What Will Politicians Be Doing in 20 Years?

As I push mowed my lawn this weekend, it occurred to me that politicians are setting terrible examples for our children.

It also occurred to me that I need a riding lawnmower.The Look.  Of Idiots.

Or, as the Evil Spawn calls them, a Sit-n-Mow (she may one day major in marketing… which unfortunately means she will be moving back in with us after graduating from college).

Since it takes me forever to mow, I started thinking about all the politicians who have failed us.

And not just with their policy judgment.

I’m talking failing us by having no moral compass.

When I was a kid, the list was two.

Richard Nixon and Gary Hart.

That was it.  Or at least that was all we knew about.

Now, every day brings another moronic situation where a politician has done something so immature it would cause a 7th grade boy to shake his head in disgust.

President Bill Clinton.

Governor Mark Sanford.

Senator John Ensign.

Senator John Edwards.

Representative Anthony Weiner (that’s his name… really…).

Governor Eliot Spitzer (also a real name…).

They all have one thing in common.  Besides being male (which may explain the immaturity and bad judgment), they all lied about what they did.

Isn’t this the 3rd rule you learn in kindergarten?

After “share with your neighbor” and “raise your hand before talking”?

It usually works like this. 

Politician does stupid.  Lies about stupid.  Continues to lie about stupid.

Holds a press conference in regards to stupid.

Tries to talk wife into attending said press conference.

Half-heartedly apologizes for getting caught.  Begs for forgiveness.  Promises not to do stupid again.

Or at least promises not to get caught doing stupid again.

Gives the look of shame (see picture above).

And repeat with next idiot politician (they don’t seem to learn how to avoid stupid from each other).

My question is what will elected officials be doing in 20 years?

Now it’s girls and Twitter.

By then it could be robbing liquor stores and stealing cookies from Girl Scouts.

These people need to be stopped, but there are just so many of them.

I’m starting to feel overwhelmed.

They are everywhere.

It’s the same feeling I get when one 2nd grader asks me to open their juice box and before I know it I’m surrounded by 127 juice boxes (these kids are like cicadas).

I just need a moment to get my thoughts together.

And also remember how to shove that little straw into the tiny juice box hole (this is NOT a euphemism on politician behavior… although it could be).

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Hands Up, not Hands Out.

Hands Up... It's What We Ask of Our Students.

When schools face financial difficulties it’s easy to get bogged down.


By complaining (I mean complaining more than usual… not that this ever happens in the teacher’s lounge or at administrators’ meetings).

It’s easy to blame politicians for our troubles in education (I personally enjoy this a LOT).

Constant complaining seldom makes things better.

Our focus has to be on the students.  Our job as educators is to provide kids with the best education possible.

Sure, we may have to do this on a budget, but that’s okay.

During difficult times comes innovation (I know I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating… mainly because I have a garage full of bumper stickers that I need to sell).

We will have to make improvements on the cheap, but any progress is good progress.

Schools may be struggling financially, but we still have a job to do.  Busses will arrive and the first hour bell will ring, so education will continue to move forward (that is if the electric bill gets paid…).

I really believe schools will rise to the occasion as they face the biggest of challenges.

Certain types of pressure brings out the best in people.

Like the threat of losing your job.

In this age of cutbacks, I think you will see teachers, administrators, and school employees doing even more than usual.

This can only benefit students.

It may mean longer hours and more responsibilities for school employees, but it has to beat unemployment.

Educators will be quick to volunteer.  Quick to make themselves as useful as possible.  Quick to take on any and all extra duties.

We are moving from an era of people having their “Hands Out” to one where everyone will have their “Hands Up”.

It is no longer what can you do for me, but what can I do for you?

To quote Tom Brokaw… “It’s easy to make a buck.  It’s a lot tougher to make a difference.”

I hate to admit it, but the title for this blog came from all people…  a politician.  Sad, but true.

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If I Write a Blog About Politicians, Do You Think My Chances of Getting Audited Go Up or Down?

Happy Flag Day!

Happy Flag Day!

This country is facing difficult times. Don’t be alarmed; we will be saved. By whom you ask?

The government.

Excuse me if I don’t sleep well tonight. Or ever again.

All over the World Wide Web you can read about the “good” work our elected officials are doing to save this country.

They are attempting to pass legislation that will make our lives better.

Call me crazy, but when politicians start coming up with “ideas”, I get really nervous (originally I used “great ideas” in this sentence, but even I couldn’t take myself seriously on this one).

When it comes to education, politicians continually have brainstorms on how it can be improved. This is fine with me because as an educator I believe we need to be pushed and challenged. This is the only way for us to maximize the United State’s most important assets.


My only concern lies in the fact that politicians always want to make education slightly better, but seem unwilling to attack the large problems because that might upset the voters.

After all, the next election is always right around the corner (I am in no way insinuating that politicians are only concerned about getting reelected… how do I type this stuff up with a straight face?).

While I’m leery of bureaucrats saving us, I have always thought school administrators and politicians have many things in common.

