Posts Tagged ‘teachers’

According to a new study from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) public school teachers are paid less than their similarly educated peers. The worst states for teachers are those where the teachers have gone on strike recently. Following West Virginia’s lead, teachers in Kentucky and Oklahoma have walked out to protest dramatic cuts to investments in schools, students, and teachers, while teachers in Arizona are considering doing the same.

The new EPI report shows that striking teachers live in states with some of the largest gaps in pay between teachers and similarly educated workers in other professions. For example, while teachers nationally earn 77 cents per every dollar that other college graduates take home in weekly wages, in Arizona, teachers earn just 63 cents on the dollar. Oklahoma teachers take home 67 cents, and West Virginia teachers take home 75 cents on the dollar. And there is no state where teacher wages are equal to or better than those of other college graduates.

Meanwhile, teachers, parents and administrators and small business owners are lining up to voice their discontent because the Minneapolis School District, third largest in Minnesota, is facing a $33 million dollar shortfall, which will result in layoffs of as many as 400 teachers. Why is there a shortfall?

The city of Minneapolis provided $500 million to help fund the building of a private NFL stadium. Your taxpayer money is going to primarily help grow the profits of corporations, developers, millionaires and billionaires, and to hell with anybody who doesn’t have enough money to purchase representation in the political markets.

“The taxpayer-funded US Bank Stadium hosted its first Super Bowl last month, with billionaire real estate tycoon and Vikings owner Zygi Wilf expected to reap $200 million from the new stadium each year in personal profits. The city of Minneapolis budgeted a whopping $498 million of taxpayer money to aid in the construction of the stadium, as well as to the destruction of the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, which the new stadium replaced.

Taxpayers also will be chipping in over $7 million a year for operations and management, and do not receive discounts of any kind for funding the new facility.

Supporters of the stadium say that it spikes tourism and spending, which in turn helps the city. Many economists, however, say this spending tends to replace other local entertainment options that otherwise would have been utilized, and that city benefits for a new sports stadium are negligible, perhaps even ultimately harmful.

For a report on the Minneapolis educational crisis, click here

Click here for the EPI report.

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The idea that public school teachers need to go on strike in order to get livable wages and benefits is spreading, much to the dread of the billionaires who control both major political parties.

Early in March 2018, striking West Virginia teachers declared victory with a 5 percent raise and returned to their classrooms. Their organizing and their 13-day strike not only forced the legislature to raise their rock-bottom pay; it backed off corporate-linked education “reformers” on a host of other issues: charter schools, an anti-seniority bill, and preventing payroll deduction of union dues, and the rich who control the corporations that would benefit from these things are not happy state money went to impoverished public school teachers.

Emboldened by the success of the teachers of West Virginia, teachers in Oklahoma, Arizona, and Kentucky are now striking, sicking out, rallying, and Facebooking to push officials to raise their salaries and defend their benefits.

Teachers in Oklahoma are set to strike on April 2 if the legislature doesn’t grant a $10,000 raise for teachers and a $5,000 raise for school support staff. It’s been a decade since Oklahoma teachers got their last raise. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, pay for educators there ranks last in the country, with high school teachers averaging $42,460.

Like the case in West Virginia, Oklahoma teachers are emboldened by a shortage of qualified educators. “Teachers are fleeing the state,” said Molly Jaynes, a third-grade teacher in Oklahoma City. “You can go to Arkansas and make $15,000 more; you can go to Texas and make $20,000 more”—as did Oklahoma’s 2016 Teacher of the Year. The state issues hundreds of emergency certifications every year to anyone with a bachelor’s degree. (It should be pointed out there is a teacher shortage throughout the United States)

Arizona teachers signed up in droves for a new Facebook group, “Arizona Educators United.” Thirty thousand joined in its first 10 days. Teachers there are building a grassroots “Red for Ed” movement, spreading photos of themselves wearing red T-shirts to school every Wednesday and assembling en masse at legislative hearings at the Capitol.

The latest state to join the strike talk is Kentucky, where the fight is about pensions and funding cuts to schools. Having systematically underfunded pensions for over a decade, the legislature is now pushing to cut cost-of-living adjustments for teachers and other employees. Like teachers in 14 other states, Kentucky teachers do not collect Social Security, so they rely entirely on the state pension system.

These four states; Kentucky, Oklahoma, Arizona, and West Virginia are dominated by the Republican Party, which is controlled by billionaires. Strong labor unions can often help defeat the billionaires in state and local elections. Keeping the memberships in poverty and financially starving public education has been a political strategy, effectively waging war against children, the poor and the middle class.

On the other hands, the billionaires of the Democratic and Republican parties have to a large degree gutted the tax base of the United States by voting to export tens of millions of US jobs over the last twenty-five years in order to redistribute the massive difference between the old higher wages and benefits of tens of millions of US workers and the new poverty third world wages of the exported jobs.

Democrat politicians such as Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Ron Wyden and Earl Blumenauer have joined hands with Republicans such as George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush, Orrin Hatch, Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan and John Boehner to export those jobs, and creating the highest income and wealth inequality in US history.

On the state and local levels, the rich control contracting corporations that feed on useless public projects and services. Giving the teachers raises and higher benefits means that some public money will need to be diverted from those tax guzzling projects to the teachers, which may negatively impact the share prices of corporations.

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Why do we need so many Tomahawk cruise missiles? Because they’re profitable for the corporations of the military industrial complex, and it pushes corporate profits, dividends and share prices higher, and all at taxpayer expense. Cruise missiles also redistributes income from the 99 to the 1 percent via tax payer dollars.

