Saturday, March 05, 2005

Breaking News: Siamese Twins Found in Daniel's Cabinet

In what is shaping up to be one of the most unusual stories ever heard in state politics, Siamese twins have allegedly been found in Indiana Governor, Mitch Daniel's administrative cabinet.

Over the weekend, The Super Bloggers have received a top secret tip that Governor Daniel's administration may issue a press release naming someone called Shane David, as Indiana's top advisor to the state's dairy industry. This person may even receive an elite ad hoc seat on the Economic Development Council by executive appointment.

Our Super Bloggers have discovered that Shane David may be the Siamese twin, separated at birth, from David Shane, Governor Daniel's top education advisor.

According to our secret sources, Shane David may be announced as the top dairy industry advisor for Indiana. He is reported to be an elementary school principal with no experience whatsoever, in the dairy industry. When questioned about his lack of experience in the dairy industry, Shane David explained why he is qualified to be Indiana's top advisor to the dairy industry. He explained, "Well, I haven't actually worked as a dairy farmer, or worked in the dairy industry before, but between the ages of 5 and 18 I drank a lot of milk. In college, I mostly drank beer, but I know a lot about what milk should taste like."

To which he added with an apparent dash of sibling rivalry, "Besides, my brother, David Shane was never a school teacher or an administrator in the public schools but he has been named top education advisor to the governor of Indiana so he must know a lot about what schools should be like. I presume he went to school between the ages of 5 and 18. I am not sure, because we were separated at birth."

Later, in an exclusive interview with The Super's Blog, we asked both Shane David and David Shane about their experiences as Siamese twins. They answered in unison, "We were genetically engineered by our parents to be Siamese twins on purpose so that at birth, neither of us would be born "lagging behind in Indiana."

To which David Shane then interjected quickly, "I still came out first, ...nanny...nanny...boo...boo!"

Stay tuned....later on this week, in Part II of this exclusive, we may unveil the secret reason why the Siamese twins have mirror-image names.

DISCLAIMER: Some of this satire piece may actually be true, but we'll let you sort it out. :-)

Friday, March 04, 2005

Chapter 5: The Flubsome Institute Chronicles

This is chapter 5 of the Flubsome Institute Chronicles. For new readers, this is satire. Please read Chapters 1-4 found in the archives along the side of the page.

We poke fun at certain Indiana political figures. But of course, we do so with the utmost of respect and certainly no ill intent.

Quick Review: Our super bloggers have discovered a secret document taken from the musty archives of the Flubsome Institute by a mole we can only describe as, "The Leprechaun." (Don't laugh now...Deep Throat was taken.) The Flubsome Institute closely resembles the Hudson Institute, a political stinktank where former administration officials were very, very gainfully employed. Our super bloggers have been using their top secret decoder rings taken from their Lucky Charms cereal boxes and have been deciphering the secret documents. Chapters 1-4 outline the Flubsome's secret strategies that mysteriously resemble the legislative session unfolding before our very sorry eyes here in Indiana.

Decoded from top secret smuggled documents:

Strategies for the Demise of Public Education (continued)


It's about the Efficiency Stupid

This part of our plan is modeled after James Carville's now famous battle cry, "It's about the economy stupid!" Since this slogan is already taken we will modify it to... "It's about the efficiency stupid." We will start by modeling our plans after the only thing we know how to do, which is take an already successful organization like the Hudson Institute and be in charge of it for a while. We don't want anyone to know that our future top administrative officials in Indiana government will have business experience that was not quite as innovative, bold and reform-minded as people think. But since we have never held political office and we know very little about the messy, stable, slow-changing democracies that protect us from reform-minded zealots, we will have to go with what we know. We do know how to be in charge of a business for a while. Therefore we will spout platitudes about "efficiency, reform and change."

Use bold, strong, aggressive language to show we mean business

When normal political checks and balances envisioned by our forefathers create situations where bills we favor are not passed, we will use bold terrorist language to express our disdain. We will accuse the legislature of , "car bombing."

