Teachers at Thanksgiving: We WILL Survive

Active and retired teachers at Thanksgiving this year need reassurance that we will survive. And, we WILL survive.

With all of the viciousness aimed at teachers, we continue to refuse to be willing victims.

The successes that we have had recently are a sign that the times are changing in our favor. Let’s savor one.

The latest example has been in Illinois where pension cutting bill, SB1, has been declared unconstitutional by the Honorable John Belz of the 7th Judicial Circuit Court. (Pension attacks are attempts at wage theft from active teachers and pillage of earned compensation from retired teachers.)

After years of blogging with friends Fred Klonsky, Glen Brown and John Dillon, it is wonderful to pass along the news that all active and retired Illinois teachers have this court victory to be thankful for. So, let’s celebrate with a song and a few laughs!

Happy Thanksgiving!



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Teacher Wage Theft: Active and Retired Teachers Are Being Victimized by Billionaires

Why are we ignoring the massive ($100 billion) wage theft that is happening right now? Active and retired teachers are the main targets. Specific funds are targeted by specific billionaires and financial service industry investors.

Active teachers seem to accept paying into funds that are guaranteed to make money for fund managers while nearly guaranteeing massive losses for teachers. Retirees seem to be in denial. Non-teachers don’t want to believe they will be next. Where is the rage? Where are the vast crowds opposing this grand theft?

CCSS, school closings, teacher evaluations linked to tests designed to fail children, rigged pension theft, media parrots, Pearson, Gates, Koch, Broad, Walton and corporate elected puppets (Democrapublicans) are lined up for a coup unlike anything seen in American history. It’s all about the money and power.

David Sirota reports in Salon, Wall Street’s dispiriting new victory at your retirement’s expense.

paid salarya

From Illinois to Massachusetts, voters effectively placed more than $100 billion worth of public pension investments under the control of executives-turned-politicians whose firms profit by managing state pension money.”

“In Illinois, Democratic incumbent Pat Quinn was defeated by Republican challenger Bruce Rauner, who made his fortune as an executive at a financial firm called GTCR, which rakes in fees from pension investments. Rauner — who retains an ownership stake in at least 15 separate GTCR entities… will now be fully in charge of his state’s pension system.”

“In Rhode Island, venture capitalist Gina Raimondo, a Democrat, defeated Republican Allan Fung. Raimondo retains an ownership stake in a firm that manages funds from Rhode Island’s $7 billion pension system.”

“In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, handily defeated his Republican opponent, Rob Astorino, after raising millions of dollars from the finance industry. The New York legislature is set to send Cuomo a bill that would permit the New York state and city pension funds to move an additional $7 billion into hedge funds, private equity and other high-fee “alternative” investments.”

“In Massachusetts, Republican Charlie Baker appeared early Wednesday to have secured a narrow victory over Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley. Baker was on the board of mutual funds managed by a financial firm that has also managed funds from Massachusetts’ $53 billion pension system.”

“’Why have all pension reform candidates concluded that workers’ retirement benefits must be harshly cut, but, on the other hand, fees to Wall Street be exponentially increased?’ said (Former Securities and Exchange Commission attorney Edward) Siedle, who has published a series of forensic reports critical of politicians shifting ever more pension money to Wall Street. ‘The answer, of course, is that more money than ever is being spent by billionaires to support a public pension Wall Street feeding frenzy.’”





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How can the Illinois Education Association be improved from within?

How can the Illinois Education Association be improved from within?

By voting for representatives who speak for our best interests. The ballot for the election of IEA-Retired representatives has been sent to members. Retirees are asked to vote for no more than 20 candidates to represent them and do more than nod at bad decisions that hurt us all.

Please vote for:

005 Fred Klonsky

007 Mary Richie

010 John Dillon

017 Jack Tucker

033 Glen Brown

Yes, there are other excellent candidates, but these five are specifically dedicated to -

“We are running as candidates to represent the IEA Retired at the 2015 IEA Representative Assembly. We share the following beliefs. (This is not a criticism of others who are running as delegates. We strongly believe in a diversity of views).