However, teachers are not so profitable for Wall Street, or the corporations of the military industrial complex. Financially supporting teachers to the point where every child would be successful isn’t in the cards because it’s won’t increase corporate profits, or redistribute income from the 99 to the 1 percent. That’s precisely why our government (i.e. corrupt politicians) has decided it needs more and more cruise missiles and other costly things the world’s largest military power doesn’t need.

The United States spends more on its military than the next thirteen largest militaries in the world combined. However, if one counts the mercenaries the United States hires, such as the mercenaries of the corporation formerly known as Black Water, then the USA most likely outspends all of the nations in the world combined.

Yet Republican politicians and many Democratic politicians, such as Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden, are ardent supporters of increasing US military expenditures so that the elephant in the room (the USA) can be terrified of the loose coalition of roughly 1000 to 2000 Al Queda members (the baby mouse in the room). Why are these people such cowards?

Or are their cries of hysteria really a case of trying to instill in the American people a fear of a mouse so that the citizenry is more and more willing to redistribute taxpayer money to useless military spending?

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Since George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act (which was the business plan of McGraw-Hill, the McGraw’s being family friends with the Bush’s) was passed in 2002, testing in the United States has skyrocketed, because it’s profitable for the private publishing corporations. Before NCLB, under Bill Clinton’s Improving America’s Schools Act, the federal government  required students to take six tests total — a reading and math test in elementary, middle and high school. Under NCLB, in order to receive federal funding, schools are required to make students take 14 tests total — a reading and math test from grades 3-8 and once in high school, plus a science test in elementary, middle and high school. But some districts require even more tests.

Barack Obama’s $500 million competitive grant program Race to the Top, enacted in 2009, chiefly inspired school districts to give more tests. Amidst the recession, state budgets were hit hard, and government officials were willing to do whatever they could to receive money. Now, at least 25 states mandate one formal assessment test in kindergarten. Race to the Top’s 2011 Early Learning Challenge awarded schools that could prove their students’ “readiness” to begin school — meaning how well four-year-olds did on “entry assessments.”

In order to execute these policies that significantly expanded testing, school districts needed test providers. This, in turn, made some educational corporations very rich. Bob Schaeffer, public education director of FairTest, a nonprofit advocacy organization working to prevent the misuse of standardized testing, said he is inclined to blame politicians, rather than corporations, for the testing boom.

He said, “In a capitalist society, if there’s a market, somebody will figure out how to serve it. But the corporations reinforce the stupidity of the bad policies of politicians.”

Pearson is the largest corporation serving this testing market. Pearson is the world’s largest education company and book publisher, bringing in more than $9 billion annually.

Check out the complete story below.

8 Things You Should Know About Corporations Like Pearson that Make Huge Profits from Standardized Tests–Alternet.org

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Are Teachers Crazy Union Thugs?

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Big Oil buys politicians with that $52 billion a year in government welfare they receive. They own Senator Mitch McConnell and tons of other politicians. Much of that money also goes toward CEO pay, reimbursing already rich members of their boards for participating in meetings sometimes to the tune of $50,000 an hour, or more. The welfare these companies receive also goes toward pushing profits higher, which sends dividends surging and share prices up. This taxpayer money is also used to purchase non-elected government officials and ensures that those officials will never enforce government laws against oil monopolies, which allows oil prices to be increased whenever the big oil corporations decide in tandem to jack up prices. Yes, that $2.4 billion in government welfare buys a lot: more money for the 1 percent, government corruption at all levels and higher prices at the pump for the 99 percent. In other words, these welfare payments are used to redistribute money from the 99 to the 1 percent. That’s your taxpayer money at work. By the way, did anybody mention that teachers are overworked and underpaid? I wonder why?

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The Oregonian newspaper is the primary propaganda organ of the one percent in the state of Oregon. The newspaper reported today that the Beaverton School District is going to lay off 344 employees. The district is the third largest in the state. What is conspicuous is what the Oregonian chose not to mention; much of the tax base has been shipped overseas via free trade agreements. It’s true that most school funding in Oregon is derived from property taxes, but it’s equally true that if thousands of jobs have been shipped overseas because of free trade agreements, the people who lose those jobs can’t usually afford a house, or their property taxes. Just look at your country. Where is the housing market going? Down. That’s where.

The same thing occurs when an American based company decides to create jobs overseas, rather than here, when free trade agreements open the door to do so. The people that lose their jobs may get unemployment checks and a foreclosed house.

The Oregonian also doesn’t mention that the difference between the old higher wages here, and the new lower wages there, are pocketed by the one percent via higher corporate profits, enhanced dividends and rising share prices. That’s why the free trade agreements are an income redistribution scam. But the Oregonian staff doesn’t want you to know that. The exact same thing holds true when jobs are created overseas by US companies that normally wouldn’t occur without the free trade agreements.

The Oregonian also hides the fact that they endorse politicians such as Congressman Earl Blumenauer and Senator Ron Wall Street Wyden. Wyden has never met an income distribution trade treaty that he hasn’t liked, because his buddies at the Oregonian and on Wall Street like them. Blumenauer votes for most of them.

Apparently, the folks at the Oregonian think the sole purpose of the US economy is to enrich the one percent at the expense of everybody else. The Oregonian is the Fox News of Oregon. It is the propaganda wing of the one percent in the state. Save yourselves, your school districts, your police and other public services. Save your jobs, save your neighbors. Put the Oregonian out of business by not buying it. Boycott!

Related Stories

Beaverton School District to Lay off 344

Why Are Teacher Cut Backs Coming? Blame Free Trade Agreements

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