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The Whiteboard Jungle: Teacher salaries say something about society

The Whiteboard Jungle: Teacher salaries say something about society

Back in 1998, when I was embarking on my 10th year as a teacher, I had an op-ed piece published in the Times about paying good teachers six-figure salaries as a way to attract and retain higher qualified people.

A Word, Please: There's correct, and then there's also correct

A Word, Please: There's correct, and then there's also correct

Sometimes it seems like grammar is all darned-if-you-do, darned-if-you-don’t propositions. If you say “Who are you visiting tomorrow?” some people will look down on you for not using “whom.” But if you use “whom,” others will think you’re out of...

Burb's Eye View: Family Promise works to reboot its services

Burb's Eye View: Family Promise works to reboot its services

Family Promise of the Verdugos began as a conversation.

A Word, Please: Here's an early grammar gift for the holidays

A Word, Please: Here's an early grammar gift for the holidays

Before you start composing your holiday cards and invitations, here’s a cautionary tale for you.

Learning Matters: The joys of performing poll-worker duty

Learning Matters: The joys of performing poll-worker duty

Election day is over, and I suspect most of us are relieved. As the League of Women Voters emailed, “… It’s once again safe to open the mailbox, answer the phone and leave the TV unmuted during commercials.” Yet for all the calls and emails, only 25% of registered voters...

Burb's Eye View: She knows how to tap into public transportation

Burb's Eye View: She knows how to tap into public transportation

A little over a year ago, Fay Playsted sat in the room at the Joslyn Adult Center, listening to someone from the L.A. Metro transit service talk about all the benefits of taking the bus or train. It made sense to her; she’d used the service for years commuting from Burbank to downtown L.A.

Read On: Election had little to do with facts

Read On: Election had little to do with facts

It's a weird thing sometimes to live in the United States, particularly when you feel so out-of-step with the masses — as I did on Tuesday night.

A Word, Please: What's before who makes all the difference

A Word, Please: What's before who makes all the difference

I saw a fascinating online grammar discussion recently that I was eager to discuss in this column. But I can’t. It contained a bad word, by which I mean a great word — one of those anatomically specific insults that can make anyone the butt of a joke while simultaneously resonating...

The Whiteboard Jungle: Parent involvement plays key role in schools' success

The Whiteboard Jungle: Parent involvement plays key role in schools' success

Lost in the middle of the midterm election coverage this week was a major press conference on Monday by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announcing a $150-million infusion into the Big Apple’s 94 worst-performing schools, creating community schools.

Burb's Eye View: Time to sit down and hammer out your story

Burb's Eye View: Time to sit down and hammer out your story

This month you may see more laptops than usual at your local diner or cafe.

Learning Matters: A Halloween carnival can be a thrilling opportunity

Learning Matters: A Halloween carnival can be a thrilling opportunity

Scarecrows, jack-o’-lanterns, hay bales and witches have appeared again at elementary schools across the district. PTA members have been setting up game booths, enlisting volunteers and gathering prizes by the boxful.

A Word, Please: Lay and lie can even trip up the dictionary

A Word, Please: Lay and lie can even trip up the dictionary

Not so long ago, the only people who had to worry about typos were named Gutenberg. Today, typos dog everyone with a keyboard, and that horrible feeling of realizing too late that a resume, important email or blog post contained an error is practically universal.

Burb's Eye View: This year's Secret Art Show slated for Nov. 22

Burb's Eye View: This year's Secret Art Show slated for Nov. 22

Last year, Cathy Stevens expected to walk into the art gallery, pick up something nice and scoot out the exit.

Read On: AT&T seems to have its wires crossed

Read On: AT&T seems to have its wires crossed

So while I hate to write about my own personal issues — actually, that’s a lie, there is little I like to do more — I must take the opportunity here to slam the stuffing out of a little company you may have heard of called AT&T.

A Word, Please: A listicle that spells things out for you

A Word, Please: A listicle that spells things out for you

Listicles are all the rage these days, or so young folks tell me.

The Whiteboard Jungle: Writing is a tough but worthy pursuit

The Whiteboard Jungle: Writing is a tough but worthy pursuit

Last week, I was invited to participate in the Local Authors’ Showcase held at the Buena Vista Library in Burbank.

