Andy Gammill has an article in the Indy Star reporting on the dismal relations between (almost featured Creationist Evidence Speaker) State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tony Bennett, and the state teacher’s union. They seem to be communicating primarily via inflammatory press releases.
This reminds me a bit of a lesson I learned about communication early on in my legal career (probably earlier – it’s no big secret). I was exchanging letters with another attorney that were becoming increasingly contentious. I was about to escalate with another letter when it occurred to me how stupid we were being. I picked up the phone and had a very cordial conversation, and we resolved the issue which wasn’t all that intractable. The immediacy of speaking to one another tends to put a limit on bellicosity. Speaking in person even moreso. It’s easy to be a Big Man via e-mail.
That said, Bennett does come off looking ridiculous in one particular noted by the article. The State is in the process of applying for a federal “Race to the Top” education grant where there is a pool of about $4.4 billion available to the states. He wants teacher’s union leaders to endorse a plan that he won’t let them see.
Bennett held several meetings with union leaders but declined to allow them to see the proposal for the federal grant, saying that other states might steal the more innovative ideas. Both unions were then asked to write letters of support — for a proposal they had not seen.
Reminds me of Nixon’s secret plan to win the Vietnam War. But, then, I’m a cynic.