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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Take the offer and run

Ah,something to smile about. The principal of Devonaire K-8 has offered to stay on for $1 a year salary to make sure that the expansion he has been overseeing is finished correctly.
The School Board said no.
Hell-oh? Are we cutting our nose to spite our face?
I know several people whose children attend or have attended Devonaire and they have always spoken highly of this guy. I don't know him from Adam, but I recognize appreciation. So why not accept the gracious offer?
Apparently, it has something to do with budget constraints, but it sounds like a lot of hogwash to me. If this board can decide not to give teachers their raises after agreeing to do so in a contract, I am sure they can find a creative accounting way to keep this guy on board next year. How about donating the $119,000 to buy supplies or hire para-professionals or give teachers bonuses?

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Fame and money and Spitzer's hooker

I'm constantly amazed at how people like Ashley Dupree -- now known as Spitzer's hooker -- can make money off their bad behavior and our stupidity. I must be living in some fantasy land because I thought that the 22-year-old with the loose morals might follow wise counsel and lay low for a while. But I guess it's all about cashing in on those 15 minutes of fame.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Not me, unfortunately

The winning lottery ticket worth $38 million was sold in Miami -- and I am NOT the winner. Actually, I don't play every week, just when the payout is high. I forgot last week, however.
I used to think I'd continue working regardless of my Lotto winnings, but I'm not so sure I would anymore. I'm beginning to consider the possibility that I could donate my time and talents to some organizations that I've long admired. It would be work without the pay.
Of course, I have to buy the dang tickets to win.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Does this mean we're healing?

Finally, a comedy about the post 9/11 hysteria that has gripped the country -- in good and bad ways. I haven't seen the film and have no idea if it's funny, but the fact that we might be able to laugh at ourselves is promising. To me it signals healing.
It might also prompt the complacent majority to face some of the un-American acts our leaders have pushed in the name of anti-terrorism.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Work is a four letter word

Today is Take Your Child to Work Day. My youngest is supposed to be at work with me. I've been in my home office for about an hour. He's already bored.
Hmm. I don't think that was the intent of the day. I wish he could see the exciting part of my day -- what goes on inside my head, before the writing.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Good news -- but can students think critically?

Good news for a change: Our kids are doing better on the state standardized tests, a trend that is echoed in other urban areas.
Nevertheless, as a parent who has watched the ridiculous emphasis on FCAT, I'm worried that my kids are being taught the test. I want something more -- more academic rigor, the challenge of critical thinking, problem-solving skills, etc.
How are we doing there?

Monday, April 21, 2008

How green are you really?

Excuse my cynicism, but I'm getting a little tired of everybody bragging about how green they are becoming, including businesses. It's all for show. I've gone in to countless shops and offices where the air conditioning has been set at Siberia. People who buy reusable Publix bags drive gas-guzzling SUVs. And fashionistas who wear green clothes landscape their massive yards with hundreds of lights all night.
If you're going to talk the talk -- as they used to say when I was a kid -- then you have to walk the walk, too.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Vote yes for the Children's Trust

If there is one organization that deserves to be funded even in these difficult times, it's certainly the Children's Trust. I've seen first-hand the organization's accomplishments. It's an investment in the future.
Let's hope our leaders and the rest of the community see it that way.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Everything cycles, including our moods

Another day, another story about job cuts. Plenty of people I know have been axed -- not a good thing ever, but especially difficult when you're in your 50s -- and many more who are looking for work right out of school.
Wasn't it not that long ago when we were all bragging about the equity in our homes and the plumpness of our stock accounts?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Was it the money or something else?

A woman is accused of trying to hire somebody to kill her ex-husband. This, despite the fact that she got a really good deal in the divorce. According to the husband, she was here illegally and sleeping in a friend's living room when they met. He took her in, married her, made her legal and shared a life with her and their three children -- including a business.
That's gratitude for you.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Bucking the trend

We live in a time when everything is public and anything can be sold for a price. So it's heartwarming to know that some people will buck the trend.A businessman has paid $1 million plus for a sex tape of Marilyn Monroe.
Not to play it on the Internet. Not to talk about it on Dr. Phil or Jerry Springer.
The man wants to pull it off the market out of respect for the late actress. He's locked it up in a safe.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Pretty soon they'll have classes in the broom closet

The news from Tallahassee is that there will be more cuts to the schools' budget. If this does happen, I hope the powers that be leave the classrooms alone and look at the administrative costs. From talking to teachers, students and my own children, I know the situation is pretty bare bones right now.
And we claim we support education!
When will our elected officials -- and the populace -- understand that spending on education is the best investment we can make in the future?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

A pleasant surprise

After a long day at school, my 17-year-old amazed me with his industriousness. I'm not sure what happened at school or at football practice, but he bolted for the computer as soon as he came home and started signing up for SAT subject tests. All of a sudden he has decided that he wants to apply to the top colleges in the country and SAT subject tests are a requirement. For months I've been asking him about his college plans and if there were any additional tests he needed to take. Now -- enlightment.
This from a kid who seemed to meandering through his junior year in high school, without purpose or ambition.
Life is full of pleasant surprises.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

When parents excuse their kids' behavior

I saw a disturbing video on TV news this morning about the beating of a 16-year-old girl by some of her schoolmates who were upset that she had trashed them on the MySpace website. The video existed because they were going to post it online.
How sick can we get?
Well, sicker than videoing your criminality. A mother of one of the teens who is accused in the ambush that left the girl with two black eyes and the loss of hearing in one ear actually went on national news to say the incident was "overblown." The apple doesn't fall from the tree apparently.

Monday, April 07, 2008

How safe are our colleges?

Maybe it's the age of my younger children that makes me so sensitive to college-related news. Yet, it seems that we're hearing about more and more accidents and crimes on college campuses. The latest tragedy is the death of a freshman at UM, most likely from an accidental fall.
It's a painful reminder that when we send our children off into the world with all kinds of precautions, danger lurks: shootings, date rape, binge drinking, etc.
With age and experience, I'm getting more and more paranoid.