Three Hall of Fame Teachers & Their Influence on a Newbie

Three faculty already acknowledged as immortal, before their induction.

It wasn’t too hard to pick the first round of inductees in 1996 for my school’s Hall of Fame:  Glenn Frey of the Eagles; Judith Guest, the author of Ordinary People; US Congressman William Broomfield, to name a few.  But if you follow the school’s motto, “Enter here to learn, go forth to serve,” many inductees who selflessly serve are not necessarily your marquee names. And fortunately, our school realized that faculty, as well as alumni, deserved a spot on the wall for their service. My first day on the job as a 22 year-old English teacher, I was asked for a hall pass. … Read More…

Superhero Halftime: What “Guardians” Says About Our Galaxy

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We live in an absolutely ridiculous time for geeks. If you were to create an historic timeline of superhero films, you could try and pinpoint the turning point with X-Men or Spider-Man. Around the turn of the century, when those films were released, the blockbuster world slowly began to turn on its head. In the 90s, the basis for most action movies was one of the following: (1) CIA agent, (2) rogue cop, (3) two unlikely cop partners teaming up for an action-comedy. After Sam Raimi’s success with Spider-Man, everyone and their uncle had to get their hands on some hot superhero action. But … Read More…

Acts of God? Creative Interpretations During Flooding: Unlike a Good Neighbor…

I-696 and I-75 in Royal Oak, Michigan

I remember the feeling of helplessness all too well.  And this Monday evening it happened again. Our son was three weeks old and we were camping in northern Michigan when we got the call from my brother-in-law, who just lived around the block from us. “We got a ton of rain, the streets are flooded.  I shined the flashlight down into your basement through the window and the light bounced right back up.” Not a good sign since the carpeting had just been installed three months earlier. We bought the Royal Oak house in 1993, a year into our marriage … Read More…

Hamlet’s Hardy Fan-Base: Shakespeare Returns to Royal Oak, July 31-August 10th

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Combine the magic and nostalgia of a drive-in with the most classic tale of murder, haunted castles and terrible puns, then throw in the potential rain-delay of a ballgame and you’re ready for Hamlet that opens the 14th season of the Water Works Theatre Company on July 31st in Royal Oak. The Globe Theatre didn’t have a roof.  The cheap seats were right up front where the “groundlings” sat for a penny and were able to bring their food—generally as ammunition—rain be-damned.  The producers, writers and actors knew the audience was an integral part of the performance—to their own peril sometimes.  Joseph Papp, … Read More…

Botched Executions And the Murderers Exposed

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“My planes, My guns. My money, My soldiers, My blood is on my hands…It’s all my fault.” I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts, X. “It’s a hell of a thing, killing a man.” William Munny (Unforgiven) As a frequent critic of the death penalty, I get one question regularly when I’m asked to explain my position, and it’s a question I wrestle with myself: what about the victim?  I read it again yesterday when I posted on Facebook my outrage at the “botched execution” (already a cliché) of Joseph Wood two days ago.  I pointed out that Wood took two hours to die, and that … Read More…

One More Story About Tom & Seeing Hayley Mills In-Person!

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It was in November of 1965.  I was 14 years old but a late bloomer and immature for my age.  I loved Disney movies and in particular anything with Hayley Mills.  I had seen her previous films as often as possible.  Then I heard that she was to attend the premier of “That Darn Cat” in Detroit at the now gone Ford Auditorium. I wanted to go more than anything I had ever wanted.  I saved money from my paper route to pay for the ticket.  Now I needed someone to go with me.  I was hopeful but my request was … Read More…

How Tom Changed My Life

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 Tom was the brother who made me laugh.  Life was sort of serious growing up and Tom could always be counted on to be funny in the face of difficulty.  I loved him and wish I could have been closer to him.  This is the story of how  Tom changed my life.  You might ask how is that possible considering the vast distances between us.  Well, it was Christmas time 1968 and my mom wanted to come to California and spend some time with Tom and Jan as they were preparing for the birth of their son Brian. Tom was … Read More…

