Mr. Bill Maxwell of The
uMy husband, your fan, handed me the first of your three articles on your disenchantment in two years at
I labored in the gullies of the comma splice for twenty-eight years. I didn’t get to lecture much on Shakespeare or Yeats for having to teach entering freshmen who made A’s in English in county high schools basic grammar and punctuation, not to mention paragraph and essay structure. Most of these marginally literate students were furious with me for pointing out that they couldn’t write the English language with acceptable literacy since heretofore teachers passed them despite their not knowing where to put a comma, what an apostrophe was for, or when to use a semicolon.
You may or may not find comfort in my observation that black kids were no lazier than white kids. In the area of sloth, we have reached equality. And black students were just as lazy and just as indifferent to the ecstasy of learning as white kids. They were both sorry specimens of Yeats’s “honey of generation” of the kind which affrighted your sight when you approached Stillman’s gates.
My best students were Asians immigrants. They could catch you if you nodded off and bungled a grammar rule that you had taught the previous class. They waited until the end of class to come up with deep respect and ask, “Teacher, is it possible that I have misunderstood your comment on such and such a point?” The white and black kids—if they by some miracle knew enough to catch your making an error—would yell across the classroom, “Hey, teach, you’ve’ messed up big time!”
The best teacher evaluation I got from these full-of-a-sense-of-entitlement students was this one: “Off the wall but knows her stuff.”
I have a kindred sorrow about my forty-five years of work in Women’s-Rights Movement. Women who walk through the doors that we feminists have broken down have proved that power corrupts them as it corrupts men. Lord Acton’s formula has dismal equal application.
Not only that, but women go ill prepared into employment opened for them in recent years. They make all women look bad by mangling grammar and punctuation in such jobs as editorial-page editor as my dissection of Ms. Rosemary Goudreau’s biased essay below demonstrates. She, in addition, trivializes the high purpose of editorials by using the Tribune’s editorial forum to carry water for her marginally literate girlfriend Superintendent MaryEllen Elia of the
How this young woman achieved the Tribune editorial-page job exceeds my comprehension. She would have never escaped my Freshman English I class with such lousy writing and illogical thinking. Future editorial-page editors should never get social promotions as Goudreau did without doubt.
For what comfort it gives you, you reign best writer at the
Lee Drury De Cesare
Red-pen analysis of Tribune’s Endorsement of School- Board Ignorance: (likely composed by School Superintendent
Lee Drury De Cesare
Voters Provide Elected Officials The For the literate, article “the” gets no capital in a title. Only Certification They Need
Assignment: Review standard capitalization of titles.
We know that having a certified public accountant handle your books is a smart business move. And if you have a serious health problem, it's advisable to seek out a board Hyphenated adjective before a noun certified physician to treat you. And board Hyphenated adjective before a noun certified teachers go through a rigorous program that requires a high-degree No hyphen: There is only one adjective before the noun that it modifies. of skill to complete.
Editor Assignment: Review hyphenated adjectives before nouns.
So what does it mean when an elected official - like a school board member, county commissioner or elections supervisor – become Subject-verb agreement error; “Becomes,” not “become”: singular subject (“official”) gets singular verb. certified through their Pronoun-antecedent disagreement professional organizations? Not as much as you - or they - might think.
Editor Assignment: Review subject-verb agreement.
Editor Review pronoun-antecedent agreement.
*“Perk”: Does this slapdash editor mean “perquisite”? “Perk” is not only vulgar but also slovenly diction. The editor means “training,” “education,” or perhaps “discipline.” One notes the disparity between commendatory editorial attitude toward a school-board member’s eschewing certification in contrast with editorial endorsement of a “certified public accountant” and a “board [sic] certified physician” in the first paragraph. Not only does this editorial scribbler lack diction acuity, but she—for one believes the writer to be Ms. Elia’s Tribune editorial girlfriend-- also shows woeful lack of logic as well.
Editorial assignment: Look up “perquisite” in OED to review its evolution; then write five sentences that show an understanding of the word’s meaning.
Review “informal language” in your grammar primer.
Master Aristotle, Descartes, Newton, and Euclid to cure lack of editorial logic. Or at least pore over a Logic for Dummies.
Taxpayers Apostrophe for possessive before a gerund Shouldering The Costs
We took a close look I bet it was “close.” I infer cursory. at these certification programs and found that while some good training goes on, it's costing taxpayers mightily.