When you think about it our jobs are very similar.

Of course as educators we don’t get great health care, big pension checks, or wear flag pins like politicians (Political Rule #1: If you wear a flag pin people will naturally assume you are patriotic and thereby more electable).

There are many areas in which we are alike.

Both groups are expected to look professional. We wear suits (thank you Mrs. Hilary Clinton for making this statement asexual). Male politicians and school administrators both seem to own ties with various mystery stains on them (no matter what the job, never trust a man who can’t feed himself without a bib).

Administrators and politicians both live and work in the public eye. One slip up and your entire career can come crashing to a close.

Examples of this are when a politician misspeaks about the facts on TV (this is bad) or a superintendent mispronounces a name at graduation (really bad… really, really bad… in fact there might be a future blog on how really, really, really bad that is).

Politicians work long hours. Principals work long and productive hours.

Both groups are quite familiar with the standard All-American meal; fried chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans, a roll, and iced tea.

Politicians eat this type of meal at fundraisers while begging people for money. Administrators eat this same meal at sports banquets while watching young people get recognized for their outstanding achievements.

Politicians and school administrators are both elected to their offices. Politicians are voted in by the people and administrators by the local school board.

Each gets a term in office. At the conclusion of their terms they are judged strictly on their performance (and on things way out of their control like wars, recessions, and how the basketball team did this year).

Politicians must run for reelection, while administrators hope for a contract extension.

I could go on and on with their similarities.

Both groups face the challenge of being responsible for large groups of people from various economic and social backgrounds.

Both work within a budget (my side is hurting on this one… like politicians have to follow a budget…).

Both enjoy parades (one throws out candy at the homecoming parade, while the other organizes it).

Both have spouses who are scrutinized under the public eye (say what you want… that Todd Palin is one cool guy).

So much in common, yet at their core there is a subtle difference between the two professions.

Administrators make tough decisions on a daily basis for the betterment of their students.

Politicians make decisions (or not) so they can be reelected and make more decisions (or not) so they can be reelected.

I will let you decide about my chances of getting audited. Happy Flag Day!

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My School is Just Like Newton North High School. Not.

My High School Looks Slightly Different.I was reading online (because no one born after 1970 reads an actual newspaper) about the palace that is the new Newton, Massachusetts high school.

The article details how the state wants to put a stop to these Taj Mahal types of building projects.

Oh, did I mention the school is going to cost $200 million? Did I mention this is the first I have heard of a Taj Mahal type of school?

These building projects have upset some politicians because they feel it is a waste of taxpayers’ money. This also came as a shock to me. When did elected officials decide that wasting taxpayer’s money is a bad idea?

I am not sure what all of the complaining is about. As far as I know there is no correlation between good facilities and the type of education a student receives. If there was, wouldn’t the government step in and try to equalize how education is funded (this is a little thing that I like to call sarcasm)?

This got me thinking how much my school has in common with Newton North’s. Sure, the argument can be made that their school is superior, but I think the case can be made that we are in a much better situation.

Their building is going to be 413,000 square feet (or 33,368 square meters for our Canadian friends). My school also is made up of square feet. Sure we have a little less (about 375,000 less) but on the upside, it doesn’t take as long to clean (or walk down the entire hall).

Their school is located close to Harvard University. We have a junior college 20 miles from here. I am guessing our students pay slightly less in tuition (you might as well get those general ed. requirements out of the way… and at a much cheaper price).

The article says residents of Newton enjoy two symphony orchestras and have a median income of $101,001, which is twice the national average.

Residents of my school district also have incomes. Sadly, we don’t have a symphony but there is a sophomore boy who drives around town playing loud rap music on his 1987 truck stereo (yes, old pickup trucks and rap music do go together).

And let’s not judge him; culture comes in many different forms.

Bloomberg.com says their new school was designed by Gund Partnership, a Cambridge-based firm that has designed buildings for Harvard. This firm won the 2005 American Architecture Award for the National Association of Realtors’ glass-enclosed headquarters in Washington.

We also have an architect. He says we need to fix the potholes in the parking lot before someone gets hurt.

The lesson here? Advice that costs more isn’t necessarily better.

The Newton High School will have an arts complex, an athletic wing, a swimming pool and a climbing wall.

While our school doesn’t have an arts complex, we do have an art class. We are also proud owners of a football field with sprinklers. It is our version of an athletic wing and a swimming pool.

We don’t have a climbing wall, but the kids can hop the fence if they want to take a short cut on their walk to school.

So we are not so different from Newton High School’s new complex.

Well maybe a little different. Actually, if you do the math I guess we are about $199 million different.

I wonder how much they charge the students for steak at lunch. This reminds me we need to raise our hot dog prices.

See, when you get right down to it we are all pretty much the same.

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While this site operates with the knowledge and awareness of the Tuscola CUSD #301 School Board, Tuscola, Illinois, the content and opinions posted here may or may not represent their views personally or collectively, nor does it attempt to represent the official viewpoint of Tuscola CUSD #301 administrators or employees.