Dear Ms. McCollum:
I formed the habit of writing to wives of important men when I had a problem that needed the CEO of Xerox's attention many years ago.
I had convened the
Too many of the Xerox men expected these young women to act not as representatives of the jobs they were hired for but rather as a species of in-house prostitutes for the men's amusement. This denigration of these young women made me hopping mad.
I called the head of the local Xerox and tried to get him concerned about the situation, but he blew me off with the equivalent of "boys will be boys." I figured I had made my good-faith effort to get the local Xerox manager to do something to quell the harassment, and he didn't take me seriously. So I sought other means.
I knew from experience how long it took and what diligence it demanded to get the EEOC to act on complaints. And a charge by an individual is never forgiven, so her career is over even if she helps others who have suffered similar discrimination. Woe to her who bells the cat.
This young woman seemed desperate. I thus decided to write to the wife of the CEO of Xerox about the seamy situation at the local Xerox office. That way, the young woman's name would not be on an EEOC charge from the EEOC and ruin her career.
So successful was this letter Mrs. CEO Xerox that I have since lived by the maxim of "When things look hopeless, appeal to the wife of the power guy."
No more than a week later, Xerox sent a troop of its lawyers from headquarters down to the
Years later the mother of one of the young women affected came up to me in the Publix vegetable department to thank me for intervening. She said she was glad to report that her daughter had made a successful career in the field.
I understand General McCollum will run for governor. At least that's the political gossip I heard. He will face Ms. Alex Sink, from the Democrats. I know her a little, and your husband will have a job on his hands to defeat this formidable woman. I gave wasted money to her husband when he ran for governor; the poor man was a dreadful campaigner. But Ms. Sink is a different story. She is graceful and articulate on a platform. She reminds people of everybody's favorite sister.
If General McCollum makes it into the governor's office, I hope he will be alive to the real needs of education. Most politicians invoke the template false piety of love for teachers and how we don't pay them enough and believe those old chestnuts suffice.
Every field in which women dominate features low pay. The K12 field comprises mostly women. In
It is true that we don't pay teachers well and looks to remain the same until their numbers go down precipitously as they escape to other fields that pay better than their teacher salary. Then the market will set teachers' salaries. But that will not come during General McCollum's time.
If General McCollum wants to promise something different and rational on the stump, he could cite ways of weeding out the great army of C-student administrators making bloated salaries in inverse proportion to their IQs. These reluctant scholars weigh down K12
Ms. Elia, superintendent of Hillsborough County, doesn't know where to put commas yet makes $300,000 a year from taxpayers who expect their children over whose education she presides to know grammar and punctuation to evade flipping burgers at McDonald's when they exit the secondary schools. This lady hires sycophants, children of board members, hangers on, and chums when administrative jobs come up with artificially bloated salaries. A Governor McCollum's touting Title VII as Mr. Crist has sponsored open government would cut into this practice, and the K12 cumulative administrative IQ would improve if the jobs got wide advertising that tapped into the better national talent pool. Then administrative decisions would improve. Pound for pound, smart people make better decisions than dumb people.
As governor, General McCollum could sponsor the law that the Number One school system in the nation,
The second in command to Ms. Elia was Dr. Jim Hamilton, until last year when he retired to double dip by forming his own lobbying company. He didn't know the difference between homophones "your" and "you're." Yet he captured state school systems as lobbying clients without their the K12 administrative networks' doing any advertising of the job. This is example of the the K12 closed-to-outside-talent bureaucracy that violates the equal-opportunity laws. Dr.
Dr. Hamilton not only mixes up homophones but also can't write an extended piece with structural logic or moderate felicity. He reveals some strange ideas in his lucubrations such as his gauche essay instructing new board members how to dress for board dignity when the gentleman himself wears rump-sprung suits and looks like an unmade bed.
I wrote Dr. Machen, president of the
Recalling that there are many more teacher voters than administrator voters, General McCollum as governor would please a significant part of the
General McCollum could bring about better schools by putting an end to the practice of evading the equal-employment-opportunity laws by school boards themselves. In
The accountant with the high school diploma and no accounting experience is spouse of Ms. Kipley, head of Professional Standards. She has a home-ec degree, but what she lacks in academic bona fides she has made up for in pliability and wretched ethics by helping Ms. Elia cook up professional-standards charges against teachers Ms. Elia wants to find ways to fire teachers if they speak up to oppose her policies or have a blog that critiques the schools.
I have no sympathy for floozies who make little children suffer whether the floozy be off or on a school board. A granny of ten such as I will find a way to out this despicable behavior that the administration and board covered up while they fired the dumb cluck Ms. Falliero seduced, Mr. Hart, to his personal and professional detriment while making Ms. Falliero board chair.
I am never helpless, however unless I am facing the gorillas in the midst of the Serengeti. I got the ACLU to come and lecture the board and its attorney on the First Amendment.
The spectacle of a teacher's being punished on manufactured charges keeps other teachers fearful of speaking up for fear of being framed to lose their jobs too. That propaganda value is one reason for making these false charges and suspending a teacher to writhe in limbo with no idea of when or if he or she will ever be cleared of the false charge. Blogs discuss forbidden issues such as savaging of teachers by Ms. Elia and the Professional Standards Office. That's one reason why Ms. Elia and the administrators hate them and try to snuff them out.
Propaganda value is one of the main reasons for framing Special-ed teacher Steve Kemp. He has suffered the sustained fear of losing his job for a whole semester for having an education blog that the administration and board fear. Ms. Elia and her chair of the behind-the-scenes terror committee, Mr. Valdez, has held Mr. Kemp on suspension for the whole school year to get him to give up his dignity and his blog. He has not buckled yet. I hope for the First Amendment's sake that he won't.
In sum, General McCollum could set a record of response to real problems in the schools if he gets to the governor's office. And you can and should be his chief advisor and dilute the sexist tradition of vacuous first ladies. For some reason, maybe because it has to do with nurturing the family's children, women are more interested in education than are men it seems to me, especially that of K12, although I have not yet seen any studies that confirm my belief.
When Mr. Obama announced for President in
I have received a letter from the national Secretary of Education about whom to call for help, and I shall call them. That job creation adventure of Ms. Elia for Dr. Hamilton should not go unexamined by critical eyes.
You can do much for the schools if your husband gets elected for governor, Mrs. McCollum. And I will write you from time to time to mention some issue that he needs to be aware of when he is governor and you are First Lady.
If General McCollum becomes governor, I will feel free since my husband is a Republican (married for almost 53 years to a Democrat) to come up to
Lee Drury De Cesare
I enclose attachments. ldd