epic Field of Dreams:

“The one constant throughout the years, Ray has been baseball. America has rolled like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time.”

For me, baseball is a lot like politics. Winning is based on a strategy about finding that sweet spot in a very long season. It’s slow. It’s methodical. It’s based on statistics we call polls.

This year’s crop of Democratic candidates could perhaps learn from baseball hitters through the ages. Remember, Babe Ruth led the league in home runs but also in strike outs. In politics when there is a binary choice between candidates, too many times waving or watching a fast ball or curve might get you a gig on CNN or Fox instead of the Presidency.

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Frustrated joy

Bruce Lear interviewed experienced public school teachers about their favorite parts of the job and their biggest frustrations. -promoted by Laura Belin

Have you ever spent hours putting together a large puzzle, only to find the very last piece missing? Being an educator in public education is a lot like that. It’s “frustrated joy.”

There is joy in working the puzzle; fitting the pieces and solving the problem. But there is sheer frustration when there is one missing piece that would make it whole. For educators, that one missing piece is a political system that truly partners to complete the picture.

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Dear Iowans: Teacher patience is running out

Bruce Lear worries despairing teachers may resort to illegal strikes if Iowans don’t recognize “public schools are a precious resource worth the fight.” -promoted by Laura Belin

I thought about just writing politicians, but frankly, this is too important to leave for political gamesmanship. I’m writing this open letter to sound the alarm. To put you on notice. I’m writing as a public service so we can all avoid what is coming.

It’s a storm warning.

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