Leslie Linthicum’s Palate-Cleansing Column On Those Florida Consultants

February 17th, 2011 · No Comments · Uncategorized

By Tracy Dingmann

A palate-cleanser.

That’s what Leslie’s Linthicum’s UpFront column today was. The piece, called “I’d Like Hanna Skandera’s Deal,” succinctly pointed out the absurdity and hypocrisy of Education Secretary-Designate Skandera’s plan to hire eight out-of-state consultants to help her reform New Mexico’s educational system.

And it came just in time, too, as readers were still choking on Wednesday’s screed from Journal editors – oops, editorial – that, in essence, called anyone who criticized the plan a jealous hater.

When I read the editorial, “Premature Self-Interest Fuels Consultant Outcry,” I wondered – how did our daily paper come up with such an out-of-touch view on what appears to be a fairly clear-cut issue?

And then I remembered (and this is where decades of careful reading of the Albuquerque Journal comes in handy).

For years, the Florida education “miracle” has been touted by the Rio Grande Foundation, a “free-market think tank” whose views are richly represented in the Journal’s news and opinion pages. So of course it makes enormous sense that the Journal would rise to defend this plan that brings us all-Florida, all the time.

As for me, I’ll take Linthicum’s tart chaser of a column today. Despite the plaintive title, it is not jealous crabbing, but rather an incisive critique about what rankles the average New Mexican so much about this deal:

Here’s some of the best of what she wrote:

Let’s imagine the same bosses who pay me that handsome salary have frozen a handful of positions at the newspaper after a long, loud public relations campaign about the importance of tight belts and budgetary restraint. (They haven’t.)

Now let’s say I ask those bosses to pony up $152,000 of that saved salary money so I can hire eight consultants to advise me on how to write my column. (I wouldn’t dare.)

But if I did, I’d have my idea consultant, a person to do all those pesky interviews and someone else to transcribe them. And I’d get a typist, a grammarian, a spell-checker and a writing coach. I would pay a pretty penny for a Synonym Czar.

I’d find them all outside of New Mexico because (I gather) that’s where all the brains and talent reside.

(Emphasis mine.) But it’s really hers.

Go Leslie!

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