Monday, March 26, 2012

I Support Public Schools, Surprised?

Dear Legislators:

I support Alaska's PUBLIC schools. I doubt this is a surprise to you, but some members of the public might be disturbed to find the president of the state's public school employee union listed on a pro-voucher website. I was shocked and appalled to find this!

Here's how I found out about this. I was interested to read a newspaper article on HJR 16 and it's advancement in our state house. This is an attempt to change the state's constitution to allow public funds to be used for private and religious schools. In the story there was reference to some group called Alaskans for Choice in Education, obviously a pro-voucher entity. The group is advocating the State of Alaska use public funds for private and religious schools. This is a clear violation of the state constitution and they know the only way to get around it is to change the constitution. Aren't these the same folks who profess we should adhere strictly to the constitution? Oh well, back to the story.

I went to the website of this fringe group to see what they were all about. On their site, I found a set of tabs along the top of the page. One tab said "legislators". I thought I might find a list of legislators who support their cause, or a plea for members of the public to contact legislators and ask them to support this ill-conceived idea. In fact, what I found was not either of these!

I found a list of all state legislators and the names of all who had contributed to those politicians! Hmm. I immediately became alarmed because I believe this is a thinly veiled attempt to make someone looking at the information believe the contributors and legislators support them. I DO NOT! In fact, I am horrified that this type of behavior is legally acceptable. I plan to look into it. Yes, the information is public record and can be found on the State website. It just doesn't seem ok for a group, any group or individual for that matter, to be allowed to repost this information and make it seem like those who have made contributions actually support the cause of those reposting.

I can't rest until the issue is resolved satisfactorily. This isn't right!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Beating Back Bad Banter

These days, catch phrases are popular and attempt to convince us that the rhetoric they spread is actually the truth. For example, I recently did an interview on a morning television show with Dan Fagan. He has built a reputation for being controversial and conservative. He treated me pretty well in the studio and had a co-host named Elizabeth there. During one part of the conversation, he brought up teacher salaries. He asked what they were and tried to confirm the amount was for nine months of work. I said no, it's for 12 months of work. I pointed out that teachers are responsible for their own professional growth and often requires summer to complete. After I had already corrected his statement, he followed up with another stab at saying teachers have a three month vacation each year. I corrected him a second time. I have concluded that we MUST take issue every time misstatements are made. It is the only way we will combat those who are willing to believe what others say, whether the facts are real or not.