Rainbow over Galileo Lane, Tucson

Thursday, May 3, 2012

IRA: The old and the new

I'm  just back from IRA in Chicago. I was President in Chicago 30 years earlier. Ira Aaron liked to tell the story that when I gave my Presidential speech only my nine-month old grandson Reuben turned his back on me. Debi had put him down in the aisle and he began to crawl away from the podium.

IRA has been through some hard times lately. Executive directors have come and gone amid rumors and lawyer imposed secrecy. The staff has had an almost 100 % holdover. Income and membership are down.

The new executive director,Marcie Craig Post met informally with past presidents and promised transparency.
She wants to visit us and get our advice. All signs so far are good.

One thing I ohpe we can turn around is the rampant commercialism. The badge holders had PEARSON on them  Pearson is underfire for being one of the corporate sponsors of the political group that's being writing the extreme legislation. . Yetta led a campaign to turn them around to get rid of advertising Pearson.

The opening session began with a commercial with a talking giraff advertising an alphabet phonics prorgram.
A young chorus sang (where did they find so many white kids in one place in|Chicago?)
And then came the major speaker  who reminded me of the spoof they do on Saturday Night LIve of the motivational speaker. Fortunately those of us on stage couldn't make out what he was saying. There is an explosion of protest on the internet on having this self-promoting, anti teacher anti teachers' union speaker .
I assume he came free with his publisher supporting his appearance.

This commercialization of IRA has to stop.