Posts by: Denis Smith

Deciding the money isn’t worth it, the Ohio Republican Party is returning $76,000 in campaign donations to Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow founder Bill Lager and one of his top associates.

The lede in the Columbus Dispatch story documents yet another chapter in the saga of ECOT, the notorious online charter school that has provided more than $2 million to the state GOP over the years. Previously, it had been reported that ECOT’s founder, William Lager, along with another associate, had donated $122,000 to state party coffers in just the last six months, at the very time the […]

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Since Ronald Reagan’s presidency, many astute pundits, close observers of the behavior of prominent Republicans in the post-Gipper era, have variously labeled GOP types as masters of hypocrisy, projection and, even worse, authoritarianism. Does that amalgam sound a little bit like the elements of Trump DNA?

Though we might feel that many Republicans are indeed guilty of possessing similar DNA, it’s the hypocrisy trait that is most prominent in the mix.

On July 30, two happenings provide illustrations of that built-in hypocrisy trait among GOP types.

In a page one article detailing the history of the notorious […]

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“You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency? – Joseph Welch

No, these words were not spoken yesterday by Speaker Paul Ryan or Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as part of the national outrage over Donald Trump’s hateful and inappropriate comments at the Boy Scout Jamboree. And yes, they should have been uttered by the Republican leadership. Nevertheless, these words have been proven to be timeless.

Attorney Joseph Welch’s incredible rebuke of Senator Joseph McCarthy in 1954,  during the Army-McCarthy hearings, […]

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What is it about Donald Trump that has motivated so many people to get out their old psychology textbooks and notes from college days to understand this bizarre man? In fact, The Donald is such a bizarre figure to the commentariat that he has become the subject of verbiage that identifies him variously as a sociopath, narcissist, and pathological liar, all the while harboring an ample amount of hypocrisy and projection.

But these descriptors for Trump only scratch the surface. For those who have discarded their psych books, […]

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Help! Help! Can anyone help? The First Amendment, the bedrock for our freedoms, is under assault by no less than the President of the United States, and we desperately need some help.

Let me think of some names. Oh, here’s one.

Chuck Barris, where are you, now that we really need you? Yes, right now, as the President of the United States continues to attack those that serve as our constitutionally-protected watchdogs, the country is in urgent need of protection from a vicious bully in his incessant attacks on journalists.

Oh how I wish that my fellow Philadelphian, […]

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No sector — not local governments, school districts, court systems, public universities or hospitals — misspends tax dollars like charter schools in Ohio.

Of all that has been written about the sorry, twenty-year history of charter schools in the Buckeye State, this single sentence from a 2015 Akron Beacon Journal article provides the strongest evidence in explaining how an online charter school has the gall to use public funds to attack the very agency of state government that provides its oxygen.

For those who might want to avoid a bout of indigestion and heartburn, it might be […]

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“Civilization is in a race between education and catastrophe. Let us learn the truth and spread it as far and wide as our circumstances allow.” – H. G. Wells

Media literacy expert and author Frank W. Baker no doubt had H. G. Wells in mind when he addressed state library/media specialists last week at their conference at Ohio State University’s Newark Campus.

“We are in the midst of an education crisis,” he told his audience, mostly members of the Ohio Educational Library and Media Association. Those in attendance knew quite well the extent […]

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“What’s the difference between ECOT and a group of cats,” the joke goes. Answer: Those friendly furry felines don’t really have nine lives.

On the other hand, maybe there is something that our four-legged friends and the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow do have in common: An ability to jump and land on their feet. With such agility, maybe there is something about reincarnation after all.

It wasn’t that long ago when some of us had trouble with deciphering the ECOT acronym, sometimes confusing it with a similar acronym for a magical place in Florida that provides fantasy and adventure. […]

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“The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching” – John Wooden

About two decades ago, when I was active in the character education movement and writing grants to assist school districts with programs that taught young people such traits as trustworthiness, respect, caring, responsibility, and fairness, educators would use Coach John Wooden’s memorable quote as a teaching tool.

We introduced children to literature that conveyed these principles for moral development and character formation and offered public figures that were exemplars of some type of virtue. For many of us, that […]

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It’s too bad that the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution is not deemed as important as the Second, at least to the present occupant of the White House.

And his party.

Last week, President Donald Trump flew to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to lead a campaign rally of his followers. “I could not possibly be more thrilled than to be more than 100 miles away from Washington swamp … with much, much better people,” he told the crowd in the state capital’s Farm Show Complex and Expo Center.

In Trump World, the less desirable people left behind were 2,700 well-dressed […]

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How could the removal of four Confederate monuments in New Orleans provide us a lesson about memorials dedicated to Ronald Reagan?

Hang on to that thought about The Gipper for a moment. Let’s look at the Civil War lesson first.

For years, public sentiment has questioned the appropriateness of an obelisk honoring the killing of police officers by white supremacists in the Crescent City during the turbulent post-Civil War period as well as statues depicting Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Generals Robert E. Lee and Pierre Beauregard. Finally, there is action to remove these symbols of treason that date from […]

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