David Rodeback's Blog

Local Politics and Culture, National Politics,
Life Among the Mormons, and Other Stuff

Education Archive
October 30, 2014

More on the Election

October 21, 2014

Tonight's School Boards Debate at Lone Peak High School
This post is at FreedomHabit.com. Link within.

October 20, 2014

David's Handy Little Election Guide . . .
Has been posted at FreedomHabit.com. Link within.

May 16, 2014

What I've Been Writing Lately
It's a movie about the American Fork High School Marching Band, and it premieres next week.

November 22, 2013

Big, Thumping Heart Redux
By request . . .

November 15, 2013

The Big, Thumping Heart of American Fork
. . . is in Indianapolis just now. It's a band. (We'll return to politics soon enough.)

August 22, 2013

Come As You Are: Reflections on Reunion
The personal context of my quoting Erma Bombeck last weekend at my high school reunion. Bubble bath is mentioned. Unmentioned but mysteriously relevant are: North Dakota's questionable existence, the theme song to Gilligan's Island, Burt Reynolds, the Sheboygan Conservatory of Music, wall telephones in bathrooms, and asking for autographs in embarrassing places.

February 6, 2013

Guns in Schools
I did what they wanted that morning. I stopped to reflect on the violent deaths of twenty schoolchildren, their teachers, and others in an elementary school in Connecticut. I tried to imagine myself as a parent, a student, a teacher, and others in that scenario, and each of these efforts led to the same conclusion. Several weeks later, they still lead there.

June 5, 2012

Why Local Governments Lose Touch with the People, Part III
There's a structural and philosophical reason why the public often feels that its public schools are detached and unresponsive. It involves two different views of the proper role of the people's elected representatives. I'll explain here by looking at my own Alpine School District.

November 3, 2011

Guys' Day (Equal Time)
Last week I declared Peggy Janet Noonan Daley Day, in honor of two excellent female columnists I regularly enjoy. I promised the guys equal time.

October 20, 2011

Democracy of Sheep, Democracy of Thugs
Two crucial democratic pillars of our republic are under assault, from within government and without.

February 25, 2011

Hi! Remember Me?
Presidents Day was earlier this week. It's almost March, and I haven't blogged since Veterans Day, November 11, 2010. Am I still a blogger? I hope so. I feel like a blogger, but I'll understand if you're inclined to wonder what I've done for you lately, and if your answer is, nothing whatsoever.

November 3, 2010

Stream of Semi-Consciousness: Scattered Post-Election Thoughts
Winners, losers, turnout, 2010, and other thoughts, as they occur.

October 30, 2010

David's Handy, Idiosyncratic Election Guide, November 2010 Version
Here's a quick look at everything I expect to be on my ballot when I get to my polling place on Tuesday morning.

October 28, 2010

The Importance of Not Being Unified
It's hard to believe something which makes us so uncomfortable is a good thing, but it really is.

October 22, 2010

I Met the Candidates in American Fork
Here are some words I don't say every decade: I'm voting for a Democrat.

October 15, 2010

What the Words Mean, Part IV: Socialism
Today's word is socialism. We'll talk about it and its role in the present debate over the Alpine School District's official mission, goals, and values.

October 14, 2010

What the Words Mean, Part III: Democracy
Today's word is democracy. It has at least as long as history as republic and at least as many legitimate meanings.

October 12, 2010

The Zebra Effect
If you're a lion, the zebra effect makes it hard to distinguish specific animals in a running herd. In politics, well, stay tuned. I'm about to invent a meaning.

October 9, 2010

Remembering an Anniversary
I'm not sure whether it was a dark cloud with a silver lining or a silver cloud with a dark lining, but it was something.

October 8, 2010

What the Words Mean, Part II: Republic
Today's word is republic. It's word with a long history, and that history matters.

October 6, 2010

What the Words Mean, Part I: Setting the Stage
A lot of what's being said these days in school board races and in the Alpine School District generally turns on the definitions of words with many definitions.

September 24, 2010

I Almost Missed National Punctuation Day, and I Need to Unload My Desk
As I write, it's still National Punctuation Day, but only just barely. And I've been campaigning again . . .

June 23, 2010

Primary Aftermath
A quick look at selected election results from yesterday, and some analysis -- including my theory about how Tim Bridgewater narrowly lost a race he probably could have won.

June 21, 2010

I'd Like to Keep Being Spoiled
Not all of my elected representatives spoil me. Tim Osborn of the Alpine School Board does. I'd like to keep him there.

