Countdown Clocks

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Posts tagged "Teachers Unions"

h/t: Samantha Lachman at HuffPost Politics

Arne Duncan should resign. 

h/t: Laura Clawson at Daily Kos Labor

Glenn Beck released a new book last week on everything that is supposedly wrong with education in America. The title, Conform: Exposing the Truth about Common Core and Public Education, gives most of it away.

Most people know Glenn Beck from his previous stint on Fox News or from the various media outlets associated with Conform Book Coverhis networkThe Blaze. His co-author Kyle Olson, on the other hand, appears to be up-and-coming in the right-wing media sphere. Currently, he is the publisher, founder, and CEO of, a “news service dedicated to education reform and school spending research, reporting, analysis and commentary.” He is also a contributor to Townhall, and just last week launched a new conservative website called Progressives Today with “Dumbest Man on the Internet” Jim Hoft.

In Conform, Beck and Olson take on everything from teachers unions’ to the Common Core State Standards to school lunches to abortion in a book characterized by anecdotal evidence, sweeping generalizations, and quotes from anonymous bloggers. The focus of their ire is what they call the “controllists,” defined as “the teachers’ unions and their progressive friends in the media and the state legislatures.” In 222 pages, Beck and Olson lob a number of outlandish attacks against the various evils they perceive in public education, relying on such conservative actors as Michelle Malkin, the Heritage FoundationNational ReviewThe Wall Street Journal, and the Heartland Institute to do so.

Here are the eight most ridiculous attacks from Conform:

1. Longer School Days Help Teachers Encourage “Teen Sexual Activity.”

Beck and Olson seem convinced that teachers are not only “promot[ing] sexual activity among children,” but would use longer school days to “encourage teen sexual activity,” among other radical ideas (emphasis added):

Educators back then knew that some parents were too shy or awkward to broach the subject, so schools made sure kids would have basic knowledge to build on as they grew and developed their own points of view.

Today the trend seems to be to promote sexual activity among children, rather than gradually preparing kids for the facts of adult life.


There’s also the issue of what our kids would learn with even more hours at school. Many of these educators would relish the opportunity to spend more time feeding students a steady stream of radical, anti-American political ideas, encouraging teen sexual activity, and deemphasizing the importance of traditional values and religion. [Conform, pgs. 126 & 138]

2. “Most Teachers Get A Raise For Not Dying Over The Summer.”

In Chapter 3, which purports to counter the myth that “Public Schools Are Underfunded,” Beck and Olson take issue with teacher compensation:

In most school districts across the nation, all teachers are given automatic, annual raises every year based on years of service and number of graduate classes completed. To put it bluntly, most teachers get a raise for not dying over the summer— their classroom performance, or lack thereof, has nothing to do with it. [Conform, pg. 15]

3.  Teachers Don’t Need Tenure Because “Parents Will Hold [Principals] Accountable.”

Chapter 6 asserts that teachers don’t need tenure because if a good teacher is fired, parents will take care of that:

What should protect teachers is what protects anyone who must continually justify their job: success. Good teachers continue working, bad ones go away. And if a good teacher is fired without cause or because of some political grudge or ideological difference with a principal, you can be sure that parents will hold that principal accountable. [Conform, pg. 34]

4. Teachers’ Colleges Are "Not Very Hard" To Get Into And Are "Marxist Brainwashing Factories."

Beck and Olson have numerous thoughts on teaching colleges in Chapter 8, among them that teaching colleges are “not very hard at all to get accepted into,” and that they are “Marxist brainwashing factories” (emphasis added):

On the flip side, it’s not very hard at all to get accepted into our nation’s teaching collegesOnce you’re in, you don’t have to do extremely well to graduate and gain certification to teach in a K- 12 school. As the Wall Street Journal put it, “entrance requirements to most colleges of education are too lax, and the requirements for graduation are too low.”


Newly minted teachers emerge from college with few English skills, little respect for the discipline, and heads filled with ideas about the fundamental unfairness of America and how capitalism and individualism are terrible things.


