Murphy’s Lesser Known Laws

Taken from the menu of the Sherman Inn restaurant in Wolf Point, MT:

 

1.  The 50-50-90 Rule.  Anytime you have a 50-50 chance of getting something right, there’s a 90% probability you’ll get it wrong.

 

2.  If you lined up all the cars in the world end to end, someone would still try to pass them, five or six at a time on a hill, in the fog.

 

3.  Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day.  Teach a man to fish and he will sit in a boat all day drinking beer.

The Brown Shoe Awards

“Did you ever feel like the world was a tuxedo and you were a pair of brown shoes?”

Folks my age may remember comedian George Gobel.  Once, as a guest on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, Gobel off-handedly slipped this line into the conversation, cracking Carson up in a way that was unusual.

I remembered this image recently, while thinking about the current Missouri State School Board controversies in Jefferson City. I decided it would be fun to start “The Brown Shoes Educational Award”, to be presented to those whose actions seem to clash with accepted sensibilities, at least in education.

I stress that this B.S. Award is presented primarily for actions, and not necessarily personalities.  Also, in the interest of full disclosure, I note that the Awards Committee consists of one person only, and his views are certainly subjective.

Perhaps you’ve deduced the Winner of this First Round of awards: Missouri Governor Eric Greitens.  The voting wasn’t even close.  His willingness to blatantly, maliciously, and perhaps illegally sabotage existing state policies and procedures to further his own unspecified educational aims is not only shameful, but borderline arrogant.  His actions could win both the Educational and Political B.S. Awards – hopefully the legislature will present him the latter.

Particularly galling is the governor’s unwillingness to share or promote his views on education for discussion. We have heard he thinks teachers are underpaid, with which most of us can whole-heartedly agree!!  We have heard that he thinks administrators are overpaid, which is much more debatable – that is, if the governor allowed debate.  His apparent willingness to believe that his views alone are worth the travesties he has perpetrated are more than enough to color his shoes brown.

The Runner-Up Award, which comes with truckloads of disclaimers, is shared by the five (of the ten appointed) commissioners who were willing to bow to the governor’s wishes, without further examining the issues and apparently without caring about the questionable means being used to attain the ends.

PLEASE:  Most pertinent of the disclaimers is this one:  I have no problem whatsoever with our own Jennifer Edwards’ reasons for accepting her appointment. (See “Why I Accepted . . .”, News-Leader, Dec 3, page I1.) I agree that dyslexia is real and can hinder learning.  Apparently, Ms. Edwards agonizingly decided that her chance to advocate for this issue was worth the extremely high price she paid to do so. And while I may disagree (and worry that she may have hurt her cause), I will respect that particular part of her decision.

Nonetheless, it is still the case that all five new members (none of whom are yet confirmed), deliberately chose to sacrifice open discussions, existing structures, possible legality issues, and certainly common sense, to advance the governor’s cause, while condoning his methods.  For that, their shoes are distinctly brown.

When it comes to tuxedos, black shoes are rarely noticed.  But, in this case, there are also Black Shoe Awards, and there are Dual Winners.  Sharing one award are the other five Greitens appointees to the Board, who refused to automatically vote with the governor’s wishes without further examination of the issues and circumstances.  (As a result, their brief tenure on the Board is over.)  The other Award goes to Sen Gary Romine (R), who has acknowledged that “this is just not proper procedure”, and will work to reestablish the Senate’s state-mandated role in these appointments through the Senate confirmation process.

If the shoe fits . . .