“Who is the Tall Dark Stranger There?” James Garner, My First Man-Crush

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“I’m getting a little jealous of James Garner,” my wife informed me as I headed down the basement with my burned DVDs.  I was in the middle of  a bit of binge-watching a few months before Netflix appeared on our horizon.  It involved setting our DVR for a series of old Maverick episodes on the Starz Western channel. I’d finally figured out how to burn a bushel of the episodes to a DVD and was taking them downstairs to put by the dusty exercise equipment to induce me to get hooked on a show and lose pounds at the same time. I knew … Read More…

New Podcast: “The Fourth Wall” Award-Winning Young Filmmakers

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  How do you make a movie?  What does a producer do?  Are English accents tough? Kevin is joined by Adam and Daniel Cooper who wrote, directed and edited the short film “The Fourth Wall,” winner of the international festival for young filmmakers Urban 15′s Josiah Media Festival in San Antonio. Producer Jeremy Shecter and Jonathan D’Ambrosio join the Cooper Brothers to discuss the film, teamwork, making it in the film industry and surprises along the way. The film won the category for best narrative and is now in competition for the festival’s Best of Show award that will occur live … Read More…

My Friends Call Me Tex Cobb: a Personal Contemplation of Bravery and Loyalty

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Someone who knows me as well as anyone in the world–someone I’ve known since the playground–once told me he didn’t think I was someone who “had his back.” In a difficult time, I was not a guy he would turn to for help. The context of his comments is forgotten. Maybe it was just a mean thing someone says during an argument to get the last word. Maybe he was recalling a specific incident when he said it, although I can’t imagine what.  The comments hit me like a jab to the temple.  I believe this guy would always have my back. … Read More…

Perhaps “Compromise” and “Politics” Can Coexist? Candidate Fishman Switches Sides and Hopes So

Lost in the Democrats, Congressman William Broomfield (R) of Michigan

At first, term limits made sense.  At first, letting the giant wooden horse into the gates of Troy made sense, too.  For many, the possibility of voting for a Democrat who was a Republican nine months ago makes less sense. “We’ve always had term limits; they’re called elections,” joked retiring US Republican Congressman, William S. Broomfield in 1996 to me when he was being inducted into the Royal Oak Dondero High School Hall of Fame.  Michigan had just voted to only allow its state elected officials a few terms under the design that it would eliminate “career politicians.” Instead we … Read More…

New Podcast: Not Your Father’s GOP – New Democrat Ryan Fishman, New Try for Michigan State Senate

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What does it take to drive someone away from his own party?  Ronald Reagan, after all, left the Democrats in 1962 after being a successful union leader for years.   Ryan Fishman decided last September to run for his term-limited Michigan state senate district after a series of his op-ed articles convinced others to convince Ryan that he should leave the GOP and take a shot at a traditionally right-leaning district. Ryan and Kevin discuss: – Difficulties (or not, really) in switching parties – Reagan Republicans and Reagan Democrats – The bad business logic of Right to Work, removing unions and poor … Read More…

The Biggest Story Few of us Heard: British Phone-Tapping & American Media Apathy

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Ladies and gentlemen, have I got a story for you. Please, take your seats and listen closely. It’s a story about the fall of the mighty and about personal tragedy. It’s a story that involves one of the most powerful men in the world. It features princes and sexual dalliances. It’s a story that speaks to our paranoia and justifies it, like the Snowden revelations and the US government’s wire-tapping program. And most important, ladies and gentlemen, it has murder. It has desperate parents and missing children. A mighty corporation, 168 years in existence, crumbles at our feet. This story … Read More…

Yucking Up “The Walking Dead” to a Few More Emmys: Comic Tips from Three Great Dramas–”Justified,” “The Wire,” and “Breaking Bad”

Ben Webster as the a-hole with the great one-liners in "Deadheads."

