Thanks for 20 years and more
Thank you. Thank you for your "In your face for 20 years" issue (May 9) and the last 20 years. Thank you for the last 38 years. I remember the Union Station Times.
Thank you for recent columns from Ernie Dumas and Jay Barth. Pithy. Insightful. Thank you for Max's column. Thank you for the number of times I laughed reading Lancaster.
Thank you for the wonderful history of Arkansas politics contained in your fine highlights of these 20 years. Enlightening even for those of us who are political history junkies.
Thank you for bringing a light of reason and balance into the coverage of news and opinion in Arkansas.
Thank you for uncovering stories that needed to see the light.
We as a state are better for your publishing — in paper and online.
Keep up the good work.
Unjust union busting
Some powerful people busted PACT, one of the state's largest education unions. The union drew the ire of a fundamental few for offering teachers a defense against arbitrary dismissal, and fighting for such things as pay for extra duty, livable salaries, safe, clean working conditions, flexible leave, competitive insurance coverage and a host of other things. All the good that the union achieved through expensive struggles will be taken away at the whim of the powerful few.
The expenses of the union in the fight for better conditions were paid from the pockets of teachers. The administration used tax money by the buckets to fight the union and keep teachers in their submissive places. The current action against teachers is taken under the guise of fixing a district in financial distress.
The deadly blow to most of the teachers in Pulaski County has the backing of the state Education Department and minions of single-minded supporters. The reason "most" instead of "all" was used in the previous sentence is that the other side has enlisted some teachers as rubber stamps. Those teachers form a committee that interacts with the administration in decisions affecting the district. They were selected in a contrived election about as fair as what takes place in some third-world communist countries. Just like those countries, the powerful few delight in using unsuspecting members of the working class to do their dirty work.
Please understand that the better working conditions achieved by the union were not the cause of the Pulaski County School District financial woes, but rather the money troubles resulted from abuse and poor management of the administration. Much of this wrongful mismanagement was described in newspapers and on television news because concerned citizens and the union brought it out in the open. It is doubtful that all the wrongs have been made public. Watch for the budget reports of the Pulaski County School District because there is a good reason to believe that it will end the year with millions in surplus.
If that happens, then the teachers will have lost their right to fairly bargain because of a ruse tactfully planted by the powerful few. Teachers will now work in deplorable conditions, but most will continue to do their best because that is the nature of a teacher. It is a shame there is no way for the powerful few to spend a few weeks in the classroom because if that happened, their adversarial attitude would assuredly change, or at least they would be considerably more charitable. Do not believe them qualified to care if some reminisce about previous classroom experience. They have not been in a current classroom for any length of time and most could not tolerate the present conditions because they are not teachers.
Bell's bureaucratic plan
Rep. Nate Bell currently serves as my state representative.
Mr. Bell's recent comments regarding his legislative inclination to convert Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarships (lottery scholarships) to loans if a student fails to complete a degree appears to be another attention-getting device and it would penalize kids for trying to get a college education.
There are many successful business people and others who have benefited from, but did not complete, college.
And it seems inconsistent for a small government conservative like Mr. Bell to want to create a state bureaucracy to serve as bill collectors for scholarships.
However, if he wants to be consistent, Mr. Bell could take his idea a step further and propose converting elected officials' annual salaries and benefits into loans if they are unsuccessful in representing their constituents.
Instead of picking on kids for trying to get an education, Mr. Bell may learn something by visiting the families in his district to find out why so many young adults have already left Polk County.
Joseph P. Corcoran
Your cover on the April 18 issue was the most disgusting thing I've ever seen. I am a retired English and social studies teacher, and I sponsored 28 high school year books. I taught my students better than that. A picture of Petrino with his pants down! Awful!
Whoever okayed that needs to be fired.
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