Posts tagged "Teachers Unions"

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

crooksandliars:

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 “teachgreat.org” 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 “Teachgreat.org” 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.

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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 Slate.com

From the 01.16.2014 edition of FNC’s The Five:

Bad idea, Dana “Bushie” Perino. 

 h/t: Jeff Bryant at AlterNet, via Salon.com

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

h/t: AlterNet.org

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


A piece posted to the Tea Party Nation website yesterday, and sent to the group’s members in an email from TPN head Judson Phillips, blamed the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut on teachers, unions, bureaucracy, and the presence of sex in popular culture. In a lengthy screed that’s essentially a round-up of every major cultural and policy grievance the American right holds with the rest of the country, author Timothy Birdnow cited concerns about the mental health of shooter Adam Lanza, the lack of spanking in schools, and the new movie “Django Unchained” — among other things — as evidence that American popular culture “has made murder, rape, mayhem, hatred, and violence ‘cool.’”

He then went on to recommend a number of interesting solutions, including a lamentation thatGeorge Zimmerman was not guarding Sandy Hook Elementary School:

Homeschool. Take away the power of the radicals in the classrooms. Makes your kids safer, too.

Back Right to Work legislation for the public sector. Teacher’s unions have helped cement much of this in place. As long as we have group think in the classrooms we will never see the end of this. […]

Work to devolve power back to the parents, the local officials, and the communities. A society that is top-down will inevitably lead to alienation of the sort we have seen here. This young man was twenty years old, and his actions were neither spurious nor random. As an FBI profiler said on television last night, he undoubtedly felt powerless and sought to remedy that. Why does a twenty year old feel powerless? He could leave his mother’s home at any time at his age. He feels powerless because he has lived in an over-bureaucratized society, one run ultimately from a far-away central location. […]

Restrict the sex in movies, television, on the internet. There is a reason why young people commit these sorts of crimes, and sex plays no small part. Their passions are eternally inflamed, and they wander the Earth with no outlet for their overstimulated glands. […]

Support the creation of local organizations to act as “neighborhood watch” for schools. Had George Zimmerman been at the front door instead of some mechanical card reader those children would still be alive. Perhaps it’s time we start asking for volunteers to protect our children. It will require security checks, but isn’t that worth it? This dovetails with the union problem; the unions will fight this measure tooth-and-nail.

This isn’t the first time Tea Party Nation has indulged in extremist outbursts. Members of the group chanted “pay for it yourself,” suggesting the uninsured should finance their own health care out of pocket, at protests during the Supreme Court hearings on Obamacare.

H/T: Jeff Spross at Think Progress

think-progress:

There you go: America’s most disgusting political ad.

It links an elementary school teacher to Jerry Sandusky.


The Orlando Sentinel reports that even the Republican incumbent, State Rep. Scott Plakon, denounced the ad as sounding “indefensible,” and called it “exhibit A” of why campaign finance reform is needed to stop anonymous groups from making such attacks. 

[A]ll the talk about we need smaller classroom size, look that’s promoted by the teachers unions to hire more teachers. … And as president I will stand up to the National Teachers Unions.

Mitt Romney obviously knows so much about education. It’s all a conspiracy theory by the unions! How many wanna bet that all five of Romney’s sons never sat in an elementary or high school classroom with 30+ other kids? (via sickeninglyliberal)

  • Mitt Romney (and his wife Ann) went to a private preparatory boarding school called the Cranbrook School in Bloomfield Hills, MI. The student to teacher ratio at this school is 8:1. The current tuition for the 2012-2013 school year is $38,900.
  • Mitt Romney’s five sons went to Belmont Hill School, a private boys school in Boston, MA. The student to teacher ratio at this school is 11:1. The current tuition for the 2012-2012 school year is $44,700.

Just some fun facts.

(via fortune-n-glory)

There you have it.

(via sickeninglyliberal)

(via recall-all-republicans)

Just weeks into the 2012-2013 school year education issues are already playing a starring role in the national conversation about America’s future. Because it’s an election year, the presidential candidates have been busy pretending there are many substantial distinctions between them on education policy (actually, the differences are arguably minimal). Meanwhile, the striking Chicago Teachers Union helped thrust teachers unions into the national spotlight, with union-buster Democrat Mayor Rahm Emanuel reminding us that, these days, Republicans and Democrats frequently converge on both education policy and labor-unfriendliness.

Lie #1: Unions are undermining the quality of education in America.

Teachers unions have gotten a bad rap in recent years, but as education professor Paul Thomas of Furman University tells AlterNet, “The anti-union message…has no basis in evidence.” In fact, Furman points out, “Union states tend to correlate with higher test scores.” As a 2010 study conducted by Albert Shanker Fellow Matthew Di Carlo found, “[T]he states in which there are no teachers covered under binding agreements score lower [on standardized assessment tests] than the states that have them… If anything, it seems that the presence of teacher contracts in a state has a positive effect on achievement” – by as much as three to five points in reading and math at varying grade levels.

