Evans: The wacky extremes with ‘two sideisms’

The requirements for becoming a teacher were always straightforward: Earn a college degree in education, take enough classes in your area of specialty, practice your teaching skills for a semester as a student teacher. Politicians have added a new skill this year in some states: Be a mind reader. That’s what teachers in a Texas school district concluded recently after receiving guidance for how to comply with a law passed this summer by the Texas Legislature and signed by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. The law, known as H.B. 3979, restricts how topics like race, sex, diversity and discrimination are taught and discussed by Texas public school employees and in textbooks and other course materials teachers use. A companion bill, S.B. 3, discourages teachers from addressing current events in their social studies classes.

Evans: These men have eloquent guidance

Richard Deming, the son of a grain elevator worker and grocery store clerk from small-town South Dakota, is a modest, soft-spoken man. He has spent the majority of his adult life with people when they are most vulnerable — when they or loved ones are fighting cancer. Ron Fournier came out of a different background. The son of a Detroit, Mich., cop has spent much of his working life as a big-time political reporter, covering our nation’s political leaders, including several presidents. While you might think the two are as different as Madison, S.D., and the Motor City, they are quite similar in one important way: Each has become an eloquent, soul-searching advocate for keeping life in the proper perspective.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, at a Romney rally in Dubuque. (Photo by Emily Hoerner)

Evans: Neither party is immune from ineptitude

Do the folks in politics think we are asleep? Do they really believe no one is paying attention to what politicians are up to? It’s not surprising if you have acid indigestion these days. A few examples illustrate why I might need a tanker truck of Maalox. SENATE RACE.

Evans: We should not just accept deaths like these

Twenty years ago, when the death of 2-year-old Shelby Duis outraged Iowans, I was confident the Spirit Lake tragedy would soon bring change to our state. I probably was naive. 

In 2016, when Natalie Finn, 16, was found near death in a middle-class neighborhoodin West Des Moines, I was confident that tragedy would bring change to our state. I probably was naive. Again. 

In 2017, when Sabrina Ray, 16, was found dead in her home in Perry, I was convinced the time for change was imminent. 

I probably was naive. Once again.

Evans: Threats won’t end people’s virus anxieties

Give an extra tug on your seatbelt. The next couple of months will be rough ones. The new school year starts in a few weeks. Not surprisingly, with the coronavirus still sickening and killing people in Iowa, what normally is a time of much excitement has become a time of great anxiety. Our president has said he expects students to be back in the classroom for in-person learning in every school in America. If schools do not comply, he has threatened to withhold their federal education aid.

Evans: Barta’s management under scrutiny — again

There’s so much anxiety going around Iowa City now, and Maalox could easily qualify as the official summer beverage. There’s anxiety over what the fall semester will look like at the University of Iowa, with coronavirus still a fact of life in the community and enforcement of social distancing next to impossible in dormitories, classrooms and student hangouts. There’s anxiety over how many students will decide to sit out the coming school year because of concern for their health. A significant drop in the university’s enrollment could cause the school’s financial problems to mushroom. There’s anxiety over how coronavirus will change the Hawkeyes’ football season, the social event of the fall in Iowa City and the biggest revenue-generating sport for the UI Athletics Department.