Substitute’s teaching job magically disappears!

May 5, 2008

This is teacher appreciation week, Tuesday is National Teacher Day. I sometimes wonder if education administrators mis-hear the announcement, and think it is teacher depreciation week.

In Land-o-Lakes, Florida, in Pasco County, a substitute teacher was fired for doing a magic trick. The district, apparently lacking in critical reasoning skills and reality-based life, accused the guy of “wizardry.”

Once the firing became public and the district started to look really, really stupid, the district came up with other reasons for the firing which they announced to reporters, but not to the teacher. Janie Porter at Tampa Bay’s Channel 10 News has the story.

Substitute teacher Jim Piculas does a 30-second magic trick where a toothpick disappears then reappears.

But after performing it in front of a classroom at Rushe Middle School in Land ‘O Lakes, Piculas said his job did a disappearing act of its own.

“I get a call the middle of the day from head of supervisor of substitute teachers. He says, ‘Jim, we have a huge issue, you can’t take any more assignments you need to come in right away,'” he said.

When Piculas went in, he learned his little magic trick cast a spell and went much farther than he’d hoped.

“I said, ‘Well Pat, can you explain this to me?’ ‘You’ve been accused of wizardry,’ [he said]. Wizardry?” he asked.

Wizardry? Shouldn’t the guy be made teacher of the year for a demonstration of wizardry?

Wizardry may be unappreciated in the teacher ranks, but the rank of the administrators sure do a good job with lizardry.

Tip of the old scrub brush to P. Z. Myers, on the lookout for Florida zaniness as always.

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!

Teacher appreciation day graphic

Marriage rights and civil rights giant, Mildred Loving, 68

May 5, 2008

We learned today that Mildred Loving died Friday in Milford, Virginia.  She was 68.

2007 was the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court Decision in which she played a key role, Loving vs. Virginia. In that decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that state laws against interracial marriage are unconstitutional.

The romance and marriage of Mildred and Richard Loving demonstrate the real human reasons behind advances in civil rights laws.  They left Virginia to avoid facing prosecution for having gotten married; but when they wanted to be closer to family, they wrote to then-Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. He referred them to the American Civil Liberties Union, who financed the case to get the law changed.

Richard and Mildred Loving, screen capture photo from HBO documentary,

Richard and Mildred Loving, screen capture photo from HBO documentary, “The Loving Story.”

See the post from last year on the anniversary of the decision. The Associated Press wrote today:

Peggy Fortune [daughter] said Loving, 68, died Friday at her home in rural Milford. She did not disclose the cause of death.

“I want (people) to remember her as being strong and brave yet humble — and believed in love,” Fortune told The Associated Press.

Loving and her white husband, Richard, changed history in 1967 when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld their right to marry. The ruling struck down laws banning racially mixed marriages in at least 17 states.

“There can be no doubt that restricting the freedom to marry solely because of racial classifications violates the central meaning of the equal protection clause,” the court ruled in a unanimous decision.

Her husband died in 1975. Shy and soft-spoken, Loving shunned publicity and in a rare interview with The Associated Press last June, insisted she never wanted to be a hero — just a bride.

“It wasn’t my doing,” Loving said. “It was God’s work.”

Mildred Jeter was 11 when she and 17-year-old Richard began courting, according to Phyl Newbeck, a Vermont author who detailed the case in the 2004 book, “Virginia Hasn’t Always Been for Lovers.”

Richard died in 1975.

History loses another hero.

Update: Just as one more showing of how things have changed, this is the headline of the story of Mrs. Loving’s death in the Fredericksburg, Virginia, Free Lance-Star, the local newspaper in Mrs. Loving’s home county, Caroline County:  “CAROLINE HEROINE DIES

I’ll wager the Virginia headlines were quite not so glowing in 1967.

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