Granted it’s a zombie apocalypse; granted it’s exhausting peeking around every corner; granted Atlanta in the summer without air-conditioning is brutal.  But come on, let’s have a little levity. There’s a fine line between tragedy and comedy.  Shakespeare knew this as he preceded the haunted and soon to be hysterical Hamlet in the graveyard with a pun-contest with a local gravedigger.  Even Mercutio, after he was stabbed, found time to squeeze out a groaner:  “Ask for me tomorrow and you shall find me a grave man.” And what works for the Bard, certainly bears true for three of my favorite dramas. Justified (FX) … Read More…

Lebron’s Legacy

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Not 1… Not 2… But 3. Three losses in the NBA Finals has pushed LeBron James into uncharted waters in his quest to join the all-time greats atop the NBA’s Mount Rushmore. This latest loss puts his current finals record at 2-3, but the losing record isn’t the biggest blow to LBJ right now..it’s the way the 3 losses have happened. LeBron can undoubtedly escape his losing record but there’s no escaping his disappearances in the losses. People are likely to omit his first loss with Cleveland and rightfully so, but ’11 & ’14 are two kinks in the king’s crown. … Read More…

There Be Dragons in Minnesota: A Late Review of the Series “Fargo”

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The season finale of Fargo aired last night, and what better time to review it than when it’s off network television? Of course, you may find it on Hulu, on Amazon Prime, or any of the other online venues.  And you should. For the past ten weeks, it was one of the two best shows on television with dragons.  OK, no dragons really.  No vampires…no ghost hunters and no real housewives of Bimidji, Mn. (where the show takes place). Every episode begins with the caption “This is a True Story,” which it is not. Yet despite all these outward trappings … Read More…

Delta Tweet Shows Perils of Real-Time Marketing

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Another week, another social media snafu for an airline company. Two months after US Airways posted what will surely go down as the lewdest tweet from a business account of all time, it was Delta’s turn to take flight on the runway of incompetence. The moment came after Monday’s World Cup soccer match between the United States and Ghana. The US won the game, 2-1, behind a last minute goal by John Brooks, AKA The Greatest American Since Abraham Lincoln. In the opening minute of the game, Clint Dempsey stunned the world with the fifth-fastest goal in World Cup history. … Read More…

Unintentional Vanity Plate: Revenge of the DMV Gods on a New Ass-Man

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I’ve always chuckled at people who order vanity plates, but secretly wanted one since I watched an episode of “Dallas” and saw JR pull up in in his Mercedes proclaiming to the world that “EWING 3″ had arrived. But like the cell phone and personalized M&Ms, vanity plates no longer require great wealth or vast oil-connections in the Texas legislature.  States realized the extra windfall and for $10 more, even without a genie, you too can be Larry Hagman. But I was always too cheap, too lazy to think far enough ahead or, I suspect to be the main reason, … Read More…

Our Sanity Just Out of Rifle Range

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Christina Taylor Green In the days after yet another school shooting, this time in Portland, let’s take a moment and reflect on how our attitude towards gun control and ownership has evolved in the past few years. The Sandy Hook tragedy took place on December 14, 2012, about a year and a half ago. Columbine was on April 20, 1999: 15 years ago. The Aurora movie theatre shootings, in which killed 12 people were shot and killed at the opening of the movie Dark Knight Rises, happened on July 20, 2012, almost two years ago. A friend of mine recently … Read More…

Fracking, Rat-Packing & Heart-Attacking: Opening Pandora’s Box of Ads

No really, they're going to put Surgeon General warnings on the labels!