Meanwhile, reformers keep pushing for the expansion of alternate teaching certification so that at least some prospective educators can find jobs and help kids learn without having to first be processed through Marxist brainwashing factories. [Conform, pgs. 49, 50, 52, & 56]

5. “Radical Educators” Use Civil Rights To “Further Their Marxist Agenda.”

Continuing on the “Marxism” train, Chapter 9 opens with the allegation that “America’s historic civil rights movement is being hijacked by radical educators” who use “racial inequities” “to further their Marxist agenda” (emphasis added):

America’s historic civil rights movement is being hijacked by radical educators.

It’s all part of their effort to take control over what our children learn and think with the hope that future generations will be more accommodating to efforts to dismantle our nation’s capitalistic economic system and impose state control and socialism.

Radical educators are very clever to use civil rights, and the racial inequities that have plagued our society for centuries, as a tool to further their Marxist agenda.That’s because few Americans disagree with the fundamental arguments of the original civil rights movement— that barriers needed to be removed so that people of all races can have an equal chance to achieve the American dream. [Conform, pgs. 59 & 60]

6. Common Core Helps Progressives Remove Parents From Their Children’s Lives.

Beck doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to Common Core. Indeed, he has been one of the most vocal right-wing media figures leading the charge against the state-led, voluntary education standards.Conform, however, makes the new, bizarre assertion that the Common Core State Standards somehow lead to a removal of parents from their children’s lives (emphasis added):

Since most parents don’t understand the Common Core techniques, students are becoming more dependent on their schools and teachers for their education, and less on help from their parents. This is like a dream come true for progressives who hope to continue to minimize the role of parents in the lives of their children.


Do these really sound like “rigorous” changes to you? Or does it sound more like a systematic approach to dumb down our kids and further remove parents from the process so that students will be easier to indoctrinate and control? [Conform, pgs. 93 & 95]

7. “Controllists” Want To Serve School Meals So That Kids Will Be In School More And To Teach Kids That Everything Is Free.

In one of their odder arguments, Beck and Olson claim that “controllists” use the school meals program to “make the case that kids must be in school more” and that school meals will teach kids “the concept of ‘free’ public handouts”:

By serving one or two meals a day to students, schools and controllists can begin to make the case that kids must be in school more so that they can eat properly.


All this fits perfectly with the controllists’ strategy of teaching children that all good things originate with the state. Once kids learn that their parents are not responsible for providing any meals because the government covers that cost for everyone, it’s not hard to take the next step and teach them the concept of “free” public handouts for everything, including education, health care, and housing. [Conform, pg. 136]

8. Former President George W. Bush and Governor Chris Christie Are “Progressives.”

Amidst their criticism of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act and the idea of kids staying at school later in the day, Beck and Olson assert that former President George W. Bush and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R) are “progressives”:

NCLB was the brainchild of George W. Bush and Ted Kennedy, both big-government progressives.


Some progressives are seeing the opportunity this gives them and are pushing this concept beyond school hours. In New Jersey, Governor Chris Christies [sic] has started a pilot program to provide free “after school dinner” for kids in six Camden schools. [Conform, pgs. 75 & 136]

Researcher Connor Land contributed to this review.

h/t: Hilary Tone at MMFA

Iowa radio host Steve Deace was on Larry Pratt’s Gun Owner’s News Hour last week to promote his new electoral strategy book, “Rules for Patriots.” The two spent quite a bit of time lavishing praise on Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker for his crusade to bust his state’s public-sector unions.

Deace shared his theory that that public-sector unions are one of the “four pillars of the leftist, statist, Marxist movement,” along with “the child-killing industry, the homosexual lobby” and “government education” (which is “how they get the next generation to indoctrinate them”).

