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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 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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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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Politics is NOT a game!

Everybody should win something

By Dr. Larry Fedewa (February 10, 2019)

The soaring rhetoric with which President Donald J. Trump concluded his 2019 State of the Union address was totally unexpected, but as uplifting in its own way as that of Ronald Reagan and John F. Kennedy. And we need to be lifted up – from the pettiness and willful blindness which have characterized much of our political discourse as our loyalties and pronouncements have descended into a cauldron of partisan gamesmanship.

As author John Daly observed on “The Dr. Larry Show” last week, the American public has taken to looking at politics as a competitive sport where there must be winners and losers. This perspective has been both led and followed by the news media. Smaller and ever smaller incidents, actions and words are being analyzed in terms of who won and who lost. Fox News has even scheduled an end-of-week quiz every Friday night called “Winners and Losers”.  Keep Reading

A Book Review: The Windmill Chaser

Triumphs and Less in American Politics                               

Former Congressman, author, lobbyist

By Bob Livingston, 2018 University of Louisiana at Lafayette Press, 296 pp

 

This is the extraordinary story of an extraordinary man. Bob Livingston’s memoir starts with his beginnings in a troubled family through his time in the Navy, law school, first jobs and finally his entry into politics as the first Republican Congressman from his district near New Orleans, LA since before the Depression.

The story hits its rhythm, as they say in sports, as his 22 years in the U.S. Congress unfolds. The climax comes when he ascends to Speaker, only to have it snatched away at the last minute.

Along the way, Bob explains in simple language his common-sense politics and comments on past and current people and events from his own perspective. What emerges is a very attractive conservative philosophy which is worth reading for its own sake.

The reader is also struck by the author’s honesty, even humility — a quality not commonly expected in a politician. This perspective is particularly evident as he details the background and events surrounding the House impeachment of William Jefferson Clinton. That segment adds a first-hand account of his part in that historical epic, with all the pathos and tragedy he and his supporters experienced. Equally enlightening is his assessment of the impact of those sad days through the years that followed. Altogether a valuable and occasionally riveting addition to the literature of that era.

 

Amazon Book Review

by Larry Fedewa, PhD,  Richfield Press 2019

January 16, 2019 Dr. Larry Show: deep dive into immigration policies and problems

 

Click here for podcast: https://bit.ly/2CzC9QS

The most difficult issues relating to immigration policy are discussed, including barriers, humanitarian crisis, caravans, DACA, visa enforcement and reform, and national strategy.   No holds barred.

Guests commentators: L A Batchelor and Tom Donelson

 

 

Are Catholics welcome in the new Democrat party?

What about Jews?                                            

by Dr. Larry Fedewa (January 18, 2019)

As the platform – and actions – of the Democrat party have become more actively pro-choice on the issue of abortions, questions have begun to surface more widely as to whether a practicing Catholic can in good conscience be a member of the Democrat party? It is true that there are a number of very prominent Democrats who also profess to be Catholics, including 2016 vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and former Vice President Joe Biden, among others.

The tipping point is the increasingly adamant position of the Catholic Church in opposition to abortion in any form. As research shows more clearly the viability of the fetus at a very early stage, the basis of the Church’s position has evolved from disapproval of abortion as a birth control measure to condemnation of abortion as a form of infanticide, i.e. murder.  Keep Reading

Immigration policy needs more than barriers

It’s really complicated. . . .

 

By Dr. Larry Fedewa (January 13, 2019)

The immigration situation in the United States is a total mess. Yes, we need barriers where terrain permits. But that is just the tip of the iceberg. To snapshot the most urgent challenges, let’s look at three of the categories of  immigration policy that need to be fixed: 1) border enforcement, 2) citizenship qualifications, and 3) visa procedures.

BORDER Protection  

  • Barriers – Right now there are long stretches of the southern border which have no impediments to anyone crossing from Mexico to the USA other than the occasional presence of Border Patrol agents. There are not enough of these agents available to present a consistent obstacle to trespassers. In fact, it would take an army to effectively guard all these approaches. The only effective deterrent in such terrain is a wall, such as that in San Diego, which has reduced alien traffic by 96% (since 1986 before the wall was built.) Also, such barriers work both ways to prevent human trafficking in and out of the USA.
  • Catch and Release – current laws provide that anyone caught illegally entering the USA can be deported back across the border, UNLESS the individual claims asylum. In that case, the person must come before a US judge who will determine whether the claim is valid or not. Since the word is out among the masses, nearly all the illegals now claim asylum. But there are not enough judges  to handle the caseload of thousands of migrants. Nor are there anywhere near adequate facilities to house the asylum-seekers until they can appear before the court. This has led to “catch and release” the defendants with a summons to appear before the court sometime in the future, usually months. These folks are turned loose – in many cases never to be seen again.

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