It is better to give than receive–particularly homework.  But for one weekend my high school students didn’t mind, at first, being asked to watch the Super Bowl and its commercials. The quickly frowning class soon realized it would have to count the number of edits, how a narrator was used, the use of graphics, music, celebrities, etc.  But my favorite column read, “Intended Audience.”  I started the assignment back when the agencies realized they could had grab the same audience that didn’t get a sandwich during a timeout for the first Macintosh ad in 1984–and the Bud Bowl began. Generally, a football game will not … Read More…

An Open Letter from God to the Pious Athlete

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My children, I realize you may find it odd I chose this means to communicate with you. Given the nature of my message, I thought mymediadiary.com, a site in which such issues are addressed, would be perfect.  I enjoy the site…I particularly like that geeky Star Trek guy, I forget his name.  Yay, verily I say unto yo, I chose this alternate media to communicate with you for a simple reason: while the sin I would like to address is serious, I admit, my usual methods of communicating my irritation–floods, pillars of salt, Christian rock–may be disproportionate punishment. Before I criticize, you should … Read More…

Garage Sale Ethics: Lessons Learned Over 40 Years

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It’s like a slow-motion drive-by shooting, only less friendly.  They are the dealers—the arch-enemy of the true garage-saler. You’re sitting on your lawn-chair beside three coffee makers, two toaster ovens and half an illegal lawn jart set. Your garage sale just opened at 9 AM. You know it’s 9 AM because the dealers have been knocking on your door for a solid hour. “Do you mind if I take a quick look?” “I’ve got to take my son to daycare, but I’d love to see what you’ve got.” “Come on, you’re up anyway! Open up!” For the rest of that … Read More…

Pomp and Circumstantial Evidence: What’s in a Smile at Graduation Time?

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I hadn’t seen this smile from my son in a long time… As you might expect, we don’t dress this formally around the yard most days. It was prom night last Thursday and Aidan and his date Katie had just finished twelfth grade two days earlier. And, aside from the $200+ to rent the tux, we also got this pretty rare expression thrown in with the shiny shoes. In fact, perhaps the last time we’d seen that smile was right before Aidan started his career as a student… We were heading down to Indianapolis to visit some friends and stopped … Read More…

35 Years of Lions Draft-Butchery (including 10 Missed Super Bowl QBs): A Masochistic NFL Draft-Day Guide

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The last time the Lions won a title I was  just a few months past my negative-seventh birthday.  Sure, it would be unfair to point out that there has been only one playoff win for our sad NFL franchise since 1957–against the 1991 Dallas Cowboys who had an injured Troy Aikmann. So instead, I’m going to celebrate on the best day of a Lions fan’s year–NFL Draft Day.  But to be fair, I’m not going to analyze their ineptitude identifying talent since the Eisenhower years–again, that would be cruel.  I’m just going to start when I began following this incredibly … Read More…

MLB Strikes Big with Snapchat. What’s on Deck?

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Can Snapchat make baseball more relevant to Millennials? Major League Baseball’s marketing team sure hopes so. The league, stuck in a rut of plummeting ratings and ever-increasing apathy among younger audiences, is counting on the trendy social application to stop the bleeding. Or at least slow it down. The league announced in February that it would incorporate Snapchat into its social strategy, and so far it’s delivered on that promise. MLB and some of its teams have embraced the platform as a new way to engage fans and humanize its players. While MLB isn’t new to the social space – the league has … Read More…

New Podcast: Making it in Detroit’s Bar Band Scene – Driving Friday

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New Podcast below! Meet Driving Friday, a new band trying to break into the historically strong Detroit garage band/bar scene. After 30 years playing in bands, guitarist and veteran Detroit rocker Garvin Cooper recently formed his first band.  He and keyboardist Tim Schoenherr discuss: The impact/importance of Social Media The Detroit band market The impact of the smoking ban in Michigan Capital outlay in forming a band The impact of 80s music today What it’s like on the stage  

Hollywood’s Spring Training – Saturday’s 46th Michigan Student Film Festival (Great Seats Still Available–and They’re Free!)