1. We believe the IEA leadership needs to improve communication with its membership.
2. We believe the IEA leadership should be more transparent in its decision-making process.
3. We believe retirees should have a stronger voice (more representation) in the decision-making process of the Association.
4. We believe our Association should take a more significant and active role in defending our schools, our members, and our students from corporate school reform schemes such as charter schools, vouchers, Common Core, Race to the Top and teacher evaluations based on student test scores.
5. We believe in defending our contractual and constitutional pension benefits and rights without apologies, concessions or compromise.”

- Jack Tucker, Mary Richie, Glen Brown, John Dillon and Fred Klonsky

IEA-R ballot

Please share this with any friends and associates who are eligible to vote.

A small number can make a huge difference.




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Record number of evil candidates elected. Teacher hating, school bashing, CCSS loving…

Why was a record number of truly evil people elected during this last election?

This is not mere opinion. This is fact. Evil people in elected office.

When both major political parties run corporate sponsored candidates, candidates openly described as the lesser-of-two-evils, evil candidates must be elected.

Since both of the two major party candidates trash talked the evil qualities of the other candidate, choice was an illusion.

Malloy pension theft

Which pile of goat poop is worse? The one on the road or the one on the street? Choose the one you believe is the lesser-of-two-evil-stench-producing piles. Bizarre.

Notice how many people actually said, “Well, I guess I’ll just hold my nose and vote for ____ ____.”

These newly elected officials bash schools that have become worse in the last ten years under the CCSS curriculum compliant, high stakes testing regime that drains money from public schools as multinational investors line their pockets with American tax dollars marked for public education. Public education taxes going to people who keep their profits in other countries in order to avoid paying American taxes.

If the CCSS compliant curriculum is so wonderful, if the schools that have been subjected to it for over a decade (miracle schools with miracle results) are failing, why are the miracle schools worsening according to the same people? This is crazy talk.

It does, however, make billions of dollars for privatized charter schools, testing and text publishing corporations, mandated online programs requiring a constantly new form of technology that needs constant dollar increases that all combine to enrich multinational investors.

Notice that arbitrarily firing teachers in large batches and closing schools by the dozens have not helped. Notice the witch hunts for bad teachers has been a fiasco.

Rauner candidate

Especially notice that meeting the needs of children have not been mentioned.

Data is all important. Data examined for arbitrary and shifting meaning. Data is not human. Corporations are not human. Children are human.

Who and where are the evil people elected to continue the abuse of children for multinational profit?

Scott 1

Rick Scott in Florida. (The CEO who headed a corporation guilty of the greatest fraud in Medicare history.)

Bruce Rauner in Illinois. (The billionaire investor in healthcare facilities for special needs people that provided inhumane living conditions – conditions that would have closed down dog kennels.)

Dan Malloy in Connecticut. (The captain of corruption that would take hundreds of pages to enumerate.)

Well, you continue the list yourself.

Name those you realize are truly evil with no question about it. People who belong in jail – not in public office.

Until third party candidates or well educated, well informed specific major party candidates are sought early and supported vociferously, the evil of child abuse for profit will continue. The cycle of voter choice-illusion (the lesser-of-two-evils serving megacorporate interests rather than our common good) will continue until people sicken and fail to protect themselves and their children from destructive plutocrats. Unless. Unless we all refuse to be willing victims.

Stop falling for the hold-your-nose, lesser-of-two-evils scam that is based in propaganda and corruption. Democrapublicans posing as whatever each brand used to be. Get active now!

Our children need you. Communities, teachers, and American public schools need you.



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Bait-and-Switch: NBC, the Network for Public Education, Diane Ravitch, and Jitu Brown

From Anthony Cody and the Network for Public Education:

NBC has decided NOT to do their own Education Nation. PUBLIC Education Nation has taken over that space — But we need your help!
Tomorrow is an experiment — an attempt to reach a new audience, a wider audience. An effort to create our own media, since we are often frozen out by mainstream media. As usual we lack much of a promotional budget and must rely on one another, and those who are sympathetic, to spread the word.
Could you help us by sharing the word via your blogs, Twitter, and Facebook?

PublicEducationNation 10-11-14

Susan DuFresne has volunteered to lead our social media campaign. Please retweet and share the memes and messages she posts.

Share the newsletter — one just went out featuring Diane and Jitu.

Share the links to the live video feed, especially tomorrow morning Saturday, October 11th from 9:00 am to noon:  http://www.schoolhouselive.org/

Please join us online if you cannot make it in person, and tweet the event using the hashtag ‪#‎PublicEdNation‬

Thank you!!