He praised Walker for removing “one of the four pillars,” namely “the worker bees, the grassroots, the mobocracy, the ‘Hail Satan’ chanters down in Texas last year, that’s the government-sector employee unions.” Deace apparently thinks that five anonymous teenagers yelling “hail Satan” at a pro-choice protest in Texas means that all public employees are Satanists.

Deace counseled Republicans against supporting any GOP politician who supports any one of the “four pillars.”

Pratt agreed, adding that the public-sector employees, including teachers’ unions, that protested at the Wisconsin state capitol in 2011 were “such ugly, dirty people” that nobody would want teaching their children.

Deace: There are four pillars of the leftist, statist, Marxist movement in America: the child-killing industry, the homosexual lobby, government education – that’s sort of their youth ministry, that’s how they get the next generation to indoctrinate them. The homosexual lobby and the abortion industry is where they get their mega, mega hundreds of millions to fund their schemes. But the worker bees, the grassroots, the mobocracy, the ‘Hail Satan’ chanters down in Texas last year, that’s the government-sector employee unions. And if you cut them off, that’s like cutting off the recruiting ability of a college football team. That’s the lifeblood of their program is those government-sector employee unions.

And if you do some of the math, I think the average annual union due in Wisconsin is like $1,500 a year for an AFSCME member. And if they truly lost 40,000 members, Larry, 40,000 times 1,500, you can pretty much buy the Wisconsin state government every year for that kind of money. And to have him cut off the head of the snake like that, he removed one of the four pillars. He’s maybe the only elected Republican in my lifetime I can think of who’s actually removed one of their pillars. And now you know why they have done everything they can possibly do to get rid of him.

And I would just say to your audience, if you’re supporting a Republican who doesn’t threaten at least one of those pillars, you’re wasting your time. If you’re supporting a Republican who aids and abets or collaborates with one of those four pillars, I don’t care how good he is on every other issue, he’s actually working for your opponent. Because that’s the infrastructure of the American left, those four facets.

Pratt: When Scott Walker had those union thugs lying all over the lobby of the capitol dome, the capitol building itself, they were such ugly, dirty people. ‘Those were teaching my kids?,’ I think people might have been thinking. They lost so much stature, it was just amazing what was happening.

From the 04.12.2014 edition of Republic Broadcasting Network’s Gun Owner’s News Hour:

 h/t: Brian Tashman at RWW

The teacher-hating GOP extremists backed by ALEC/Koch Brothers are destroying education in this country. 


Billionaire Antes Up $750K To End Teacher Tenure In Missouri

As if we needed more evidence of billionaire hunger to capture the “education markets,” Missourians can now look forward to a full-court press to amend the Missouri constitution to kill teacher tenure so teachers can become another commodity to churn, with Sinquefield’s blessing wrapped in a $750,000 contribution to the cause.

Sinquefield understands churn, because he’s a very wealthy fund manager. Markets are his god of choice.

Diane Ravitch:

The campaign, in a style now associated with those who hope to dismantle the teaching profession, has the duplicitous name “” to signify the opposite of its intent. The assumption is that the removal of any job security and any kind of due process for teachers will somehow mysteriously produce “great” teachers. This absurd idea is then called “reform.” This is the kind of thinking that typically comes from hedge fund managers, not human service professionals.


The “” initiative would limit teacher contracts to no more than three years. It also requires “teachers to be dismissed, retained, demoted, promoted, and paid primarily using quantifiable student performance data as part of the evaluation system,” according to the summary on the group’s website.

read more

Far-Right dingbat Ohio State House Representative Andrew Brenner (R), the husband of Tea Party smear merchant editor Sara Marie Brenner, wrote in a Brenner Brief (run by his wife Sara) column advocating selling off public schools to corporate businesses.

He also attacked Common Core in his rant.

Eric Lach at TPM:

In the post, titled “Public education in America is socialism, what is the solution?,” Brenner laid out his argument. He noted that the Tea Party, which “will attack Obama-care relentlessly as a socialist system,” rarely brings up “the fact that our public education system is already a socialist system[…] and has been a socialist system since the founding of our country.” He addressed teachers unions — “an outgrowth of our socialistic education system” — which he granted originally improved things “temporarily” before they ultimately “became bureaucratic and they started to take the place of school boards and school management.”