June 1, 2010

Primary Candidates Gather in American Fork (Part 1, Everything but Senate)
Primary candidates were (mostly) present or represented from three races in the first hour: Republicans for Utah County Commission; Democrats for US House of Representatives (Utah 2nd); and three candidates in a non-partisan race for Alpine School Board.

February 25, 2010

Where the Wild Thoughts Are
Join me for a few moments in imagining an alternate educational and political universe. Maybe it's crazy, but crazy can be therapeutic. And what if it's not crazy?

November 21, 2009

Excellent Musical Theater at American Fork High School
The celebrated magic of The Wizard of Oz is mostly lost on me and always has been. But the magic of American Fork High School's excellent performance of that musical last evening was not lost on me at all. This is a very enjoyable production, with much to recommend it.

November 17, 2009

Epilogue: Marching Band, Victory, and Justifying the Costs
Some hard questions are reasonable to ask, even if they seem harsh, as long as they are asked for the purpose of finding an answer. And humanity doth not live by bread alone (to borrow a phrase).

September 9, 2009

Politics in the Q and A
The President's speech to students yesterday was not much politicized. His answers to their questions afterward were quite political.

September 8, 2009

Good Speech
Actually, scratch that. It was an excellent speech.

September 7, 2009

Memo to Fellow Conservatives: Grow Up Already!
On virtue and innocence, and why I prefer that my children watch President Obama's speech.

April 23, 2009

Alternative Theories
Of sewage, sneakers, chewing gum, and the pathologically suspicious. (And one more thing in the comments.)

February 25, 2009

Selected Education Bills at the Utah Legislature
Here is brief discussion of several bills proposed in the Utah Legislature on the subject of education, with links to bill texts, status reports, etc.

February 18, 2009

My Son, the Italian Communist Ten Year Old
It's not as if I planned to spend 15 minutes this morning teaching my ten year old how to be a communist revolutionary.

July 16, 2008

Property Tax Increase Follow-up
Quick notes on how things are going, and a little bonus commentary on the Alpine School District budget.

April 15, 2008

My Tax Questions
The IRS is notorious for answering tax questions incorrectly more often than correctly -- but, either way, if you get it wrong, it's your fault. So I'm not asking them. I'm asking you.

March 21, 2008

Alpine School District's "What Counts?" Forum
A local gathering of fellow-travelers and critics to discuss what constitutes great schools. I'll tell you what that has to do with last night's meeting of an unrelated American Fork City committee.

March 20, 2008

My Bracket (and Lesser Things)
The Washington Post has my bracket; be a little patient with their web site. And I suggest three things to read about politics and/or education, in case you are one of those odd ducks who don't love college basketball.

March 19, 2008

What's in a Word?
When things continue at approximately the same speed, we're told that things "basically ground to a halt" -- if those things are economic. And the words "qualified, certified, and competent" can be used to resist improvement and reform, when the subject is education.

February 29, 2008

A Formula for Educational Malpractice
One "educator" argues that reading, writing, and arithmetic are not the proper goals of a public school. There's too much risk of actual teaching and learning going on if they are.

February 16, 2008

A Riddle
. . . about math and Mike Huckabee, that is.

February 13, 2008

Last-Minute Valentinish (and Other) Thoughts
A link to winning limericks. Some Valentine's Day thoughts. Things to read if you prefer politics. Something to watch if you prefer math. A note on delegate counts.

November 14, 2007

More Voucher Aftermath
A note on voucher-related political payback, the discussion of what to do with the state funds which cannot be spent on vouchers. I suggest we apply to funds to solving a specific, significant educational problem in Utah.

November 13, 2007

Voucher Aftermath
Some interesting and illuminating newspaper articles, some blog posts by Utah legislators, and a few thoughts of my own, including on how things will go in the next legislative session, where educational debate is concerned.

November 6, 2007

American Fork Wins. Utah Schoolchildren Lose.
Thoughts on today's election results.

November 5, 2007

David's Little November 2007 Election Guide
How I voted (early), and the outcomes I predict in American Fork, Salt Lake City, and statewide in the voucher matter.

November 5, 2007

Almost a Dozen Reasons Honest and Intelligent People May Have for Voting Against Vouchers
On the day before Election Day I, who already voted for vouchers, do my best to find some reasons why good, honorable, intelligent people might want to vote against them -- as opposed to the false or deceptive reasons filling the mailboxes and airwaves of Utah.

November 3, 2007

Illegal Anti-Voucher Flyer Drop at American Fork Wal-Mart
I was an eyewitness. I guess the law doesn't matter, if it's "for the children."

November 2, 2007

Vouchers: A Report, an Ad, and an Op/Ed
That University of Utah report, a good recent ad about vouchers and future growth, and a good column in the Daily Herald.

