Friday, August 24, 2007

From: "Lee De Cesare"

Subject: Olson's Boggled Mind

CC:,, "andrea brunais" ,

"It boggles my mind," board member Candy Olson said. "A district this successful doesn't get that way without competent leadership." (SPTimes-Stein)

Ms. Olson, that it "boggles" your mind--and that it doesn't take much to "boggle" your mind one takes as a given--that the bottom mass of an organization can keep it going even when the top tier exists in a bubble of delusional self-congratulatory euphoria borne aloft by the circulation of gaseous compliments among its ranks says a good deal about your mental capacity.

Here's a management fact: a competent, dedicated mass of workers at the bottom can bear up dopey leadership at the top. This is a management fact in corporate America, and it is a given in all the school systems across the country to which administrations the academic weaklings flock to get bloated salaries for their academic-lite degrees at 3rd-rate institutions. Everybody who has been in education for six weeks confirms the truism that the smart students go into teaching, the dumb ones go into administration. Hillsborough County presents a primie facie case for this fact.

When the Board attracts shallow thinkers and when that Board joins its shallow thinking to that of an incestuous administration marked by in-house hiring of mediocrity or worse for top jobs, then if the system continues to function, it works because the bottom-level majority keeps it aloft.

lee drury de cesareDate: Thu, 23 Aug 2007 08:33:58 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Lee De Cesare"

Subject: Monkey Biz


Ms. Kurdell: Your shadow performance on the school board amazes me. If you were any less active, you would be motionless.

Despite this board phlegm, do you suppose you could bestir yourself to do these chores? Put a comma after “2000” in obedience to the items-in-a-series comma rule. Your English classes teach the standard rule, so a board member should use it. Popular periodicals omit this comma. But if you do not want to be taken for an advocate of The Rolling Stones school of punctuation, use that last comma in items in a series.

Use “chair,” not “chairman.” Study after university study has shown that the generic male designation injures the psyches of little girls. That you have not stumbled onto this datum in all your cited community youth service suggests that you have an exemplary capacity for avoiding requisite reading to serve in those jobs.
Remove the commas from before “and…employer.” That is part of a compound restrictive appositive.
Remove the comma after “Club.” It splits compound object of the preposition “from.”

Ms. Candy Olson has decried the importance of punctuation, affirming with more buffoonery than sense that commas aren’t important, that “clarity” is. Ms. Olson doesn’t seem to understand that commas assist clarity. Most parents don’t share Ms. Olson’s contempt for correct punctuation because they know that, for their children to move from the Hillsborough County school system into a good college or university, their admission essay must demonstrate an ability to punctuate correctly with Ms. Olson’s despised commas.

The extension of Ms. Olson’s anti-comma logic suggests that the board rule that the English classes in the schools should cease because Ms. Olson believes they contribute to a lack of clarity in written communication. That move would get Hillsborough County the kind of national press attention that accompanied Ms. Storms's shutting gays out of the library. Banning the teaching of commas in the school system would deepen the county’s national reputation as a bastion of troglodytes, both social and educational.

I note you got your degree from Eckerd. During the time you acquired it, I recall my deceased friend attorney Clara Britton, a graduate of the law school, and I visited the dean of the law school to protest its putting a quota on women’s numbers for admission.

Can you see the connection between using a neutral “chair” instead of "chairman' and such restrictions on women? If not, tell me, and I will enlarge on how misogyny is of a piece and how linguistic discrimination reinforces all other discrimination against women and girls.

Lee Drury De Cesare


Carol W. Kurdell was elected to the School Board (District 7 – at-large) in 1992 and re-elected in 1996, 2000 and 2004. Mrs. Kurdell served as Chairman of the School Board in 1996-97 and 2002-03. She is one of seven members responsible for making policy decisions and overseeing a budget of $2.6 billion for the 8th largest school district in the nation, and the county’s largest employer, with 30,000 employees.

Mrs. Kurdell is a Tampa native, a product of Hillsborough County Public Schools, and she holds a BA degree in Human Development from Eckerd College.
She represents the School Board as president of the Healthy Start Coalition of Hillsborough County, Inc. Board of Directors for 2006-2007. She is also chair of the Hillsborough County Department of Children's Services Advisory Board. She founded initiatives such as “Project Graduation” and the Peninsula PTAs.

Mrs. Kurdell has been a school volunteer, president of the Hillsborough County PTA/PTSA, secretary of the Florida PTA, and chair of the Florida PTA parenting committee. She has received awards for education ambassador, dedication, and public relations, as well as the Mayor’s Brotherhood/Sisterhood Award for Outstanding Community Service. Her civic involvement has ranged from the League of Women Voters and Tampa Woman’s Club, to Project LINK (Local Impact on Neighborhood Kids) and the Tampa Urban League.