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LFedewa

Janus vs. AFSCME: A New Beginning

A new interpretation of workers’ rights

by Dr. Larry Fedewa (April 13, 2019)               
My first experience with a union came when I represented the newsroom’s intention to hold a vote for a union to the publisher of a national weekly newspaper. I had a summer job there after my first year as a high school teacher.
Later, as a training developer, I wrote, produced, and oversaw one of the largest industrial training programs in history for the Railway Labor Executives’ Association (a council of all major rail union presidents). I also executed major projects for the Federal Railroad Administration, AMTRAK, Conrail, and others. Still later, I worked very closely with the National Education Association, the professional teachers’ union in a major joint venture, a national research project, and addresses to two national conventions.
The reason I mention all this background is to establish my position as an ardent supporter of the labor movement. My comments come from a position of firm commitment to the need for workers to take their place at any table which determines their welfare.
The occasion of this attention to the labor movement is this week’s Supreme Court decision in Janus versus AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees). Not only do I agree with the decision, I also think it is good for the unions. On the first count, I agree that “freedom of assembly” also means freedom to say “no”. Otherwise, it is not free.

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Me and the Union

How I became a union rep for a week                                        

By Dr. Larry Fedewa (April 14, 2019)

My first experience of a union came early. I had finished my first year as a high school teacher and was hired for the summer by a national weekly newspaper as a proof reader. My status in the organization was quickly determined by my assignment to the night shift.

That timing worked out well for me since I was also back in college for some courses required to get my Colorado teaching certificate. Things were going well, and I was promoted after the first month to an exempt (salaried) position as copy editor. This put me in the company of the editors and reporters, which was an exciting development for a young guy.

One day, a senior editor dropped by my desk and quietly invited me to an after-hours “party” at his house. Flattered, I quickly agreed. It turned out that the “party” was actually a meeting of the entire newsroom for the purpose of activating a just granted Department of Labor mandate to management to arrange for a vote on whether or not to join a union. The right to have the vote on company time was not in dispute. The problem was, who was going to approach the publisher with the news that the government had approved the application? Keep Reading

The Wealth Gap (continued): Back to basics

The middle class share of American wealth has gone to the very rich

                                                                                     

By Dr. Larry Fedewa (April 7, 2019)

 

For the past three weeks, The Dr. Larry Show (www.blogtalkradio.com/LA-Batchelor/ or at 646-929-0130; 7 -8 pm every Wednesday) has been discussing the “wealth gap” in 2019 America. Now, it’s time to get back to basics.

Q. What is the “wealth gap”?                                       

A. This term refers to the present and growing concentration of financial assets (cash, stock, real estate, intellectual properties such as patents, copyrights, and royalties, etc.), and all forms of passive income to the control of fewer and fewer people (1% of the population) while the middle-class controls less and less of the nation’s wealth. The word, “wealth”, is used instead of “income”, because the value of assets is frequently allowed to appreciate untouched ( e.g. to avoid taxable income). Money comes and goes in the form of income; assets are for long-term welfare.

Q.  Is there really a wealth gap in America? Surely there will always be differences in wealth.

A.  The changes in the proportion of the nation’s wealth held by individuals over time are clearly traceable statistically. This trend can and has been analyzed by experts for decades. Currently, nearly 80% of America’s wealth is held by 1% of the U.S. population.                     Keep Reading

Is feudalism our future?

If we don’t close the wealth gap, capitalism will disappear

By Dr. Larry Fedewa (March 30, 2019)

“American capitalism is now in crisis because most financial assets, most ownership of stock, and most capital income from dividends and interest and capital gains are concentrated in the top 1%, 5%, and 10% of the population. As these levels of concentration approach 80%, our society could soon arrive at the level of ownership that English lords and ladies had of all English land before the American Revolution.” (Blast and Freeman, FORTUNE, April 17, 2014)  Keep Reading

Vlady to Deep State: “Well done!”

“You have achieved Russia’s greatest victory in the 21st century!”

 

By Dr. Larry Fedewa (March 25, 2019)

Texas Representative John Ratcliffe (R), former federal prosecutor and among the most impressive and careful members of Congress, made a case to Fox’s Maria Bartiromo yesterday morning that the enemies of President Trump have accomplished the goals of Russia’s interventions in the 2016 USA election far more successfully than the Russian spies could ever have hoped for.

