Part 3: How to corrupt the Iowa Senate

Third in a series by Tyler Higgs, an activist from Clive, Iowa. He previously explored how to corrupt a school district and how to corrupt the Iowa House. -promoted by desmoinesdem

Let’s say you are a state senator with strong political aspirations and no moral compass. You can rise to power quickly, if you play your cards correctly. State Senator Charles Schneider (Senate District 22) demonstrated how it pays to sell out your constituents:

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Please, for the sake of the nation (and my heart, body and soul)

Laura Hubka chairs the Howard County Democrats, is vice chair of the Iowa Democratic Party’s Disability Caucus, and is the first district liaison to the party for the Veterans Caucus. -promoted by desmoinesdem

I decided to go to Obama.org just to check it out after looking at one of President Barack Obama’s posts on Twitter (my heart jumped and sank at writing that last statement). It was full of videos from the campaign in 2008. Almost all of it from Iowa. Young people, music, chanting and all the excitement of what could be. The hope, the change, the light in the peoples faces. I had to fight back the tears.

I feel like something inside me has faded. A light inside me is dim. I am afraid that the winds of change from 2016 have blown out my candle. I keep trying to light it but it is like lighting a wet wick. I can’t seem to find a hot enough fire. My heart literally aches.

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Smaller districts more likely to strip optional items from teacher contracts

Randy Richardson, retired associate executive director of the Iowa State Education Association, has closely followed contract negotiations in Iowa public schools for many years. -promoted by desmoinesdem

Since the 2017 passage of a Republican bill to strip collective bargaining rights from public employees, a little more than 8,000 teachers (out of a total of just over 36,000 statewide) in 107 school districts have lost the benefits and rights they enjoyed in their master contracts.

The new law allowed districts to remove items that were deemed “permissive” from collective bargaining agreements. That included such topics as leaves, grievance procedure, and in-service days. Many of those items had been bargained years ago and had been in master contracts for well over 30 years.

I thought it might be worthwhile to see if these districts had any commonalities.

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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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Urgent: Civil rights commission threatened in Davenport (updated)

Latrice Lacey, an attorney and mother, has been director of the Davenport Civil Rights Commission since 2014. -promoted by desmoinesdem

The Davenport City Council is considering an illegal amendment to our city’s civil rights ordinance, which would eliminate the neutrality and independence of our Civil Rights Commission. The proposed change would decommission a body which has been active since 1962, remove the authority to manage staff, and replace it with a council-led board lacking knowledge of civil rights law enforcement.

In addition, the proposed ordinance would exclude all government and Davenport Schools employees from the protections of the civil rights ordinance. Despite this clear violation of state law and drastic change, council members have claimed there will be no change. Either they haven’t read the draft ordinance, or they are hoping community members haven’t read it.

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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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