"I’m not blaming the teachers unions or the local school boards who are bound to the contracts, because if they don’t they will end up with strikes and an arbitrator will rule against them," Brenner wrote. "These issues all stemmed from the fact that we have a socialist education system in the first place."

Brenner’s solution: more privatization.

"In a free market system parents and students are free to go where the product and results are better," he wrote. "Common core and standardized tests under such a system will not be necessary, because the schools that fail will go out of business. Government will not be there to prop them up with more tax dollars and increased regulations. Successful schools will thrive. The free-market system works for cars, furniture, housing, restaurants, and to a lesser degree higher education, so why can’t it work for our primary education system?"

Rebecca Klein at Huffington Post Politics:
“Bust up the education monopolies and do not settle for the lowest common denominator. Privatize everything and the results will speak for themselves,”wrote Brenner.

The conservative Republican also challenged the reasons behind tea partiers’ opposition to the Common Core State Standards, a set of new education benchmarks adopted in more than 40 states, including Ohio, in an effort to make sure students around the country are being held to the same criteria. Some tea party activists fear the Standards are a federal intrusion -– even though the benchmarks were voluntarily adopted by states.

Andrew Brenner and his wife are both surely disgusting cretins who should be voted out of office!

(Cross-Posted from Daily Kos)

h/t: Rachel Baye at

From the 01.16.2014 edition of FNC’s The Five:

Bad idea, Dana “Bushie” Perino. 

 h/t: Jeff Bryant at AlterNet, via

HELL NO, Rhee’s policies have destroyed several school districts, including DC. 

Via Jerseyjazzman, bullyboy Chris "Pufferfish" Christie shows he’s presidential timber when he explodes at a teacher this weekend:

In an exclusive, I am privileged to present an account of what happened today from Melissa Tomlinson, the brave South Jersey teacher who showed up at Christie’s partisan political rally in Somers Point this afternoon and dared to ask her governor a question - as is her right as a citizen and a taxpayer of New Jersey. Here, in Tomlinson’s own words, is what happened:

Well, I was in a crowd of all Christie supporters with my sign. They were all eyeing me apprehensively. A few tried to stare me down. Some of them even blocked me from the crowd.

When his bus arrived one of his henchmen went on the bus to speak to him. I was right at the door. It was like he was told to deliberately turn away from me when he got off of the bus.

I went to listen to him speak. I stood in the front of the crowd that was standing towards the back. I know he caught sight of me. He stared at me a few times during his speech. I left right as his speech was over to position myself right at the door of the bus. He came out, shaking everyone’s hands as he was getting on the bus. I asked him my question, expecting him to ignore me but he suddenly turned and went off.

I asked him: “Why do you portray our schools as failure factories?”His reply: “Because they are!” He said: “I am tired of you people. What do you want?”

I told him I want money for my students. He fought back with the amount that he has spent on education. My response was along the lines of the fact his amount was not actually an increase from the previous years, given the rate of inflation and other factors.

[…] The crowd started arguing with me. He screamed at me to just do my job. The crowd cheered for him. I just looked at them and told them: “Hey, this is my life. I had to do this.” I tried to follow him to Atlantic City to continue the conversation but the roads were blocked by police when I got there. 

New Jersey voters should vote for Barbara Buono for Governor Tuesday!

h/t: Susie Madrak at Crooks and Liars

She’s back!

The deranged homophobic (and also apparently anti-unionization) zealot founder of Mission: AmericaLinda Harvey, is encouraging her Religious Right supporters to make Ohio a “Right To Work For Less” state in order to stop the “pro-abortion/pro-homosexual agenda in the schools.”