Strunk & White pleads against redundant adverbs as blemish to decisive style. Besides, “mightily” is inaccurate. Compared to money pissed away on decorative administrative featherbedding buddy jobs and bloated ROSSAC salaries—not to mention Elia’s obscene compensation that the Board augmented by lavishing on the comma-challenged superintendent a $48,000 “bonus” for teacher-generated rise in student achievement--this board-member certification outlay ranks small-change dip into taxpayer kitty.
Editorial homework: Review possessive-before-gerund rule.
Haul out Strunk & White and ponder comments on redundant modifiers as blemish to style.
In these programs, board members can attend workshops on school financing; construction and even the public Will this editor never grasp hyphenated-adjective-before-a noun refinement? records law. But unlike other professions, there are no tests to pass to prove the officials actually Redundant adverb learned anything. If a certified public official makes a bad decision, you can't revoke their I am afraid that you must repair for a long study-hall recess until you learn pronoun-antecedent agreement. certification - but you can vote them out of office.
Study Hall: REVIEW PRONOUN-ANTECEDENT AGREEMENT
Which To what does this relative pronoun refer? The editor forces the reader to plow up through the preceding paragraph only to discover that “which” has no antecedent, so the reader must provide it. Does this editor mean “this situation” perhaps? goes to show you - the election is the certification that matters most.
Editorial homework: Review the function of adjective clauses, for God’s sake.
Go back over pronoun-antecedent agreement.
There's nothing wrong with our elected officials Possessive before the gerund attending the occasional workshop to keep up to speed “Up to speed”? How recherché: just the kind of linguistic felicity that the Pulitzer Committee smacks its lips over on complicated issues. New board members, in particular, need courses to help them learn the complexities of some issues, Redundant comma cutting off a restrictive adjectival prepositional phrase like school funding.
But a full certification requires a flurry of travel and classes. In the past two years, the seven members of the school board have spent at least $26,500 on travel and registration fees on certification programs alone.
Imagine such extravagance! It compares invidiously to Dr. James—who is “your” and “you’re” befuddled—Hamilton’s wasting $235,000 to summon above-the-
There seems to be little recognition among some board members about their obligation to be wise stewards of the public's money.
Priority: Schedule forensics
And is this editorial Yahoo so benighted as not to see that this certification effort deserves praise, not condemnation? Is stupidity preferable in the Tribune editorial credo to knowledge? In one workshop,
Training Could Have Been Free
Yet it didn't occur to
“Incredible” is one of those overwrought, redundant modifiers against which Strunk & White inveighs. But the big flaw in this statement is that the editorial quidnunc overlooks
A more egregious example of wasted money is the boutique job that Elia created for Dr. James Hamilton with Board acquiescence soon after Ms. Elia’s boundary-scramble debacle in West Chase to cover up her overbuilding of classrooms when she was buildings boss. This job got no advertising despite ubiquitous “equal-employment-opportunity” mantra that the Board affixes to its Web page and any other vacant space on which to stamp the lie. In fact, a school mole revealed that Elia inserted
Such weighty ratiocination as fixing the bus-schedule mix-up was above
And last year, when board member
What’s clear in this picayune attack is that the Tribune favors ignorance over knowledge and condemns Board members who pursue certification to dispel their ignorance. This hooray-for-ignorance editorial ventilating could have gone into this formula: “This Tribune editor attacks Board members who pursue certification because Jennifer Faliero has been too lazy to get hers and luxuriates in ignorance that detracts from her Board performance. But La Jennifer is Elia acolyte, so Tribune Elia girlfriend editorial writer Goudreau must attack all other Board members for the sham charge of their extravagance of certification fees to lay a blanket of virtue over the sloth of La Faliera.
Now, local political activist and newspaper publisher Pat Ah, here resides the nexus of this Tribune editorial attack. Tribune editor and Elia girlfriend blasts all Board members except girlfriend Faliera to get at Valdes and
La Jennifer’s laziness gets no salute from people who believe that education beats ignorance. And her second term shows no fruits of the “on-the-job experience” this editorialist touts. On a board with no intellectual stars, Ms. Faliera ranks the prettiest but the dumbest of the bunch.
School board Chairman Would it kill this editorial writer to use the linguistically neutral “Chair,” “Chairperson,” or “Chairone” in concession to all the university studies that show that generic male titles injure the psyches of little girls—or is this Tribune editorial savant down on little girls as well as learning, Valdez, Griffin, and
Heaven forbid a member of the public might presume to know something about education. He or she must first be "certified" by those already in the system.
