Archive for November 23, 2007

Alexander wastes everyone’s time – again

November 23, 2007

LT has already posted on this, but I want to point something out that I noticed while reading the dead tree version of this story:

Alexander is asking the court to interpret the contract in light of an Oregon statute, ORS 342.845, that states school boards “may elect not to extend the administrator’s contract for any cause the school board in good faith considers sufficient.”

Alexander disagrees and is asking for a ruling saying that the law allows boards to end contracts for any “good faith” reason and without having to first make a job evaluation.

Shannon Priem, communications director of the Oregon School Boards Association, said OSBA agrees. She cited definitions under ORS 342.815 that specifically state superintendents are not included in the definition of “administrator” for dismissal purposes.

This seems pretty clear-cut, actually, which is unsurprising. Meadowbrook and Alexander are still playing spaghetti: Throw everything at the wall and see what sticks. So far, they’ve had no real success.

Also, what do we think Alexander will use as a ‘good-faith’ reason? And how much will Robinson get when he sues Alexander?

Will Robinson be forced to sue the school district to get the rest of his pay and/or clear his record? How does that help the district’s students.

However, what was raised for me when reading the story for the first time was the larger issue of the rolling three-year contract that Robinson and most other Superintendents get.

My understanding is that such contracts are tantamount to job or financial security (buying out the remainder of the contract being one way to end a super’s employment without waiting for the contract to end), and they allow a Super to work without the immediate possibility of the current year being their last. However, unless school boards can fire without cause, I don’t see why a rolling contract is necessary. Well, unless a board can fire a Super without cause.



Buy Nothing Day

November 23, 2007

Found here; follow the link for the full image, which is much larger and more interesting.

LHS student’s ‘Young Voices’ column

November 23, 2007

I debated whether or not I wanted to post on this for a few reasons. While I’ve decided to, I’m keeping it short:

I’m glad that Mr. Williams, as a student, wrote the column he did. I hope it gets the issue more attention, since most of the voices speaking so far have little or no ties to the school or school district.

I wish more students would speak up as to how they feel about what’s going on.

My Thanksgiving Prayer

November 23, 2007

My aunt said grace at Thanksgiving. It was pretty standard.

Here’s my slightly modified version, the one that ran through my head on my way home:

Dear Lord, thank you for clearing this continent of brown people. May you expand your work to the rest of the world so that we may continue to enjoy our bounty of cheap, mass-produced crap (including the food you make available to us at your holy temple of Wal-Mart).

Oh, and please leave Mexico and part of Asia – we need some brown people left to make all that stuff for us.


Have I mentioned I really don’t like this holiday, even though it’s the only time of year I eat stuffing or cranberry sauce?

Note: This is not a rejection of my aunt’s recital, but of the context in which it takes place.


November 23, 2007

Played a game earlier tonight with two other folks, both of whom have been victorious against me before.

I scored 505; neither of them scored above 214 – meaning my score was more than theirs combined.


Probably, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t really pleased with the outcome.

TAP’s Courtney Martin on the absence of youth activism

November 23, 2007

She says it’s all gone to college campuses and that there is a downside:

Today’s youth activism is largely enacted within the gated fortresses of higher learning. Students are overwhelmingly and often motivated by applying to law school or resumé-building. (How do you think they got into these undergraduate institutions in the first place?) They funnel their outrage into weekly club meetings and awareness campaigns that look good on paper — activities that convey to future employers and institutions that they are socially involved and aware but not at odds with the system. Students seem to join sanctioned, existing clubs, rather than launch their own radical actions, without much resistance or critical questioning. Perhaps they’ve been socialized to accept the status quo, but even more, I believe they simply don’t have the time or energy to start innovative revolutions from scratch because they are so busy taking standardized tests and building their resumés with internships and assistantships.

I agree with this.

I think a lot of what makes this column on the mark is the absence of risk-taking on the part of “youth.”

This, of course, includes myself.

The corollary to that is that the risks are seem, relatively, much higher. Getting a ‘good’ job with a record is much harder – even if that record is simply a record of radical activism. As well, the legal risks are generally much higher, and with the explosion of local police using police-state tactics, the literal, physical risks are much higher. Finally, I think the assumption that there is either a government-provided social safety net or a safety net of people willing to help a person out is gone. Certainly the social safety itself has been shredded these last two decades.

On the other hand, Martin seems to conflate ‘real’ or ‘radical’ activism with ‘highly visible and disruptive’ activism. They aren’t always the same thing, and even though there is a certain value in simply disrupting an unjust system in order to draw attention to it (see also MLK, Rosa Parks, sit-ins, etc), sometimes it’s better to fly under the radar.

Remember, for every protest you’ve seen – from the civil rights era through the current debacle in Iraq – there has been a tremendous, tremendous amount of organizing done behind the scenes. A good protest or march is the expression the members’ sentiments as well as the amount of work that’s been done – it’s not always and end unto itself.

h/t JAO.