Many worked to give us a Labor Day holiday

Above my desk at work I have a historic photo of a sign that reads, “If you don’t come to work on Sunday, don’t come to work Monday.” People often stop to puzzle over it; its meaning is not immediately apparent in our twenty-first century work atmosphere. It is part of the nearly unknown history […]

Protecting our children needs to start early

Early each morning, before the school bell rings, thousands of children release large amounts of kinetic energy on playgrounds across the Central Valley. Students stream through the gates to run, jump and fly around in groups of two, three and four. The air is filled with laughter and shrieking. Yet, off to the side, just […]

Civility must triumph over cynicism

When I think about the future of the San Joaquin Valley, the list of things I worry about does not start with declining test scores in our schools or the challenges confronting the districts facing program improvement. Nor does it begin with the quality of the air we breathe, the availability of water for our […]

What should schools be about?

Schools are caught up in the drive for higher test scores. The federal and state governments are threatening lose of funds or take over to push for changes. In response, elementary schools in Fresno Unified School District are moving toward using the same materials, in the same way, on the same day, and high schools […]

Idol has done its part—let’s all take it from here

I have loved and faithfully watched American Idol since the first summer season. I vividly remember the moment I heard Kelly Clarkson sing and found myself pausing in the middle of mindless channel surfing, arrested by such genuine talent in such an unlikely place. That was five years ago, before anyone knew the show would […]

The problem with Bono on American Idol

I didn’t know poverty could be turned into a reality show. But that’s what happened April 24 & 25 on American Idol, the wildly popular TV show that captures over 30 million viewers a week. The special “Idol Gives Back” focused on poverty in the U.S. and in Africa, challenging America to make charitable contributions. […]

Darfur is a place the United States should be

“We are NOT the policeman of the world!” The majority of Americans—right and left—want our government to focus on problems at home. And, to be sure, there are plenty of problems, such as increasing access to health care and affordable housing, improving education and reducing poverty. “Take care of our own and stop interfering in […]

The carnage in…

I am deeply saddened by the events at Virginia Tech. Working at a college campus, it is hard to imagine experiencing such a thing. Just this week I was in discussions with university staff on how to deal with a student who has obvious mental issues. More than once I have been the one signing […]

Earth Day 2007: time for personal action

In the depths of World War II Americans looked over the precipice of defeat. Nazi Germany swept through Europe and the heart of Russia in a swath of death and destruction. Fascist Japan plundered its way through China, Southeast Asia and the South Pacific. Amidst the pillaging, America was attacked at Pearl Harbor. Facing a […]