Those goals have been revealed as the division of the American public in such a way as to discredit the new president, to sow deep mistrust of the electoral process, and to encourage contempt for the rule of law. Altogether to undermine America’s democracy in the eyes of her citizens. In addition, this continual distraction of the American government and media has precipitated a monumental effort to paralyze the Washington establishment with respect to foreign policy and performance – a goal shared with the entire Democrat Congress.  Keep Reading

Partisanship versus Patriotism

If partisanship blinds one to his/her obvious duty, that person does not deserve to hold office in this Republic.

By Dr. Larry Fedewa (March 17, 2019)

There comes a time when partisanship can blind politicians to their duties as patriotic Americans. Apparently the U.S. Congress has arrived at that time. Anyone who has been following events at our southern border for the past several months has seen an alarming situation grow worse and worse.

The caravans from Central America have been arriving with increasing frequency – to the extent that we are now expecting nearly one million illegal immigrants to cross from Mexico into our country this year. Under our current laws, “catch and release” has become again the order of the day. Everybody knows by now that we simply do not have enough capacity to house so many people at the border, so hundreds of thousands of unvetted, undocumented individuals are being shipped all over the country every day.

Yet our politicians cannot seem to do anything about it. First, the Democrats stubbornly refused to provide funds to build the barriers needed at the border crossings which are not protected by natural barriers. They had absolutely no basis for this opposition, since most had previously supported even larger budgets for such construction. Their only reason was naked partisan hatred of the President of the other party, Donald J. Trump. All the experts, from the Homeland Secretary on down through present and past heads of the Border Patrol and ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) – even the reporters who are covering the stories — pleaded in vain for the support necessary to deal with a massive humanitarian and national security situation.

The reason that this issue had not been resolved by the Republican Congress which preceded this one is the stubborn refusal of Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to change the “60-vote” rule to break cloture when it became obvious that the Democrats were united against anything and everything that appeared on the new president’s agenda. McConnell allowed the exception for Supreme Court nominees but acquiesced in most other cases. With a majority of only 51 votes, the Republicans squandered their two-year advantage on many key issues. And this situation continues even now.

The Congress continues to thwart the only politician in Washington who is sincerely trying to  perform the foremost duty of the national government, namely, defending the American people from foreign intrusion. Today, that intrusion is not military, but cultural, medical, criminal and economic. It should not be necessary to point out that protection of the American people is the foremost obligation not only on the President, but also of the entire federal government, including the Congress. Flimsy excuses of abrogation of  the separation of powers as stipulated in the Constitution are no justification for allowing the tragedies at the Mexican border to continue and increase every day, including the unabated flow of illegal drugs, gang members and criminals into the USA.

Elected representatives of the federal government take an oath to defend and uphold the laws of the United States of America against all foes, foreign and domestic. If they can’t or won’t live up to that oath, they should be branded as traitors and removed from office. Rumors of impeachment are targeting the wrong victim. If partisanship blinds one to his/her obvious duty, that person does not deserve to hold office in this Republic.

 

© 2013 Richfield Press. All rights reserved.

The Stations of the Cross

A Lenten Meditation

Hi everybody –

Every once in a while we should raise our eyes from the daily issues of life and contemplate our higher calling. Such is the season of Lent, the Christian preparation for Easter. My contribution is a meditation on sin and forgiveness, death and resurrection. I am attaching some comments on the YouTube version.

 

As always, feel free to let me know your questions and opinions.

 

For more writings, poems, interviews and guest editorials, see my website,

DrLarryOnline.com

 

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4QKXMch2WY

Stations of the Cross

Written and narrated by Dr. Larry Fedewa

 

 

 

Comments:


YeshuaLeader

Truly an epic poem shared with passion. Where the pace is rapid, I couldn’t help reflecting on the similarly hypnotic cadence of The Hound of Heaven, a poem that has been my companion and consolation for many decades. The message also reflects the wisdom and gratitude in Amazing Grace: “I once was lost but now am found …” Great Lenten meditation. Hard to imagine Dr. Fedewa could cover so much — and convey so much more — in just 4 minutes and 19 seconds. Time well spent, especially now during Lent. Thank you!

