10:36 AM, May 21, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
From Eric Katz, at Government Executive, we learn:
As recently as February, just weeks before sequestration was set to go into effect, nearly every Cabinet-level department had issued warnings of the need to furlough employees in fiscal 2013 due to the across-the-board cuts.
With the fiscal year more than halfway over, however, the number of agencies and department that will in fact require furloughs has dropped dramatically. While some departments, such as Labor and Treasury, have already begun or are moving forward with plans to furlough, the Agriculture, Education, Homeland Security, Justice and Transportation departments have reversed course.
Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education, warned his people to expect furloughs of "multiple days." Now, it seems that he has found other ways to economize, including:
... a reduction in hiring. Forty-three percent of the vacancies at Education have gone unfilled in the last two years, according to the department.
Duncan's department has also “reduced its contracts by eliminating or postponing certain tasks.”
It has and continues to reduce travel and large conference spending, slashing 15 percent and 10 percent of their budgets, respectively.
In other words, the sorts of things businesses routinely do in tough times.
3:31 PM, Apr 24, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
A Louisiana high school is in "chaos" after 57 teachers skipped school to protest the governor in Baton Rouge. The problem is that there were not enough substitute teachers to replace those who decided to protest the Republican governor, Bobby Jindal.
"Operations at Lafayette High School were thrown into 'chaos' on Wednesday after 57 teachers were absent, said Lafayette Parish Superintendent Pat Cooper," reports theadvertiser.com.
"Cooper said the majority of those teachers attended a rally of educators at the state capitol in Baton Rouge.
10:51 AM, Apr 15, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
There may actually be some movement in the long struggle to change and improve the way children are educated in this country. The forces of the status quo – especially the teachers' unions – have fiercely resisted just about every reform and they have considerable power.
11:44 AM, Mar 19, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
In a season when we all become bracketologists, here is an interesting variation that uses the form to conduct a playoff in which the school that costs more to attend wins and moves on to the next round against another institution of absurdly high priced learning. Another elimination and the price, again, goes up. Parents of college-aged children will quickly get it.
3:27 PM, Feb 28, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
First Lady Michelle Obama spoke today in Chicago about her new physical education initiative for kids. She called her new program "our patriotic obligation to this country" and "our moral obligation."
"I am thrilled to be here today as we launch Let’s Move Active Schools –- this unprecedented effort to bring physical education back to America’s schools," she began. She then explained that enough kids get enough exercise--and that she aims to change that.
4:28 PM, Feb 26, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
David Plouffe, a former advisor to President Barack Obama, tells a student newspaper at the University of Chicago that one need not be college educated to do politics. Plouffe states, though, that he thinks "everybody should have a college degree."
The students ask, "Do you think it’s necessary to have a college degree to get into politics?"
"We have hosted youth workshops on everything from modern dance to classical music to spoken word poetry."6:14 PM, Nov 19, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
At an event at the White House for the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program awards program, First Lady Michelle Obama praised arts in children's education by saying, "if it’s good enough for our kids, it’s good enough for all of our kids."
Nov 12, 2012, Vol. 18, No. 09 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
The Scrapbook notes, with some amusement, that George Lucas, creator of the Star Wars franchise, sold his lucrative Lucasfilm enterprise last week to the Disney Company, which announced in turn that it intends to revive and extend the Star Wars saga. We leave it to the experts to judge whether this cinematic/economic event is a cultural landmark, or a sign that the Disney empire (like Lucasfilm) has finally run out of fresh ideas.
Won’t Back Down’s Lance Reddick has something to say, on- and off-screen. Oct 15, 2012, Vol. 18, No. 05 • By KELLY JANE TORRANCE
Halfway through what feels like the usual interview with a Hollywood entertainer in town to promote a new work, I’m stopped short.
7:06 AM, Sep 19, 2012 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The teachers, if you ask them, resisted the fearful boot of repression and struck a blow for worker's rights: