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Garry Gernandt’s unexpected swing vote won approval of equal employment protection for LGBTs

After weeks of public testimony and closed door meetings on the hotly contested equal employment ordinance giving legal protection to gay and transgender residents, the Omaha City Council decided the issue March 13.

Three-term District 4 (South Omaha) representative Garry Gernandt surprised many when he reversed his position and cast the swing vote in favor. The Democrat had resisted the...

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Education’s Tipping Point is Close

It's been almost two years since Milton Chen released his book Education Nation: Six Leading Edges of Innovation in our Schools, capturing the best lessons learned from his time as executive director at the George Lucas Foundation, dedicated to improving the K-12 learning process. While the first edge remains the hardest, Chen believes the tipping point for a big leap forward in education is...

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A Sea of Glowing Faces, Turned Downward

At last week’s South By Southwest Festival, singer/songwriter Freedy Johnston took a break halfway through his performance in a lounge on the 18th floor of the Hilton Garden Inn to tell a joke, which went something like this:

A married couple had reached a point in their relationship where they no longer talked to each other. In fact, they hadn’t said a word to each other in years. So they...

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Still Ban HAM from Sex Education

One sign-carrying protester proclaimed, “Sex Education isn’t necessary.” The next one added, “Sex isn’t necessary.”

They demonstrated in a cartoon that came with an in-depth look at sex education in Omaha 37 years ago. They caricatured groups opposing sex ed in schools.

Even at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in 1975, human sexuality course for doctors-to-be was only three years...

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Freddie Gray - OPS School Board

Q: What is your background in education?
A: I am the parent of 7 children who attended Omaha Public Schools. They are grown now.

Q: How did you get involved in school board?
A: I initially began by completing the unexpired term of Ann Shephard. I was the Co-chair for the African American Achievement Council and I served several years on the Douglas County Board of Health. I found that some...

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Omaha Parents Unsure About Student Report Cards

“We’re just a bit befuddled by Omaha Public Schools (OPS) report card system,” advised Richard and Beverly Payne. “We just don’t know much about it at all. Numbers replaced letters. We’ve tried to read up on it. We finally just accepted it.”

Parents aren’t the only ones confused by OPS’ grading system. “I will be a senior next year,” says Aaron, a North High student. “They have changed the...

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Mary Morrissey - OPS School Board

Q: What is your background in education?
A: I taught school in Omaha Public Schools  (OPS) for 26 years and was an administrator in OPS for eight years.

Q: How did you get involved in school board?
A: I replaced a member who had served on the OPS School Board for 34 years and passed away.

Q: What have been the best decisions the school board has made in your tenure?
A: Retaining the...

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South By Southwest: The Ecstasy and the Agony

Old habits are hard to break. Five weeks into this column and I’m already back writing about music. It’s unavoidable. As you read this on Thursday or Friday, I’ll be on either Day Two or Day Three of my annual pilgrimage to the South by Southwest Festival in balmy Austin, Texas.

What is South by Southwest – or just SXSW? Well, it's the finest music festival of its kind, bringing together...

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