Right Wing Watch’s Brian Tashman:

Mission America head Linda Harvey encouraged Ohio Republicans to push anti-union right-to-work legislation on her radio bulletin today, and like always linked it back to her zealous anti-gay activism. Harvey maintained that Religious Right supporters should rally behind so-called right-to-work efforts because “unions support all aspects of pro-abortion and pro-homosexual activism and have no problem truly with students opting for these life-altering practices” and promote “politically correct agendas.” She went on to falsely assert that without such laws workers are forced to join labor unions and also made the discredited claim that unions can compel non-members to pay for political activities.
Typical right-wing anti-teachers union rubbish uttered by Harvey.

(cross-posted from Daily Kos)

Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker, who became nationally known for severely limiting the union rights of teachers and other public employees, has indicated support for arming those same school officials who apparently cannot be trusted to collectively bargain.

As Americans search for answers and policy solutions in the wake of the tragic school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, Gov. Walker has apparently decided that the problem is not too many guns — it is that there are not enough.

Giving guns to teachers should be “part of the discussion,” he said on December 19. Walker refused to endorse an assault weapons ban or other limits on the types of guns or ammunition that can be sold.

Teachers Need Guns, Not Unions?

Walker’s infamous Act 10 legislation drastically curtailed the collective bargaining rights of most public employees in the state, prompting months of historic protests and a recall effort. The governor justified the harsh legislation — which he never mentioned during the campaign that installed him in office — largely by demonizing unionized teachers as overpaid and underperforming. 

The six teachers killed in the Newtown massacre, all members of an American Federation of Teachers (AFT) union chapter, have been widely praised for their heroism, with many shot while trying to shield their students. 

“This has kind of pulled the curtain away to show who teachers really are,” AFT President Randi Weingarten told In These Times’ Mike Elk. “Teachers’ instinct is to serve, to protect and to love. And you saw that in full view in Newtown this week.”

For Weingarten, the way to prevent additional mass shootings is not through arming teachers. Unions have historically not taken a position on gun issues, but in the wake of the Newtown massacre, AFT is now taking up support for gun control. 

Wisconsin Site of Two Mass Shootings in 2012, Walker Given NRA Award

Two of the last six mass shootings in the United States have occurred in Wisconsin.

On August 5, a white supremacist killed six people and wounded four others at a Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, then killed himself during a shootout with police. 

On October 21, a man entered a day spa in Brookfield and murdered three women, one of whom was his wife, and wounded four others before taking his own life. The killer had a domestic violence restraining order against him, and despite Wisconsin law prohibiting domestic abusers from purchasing guns, he avoided a background check by purchasing the gun from a private dealer.

But the state’s Republican Attorney General does not think Wisconsin has a gun problem, and Walker and the Republican-controlled state legislature have marched lockstep with the gun manufacturer’s lobby. 

In 2011, Walker signed into law a version of the Florida-style “Stand Your Ground” bill implicated in the Trayvon Martin tragedy as well as a new concealed-carry law that allows the public to carry guns inside the State Capitol, even while restrictive access rules prohibit cameras or signs. Legislators are now allowed to bring guns onto the Assembly and Senate floors. 

In April, the National Rifle Association (NRA) gave Walker the Harlon B. Carter Legislative Achievement Award, honoring him for passing the “Stand Your Ground” and concealed carry laws. As the Center for Media and Democracy has reported, both laws echo American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) “model” legislation, and ALEC has been one of the key avenues by which the NRA has exerted its influence over state law and policy.

ALEC is also an organization through which corporate interests have pushed anti-union legislation, most recently in Michigan, where legislators copied the ALEC Right to Work Act almost word-for-word


Tea Party Nation head Judson Phillips has been pushing out articles from his fellow TPN activists attacking teachers over the Sandy Hook shooting and is now finally out with a post of his own blaming teachers for the massacre. He said teachers’ unions are a “focus of evil” as they have turned the school into a “target rich environments for some lunatic or terrorist,” urging the government to ban unions and “break up the public school system.”

h/t: Brian Tashman at RWW