It's teacher hunting season!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Congress approved a delay of digital conversion, to June 12

Congress approved, yesterday (February 4, 2009) morning, a delay of mandatory conversion of US television broadcasts from February to June 12. The House voted 264 to 158, H.R. 681, the Digital Television Transition Extension Act of 2009.

Nielsen Company, the premier company of audience tracking, estimated that 6.5 million homes lack the conversion device.

As reported by PBS, advocates on the issue of broadcast television access argue that the people that do not yet have the access boxes are low income, elderly or minority.

Click here for the podcast of the PBS News Hour broadcast on the conversion delay.

Cong. Maxine Waters of California gave these arguments for extension:
“Yes, it would be great if everyone had received their coupons, and if everybody understood the transition to digital, but they don’t,” Representative Maxine Waters, a Democrat from California, said Wednesday during the House’s debate. She said that some people, senior citizens in particular, were going to be “terribly inconvenienced.”

Some people will need to get an antenna to strengthen their reception of the digital broadcast signal. As I recommended in a previous post, see this link at antennaweb for an assessment of your location in relation to stations' transmitters.

WNYC's Beth Fertig reports on how NYC teachers want less mayoral control

New York City teachers are chafing under mayoral control.

WNYC radio's (820 AM, 93.9 FM) Beth Fertig reported on how New York City teachers are reacting to mayoral control.

NEW YORK, NY February 05, 2009 —City teachers are sending a strong message to Albany: They want the law granting Mayor Bloomberg control over city schools to be weakened when it comes up for renewal this June. WNYC's Beth Fertig has more.

REPORTER: Delegates to the United Federation of Teachers voted overwhelmingly for a proposal to strengthen community involvement in the schools. The union wants to reduce the number of mayoral appointees to the existing panel on educational policy. Armando Blasse of PS 67 in Brooklyn calls it a good compromise.

BLASSE: It applies accountability. There are checks and balances involved in the whole situation.

REPORTER: But Patricia Pan, who teaches in Queens, says the mayor would still have too much power.

PAN: There isn't any educator going to be on the panel and there isn't going to be any parent representative on the panel either.

REPORTER: The politically powerful union hopes to influence state lawmakers with its proposal. But Mayor Bloomberg has said that strong leadership is essential to reforming the schools, and that weakening his involvement would take the city back to the days of the old board of education. For WNYC I'm Beth Fertig.

Click here, to hear the MP3 podcast on her news report:

Sunday, February 1, 2009

House expected to pass Digital TV conversion extension to June

The U.S. Senate unanimously passed an extension of the conversion of U.S. television broadcasts. The conversion from analog to digital broadcasts was set for February 17, 2009. The extension proposal sets the new conversion date for June 12, 2009.

The House had passed an extension; but complicated circumstances mandate a two-thirds majority vote:

But the House – in a special vote that would have required a two-thirds majority – voted just 258-168 in favor of the bill, falling short. Still, the tally would be enough for a regular floor vote and – if passed, as it’s expected to – the bill would go to President Obama.

--from David Dunn's article at Asterisk's TMCnet.

Kim Dixon at Reuters reported (January 13) that President Obama has urged an extension of the conversion.