Council of Trent gathers in Wimauma to decide whether to censure the St. Pete Times for glorifying with front-page coverage the Gates program of bad advice for the schools; the schools piddled away the Gates money by buying this geegaw program for millions from some slick outfit that ripped it off research Web sites.
I saw nothing about poverty and performance in schools in yesterday’s front-page story in the Times. Or about children struggling with a second language.
This county is chockablock with poor children and Spanish-speaking children, so poor that they can’t afford supplies to participate in class work. Yet school board members lark around the country splurging with thousands of tax dollars to stay in swishy hotels and eat gourmet food in upscale restaurants on the taxpayers’ dime while these children languish in classrooms without supplies.
Many times teachers buy these supplies out of their meager salaries for the poor children in their classes, and there is some kind of volunteer outfit set up to get donations to supply poor children with the things they need to perform in class. Why should a volunteer group have to beg for money for poor children’s supplies while the board and administration fritter away thousands and thousands for their ego satisfaction? Betimes Elia is making up jobs for failed administrators like Smith from Alafai, who gets the same salary as she got as a principal to sit on her tush in the book depository doing zilch because the administration’s secret policy is never to fire or punish a messed-up administrator but to fire teachers for the least little contretemps. Board members Jennifer Motel Breath Falliero and April Betty Boop Griffin journeyed out to Alafia at Elia’s behest—Elia can’t bear bad publicity-- to dangle the promise of a replacement job manufactured for her at the same salary as the principal job that the parents didn’t want her occupying a minute longer. Board members Motel Breath and Betty Boop did not realize that what they did violated equal opportunity and government in the sunshine.
The outfit that sold the Gates-funded program to the county for millions that it probably ripped it off of public research institutions’ Web sites made out like a bandit with the unsophisticated board and administration that clogs the halls of power in Hillsborough County.. The administrators and board members don’t read education Web sites; they read the National Inquirer and bodice-rippers. So this scam must have seemed like the key to board and administration innocents to the puzzle of how to educate children, an arcane they are none acquainted with.
The Gates program begins to remind me of the Nazi social program that everybody had to adhere to or go in front of a firing squad. That’s the teachers’ fate: buckle under or lose their job. Notice that the reviewers are 500 administrators and only 200 teachers according to the Times article. And the front-page milquetoast article means the press is playing tootsie with this rip-off, giving it front-page coverage with no editorial comments. The only resource to a skilled reporter is to point out the negative aspects of the program, which this first article did not and does not promise to do.
The Times readers aren’t smart enough or interested enough to analyze this taxpayer rip-off. And the Times publisher is a dumbass despite having graduated summa cum laude from some hayseed university in the outback of the country awarding Ph.D.s in the care and feeding of mules and donkeys and how to placate laying hens.
It’s a constant policy at the Times to pick dumb guys to head up the organization. The first time I saw the previous publisher (Andy Somebody) at a luncheon after he came to town, he was ostentatiously carrying around a copy of Thus Spake Zarathustra under his arm. I am sure he never read a word of it or knew Nietzsche from a hole in the ground This poseur’s great claim for éclat was that he had worked at the Washington Post, which had turned down Maureen Dowd for a job. There’s a smart bunch of sexists in charge there, too, of course.
What an industry the newspaper racket is! And people are naïve enough to think that if the press gets hold of a whiff of wrongdoing that it straps on its rhetorical Teflon armor and wades in to clean up the mess and save humankind. Ah yes, our saviors the crusading press. These are the knights manqué that the public thinks will guard democracy and wipe out wrongdoing. Dream on, my innocents.
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