Saturday, December 25, 2010

Keeping UP With the Susans (Ohanian)

I know, we are call overwhelmed with incoming info and I can't post it fast enough. And I'm sure in this holiday with people busy and travelling a lot of these posts will go by the wayside. But I am trying to space these at least a couple of hours apart.

Susan Ohanian produces such quality summaries almost every day, we just can't stop reading. In fact you almost don't have to read the entire article she links too. Her comments are so right on. Here is a selection from her last post but you can get the links to all of it at Norms Notes.

By the way, as you read you will be reminded of how deep this attack on public ed, teachers and the unions go while the only institution that could provide any sort of defense - in our case the UFT/AFT - lies helpless, wiggling on the fence. The only defense is to capture the union. The main focus of organizing our fellow teachers must first be to give them the kind of info Susan and others are providing to try to get the rank and file move to action - remember the mantra of this blog is: EDUCATE, ORGANIZE, MOBILIZE! 

The UFT will continue to miseducate and obfuscate the issues so we have to do it ourselves. That was the idea behind the founding of Education Notes in 1996. It gave me a way to communicate with the people who attended the DA even when so many were Unity. But I made enough contacts with others there to help create ICE in time for the 2004 elections after the New Action sellout to Randi (perhaps her most brilliant move) and we then helped create GEM in 2009, which is not a caucus but an organization geared toward defending public education. I've seen the base expand but is is a slow and sometimes painful process. Still, we are all reaching such a limited audience and need a broader base, which can only be provided if we can activate more people - even if just to pass on the info.

Read John Powers' missive giving you some blueprints for action in the post below this. Create your own list of contacts in your school and beyond. Pick the stuff that appeals to you and send it out. Even once a week. Here's the link to John's comprehensive list of ideas:  What Can You Do To Counter the Unity Spin? Suggestions from John Powers

First, a couple of cartoons:

The Attack on  American Education
Robert Reich, with  info from Death of the Liberal
Wall Street Pit

A must read.

Ohanian Comment: Putting these cuts to education in context, in Death of the Liberal Class, Chris Hedges points out that US military spending consumes half of all discretionary spending. And the corporations that profit from permanent war need us to be afraid. Fear keeps us penned in like livestock.
The collapse of liberalism, whether in imperial Russia, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Weimar Germany, the former Yugoslavia, or the US, was intimately tied to the rise of a culture of permanent war.
The US spends $4 billion a month in Afghanistan, where there are 1.5 corporate employees for every member of the military.

The education agenda is a war agenda.
Logic and facts won't stop big money. We need a revolution.

Reader Comment: From the article: We should experiment with vouchers whose worth is inversely related to family income.

Yeah, just what I need from people with zero background in education: more experiments on my kids.

Funds misuse, nepotism feared at Texas charter schools

Ohanian Comment: There's gold in those charter hills in Texas.
I like this justification for charter school nepotism: "relatives bring a unique passion." I wonder how many of the public realize that these are their taxpayer dollars. Here's what deregulation brings:
Sherwin Allen's family, including two brothers, his wife and their two children, earned nearly $700,000 last year working for Children First Academy campuses in Dallas and Houston, according to Texas Education Agency records. The campuses enrolled a total of 750 students.
I repeat: These are taxpayer dollars.

Rick Scott's School Plan for Scoundrels
Stephanie Mencimer
Mother Jones

Conservatives have been plotting for years to blow up the public school system. Now, Florida's incoming governor Rick Scott is poised to light the fuse.

The Florida governor-elect's proposal to overhaul the state education system is a fraudster's dream.

Reader Comment: If Jeb Bush carpet-bagged his way to fame and fortune raping the fortunes of the state of Florida and insuring his brother was crowned President of the United States while destroying what was at one time the most progressive public school system in the south: well, wait. This is Jeb Bush on steroids.

Yes, Rick Scott is a criminal ... he is already talking about what he is going to do with Medicare and Medicaid (means testing) and reducing reimbursement rates while concurrently the state is opening up a for-profit medical school (yes, in six short weeks you too can be a teacher, preacher ...) ...
Rick Scott is a dangerous man, having him as Gov. will destroy what is left of our beautiful home, a tropical paradise now lost. . . . 

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