2013 Michigan Student Film Festival winners

Two events, besides roller coasters,  when people don’t mind long lines:  movies and sporting events.  People will drive 24 hours through the night to get a glimpse… Spring training.  Your team’s undefeated… There’s sunshine, plenty of seats available, a great overall vibe… And it’s the only time you can get close enough to some celebrities–some even before they’re famous. But you can save yourself the long drive down I-75, the sunblock and even the price of admission–and do a lot to encourage some future filmmakers as well. In the world of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), there are many … Read More…

Where’s the Roar? Golf without Tiger

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Bubba Watson stands over his par putt on the 18th green, he gives it a firm tap and knocks it in, sealing his second major victory. The crowd roars in excitement, but something is missing. Even before Bubba Watson stepped to 18th tee, it was a foregone conclusion that the coveted green jacket would be placed on his back for a second time in three years. However, it is not his back that the golf world needs to restore the trademark roar that echos through the trees at Augusta National. That back was noticably absent at Augusta, as it goes through … Read More…

Taking Back Boston

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I made a commitment immediately after I experienced the terrorist attacks in Boston last year that I would be back this year.  It was so important for me to take back Boston after running 4 marathons for Dana Farber.  In addition, it was the Dana Farber Marathon Challenge’s 25th anniversary and my 5th consecutive Boston Marathon.  Hell yes I was going back! For those of you who know me, I don’t run for me. I run because I can and I run for the greater cause of eradicating cancer.  Ok…maybe selfishly I run so I can have the occasional beer … Read More…

$100 by Tuesday and You Could Be a State Senator: Great Pay, Hours and Benefits!

Your new office?

  Do you hate those knocks on the door with people holding clipboards?  Have you thought of running for office but don’t want to be the next Avon lady? Well, you can skip those pesky 500 petitions needed to run for state office in Michigan.  The state’s website recommends getting 1,000 signatures–just to be on the safe side in case you’ve got some bogus citizens or someone’s going to challenge you on using a #3 pencil or a hanging chad. That’s right!  For the low, low price of only $100 and a notarized form by 4 PM Tuesday, April 22nd, … Read More…

Joe D’s Final Countdown: The Going to Work Pistons, a Retrospective

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Ten years after the Detroit Pistons won their second NBA Championship Title, all looked dull and dreary for the then teal and blue (and sometimes purple?) ‘Stones. They had talent. They had a new arena. They had Grant Hill and they had Jerry Stackhouse. But it wasn’t enough for them to compete for championships, or even playoff spots. The NBA was a bottleneck of a select few dynasties who seemingly controlled the league with free agent superstars. Two-time championship owner (and world’s biggest Pistons fan) Bill Davidson needed some sort of spark to bring another group of winning guys together. … Read More…

I Knew It Was a Bomb: The Boston Marathon a Year Later

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A year ago I was 1,000 feet from a terrorist attack.  I wrote this at 3AM that night and when I read it, I still get chills.  Join me in remembering the 3 killed and hundreds injured in this senseless crime.  Next Monday, I return to Boston to run again.   ————————————————————- I knew it was a bomb…. Riding the bus to Hopkinton we were all smiles, as it was the beginning of our celebration. 27,000 of us with our own stories and our own individual ways of getting there. Some were running their first Boston – the pinnacle of … Read More…

The Quarter Million Dollar Student Athlete

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College is fun.   It’s a time of liberation and discovery.  It’s a time to develop self-awareness, accountability, empowerment.  What any of us wouldn’t give to go back to college? Watching March Madness always reminds me of that liberation, joy and jubilation.  It propels me back twenty plus years to a time when we were students and the Fab Five were rocking at Michigan. We jammed into Crisler Arena bouncing up and down, partying at our friends’ houses and storming South U at our victories or near victories.  What pride we had in watching our fellow students represent our great University … Read More…