Even so, Thomas doesn’t believe that high test-scores should be taken as the primary indication that union teachers are good for kids, noting that “union states tend to be less burdened by poverty while ‘right-to-work’ (non-union) states are disproportionately high-poverty” – and poverty, as we well know, has its own, profound impact on student performance.  

For these reasons among others, union presence can never be isolated as the sole relevant factor in producing higher student achievement. But teachers unions are still important to student success. Why? Most importantly, perhaps, because they fight for equality of opportunity in education by, for example, opposing attempts to resegregate American schools. One of the reasons the CTU so resolutely opposed the school closures Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Board of Education threatened was because closures have proven to have disastrous consequences for displaced students in Chicago, who are generally forced to move from one underfunded, low-performing school to another. Teachers unionsoppose such injustices because they support the rights of all children to have access to high-quality education — not just the kids whose parents can afford high property taxes. That’s a good thing for America’s education system, not a bad one.

Lie #2: Your student’s teacher has an easy and over-compensated job.

One talking point that circulated around the Chicago teachers’ strike was that public school teachers are overpaid for easy jobs with plentiful time off. This is a longstanding gem that has little basis in fact. As political scientist Corey Robin of Brooklyn College/CUNY Graduate Center writes in the Washington Post, when he was growing up his affluent childhood community was embattled every year because the community so looked down on teachers. “Teachers had opted out of the capitalist game” in the minds of local parents and the assumption, according to Robin, was “there could be only one reason for that: they were losers.”

But is teaching actually overcompensated? It’s hard to imagine how. The New York Times points out that “The average primary-school teacher in the United States earns about 67 percent of the salary of an average college-educated worker in the United States.” (And given the student debt bubble currently crippling so many young people, this is and will remain an area of real concern for recruiting future teachers.) And notably, the Times points out, the ratio of teacher pay to that of other college graduates is wider in the U.S. than in most other developed countries.

Let’s not forget, too, the very long work hours that define most teaching jobs. Former high school English teacher Carrie Rogers tells AlterNet that most of the young teachers she’s known in North Carolina “leave the profession after their second child” because of the extensive demands on their time. She says the “amount of time and effort it takes to teach effectively is [no longer possible] by the time they have two kids.” A “teacher’s salary…minus two daycare bills for the total amount of time [teachers] spend at work doesn’t work.” In many states, teacher pay falls into a lower-middle income bracket, and Rogers says teachers “never work 40 hour weeks. They spend nights grading; Saturdays and evenings at grad school and continuing [education] programs; and lunch hours monitoring cafeterias.”

Lie #3: If your child doesn’t get picked in a charter school lottery, he or she is doomed.

The popular film Waiting for ‘Superman characterizes charter schools as a silver bullet perfectly positioned to save public education — if only they could replace traditional public schools as quickly as possible. The film picks up on the consequences of social inequality, but goes a step further, presuming that traditional public schools cannot be redeemed, and charters are the last hope for education.

Lie #4: Your child will automatically be better off if your school district adopts a “school choice” assignment plan. 

One way charters often take root in communities is that they’re introduced through “school choice” plans that purport to give parents a measure of autonomy in choosing their child’s school. In some cases, this means parents are offered vouchers that can be used to transfer public school dollars to private (often religiously affiliated) schools;  in other cases, parent are asked to select two or three of their top school choices, and will be assigned to one of them. The fact that poor parents working multiple jobs might not have the capacity to fully research their options is never discussed.

If this weren’t problematic enough, “choice” can cause other headaches for parents. In Wake County, NC, parents have widely expressed outrage about the effects of their temporarily instituted school choice plan. Promoted as “convenient” for families, in practice the plan has resulted in widespreadtransportation problems that have left students stranded at schools well into the evening hours. And in Harlem last month, parents complained to The New York Times that they were not given any “high-performing” school options to choose from in their much-touted school choice plan.

Lie #5: Your student’s teacher sees your constructive involvement in your child’s education as an annoyance.

A narrative that pits parents and teachers against each other is part and parcel of the politicized rhetoric about education that you hear in the news. Educators have known for some time that parental involvement is a key component of student success. Indiana University’s Career and Postsecondary advancement centerreports that, “66 different studies came to one conclusion based on the evidence: families matter. Whether changing TV viewing habits, providing diverse readings materials around the house or volunteering at school, parents can help their children succeed as students.” But corporate reformers are actively promoting antagonistic relationships between parents and schools.

The Center for Public Education cites a 2008 study by the National Center for Education Statistics which found that parental involvement is one of the top predictors – if not the top predictor – of academic success. But common anti-teacher rhetoric has created some unproductive relationships between parents and teachers. Public school teacher Madeleine Bolden of the Atlanta area tells AlterNet that she’s noticed “parents becoming more adversarial with…teachers.” More than ever before, she says, “I have felt bashed by parents who mask either their children’s failings or their own failings by the rhetoric” of school failure. Often, she says, parents approach teachers as if “we are doing everything wrong.”  

h/t: Kristin Rawls at AlterNet