Tag Archives: attacks on public education

Five U.S. Senators Are Perfect Koch Servants, Americans For Prosperity Reports | ThinkProgress

11 Jan

Five senators and 39 representatives received a perfect 100 percent score from the Koch brothers’ Astroturf group Americans For Prosperity for the first half of the 112th Congress. AFP judged Congress on their votes to protect the Koch brothers’ right-wing petrochemical empire on such issues as the repeal of President Obama’s new health care law, preempting EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases, Chairman Paul Ryan’s budget to end Medicare, ending ethanol subsidies, several Congressional Review Act resolutions of disapproval to overturn new regulations and the fiscal year 2012 appropriations bills. Continue reading

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ALEC Politicians – Corporations writing our laws – SourceWatch

1 Jan

ALEC is not a lobby; it is not a front group. It is much more powerful than that. Through ALEC, behind closed doors, corporations hand state legislators the changes to the law they desire that directly benefit their bottom line.

Along with legislators, corporations have membership in ALEC. Corporations sit on all nine ALEC task forces and vote with legislators to approve “model” bills. They have their own corporate governing board which meets jointly with the legislative board. (ALEC says that corporations do not vote on the board.) They fund almost all of ALEC’s operations.

Participating legislators, overwhelmingly conservative Republicans, then bring those proposals home and introduce them in statehouses across the land as their own brilliant ideas and important public policy innovations—without disclosing that corporations crafted and voted on the bills. ALEC boasts that it has over 1,000 of these bills introduced by legislative members every year, with one in every five of them enacted into law. Continue reading

New Hampshire Republicans seek to gut public education – NashuaTelegraph.com

29 Dec

In November the Concord Monitor published Bill Duncan’s excellent essay “Gutting public schools, one bad bill at a time.” Citing bills undermining public education, like lowering the dropout age, ending compulsory attendance, eliminating kindergarten altogether, Duncan warns that Republicans in the New Hampshire House of Representatives intend “to dismantle public education – or ‘government schools,’ as they call them – and replace them with private, religious or home schools.”

He is correct. As a member of the House Education Committee, I can attest that Mr. Duncan has described with great accuracy exactly what is happening. CACR8, a retained bill amending the constitution to allow the state to remove itself from funding public schools and at the same time fund religious schools will be voted on when the House reopens on Jan. 3 and 4. Continue reading

A Teacher on Teaching: America’s Teachers Stink Up the Place Again!

28 Dec

I’m a former teacher. So it’s hard to have to face up to the facts about how bad America’s teachers really are. In fact, it can be downright depressing. Time for another glass of spiked egg nog, I guess.

Even the liberal New York Times piled on recently, in a story titled “Death Knell for the Lecture: Technology as a Passport to Personalized Education.”

The focus of the story was actually the promise of internet teaching–but to make internet teaching sound like the solution you had to first identify the problem. In the first paragraph, then, we learned that among developed countries the United States ranked 55th in quality of elementary math and science education, 20th in high school completion rate and 27th in the fraction of college students receiving undergraduate degrees in science or engineering.

Bad schools and bad teaching–obviously. Continue reading

How Can the World’s Richest Country Let Children Go Hungry? 6 Tricks Corporate Elites Use to Hoard All the Wealth | | AlterNet

26 Dec

America is filthy rich, but the money is hidden away by the 1 percent while poverty rises all around.

“Squeezed by rising living costs, a record number of Americans, nearly 1 in 2, have fallen into poverty or are scraping by on earnings that classify them as low income.”

“Study: 1 in 5 American children lives in poverty.”

“In 2010, 17.2 million households, 14.5 percent of households (approximately one in seven), were food insecure, the highest number ever recorded in the United States.”

What’s going on here? Aren’t we the richest country on earth?

Day in and day out we are told that if the government doesn’t tighten its belt, we’re all headed for debtor’s prison. Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are under attack. State budgets are in disarray. Teachers and firemen are getting canned. Public services are slashed. This is the new America and we’d better get used to it, the pundits proclaim. You would think we were a poor country. Continue reading

Teach for America: Liberal mission helps conservative agenda – The Answer Sheet – The Washington Post

26 Dec

This was written by Andrew Hartman, who teaches history at Illinois State University. He is the author of Education and the Cold War: The Battle for the American School. This was originally published at jacobinmag.com. It is long but well worth your time.