October 31, 2007

George Will on the Utah School Voucher Referendum
Yes, Utah has the nation's attention for a few days.

October 31, 2007

Accountability? You Decide.
A careful look at the voucher bills themselves, focusing on fiscal and academic accountability.

October 29, 2007

The Rich, the Poor, and Utah School Vouchers
Someone asked me the other day, Won't vouchers benefit only the rich? Another related question is, Aren't the vouchers too small to help ordinary families? I'm not sure which family among the many I know is ordinary, but I do take up the arguments here, looking carefully at the bill itself and the opponents' reasoning.

October 19, 2007

Three Big Buckets of Money, and Other Voucher Details
. . . And how Radio Grandpa is lying, and Radio Mom is helping him do it.

October 18, 2007

KSL's Voucher "Truth Test"
KSL puts claims in pro- and anti-voucher ads to the test.

October 17, 2007

Accumulated Thoughts about the Voucher Debate
A surprise endorsement of vouchers, some notes on the anti-voucher playbook, and some logical thought.

October 8, 2007

Idle Thoughts from PTSA Meeting (not About Vouchers)
A logo, an applause sign, randomness, parliamentary procedure.

October 6, 2007

Another Voucher Meeting
Voucher opponents didn't bring their "A game."

October 4, 2007

Vouchers and the Public Schools
Here is the best explanation I can give of what may seem a contradictory fact: It is my commitment to and my belief in public schools which moves me to advocate school vouchers.

October 3, 2007

Buying a Used Car: A School Voucher Parable
It's a bird. It's a plane. Good grief, it's positively Orwellian.

September 27, 2007

Politics and Punch III: Vouchers and Other School Issues
Most of this post is devoted to gaping holes in school district officials' anti-voucher arguments, but there are a few other topics, too.

September 27, 2007

Politics and Punch I: Setting and Cast
Here I tell you who was there, where "there" was, what questions I submitted that didn't get asked, and so forth.

September 26, 2007

Yes, It Was a Push Poll on Vouchers
Ballot language on the voucher referendum, a push poll, things I didn't tell the pollster, some relevant cartoons, and another thought or two.

April 27, 2007

Briefish Thoughts on Several Subjects
Relatively brief musings on a time machine, Vice President Cheney's speech, his detractors, Superintendent Henshaw and the "extremists," and what could cause me to leave the Republican Party after tomorrow.

April 10, 2007

Grab-Bag: Music, Vouchers, Freedom, and a Conservative Daydream
You might say it's leftover night. I happen to enjoy leftovers.

March 14, 2007

The Arrogance of Dominance, and Vice Versa
In this lengthy post, I rip on Capitol Hill Republicans briefly, then Republicans in the Utah Legislature very slightly and ever so briefly, then Capitol Hill Democrats a little less briefly. Then I unload on the public education lobby at length, on the subject of vouchers and institutional arrogance. Finally, after you have paid the price in cognitive dissonance for a moment, I give you permission to call me names and think me evil if you really want to, because of my politics . . . but I still end up claiming a small victory. (This is truth-in-advertising: a long teaser for a long post.)

February 28, 2007

Miscellaneous Political Thoughts
Recycling in American Fork. The UEA checks its manners at the Capitol door. Who really represents me? An Oscar and a Nobel. And, finally, I manage to work the phrase barking moonbat into a sentence.

February 9, 2007

A Utah Institute of Technology? Why Not?
The best idea I've heard lately is a little-discussed proposed direction for UVSC's future growth: a polytechnic university. (Think MIT, Cal Tech, Georgia Tech, etc.)

February 6, 2007

David's Plan for Utah's $1.6 Billion Surplus
There's something for everyone. One-fourth goes back to the taxpayer, and half goes to education, but not precisely how you might think.

December 5, 2006

The Alpine School Board Just Doesn't Get It (or Look What the Mailman Brought)
What I wanted to say really isn't printable in a well-mannered blog, but it did have something to do with wasting my money.

November 6, 2006

E-Interviews with School Board Candidates
The only contested race for a seat on the Board of the Alpine School District is between incumbent Keith Swain and challenger Tim Osborn, in the district which includes American Fork. LocalCommentary.com sent the two candidates the same questions, with an offer to publish their answers. Here they are.

October 11, 2006

Last Night's City Council Meeting as Civic Education
A school teacher berated the Mayor and City Council of American Fork last night for teaching his students bad things. Here's my view of what his students might have learned at the City Council's meeting, including some lessons that very teacher should not have been teaching.

