Clipped From Redlands Daily Facts

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 - With a Grain . Of Salt By FHANK MOORE Basil...
With a Grain . Of Salt By FHANK MOORE Basil Hansen did not show up at a meeting of Phi Delta Kappa of which he is a regional representative. He had an excellent excuse, although the news of it came as quite a shock to his wife in Slockton, where they live. The Western Airlines plane on which he was a passenger was hijacked the other day on a flight from Salt L^ke City. The first thai Mrs. Hansen knew of it was when a polite Western Air employe told her on the telephone that the company was awfully sorry, but her husband would not be home right away. The airplane on which he was a passenger had flown to Havana. "Oh," she exclaimed in confusion. "Basil wouldn't do a thing like that." Telling this tale on him was Dr. James Cusick, area coordinator for the educational fraternity, at a meeting at UR Monday evening. The speaker of the evening was a gentleman whom you might suppose, by quickly glancing at his name, was the inventor of the pizza. That would be wrong. His name is actually Anthony J. Piazza. A deputy district attorney of San Bernardino county, he is such a persuasive speaker that I fear he might be able (o talk a jury into convicting the Little Old Lady from Pasadena of making too much noise, traipsing around in her (ennis shoes. But he didn't talk law. He talked schools. Until a couple of months ago. when he resigned, he was President of the Barstow School Board. "When you talk about San Bernardino County," he said, "you always have lo pause, don't you. and then add "the largest county in the world.' "When you talk about the Barstow school district, you always pause and add. 'the largest school district in the United Stales.' "The Barstow district covers about half of the county, or some 9,400 square miles. We even go clear out to Mountain Pass, if you know where that is." Mr. Piazza, with much enthusiasm, "exclaimed that Barstow has "the newest and most modem school in San Bernardino county." The plant has only one fault. It's closed — locked up tight. No students. When the Army shut down Fort Irwin, the Fort Irwin school closed, too. This was one element in the traumatic shock to the district occasioned by the loss of 1,200 students and more millions of dollars than you would believe. Whal Mr. Piazza was trying to tell the educators, though, was how to make a responsible school trustee out of the Doubting Thomas who comes on the board with the notion thai all (he employes do is lake long coffee breaks, muff the leaching of readin', riten' and rithmetic. and think up frill programs to load on to the taxpayers. Brother Piazza is an awfully human sort of guy. His first recommendation was simple: Smile. According to him the prevailing atmosphere in a school headquarters doesn't differ much from that of a mausoleum. After educators catch on that the trustee is human — although ignorant of school affairs when he begins — the thing to do is lo invite him on some look-sec visits to the school system. Like, maybe, visiting a third grade class. It may come as a shock to him that the teacher is on the job. trying like the dickens to teach reading. (Down at the drug store he heard that there was a lot goofing off at the elementary school.) Furthermore, he will be flattered by the children's reaction to the presence of a Big .Shot - himself. Then, with increasing seriousness. Mr. Piazza descrit)ed the education — through exposure lo school people and programs — of a school trustee. One by one the myths arc dispelled and the layman begins to catch the enthusiasm of teachers and lo comprehend their seriousness. The guy who. as a candidate for the school board, found it so easy lo throw rocks and tell how he would prune the fat out of the budget, comes to see that things aren't quite the way he thought Ihcy were. Indeed, the complications of school budgeting would make mastery of the stock market look, by comparison, like child's play. at of

Clipped from
  1. Redlands Daily Facts,
  2. 24 May 1972, Wed,
  3. Page 20

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