Even when we agree with people we will say things like, "we are violently in agreement."

This way we will cover up for our lack of political skill and try to keep the enemy on the defensive. By using such war metaphors we can control the soundbites and avoid ever having to tell the public what our vision for public education really is. Which leads us into another strategy....

Try to avoid at all costs, telling the public what our vision for public education really is

By keeping everyone on the defensive we may avoid having to explain what we are trying to "reform" to. We just know that schools are slow-changing bureaucracies and that must make them bad. Since in business, all things slow changing are bad, this must apply to our political institutions, of which public education is one.

Oh rats. Our pencils are running low here on the Flubsome Institute Paper. We will not be able to continue adding to our strategies for the demise of public education until our Direktor gives us permission to get another pencil from the cabinet.

We will return to chapter 6 at a later date.....

(Insert scary music....fade to black) :-)

All in good fun everyone.

Have a good weekend.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Governor Issues Executive Order Requiring Dems to Stay In From Recess

In a bold and some say overreaching move, the Governor of Indiana recently issued another executive order requiring all Democrats and unruly Republicans to stay in from recess and put their heads down on their desks. Sources close to the Governor say it is the first time he could ever relate to being a school teacher.

As observers of the state's political landscape know, Democrats walked out of the legislative session leaving 132 bills dead on the floor. Some observers are hopeful that this will continue into the future. Some say the Republicans popularized this trend last year.

For those that have never seen the legislature in action, it looks suspiciously like 4 straight weeks of indoor recess in an elementary school. There are 5 legislators in the corner talking loudly and gesturing frantically. Several are at their desks working on papers and scribbling. Some are working on their laptops watching video clips of their grandchildren. Others are walking in and out at various times for no apparent reason. There is someone pretending to be the teacher, pounding on a gavel and declaring loud proclamations and resolutions. No one is listening and no one is sure what they are actually voting on. Meanwhile there is someone in a suit, it might be the principal, walking around with a box of Thin Mints trying to bribe kids to just sit down and behave. They eat the mints and ignore the principal.

Now lest you think we are poking fun at all this, please know that we recognize the value to all this chaos. Because it is so chaotic very little gets done, so it is pretty hard to screw up the American democracy.

Our founding fathers were wise beyond most of us.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

In the Past, Schools Have Been Designed for Stability, Not Change

We keep hearing words like "bloated bureaucracy, monolithic monopoly" and other endearing terms being applied to public education. Here is why running schools like a business sounds good but usually doesn't play well to the public when actually attempted.

Representative democracies are messy, bureaucratic, slow, yet stable institutions. They are designed with checks and balances to provide stability for our freedom and way of life. They are NOT designed for efficiency, cutting edge innovation or entrepreneurialism.

Locally elected layman, with or without any formal training or background are elected to positions of public office. They represent the public in a democratic process and get squeezed in the vise between local public opinion, state and national initiatives and the advice of "experts" and lobbyists. It is messy and slow. They say there are two things you never want to watch being made, sausage and legislation.

If the state or nation really wants schools to run with more efficiency and to represent the cutting edge of innovation like a business, then they will have to have the structure of a business. School boards will have to model the board of directors from business by possessing management experience and understanding of the actual industry. Boards will have to have more local control. Administrators will have to be given more authority and be held more responsible for the growth of the "business."

The Indiana law book governing schools is 3 inches thick and 1,271 pages long. Not very efficient.

Our Governor, who has never held elected office, is finding out in a hurry that government in a democracy is NOT designed for efficiency, it is designed intentionally by our forefathers with checks and balances. It is sloppy, cumbersome and difficult to change. On purpose. It is designed for stability.

Gathering more power through whatever means may help get things done faster, just remember that they get "undone" faster by the same model when the other party is in control.