Burb's Eye View: Checking out the happenings at OktoBURfest

Burb's Eye View: Checking out the happenings at OktoBURfest

This past Saturday, the city of Burbank held possibly the largest public beer tasting in its history, teaching the ale-and-lager-loving public there’s a complex spectrum to the craft-beer movement in Southern California, and Burbank may be the perfect hub to capture its hop-infused magic.

A Word, Please: Taking a deeper look at the passive voice

A Word, Please: Taking a deeper look at the passive voice

Does the passive voice lend itself to biased, manipulative writing? A reader named Richard wanted to know after witnessing a discussion about a news article.

Learning Matters: Today's GUSD student body features more diverse mix

Learning Matters: Today's GUSD student body features more diverse mix

A few years ago, a French-Armenian graduate student came to Glendale to gather research for her dissertation on Armenian communities in Glendale and Hollywood. I had the pleasure of spending several hours with her at the invitation of my City Attorney friend, Lucy Varpetian.

Burb's Eye View: It isn't too early to support the city's Santas

Burb's Eye View: It isn't too early to support the city's Santas

She didn’t know where the gifts of food and clothes came from, but Heather Brown knew that at Christmas, they’d be there.

A Word, Please: It's better to avoid writing upside down

A Word, Please: It's better to avoid writing upside down

London is a place that gets a lot of rain.

The Whiteboard Jungle: Taking son to school is enjoyable experience

The Whiteboard Jungle: Taking son to school is enjoyable experience

A couple of days ago was the annual Walk to School Day. Knowing such a day exists may raise eyebrows as to its need until you realize, as my fellow Friday columnist Joylene Wagner pointed out, kids just don’t walk to school anymore.

Burb's Eye View: A late train, a hot sun and a true adventure

Burb's Eye View: A late train, a hot sun and a true adventure

Stepping out into the bright morning from Union Station, we were disoriented. We hopped on our bikes and rode a couple blocks into Chinatown, where we found ourselves smack in the middle of a parade.

Leader Cartoon: Turn up the AC!

Leader Cartoon: Turn up the AC!

Bert Ring expresses the feelings of many Burbankers during the heat wave.

Learning Matters: Students seem to have less independence

Learning Matters: Students seem to have less independence

Over the last few years, thanks to the work of parent and traffic-safety advocate Kara Sergile, I've had experience as both a valet drop-off lane attendant and a "walking school bus" volunteer with R.D. White Elementary.

A Word, Please: Some confusion over jobs that pay well

A Word, Please: Some confusion over jobs that pay well

Tom in Glendale, Calif., wrote with an interesting question about a newspaper headline that mentioned "well-paying jobs."

Intersections: Armenian wool's international tale weaves itself

Intersections: Armenian wool's international tale weaves itself

When you tell people that you've got a bag of sheep's wool in your possession, the first thing you get asked is, "Can I touch it?"

Burb's Eye View: The pumpkin glut can only mean one thing

Burb's Eye View: The pumpkin glut can only mean one thing

My local Trader Joe’s has once again transformed into a purveyor of all things pumpkin. It’s as if the Pumpkin Innards Fairy launched itself from its pumpkin patch, gathering the masses of discarded jack-o’-lantern glop to insert them into every baked good, coffee product and...

News-Press Cartoon: People driving badly

News-Press Cartoon: People driving badly

Bert Ring gives his take on Glendale, again, being tagged with some of the nation's worst drivers.

Read On: Taking a trip to Ferguson, Mo.

Read On: Taking a trip to Ferguson, Mo.

I have to admit that when Barack Obama was elected president of the United States back in 2008, it seemed not only historic but incredibly exciting to everyone in my liberal-minded circle. A black president, in our lifetime. It was glorious. I felt fortunate to be alive to witness it.

 A Word, Please: Don't forget to send punctuation a card

A Word, Please: Don't forget to send punctuation a card

National Punctuation Day, which took place on Wednesday, turned 10 this year. The brainchild of Northern California education booster Jeff Rubin, the annual event aims to help kids learn about periods, commas, quotation marks and the rest.

The Whiteboard Jungle: Teachers could use help outside the classroom

The Whiteboard Jungle: Teachers could use help outside the classroom

Years ago, doctors took blood pressure, drew blood and administered medicine. Today, medical assistants perform these duties.

Burb's Eye View: A teen and tween go for the extreme

Burb's Eye View: A teen and tween go for the extreme

A few years ago, the Flores brothers first evaluated the Extreme Cowboy Assn. and their place within it with all the rigor and careful planning that a 15-year-old and an 8-year-old could muster.