 

luckyfredneck11 months ago

I just attended the stations of the cross @ St. Katharine Drexel Church here in Frederick, Maryland. Thank you!

 

YeshuaLeader1 year ago

So much passion … and so much depth. So much insight … so much to contemplate … and so much with which to ultimately identify. Thank you!

 

Phyllis Ramsey1 year ago

This was a very inspiring poem for the Easter season. It should make all of us who believe in Christ to do some deep soul searching as to our true devotion to him. Thank you, Dr. Fedewa!

 

 

Copyright, 2015 Richfield Press, Ltd.

 

 

 

 

K-12 in the Information Age

IEP’s (Individual Education Plans) for everybody!

by Dr. Larry Fedewa (March 4, 2019)
I believe there is more than one good answer to the challenge of providing a superior education to today’s children. I also believe that these answers will be found only through competition. This means that the government monopoly of education must be curtailed, and that the voucher programs being advocated by local pioneers, and now with the encouragement of the federal government, collectively will find the best answers to our contemporary challenges. My own suggestions for a new model of schooling are outlined below.
1.Learning theory  
 
My thinking about schooling starts with the realization that humans are
always learning. Everything we see, hear, and experience is new knowledge in some degree or nuance.
My motto is: Every NOW is NEW!
 
Even the most familiar and routine events yield something new, if only a recognition of their place in our life. Learning is part of the human condition. Place a baby on the floor and the first thing the baby does is start to explore. We never stop exploring. So, the question is not “Do we learn?” The question is, “WHAT do we learn?
 The answer is that we learn and remember best whatever we are interested in. The secret to successfully educating people is to find out what interests them. A person’s interests usually have some relation to his or her life – its problems, challenges, ambitions, or moments of joy. In this sense, our interests are very personal. For example, Johnny may be very fascinated with cars. Why cars? Perhaps because of the sense of exhilaration he gets when a car goes fast. Or, because his Dad is fascinated by cars and Johnny sees the shared interest as a bridge to his father’s affection. Or, perhaps he likes to watch NASCAR on television. The point is that his interest motivates his learning and his learning fulfills some personal need or desire.
The key to “student-centered learning”, therefore, is the discovery by the educators of each child’s interests. Johnny’s interest in cars can quickly lead to his need to know how to read, how to write, how to compute numbers — eventually, perhaps to industrial design, engineering, or science. And, his interests will change as he learns more and more. To keep him motivated, his interests must be tracked and exploited even as they change.

 

2. Implementation

 

How can the interests of millions of students be tracked and accommodated? Is that possible? Without today’s technologies, it was not possible. Our current educational system of schooling is built on the nineteenth century assembly line paradigm (which made possible mass production). The child begins on the educational assembly line and accumulates pieces of knowledge and skills as he/she moves from one station (grade) to the next, until that student emerges after 13 or 17 or more years a finished product as defined by the assembly line.
This why is “mass education” is similar to “mass production”. It is all wrong for today’s students. The outcome of mass production is a physical product – a car, a wheelchair, an airplane. This product is the exact replica of every other product which comes off that line. But the outcome of education is primarily the graduate’s capability to earn a living by his/her unique contributions to society. In this, our current educational system is woefully lacking.
Not so long ago, the goal of education could not be summarized as stated here. The goal of education was the development of the whole person, not a bread winner.  But “the times they are achangin'”, as Bob Dylan said.
 
3.     Student-centered education must be individualized.
 
The most promising approach to this task so far is the  Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, a federal law which requires each school district in the United States to enter into a legal agreement with the parents of all children with disabilities to provide an individualized education program (IEP) for that child.
The fundamental premise of my approach to child-centered education stipulates that an IEP be developed for every single child in the United States.
4. Grades K-3
 
In my system, a temporary IEP would be developed during the kindergarten year, but in any event prior to the start of Grade 1. The focus of this first IEP would be the development of the foundational skills of literacy: reading, writing, arithmetic, and fundamental manners and ethics required by a civilized society.
These four years provide both these skills and an observation and testing period prior to the development of the first version of the Master IEP to be reviewed and adjusted annually for the rest of the child’s school years. Decisions to be made by the IEP team (parents, teachers, administrator and – if practical – the child) are based on the child’s interests, test results, and observed behavior. A strategy is then developed to build a sequence of knowledges and skills related to the perceived data as well as the favored places, instructors, and socialization environments for the student’s progress.
 