September 21, 2006

It's That Time of the Century
In today's offering you see parts of my personality you might have hoped never to see together: the math geek and the literary scholar, in a bizarre dance with the more familiar political blogger. I prefer to call this erudition, but I'll understand if you consider it some sort of bothersome multiple personality disorder. In any case, read on, and good luck . . .

September 20, 2006

I Blinked for Two Days, and Look What I Missed
I missed Talk Like a Pirate Day, a coup in Thailand, tax tweaks, and angry Muslims. I didn't miss a good cartoon or an undeservedly obscure anniversary.

September 18, 2006

I Joined the Math Wars
Here's the text of a letter I sent last week to the principal and teachers at my children's elementary school.

May 26, 2006

Scattered Thoughts
American Fork broadband in the DTM, another local alpha geek, and elected officials who are too busy to blog.

May 12, 2006

Miscellaneous Thoughts
Scattered thoughts which accumulated during a busy week -- on loan sharking, municipal broadband, science prowess, professionalism, and anti-Muslim graffiti.

March 28, 2006

Notes from Upstate New York
Random observations from New York.

March 16, 2006

Prizewinning Science and Verse Bring Glory to AF High
Granted, the Intel Science Talent Search and KUER's limerick contest are on somewhat different scales, but American Fork High School can boast of winning both this week.

March 11, 2006

Governor Huntsman, Sign HB77
Here's why I urge Governor Huntsman to sign HB77, which provides a mechanism for local governments and their voters to split school districts.

March 2, 2006

We Three Kings (Kong): The Really Big Lobbies
Here's a look at three oversized, hugely influential lobbies in Washington and state capitals.

February 6, 2006

The State of the Union Address: Education
My two previous posts discussed what President Bush had to say about foreign policy and several domestic issues. This one focuses on education.

February 3, 2006

Notes on the Science Fair
Miscellaneous notes on the science fair and the scientific method, and some apt words from Thomas Edison.

January 31, 2006

Miscellaneous Short Thoughts
Quick comments on American Fork City government, the law of gravity, Mr. Justice Alito, a couple of bills before the Utah Legislature, etc.

January 31, 2006

It's Science Fair Season
It's that time of the year again. You may wonder: Have the PC police, those self-appointed gurus of unfounded self-esteem, had any success denaturing the local science fair?

January 24, 2006

How Can Part of the Constitution Be Unconstitutional?
Some propose the repeal of the 17th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which provides for the direct election of US Senators by the people of their states. At least a few of them call the amendment "unconstitutional." This doesn't seem to make sense . . . but we'll follow it where it leads.

January 17, 2006

Systems So Rigid We Don't Have to Use Our Brains
Long ago and in a hemisphere far, far away, I lived for a few months under a government that was even more rule-bound than our own. Almost every good thing I saw happen there happened in defiance of some rule, regulation, or law. A few years after that, the system collapsed under its own weight. The same thing may happen here, eventually.

January 16, 2006

Musings and Readings on the Quality of Teachers
More would be quite wonderful, but most children can probably get by with just several effective, motivating teachers scattered through their school years -- just enough that they learn to learn, and learn to love learning. This brief discussion includes links to some further discussion of teacher quality, which seems to suggest that in the present system a child is lucky to have those several fine teachers at all.

January 12, 2006

An Unsolicited Referral
I was going to blog today on a topic of my own, but then I read this post by DaltonGirl. I suggest you read hers today, not mine, especially if your child attends Barratt Elementary in American Fork.

December 6, 2005

A Musical Memory, Circa Christmas 1981

November 12, 2005

Local Gasoline Prices, a Pleasant Political Escape, and Good Readings on Many Topics

September 27, 2005

Silly Symbols (and Good Stuff to Read)

September 20, 2005

Math, Meyer, Manager, and I Can't Find a Word for UN that Starts with "M"

August 16, 2005

About Bullies: Look Out for That Passive Voice

June 8, 2005

John Kerry's Grades

May 27, 2005


May 24, 2005

As I Was Saying . . .

May 11, 2005

Common Sense: How not to Be Poor

March 3, 2005

Bill Gates on Education

February 25, 2005

Zeal Without Knowledge

February 8, 2005

They're Not Helping the Children

January 31, 2005

It's Time to Save the Harrington School

September 15, 2004

More Moore

September 15, 2004

Michael Moore at UVSC

August 31, 2004

Lies, D*** Lies, and Statistics: Charter Schools, AFT, and NAEP

August 12, 2004

An Old Warning which Sounds Very New

August 5, 2004

Summer Reading: Tolstoy's "Anna Karenina"

August 4, 2004

On Splitting the Alpine School District

July 31, 2004

Contrast: A Public School Ponzi Scheme and the Emperor's New Math