The reason schools haven't changed a lot is because in the past they were viewed as democratic institutions run by locally elected lay officials. Almost all educational research in this area reinforces the notion that Americans are enamored with the idea of local school boards. However, most people don't realize that local control has become largely an illusion. Presidents, governors and legislators of all stripes have hijacked local control but have left the perception of local control in place. Most school board members who come to public office, do so with dreams of making a difference and putting their mark on the school district in some way. Most of them leave slightly frustrated but with a greater understanding of how few things are really under local control. All the big decisions are made in the statehouse or Washington and they are left with the 9:00 PM call from the irate dad over the latest coaching fracas.

We Need To Count On Our Legislators!

Contributing Educator (name withheld):

We Need to Count on Our Legislators!

Our new governor is obviously, sadly, misinformed. However, we have to be able to count on our experienced legislators to continue to support our public schools. They understand what is and is not possible regarding school budgets. They understand and care about the importance of honoring the current school funding formula for the current 2005 budget and by looking ahead to 2006 and 2007. They understand and care about the great strides being made in student achievement. They take pride in the hard work by staff and students of Indiana’s public schools to meet the higher standards. We have to count on our legislators to demonstrate the honor and courage to restore the cuts from the 2005 budgets and clearly send the message that the Governor cannot usurp the powers of a self-appointed dictator.

Our legislators need to act now, not just talk about it!

This is a democracy and our elected legislature votes on recommendations. Our legislators listen to their constituents and Governor Daniels needs to do the same. He cannot operate in a vacuum. He needs to surround himself with intelligent, capable people to speak the truth and explain the ramifications of various ideas. He needs to sit down and read Dr. Lowell Rose’s report! Governor Daniels needs to realize that bashing public schools and attempting to mislead and misinform the public will quickly paint him into a corner.

Who can we count on to do what is right for our children? Who can we trust to tell the truth? We need to count on our legislators!

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Governor Announces New Inspector General

PRESS RELEASE

The Governor of Indiana is pleased to announce a new position for His cabinet. Formerly titled, The Superintendent of Public Instruction, the new position will be titled, Inspector General of Pencils.

Dr. Sue Ellen Reed, top Republican vote-getter in the state by an overwhelming 8,000 votes, has been relegated to this new role because the Governor must get about "the people's business."

Dr. Reed's new role will be to count pencils and grant authority for educators to order a new pencil when the old one has been verified to be appropriately expended. All educators must Fed Ex by overnight service, each pencil to the Inspector General of Pencils who will verify by micrometer that the pencil has been sufficiently utilized. The state of Indiana will Fed Ex by overnight a new pencil only if appropriate. The Inspector General of Pencils will have prosecutorial powers. This will help improve the efficiency of the "bloated, monolithic monopoly" that our democracy has become and replace it with the more efficient dictatorial model.

The Governor says that a nay vote on this position is a "vote in favor of corruption."

"The position title was a nice fit," said an anonymous source close to the Governor, "Educrats have been blind to these things so long that having the state's top educator holding a cup of stubby pencils seemed appropriate to us."

Take another deep breath...It's ok....We're just kidding.

Monday, February 28, 2005

Governor's Office Clarifies Remarks About Indiana "Lagging Behind"

In true "Scrappleface" fashion we offer this satirical press release:


The office of Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, has issued a press release today, clarifying his past remarks regarding Indiana's "lagging behind other states and nations."

PRESS RELEASE

Many of Indiana's educators have been upset with the Governor's past comments about Indiana lagging behind other states and nations. Educators pointed out that Indiana does not "lag" behind other states and nations by any common sense definition and were quick to point out that while they aren't perfect, there have been many accomplishments and improvements in recent years.

The Governor's staffers were quick to respond by stating that if you "aren't number one then you are lagging behind." The Governor is now proud to announce his new initiative titled, "Leave All the Nation's Children Behind."

In addition to this new initiative the Governor's staffers have discovered a typo in the Governor's "state of the state address."

In reviewing the script the Governor was reading from, they discovered the missing words. The original text of the speech was supposed to read, "Indiana is lagging an hour behind other states and nations."

We apologize for any confusion this may have caused. We meant to fix this problem with "Daylight Savings Time" so that we no longer lag an hour behind other states and nations.

Thank you. :-)