Brief asides


POSTED: Thursday, September 03, 2009


Dick Tomey proves to be a political maverick

While Barack Obama raised more than five times what donors gave to John McCain in last year's presidential campaign, college football and NFL coaches gave $13,286 to McCain and only $4,600 to Obama, according to the Wall Street Journal. The contrast may support the stereotype of macho guys voting Republican, but longtime Florida State coach Bobby Bowden explains, “;In coaching, you've got to have more discipline and you've got to be more strict and just conservative, I think. It fits with the Republicans.”;

Still, half of the amount coaches gave to Obama came from San Jose State's Dick Tomey, coach at the University of Hawaii from 1977-86, when the team went by the kinder, gentler moniker of the Rainbows. Tomey told the Journal that the only Republicans he has ever voted for were Ronald Reagan, Arnold Schwarzenegger and perhaps one other.



Teaching excellence by example

Teachers raise their games when the quality of their colleagues improves, a study found. Education Week reports that researchers who analyzed 11 years of data on North Carolina students found that achievement rose in whole grade levels when a high-quality teacher came on board. Such a “;spillover effect”; has long been documented in other occupations; supermarket checkers, for instance, work faster when they are in the line of sight of a productive colleague. But this is the first study to find the same pattern in teaching, considered to have a more isolated work environment. Other teachers apparently learn from and adopt the excellent teacher's approach, boosting students across-the-board.