Anthony Cody

(By the way, this bait-and-switch by NBC is obviously a corporate decision influenced by NBC’s own boards, trustees and advertisers. To present “both” sides gives equal weight and validity to corporate education reform, CCSS and all the rest of the $$$$$$$$$$$$$$ involved. The .01% will have 50% of the attention. So what! We can win only by fighting for what we know is right. Please be part of the fight; refuse to be willing victims. -Ken Previti)



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“I must do right by the children… I refuse to administer the PARCC.”

“I must do right by the children…”

Do we realize that saving our children requires that we ALL “must do right by the children”?

I know Peggy Robertson, a mom and a Colorado teacher who helped found United Opt Out.

I have more respect for her as a human being and as a teacher than I have for any of the bought-and-paid-for politicians who shill for the profit making CCSS (Yes, it is private. Yes, it was created to make profits.) and all of the profit making multinational fund managers and “philanthropic” foundation investors who are part of the coup against sane levels of valid testing.

Bill Gates once famously and publicly stated that it would take another ten years to see if the present “experiment” will work. Since his own children are not being experimented on, he avoids mentioning the direct and indirect profit taking he makes via his “philanthropic” and tax free foundation. Other billionaires are also profit taking in the guise of improving education via rigor and expensive testing. Next year, as reported in The Nation, predictions of $780 billion in market value is placed on K-12 education.

Our children are being experimented on – for profit.

There is one way to stop this mass form of child abuse – refuse, opt-out.

Say, “NO MORE.” Refuse to continue the cycle

Peggy Robertson in her blog Peg with Pen:
“I take objection to the fact that our children are being used as guinea pigs in an experiment to implement standards which were never field tested, are copyrighted,  were not created using a democratic process, and were not created with the input of classroom teachers. Furthermore, the Common Core standards have placed unrealistic expectations on our youngest learners, many who now view themselves as failures, because they are unable to meet the developmentally inappropriate expectations set by the Common Core standards.
I must do right by the children of Colorado and the teachers of Colorado, therefore, I refuse to administer the PARCC.”

Peggy Robertson - I refuse

As reported by Valerie Strauss in the Washington Post:
“Robertson explains why she has decided to refuse to administer what is known as the PARCC test, a Common Core-aligned test being designed by one of two multi-state consortia that are working with $360 million in federal funds to create new standardized exams. PARCC refers to the official name of the consortium, which is the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers.”

Since No Child Left Behind began in 2001 and Race to the Top added a $4.3 billion federal “reward” to compliant states and their compliant politicians, the results for our children have been abysmal. The 9 year old in 2001 is 22 years old today and probably underemployed and underpaid. Today’s 9 year old will be 19 years old before Gates and other investors will examine how successful this “experiment” has been for children. Since he and other billionaires will have received unimaginable levels of profit from this “private-public partnership” via CCSS aligned high stakes testing, Gates and the others might simply want to drain even more from what was once the promise of America – the futures of our children.

There is a point where capitalism and profits overreach sanity and become child abuse. We have reached that point.We must end CCSS aligned testing.



Thank you, Peggy, for your decisive action.






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Testing Boycott Success: CCSS aligned Measure of English Language Arts Performance Assessment ELIMINATED in NYC

Opt Out News: The International High School of Prospect Heights in Brooklyn testing boycott led the City of New York to drop the mandated tests for the entire city school system. The Measure of English Language Arts Performance Assessment aligned to Common Core State Standards (CCSS) is ended.

Official statement: “For 2014-2015 we have eliminated this mandate.”

international hs prospect heights NY

For more specifics, read HERE from Fred Klonsky’s blog.

Jessica Klonsky, a teacher at the school, posted:
You know that test the teachers at my school refused to give last year? The city isn’t going to make any students take it this year. Coincidence? I think not.”


Celebrate. Organize. Refuse the tests. Opt out. Boycott. Stay determined and strong.

It worked in the largest city in the United States. You can make it work in YOUR school district.

The United Opt Out site has sample letters and information for parents and others in each state.



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Even PBS has reached the “enough is enough” point – “The Roosevelts”

Even PBS which relies on corporate sponsorship and the whims of politicians for its daily existence has reached the “enough is enough” point.