 A Word, Please: A notion writers should be disabused of

A Word, Please: A notion writers should be disabused of

If I had a nickel for every time I've written about ending sentences with prepositions, I'd be about 5 cents shy of that Frappucino I've had my eye on. (I'd probably also be one of the top earners in what remains of the newspaper industry, but that's a subject for another day.)

Learning Matters: GUSD features share of homegrown employees

Learning Matters: GUSD features share of homegrown employees

A few weeks ago, a colleague and I went to Daily High School to meet with the new principal Rene Valdes, about a school-to-career grant we're working on. Deb Rinder, whose responsibilities include the high schools, joined us for the conversation.

Burb's Eye View: Twelve-year-old raises funds in friend's memory

Burb's Eye View: Twelve-year-old raises funds in friend's memory

Before an ounce of soapy water soaked the first windshield at 12-year-old Will Jurman's car wash, he'd already earned $900 in memory of his friend.

 A Word, Please: The No. 1 reason for numeral inconsistency

A Word, Please: The No. 1 reason for numeral inconsistency

A reader named Loretta recently wrote to me after making a very astute observation.

The Whiteboard Jungle: Decision-making process should also include teachers' input

The Whiteboard Jungle: Decision-making process should also include teachers' input

In the game of education, there are many players: students, parents, teachers, administrators, district officials, state and federal politicians. Too often, the group that has the most contact with the students — the teachers — is not part of policy decision-making.

Burb's Eye View: UFOs are nothing alien to this author

Burb's Eye View: UFOs are nothing alien to this author

In Burbank, there are UFOs and then there are UFOs.

Leader & News-Press Cartoon: Dry spell on the campaign trail

Leader & News-Press Cartoon: Dry spell on the campaign trail

Cartoonist Bert Ring looks at a mash-up between California's drought problems and Gov. Jerry Brown's reelection campaign.

A Word, Please: There's nothing truly good about superfluity

A Word, Please: There's nothing truly good about superfluity

In a recent New York Times piece, novelist Zoe Heller wrote about helping her daughter with an English essay. "Try excising the words 'extremely,' 'totally' and 'incredibly,'" Heller suggested. Her daughter did and was "surprised to discover that not only were the intensifiers superfluous, but...

Burb's Eye View: Saving water is another important challenge

Burb's Eye View: Saving water is another important challenge

By now you may have seen the videos on the Internet of the "Ice Bucket Challenge," a fundraiser that's pretty straight-forward:

Read On: The news can be hard to bear

Read On: The news can be hard to bear

So this is the headline I woke up to read on my Facebook news feed on Friday morning: "Ice Bucket Fraud! ALS Foundation Admits 73% of Donations Not Used For ALS Research."

A Word, Please: Punctuation isn't a business for kids

A Word, Please: Punctuation isn't a business for kids

According to the Internet, there's a car dealer whose service department has a "kid's play area," but a competitor offers a "childrens play area."

The Whiteboard Jungle: Teaching 'Mockingbird' to today's students

The Whiteboard Jungle: Teaching 'Mockingbird' to today's students

One of the charges of the high school English teacher is to help teenagers see the relevancy of literature to their lives. I'm always on the lookout on how to win over the students to read, in their minds, very old books from long, long ago.

Burb's Eye View: Chandler Bikeway's 10-year anniversary celebrated

Burb's Eye View: Chandler Bikeway's 10-year anniversary celebrated

Bob Olson first strapped on a pair of skates nearly 60 years ago, but until 10 years ago, he'd drive off to Hansen Dam to use them.

Leader Cartoon: Ice bucket challenge

Leader Cartoon: Ice bucket challenge

Bert Ring gives his take on the recent crazy over the "ice bucket challenge" and proposed rate hikes.

 Start the Presses: Seeking an involved readership

Start the Presses: Seeking an involved readership

Newspapers — community newspapers especially — have a duty to inform, entertain and engage. How well we do these three things is directly related to our value, our impact, and our stature.

Learning Matters: Some ideas for the school board appointee to consider

Learning Matters: Some ideas for the school board appointee to consider

Some friends have asked about my intentions for next April's election. As I've told them, I'm not seeking another term on the Board of Education. And I don't plan to submit my name for the interim appointment to the seat being vacated by my good friend Mary Boger, though I pondered the possibility...

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