Shocking NHTSA Commercial Captures Horrors of Texting and Driving

Head bobbing, car swerving, one hand on the wheel, the other on a cell phone. From neighborhoods to freeways, texting and driving has become all too common in the United States. Millions of brazen motorists text and drive every day, testing the laws of chance and putting every driver on the road in peril. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, more than 3,000 Americans die from distracted driving every year. Thousands of others suffer serious and traumatic injuries. This is no surprise when you consider texting and driving makes a crash up to 23 times more likely. As this … Read More…

New Podcast: The Best Week in Sports–or at least most optimistic

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The Best (or at least most optimistic) Week in Sports Kale Davidoff, Matt Moss and Aaron Lebovic join the show a week after their teams took hits on the way to the Big Dance but still find the energy to examine: NCAA Weekend #2:  From 16 to 4 Wolverine and Spartan Nation reactions Unionization of College Athletes Baseball’s Opening Day vs. Mardi Gras Detroit Tigers changes and chances Masters without Tiger–worth watching? Be sure to check out Kale’s blog on Opening Day at this link.

Old Passions in New Hands: The Ausmus-Abrams Effect on the Tigers and Star Wars

This is like my heaven.

Opening Day has always been much more than the start of a new baseball season. For the players and teams, it marks a new opportunity. For some, it is a chance to put physical or statistical shortcomings behind them. For others, it’s finding someway to harness past success and release it in time for a brand new campaign. And for many, it’s the first taste of playing in front of the tall buildings. From the fan perspective, Opening Day is a celebration of the past, and a time to party and look towards the possibilities of the future. Who will … Read More…

Bad Ads and Worse Puns for Rick Snyder: Inside the Koch Brothers’ War-Room

They can buy anything, anything, anything under the sun.

Always a fan of strange ads, I thought I’d deconstruct the possible creation of this beauty–a close second to Rick Snyder’s scuba-diving Super Bowl ad (link). Needless Disclaimer:  The following transcript could have been secretly recorded in a war-room–detailing the plan for the first wave of ads to re-elect Michigan’s Governor Snyder.  You never know… [Sound of door opening and bowing and scraping.] Koch 1:  “Okay boys, lay it on me.  Whaddaya got?” Slappy:  “Pardon sir?” Koch 2:  “In Michigan, son, in Michigan.” Slappy 1:  “Oh.  Well we own most of the senate and a lot of house members.” Slappy … Read More…

Once Cherished Detroit Journalist Turned Thoughtless Blogger – The Tipping Point of Mitch Albom’s Generational Supremacy

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I’ve had a gripe with Mitch Albom for a long time. Like many, I used to be a huge fan. Tuesday’s With Morrie made me cry and The Five People You Meet in Heaven made me wonder, gasp and smile. He used to be “our guy” on ESPN’s Around the Horn or Outside the Lines. And—as a New Jersey transplant—he was the champion of Detroit when others were kicking us while we were down. Then he lied about a little detail in a Free Press article… Will Albom’s woes taint journalism? It was a small detail, but it was lying … Read More…

New Podcast: The Hoops & Hype of March Madness

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Contributing writer, Kale Davidoff, joins Kevin Walsh and media professionals Aaron Lebovic and Matt Moss to analyze the opening weekend of March Madness. Topics include: – Why is this event so special? – What non-basketball part of the event do you like/dislike most? – Review of brackets busted and intact – Best/Worst of CBS coverage – What changes would you make to either the tournament itself or its programming?

You’re Pregnant, You’re Fired – Why Teachers Have Unions…For Now

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Dr. Ken Noble followed his Depression-era parents into the teaching profession in Royal Oak, Michigan four years before Governor Romney (R) signed a law permitting collective bargaining for public workers.  In 2010, Ken shared his perspective with teachers struggling with the need for a teachers union in a district that would eventually impose an historically severe retroactive pay-cut on its teachers. I have been out of the classroom and away from the negotiating table for so long I do not know how much my thoughts will help you, but since you asked . . .The evolution of teacher duties and … Read More…

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