5.   The physical environment
 
Homerooms as now used are obsolete. Various groups of students would be formed around large interest categories, such as, electronics, physical sciences, government, mathematics, and history. Each of the themes would have certain general requirements, such as its history, bibliographies, public speaking, research and (where relevant) experimentation. The “groups” (classes), however,  would be defined by interest and capability rather than age. Each student would engage in a different sequence of activities, based on an individual IEP. Instead of a “homeroom”. each child would be given a carrel (like graduate students), that is, an individual booth, equipped with a desk. internet accessible computer, book shelves, locker, etc.
 6.     Teaching
 
Instruction would have two modalities: tutoring and classes. The student’s specific interests (e.g. cars) would be furthered by tutoring individually or in small groups (after the Oxford University model). Classes would be groups, scheduled by interest and capability levels and controlled by computer-managed instructional systems, available to the student on his/her computer. One benefit of this system would be to capitalize on peer teaching and learning – always proven to be the most effective combination for certain types of learning. It also would expand the socialization opportunities for all ages. For older students, there would also be elective lectures on various general topics, such as politics, space, economics, religion, etc.
 
7.      Teachers
 
Teachers would be divided into two basic categories: subject experts and academic counselors. The counselors would be the “customer service” agents responsible for individual interaction with the student. The subject matter experts’ responsibilities would be to see that the students are given proper guidance, information, and training through classes and tutoring. The model for this role would be the graduate student’s major professor, or the Oxford tutor system.  This reorganization of education thus would require major changes in teacher education.
 
8.    Research
 
Academic goals would cluster around the ability to research. In an information age, information is a critical commodity, and the ability to find, analyze and act on information is fundamental to success in the information economy – not to mention success in personal decisions and relationships. Thus, the emphasis on the carrel and the independent access to the unlimited resources provided by the internet. Never before in history have individuals had access to the entire Library of Congress (and more) at their fingertips. Today’s children must learn how to use this priceless treasure.
 
Conclusion 
This outline merely scratches the surface of the possibilities for re-structuring America’s educational system utilizing contemporary technology. It is presented with the hope that it will stimulate creative thinking and actions to upgrade our society’s contributions to human history and to our own happiness.
Copyright, 2019 Richfield Press (All rights reserved)

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Income inequality in 2019

Bill gates and the truck driver                                     

By Dr. Larry Fedewa (February 23, 2019)

The first Americans were workers. They cut down the trees, plowed the fields, built the buildings, milked the cows, prepared the food, sewed the clothes, and spent most of their time doing the tasks that were necessary for survival in a hostile land. Thus the main thrust of American technology has always remained labor-saving devices.

The  effort to replace the drudgery and difficulties of human labor has produced unheard-of efficiencies — from Eli Whitney’s cotton gin and gun assembly lines to the invention of tin cans and sewing machines to the succession of ever-increasing machines and techniques in America’s march through time. These technologies have also provided an extension of human powers. They have made it possible for humans to lift huge weights, see new sights faraway as well as infinitesimally tiny, travel at astonishing speeds to astonishing places, and think thoughts never before conceived.

Future looking prophets have long wondered what would happen to all the people whose labor has been saved when they were no longer needed. We now have an answer to that question. They have simply stayed in place but without the work that had sustained them and their families. There are still 3.5 million American workers in their prime who are not working even in this booming economy. (see Jeffery Bartosh, Baron’s Market Watch, March 3, 2018)  Keep Reading

Democratic Capitalism and World Peace

 “Blessed are the peacemakers. . . . “                    

By Dr. Larry Fedewa (February 16, 2019)

It is a wholesome and uplifting exercise to dream occasionally about what an ideal world might look like. Clearly, such ideas are far from the messy realities of the world as we know it today but lifting our gaze to the clouds can give us courage as well as direction.

So, what would a world look like if democratic capitalism were universally practiced instead of restricted to our own country and a few of our friends? First, we have to describe what we mean by “democratic capitalism”.
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