Monday, March 28, 2011

Public Enemy Number One

That's you and me. How did we become such a dire threat? Tough to say.

Right here if seniority protections are not stripped from NYC teachers, the quality of teaching will plummet and lives of our children will be ruined. This does not apply to teachers in other parts of the state, for whom quality does not matter. Nor does it apply to police or firefighters, because it makes no difference what the quality of their services may be. This is what Mayor Bloomberg wants us to believe, and this is why he's set up groups like ERN and E4E, to relentlessly push this illogical fairy tale.

In Wisconsin, of course, they need to save money.

There is no fiscal crisis in Wisconsin.  Governor Walker reports a nearly 130 million dollar deficit, but doesn't report that he caused it by giving a 140 million dollar tax break to large multinational corporations here in Wisconsin (e.g. WalMart). 

But even after the teacher unions offered large givebacks, Walker insisted he needed to preclude collective bargaining, and has been pushing through his programs, laws and courts be damned.

In Florida they're changing teacher evaluations in a manner described as all stick and no carrot. Why anyone wants to teach there is a mystery to me. In fact, in states all over the country, newly elected teabagger governors are going after teachers in a big way. Even in liberal New York, Governor Andy Cuomo is is posing draconian education cuts while refusing to extend taxes on New York's Richest.

You see, people who make 250K, or even 1 million a year, can't pay any more taxes. But teachers need to take pay freezes, benefit cuts, and lower pensions. And kids, particularly poorer kids, need to make do with fewer services, fewer courses, fewer teachers, and larger class sizes. In fact, in Missouri, just around the centennial of the Triangle Shirtwaist disaster, they're contemplating the rebirth of child labor.

How did we become so gullible, so apathetic, so docile as to accept moving back the clock a hundred years or more? Wisconsin appears to have awakened, and there are signs of life elsewhere.

But any country that's made its teachers the enemy has a questionable future at best. What can we do to move away from this paradigm, move away from oligarchy, and reclaim our city, state, and country?
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