Monday, January 22, 2007

Work Like Hell

Long-serving U.S. Congresspersons were asked for advice they would give new members in a story by Andrea Seabrook on National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition” last week.

I figured words of wisdom from legislators could very well have some applicability to superintendents, whose daily routines are often fraught with politics as well.

Rep. Al Green of Texas says it’s imperative to pick a good staff: “While a congressperson can get a lot done, the staff can get a lot more done. Get a capable, competent, qualified staff, and I assure you: You’ll do well.”

Rep. John Dingell of Michigan simply said, “Work like hell.”

And Rep. Jeff Flake of Arizona says, “You spend time away from family; it’s not a particularly high-paying job, and if you can’t have fun pushing what you want to push, then it’s not worth it.”

What pearls of wisdom would you give newbie superintendents?

— David Frabotta, Senior Editor

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

What Do You Think of Global Warming?

Right now, as I write this, people in Golfdom's downtown Cleveland office building are looking out the window and marveling mournfully about the snow falling. Yes, I said “marveling mournfully.” People can’t believe it’s snowing, and they’re downright troubled that the white stuff is flying from the skies.

Wait a minute, folks, but this is January in Cleveland. It’s supposed to snow. But the people around here have gotten so accustomed to the balmy late-fall and early-winter weather that they have it in their heads they’re living in North Carolina. That said, enough people have been playing golf the past month that it seems like it is North Carolina.

So what about this global warming business? Are you buying into it?

I say there’s something to it. What are your views?

— Larry Aylward

Monday, January 08, 2007

Sour Grapes Won't Spoil Oprah's Generosity

Philanthropists should be celebrated; 89 percent of American households contribute to charity, according to the National Philanthropic Trust (NPT). That’s a good thing.

America’s fascination with the uber-rich makes much of their life media events, including their charitable donations.
So when Oprah Winfrey announced she opened a $40-million school for girls in South Africa, headlines were abound.

Not surprising, it was met with some criticism from some Americans who would have liked to see the gift in our backyards.

My response: Lashing out at Oprah is merely a symptom of the frustration many working-class families feel about the growing divide between the rich and poor. In case you haven’t noticed, the rich are getting very rich.

Record bonuses were awarded this year for top Wall Street brokers, yet media pundits have yet to hold their feet to the fire about where their philanthropic efforts might go.

Star athletes receive food stipends during away games, as if they can’t squeeze lunch money out of their $100-million contracts. High-paid executives, movie stars, athletes and trust-fund babies can insulate their families from work for centuries, but what should they owe the society that allowed them to amass their fortunes?

Granted, there are many generous givers in this stratosphere. Still, there are many Americans with enough disposable income to fix America’s ills. Unfortunately for Oprah, we single out those who give the most because we disagree with their motives and agendas. We’re jealous of their gifts, even if it’s to some of the world’s poorest children who are stricken with the fallout from decades of inequitable social policies.

Oprah doesn’t deserve one disparaging word until we as a society ask ourselves: How much money is enough? What is the role for the super-rich for the betterment of all men?

I know many are doing their part. But for the first time in American history, the richest 100 people in the country are all billionaires. Their combined wealth rivals the gross domestic product of all but the 50 most prosperous countries of the world. Seriously, let that sink in.

Andrew Carnegie furnished our country with libraries. What will the legacy of today’s super-rich be? What should it be?

— David Frabotta, Senior Editor