The job of the American public school teacher has never been so thankless. In states across America, cutting teacher salaries and pensions has become the most popular method for fixing budget deficits. New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie’s deep cuts, for instance, force teachers to contribute a much higher percentage of their salaries to their pensions, while doubling or even tripling their health care contributions and eliminating cost-of-living adjustments. Republican governors Scott Walker of Wisconsin and John Kasich of Ohio took their austerity measures a step further by seeking to abolish collective bargaining rights for teachers. Such legislation is possible because the image of teachers has never been so degraded, especially of unionized teachers, whom Christie routinely refers to as “thugs” and “bullies.” Continue reading

From the men who gave us the pension killer SB512, tax breaks for firing workers. « Fred Klonsky

23 Dec

Tom Cross is the Illinois House GOP leader.

Ty Fahner is the head of the Civic Committee. He represents corporate public policy issues in Illinois. The two of them tagged teamed with Democratic Speaker Mike Madigan to try to pass the pension killing bill SB512 this past session. They failed.

Then came the massive tax breaks for the CME group, which runs the Chicago Board of Trade and the Mercantile Exchange, and for Sears. That one passed.

Next from the mind of Tom Cross and his friends is a bill that would cut the corporate tax, already the lowest effective tax rate in the Midwest, for corporations that fire workers.

The bill, HB 3918 would lower the corporate income tax by 0.25 percent anytime the Illinois unemployment rate increases by .3 percent.

Ty Fahner complained that Illinois is too broke to pay teachers what is owed to us.

When corporations get tax rewards for laying off workers, we’ll all be broke.

Well, not Ty and his friends, of course.

via From the men who gave us the pension killer SB512, tax breaks for firing workers. « Fred Klonsky.

Teach for America: The Hidden Curriculum of Liberal Do-Gooders

23 Dec

he job of the American public school teacher has never been so thankless. In states across America, cutting teacher salaries and pensions has become the most popular method for fixing budget deficits. New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie’s deep cuts, for instance, force teachers to contribute a much higher percentage of their salaries to their pensions, while doubling or even tripling their health care contributions and eliminating cost-of-living adjustments. Republican Governors Scott Walker of Wisconsin and John Kasich of Ohio took their austerity measures a step further by abolishing collective bargaining rights for teachers. Such legislation is possible because the image of teachers has never been so degraded, especially of unionized teachers, whom Christie routinely refers to as “thugs” and “bullies.” Continue reading

Wisconsin SB 95 | ForwardSeeking

12 Dec

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Wisconsin comes in second in the nation in terms of dollars cut per student in 2012. Only New Mexico is cutting its spending per student more than Wisconsin. In 2012, state support for Wisconsin students will be $635 less per pupil than it was in 2011, which is a 10% cut. In the 2011-13 budget, thanks to Governor Walker and his Republican cronies, state aid to public schools was cut $792 million.

Some might argue that during these economic times there is no other choice but to cut spending, even if it means putting the education of children in peril. However, that isn’t true. Our whole country is faced with difficult decisions thanks to the malfeasance of a few, but nine states not only did not try to balance their budgets on the backs of innocent children, they actually increased spending for education (Wyoming, Rhode Island, Oregon, Massachusetts, Vermont, North Dakota, South Carolina, Maryland and West Virginia). Ten other states managed to limit their education cuts to less than two percent (Mississippi, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Alaska, Connecticut, Maine, Nevada, Tennessee, Virginia, Louisiana).

It’s bad enough that our Republican legislators and state executive don’t value education (Governor Walker didn’t manage to complete college; he’s not qualified to be a substitute teacher in his own state), but then they turn around and want to punish teachers for poor student outcomes. SB 95 would allow student scores on the WKCE (Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Examination) to be used as a reason to fire, discipline or not renew the contract of teachers. It would also allow school districts to increase class sizes in grades 2 and 3, despite a previous commitment to class size reduction for these grade levels. Continue reading

Mayor Michael Bloomberg: If I Had It My Way I’d Dump Half Of New York City’s Teachers « CBS New York

12 Dec

It’s a jaw-dropping prescription for fixing city schools.

“Professor” Michael Bloomberg said Thursday he would accomplish more with less by slashing the teaching staff in half — and that’s just the beginning, reports CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer.

He looked like he was from another planet when he dressed as a hippie for a political show, but the mayor’s blueprint for fixing city schools have some asking “what was he smoking?”

“Education is very much, I’ve always thought, just like the real estate business. Real estate business, there are three things that matter: location, location, location is the old joke,” Bloomberg said. “Well in education, it is: quality of teacher, quality of teacher, quality of teacher. And I would, if I had the ability – which nobody does really – to just design a system and say, ‘ex cathedra, this is what we’re going to do,’ you would cut the number of teachers in half, but you would double the compensation of them and you would weed out all the bad ones and just have good teachers. And double the class size with a better teacher is a good deal for the students.”

That’s right. The mayor told people at a Massachusetts Institute of Technology conference it would be far better to run city schools with way fewer people. And, by the way, on the billionaire’s perfect planet that would mean cramming more kids into each classroom. Continue reading

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