As a matter of fact, the public does not know much about education. If its members did, they would not elect such sorry specimens to the Board as now occupy it and allow the Board to conduct a sham $35,000 “nationwide” search to find the best candidate for superintendent when board members know they mean to fall in with the political machinations of the in-house power
Lamb says the board is currently working toward its "master board" certification at an additional cost of $3,000 to taxpayers. One of the things it is supposed to teach is teamwork - clearly a lesson that didn't quite stick with all. This editorial doesn’t help teamwork of the board. It aims to divide its members by making those who pursue certification defensive and by papering over Faliera’s intellectual laziness.
School boards are not unique in seeking certification.
The above paragraph shows no editorial skill in marshalling data to support its argument that ignorance is the best policy for the school board and that getting certification is a Board-member plot to soak the taxpayers. Buddy
No Substitute For In title, short prepositions get lower case. Experience
Hillsborough Clerk of Court Pat Frank is passing up a $2,000 annual bonus by declining to participate in a 240-hour certification course. She prefers to keep herself up to speed on court issues and new legislation by attending annual information sessions. Frank said the certification program seemed like a poor use of public money and was redundant given her years of government experience.
Mrs. Frank speaks for her own special situation. The fact that she has been running for public office or occupying public office for what seems like forever justifies her skipping certification training. If she were not savvy in the rituals of office with having been in public office since the Pre-Cambrian Era, one would wonder why in the world she were not.
"I didn't think it warranted my taking time off from work when I was taking over a brand Hyphenated adjective before a noun new office with a lot of changes," Frank said.
School board members, too, could learn plenty without ever leaving town, considering the association holds its two big conferences in
An editorial writer who resorts to hoary cliché of “taking to the cleaners” does not reassure a reader that a fresh and vigorous mind purveys advice. By an extension of this logic, a Board member or anyone could just stay put, stay ignorant, and stay in accord with this Tribune editorial apologist for Jennifer Faliera’s laziness and all other board-certified members’ profligacy. The editorial summarized is this: “Let’s hear it for ignorance and especially Jennifer Faleira’s ignorance because she’s mine and Elia’s girlfriend and the rest of the board members are not.”
Answer to complaints about piddling amount spent by all-but-Faliera board members to achieve certification is this: Elia $262,000 salary; $48,000 rip-off for teachers’ work; lavish perquisites; golden-parachute Riviera-bound retirement package.
The Cost Of A short preposition gets no capital in English-rules-certified writing Training: What School Board Members Have Spent Since 2004
Advice: Get out of the newspaper racket—especially editorial writing. You lack the basic grammar-punctuation skills to write literate prose. You also don’t have the rhetorical felicity to merit your continuing in this area—even for prose aimed at the people-who-move-their-lips-while-reading market. You lack objectivity sufficient to separate your school administration and Board girlfriends’ interests—I refer to MaryEllen Elia and Jennifer Faliero-- from your editorial duty to write from a disinterested, not personal, perspective. As a result, you distort the logic of your editorial to fit your friendships to the point that your conclusions rank ridiculous.
Question: Do your Media General bosses know you pervert your job this way?
Ø Columbia Journalism Review to show big-city journalism sophisticates how a local newspaper in the Tampa Bay press badlands reduces the purpose of its editorial page to an attack organ for the editorial-page editor Rosemary Goudreau to soft-soap the bad behavior of her girlfriend the Hillsborough County school superintendent;
Ø Members of St. Petersburg Times, competitor across the bay for their delectation;
Ø Reporters of Tampa Tribune, particularly the young on peripheral beats’ reporting installation of traffic lights to show them how not to use an editorial page if a newspaper wants respect in the journalism world and that people are not always disinterested at the top;
Ø Functionaries at the Poynter
Ø Hillsborough County high school teachers to confirm their belief that the Tampa Tribune holds teachers’ and students’ needs at a lower level than that of the local power principals of the county’s school system under Ms. Elia’s incompetent and tyrannical rule and that the Board provides complicit cooperation with her administration;
Ø Newsrooms at Richmond Times Dispatch and Winston-Salem Journal to give proletariat reporters a chuckle over the girlfriend excesses of La R. Goudreau that are redolent of Proustian relationships in Sodom and Gomorra, novel in the sequence of six that makes up A La Recherche du Temps Perdu;.
Ø Unknown quantities
Ø Media Contact:
Ø All Members, Hillsborough County School Board, may God watch over their obtuse souls, the survival of the Hillsborough County school system’s being jeopardized with its enmeshed children and teachers under the board’s inept, bungling, awkward, incompetent, clumsy, obtuse, silly, cockamamie, and have-mercy-on-us-Jesus leadership.
Lee Drury De Cesare