Wednesday, July 03, 2013


Yesterday the city of Eureka Springs building inspector began removing hundreds of
signs from all over town that home owners and businesses had put up to protest SWEPCO's plan to put a 345 kV line through our community. I called the Chief of Police who then called me this morning to inform me that the signs were in clear violation of the local sign ordinance. I sent him the following to assert that the removal of these signs was in violation of the Supreme Court:
A unanimous U.S. Supreme Court rejected the ordinance in City of Ladue v. Gilleo, writing that residential yard signs were “a venerable means of communication that is both unique and important.” The Court explained:

“Displaying a sign from one’s own residence often carries a message quite distinct from placing the sign someplace else, or conveying the same text or picture by other means. … Residential signs are an unusually cheap and convenient form of communication. Especially for persons of modest means or limited mobility, a yard or window sign may have no practical substitute. … Even for the affluent, the added costs in money or time of taking out a newspaper advertisement, handing out leaflets on the street, or standing in front of one’s house with a handheld sign may make the difference between participating and not participating in some public debate.”
The City of Eureka Springs might want to test this to test this ruling to see if it also applies to business owners putting up signs on their private property, but that would be an expensive proposition to test. The only exception to this ruling the Supreme Court has recognized so far is that property associations have the right, since they are not government, to restrict signs of this type, and usually that restriction is mentioned in documents the owner of a condo will have signed.

As I am preparing for my ESSA class next week, I've also been receiving messages from my students at Marc Adams School including one from David who is also a teacher in a public school system. He had noted that my educational philosophy would be useful to him. He said:
As a high school science teacher, I find your educational philosophy enlightening. In a environment of putting students into boxes based on state mandated standardized testing, it is becoming more difficult to teach qualitatively rather than quantitatively. There is not enough time in a school year to do both well. Talking with you has recharged my thinking to emphasize the quality over the quantity.
Otto Salomon in Educational Sloyd recognized that children were first and foremost individuals and class teaching was ineffective at even at its best. If you observe a class of kids, you see automatically that they are not at the same level, and as teaching that class progresses, the levels of understanding widen rather than all kids being brought to a common understanding. Teachers are taught to ignore that, and to accept failure in some of their kids as part of the price of teaching and observing the success of others. I love teaching at Marc Adams, because even though not all students are at the same level, and even though having 18 students, I don't have time for as much personalized instruction as I'd like, Students get to learn and experiment, working from their own starting points and with the help of assistants and peers, often exceed their own expectations. It would be a good model for general education, but I know the academically inclined might never suspect that they could learn anything from the industrial arts.

As I've continued to finish boxes started at MASW, I found this pull in my parts drawer left over from a period furniture piece years ago. Attach it to the top of a box and you get a whole new look. Rather formal and informal at the same time. Let me know what you think.

Make, fix and create...

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