In Ken Burns’ “The Roosevelts” the reality of what Democrats and Republicans are versus what they were screams for our attention.

“Over the past thirty years, Presidents and Congresses have become so subservient to corporations and Wall Street that the two major political parties are all but indistinguishable.
One of the reasons why our politics have become so volatile and opinion polls show over and over again that our people have nothing but contempt for the whole political class in Washington is the widespread recognition that the plutocrats, CEOs, and Wall Street bankers have effectively seized our governing institutions.”
- Joseph A. Palermo in the Huffington Post.


By the way, PBS and the large networks, such as ABC, present education news “thanks to the generous support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.” The foundation’s own experts are called upon to show “both sides” of the issue the foundation itself framed.

This is the tax-free foundation that invests its funds in corporate education reform, CCSS, high stakes testing, online programming, computerized everything, paper and online textbooks, privatized charters paid for with public education taxes to profit private multinational investors and its own private foundation… “Public Private Partnerships.” The abuse goes on and on with the Walton Family, Eli Broad, Bloomberg, Koch Industries, and other plutocrats with tax free foundations that give away millions for philanthropy while making billions in tax free foundations under their own control.


Even the PBS of 2014 knows when enough is enough. We are in danger of being America in name only. America ®




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Patrick Walsh reviews “A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who in the Implosion of American Public Education” by Mercedes K. Schneider

When the superb news source, truthdig.com, posts a superb review by a superb reviewer of a superb book by a superb author, the sharing of all becomes important to us all.

Patrick Walsh reviews “A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who in the Implosion of American Education.”

“Mercedes K. Schneider sets out to answer those questions. She does so with fierce intelligence, wit, an ocean of unearthed facts, and a vengeance. Schneider, who in very short order has established herself as one of the nation’s most profound and prolific education bloggers, has taught for 19 years in many grades in four states and is currently teaching high school English in St. Tammany Parish, La.

You can sense her pride in her profession in every word she writes, as well as her righteous rage toward those who would defile it. Schneider is also a Ph.D. in applied statistics and research methods, which, for people who like to bury information and obscure reality with numbers, makes her a force to be reckoned with.”

Today’s corporate education reform is not about education reform or testing. It’s all about the money.

This book needs to be read and to be shared – one shattering chapter at a time – with everyone who wonders what the hell this greed grab is doing to our children and the future of our society. High stakes testing? CCSS? Opt-Out? Teaching as a profession? The educational and emotional abuse of our children? The apathy of doing nothing as media propaganda intentionally confuses people about actual education issues by framing the arguments with confusing distractors? Schneider’s book addresses these and other questions as it exposes the billionaires, hedge funds, villainthropic foundations profiting by these tax-free investments, and the toadies in out legislatures that feed these abusive aims with tax dollars and mandates for our children.

Read my own initial May 9, 2014 review HERE. Read all the reviews on Amazon HERE.



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Diane Ravitch in Harper’s Magazine

Diane Ravitch expresses more in two sentences than most people can state in two chapters.

Harper's - Diane Ravitch

In the October issue of Harper’s Magazine a cover story, “PBS Self-Destructs: and what it means to viewers like you” by Eugenia Williamson, describes the full history of the takeover of Public Broadcasting by the Koch Brothers, Bloomberg, the Gates Foundation and other billionaire owned and controlled corporations and their tax-free foundations.

Diane Ravitch was asked about the lack of even-handed news coverage regarding the so-called education reform movement, in particular PBS coverage of charter schools which are invested in by these same billionaires and their tax-free foundations. (Yes, these tax-free foundations all have hedge funds and investments that make enormous profits that stay within the foundations. The appointed or board elected officers and trustees are paid enormous amounts of money and other compensation.)

“‘We’ve had public schools since the 1820’s,’ Ravitch added, ‘and we’ve never had a moment in history where the U.S. Department of Education and the big philanthropists together wanted to replace our public education system with privately managed schools. It’s a whole new thing! And PBS doesn’t seem interested.'”

The article is an eye-opening historical overview and a brilliant presentation of the corporatization of America, especially its public news and information media, by a handful of billionaires.

Also, Diane Ravitch’s latest book, Reign of Error: the hoax of the privatization movement and the danger to America’s public schools, explains even more in well researched detail.

reign of error



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