Responding to the ridicule of teachers and the teaching profession by politicians and self proclaimed "experts"!
"Where is Albert Shanker now that we need him?" - Walt Sautter

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

"Big Name Speaker" How About "Big Price Tag Speaker"!

I was elated to see that Ms. Rice was not "hired" as the commencement speaker not because of her political affiliations but because of the exorbitant  fee she was to be paid for a fifteen minute banter. For me, "freedom of speech" was irrelevant and besides this speech was certainly not to be free.
Thankfully, Governor Kean has replaced her as commencement speaker. Governor Kean not only has significantly more prestige he is speaking for FREE and he will not be paid the equivalent of an RU student's two years of in state tuition to do so.
As I read the paper regarding Ms. Rice's replacement as RU's commencement speaker I happened to also read the Letter to the Editor shown here.
It was disheartening!
Disheartening because I have always considered RU to be a fine school which produces intelligent and clearly thinking graduates.
Mr. Stevens the writer of this letter who claims to have been graduated from RU certainly does not appear to live up to those standards I have come to expect.
Firstly, Condoleeza Rice- a "big name speaker"? Well maybe a "big price tag speaker" - yes!
Secondly, "Travis Smiley - Who?" truly demonstrates his ignorance.  Well I guess Mr. Stevens has been spending most of his time watching sitcoms or the Cartoon Channel.
Smiley is a nightly talk show host on PBS following Charlie Rose. He has interviewed hundreds of well known artists, writers, musicians, politicians, etc.
It is unfortunate that Mr. Stevens identified himself as an RU graduate thereby contaminating the reputations of the thousands of well informed and bright RU graduates.
If hearing fifteen minutes of banter from Ms. Rice would make that day "one of the best days" of one's life these graduates certainly shouldn't expect very many good days ahead of them!
Lastly, most disheartening  of all, is much of the public may have opinions similar to those of Mr. Stevens!
I have added some info about Smiley who has risen from obscurity to a position of prominence and success on his own steam (and without killing and torturing people)  - just in case you're interested.

Tavis Smiley (born September 13, 1964) is an American talk show host, author, liberal political commentator, entrepreneur, advocate and philanthropist. Tavis Smiley was born in Gulfport, Mississippi, the son of Joyce Marie Roberts, a single mother who first became pregnant at age 18
In 1982, Smiley enrolled in Indiana University Bloomington (IU). Because Smiley's parents refused to complete financial aid papers, Smiley entered Indiana University with only $50 and a small suitcase.[18] Administrators let Smiley complete the paperwork to become a full-time student. Smiley moderated two live presidential candidate forums in 2007: a Democratic forum on June 28 at Howard University in Washington, D.C.,[43] and a Republican forum on September 27 at Morgan State University in Baltimore. In 1999, he founded the Tavis Smiley Foundation, which funds programs that develop young leaders in the community. Since its inception, more than 6,500 young people have participated in the foundation's Youth to Leaders Training workshops and conferences. On December 12, 2008, Smiley received the Du Bois Medal from Harvard University's W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research. Smiley was named No. 2 change agent in the field of media behind Oprah Winfrey in EBONY Magazine's POWER 150 list. In 2014, Smiley is set to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, honoring his contributions to television.[53] As of date, Smiley has received 16 honorary doctorates.

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