Retired Teachers: Collateral Damage – chemotherapy

(From a dear friend and fellow retired teacher)

Dear Friends,

I just wanted you all to know how [IL Gov. Bruce] Rauner’s unconstitutional act of not providing a signed budget has affected me at my most vulnerable.   As you all know, my cancer returned this past summer and I am forced to undergo more chemotherapy which is an exhausting ordeal.  I was informed this week that my doctor could no longer treat me, despite my paying my premiums and Cigna approving 100% payment the State of Illinois could no longer make payments and has informed my doctor’s office that it would take over a year to process his invoices.  I will now have to drive 37 miles one way for treatment at Rush University which is still accepting my insurance.  With winter approaching and the exhaustion following the treatments, I will have to once again impose on friends or The American Cancer Society to get me to Chicago and back home again.

Something needs to be done about a governor holding the legislature and its citizens hostage so that he can destroy collective bargaining rights and tromp on workers’ rights.  I thank you all for your continued advocacy and willingness to fight for those of us who cannot do so.

With gratitude,
(Name withheld by request)


Because of a political power battle between Gov. Rauner (R) and 30+ year Speaker of the House Madigan (D), the state is not paying its bills and has no signed budget. The governor has decided to hold innocent people hostage by refusing to sign a budget which includes people under state healthcare contracts.

The immediate results are savage cuts to special education children and their families, homeless people, and my friend who has spent her entire adult life as a career teacher dedicated to serving the best interests of the children under her care. My friend must also place her mother in a nursing home because she is no longer strong enough to care for her.

Yes, there are many more people suffering as both billionaire Gov. Rauner and multimillionaire  Speaker Madigan continue immense tax cuts for their billionaire cronies and donors. Tax cuts for corporate wealth continue and actual grants of tax money pour out to corporate interests. The state government may actually be closed down. The political battle is potentially deadly – especially for the innocent victims who are the collateral damage of this War of Corruption (corruption called government) in Illinois.

These political torturers have created the possibility of a public revolt, a revolt that could easily get out of control. The suffering is spreading, and most people are either affected or know someone who is.

The War of Threats must end.
The War of Abuse and Neglect must end.
The War of Suffering must end.
The War of Corruption must end.

Addendum: For those who do not know, Illinois teachers were required to pay 9.4% of their gross income into the state’s pension fund, and teachers were not allowed to pay into Social Security or Medicare with their own salaries. Active and retired teachers (from salary and pension checks) were also required to pay additional money for their state healthcare.
In spite of what the Chicago Tribune claims, even the president of the IL Senate admits teacher pension funds are not even close to being a catastrophic problem. The IL Supreme Court also stated this in a ruling against pension theft attempts.


Posted in betrayal, civic duty, corruption, government, greed, legislative pillage, pensions, public education | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Hillary/Bernie Political Kabuki Theater Has Been Scripted Just As High Stakes Testing Has

Why must the Democratic Presidential Primary Debate be scripted like the teacher preparation of children for the mandated high stakes tests? The arguments and limits are pre-framed for a targeted consumer.

This will not be a debate. Corporate education reformers who contribute huge amounts of money to candidates and political lobbyists will not be revealed by name. Teachers will continue to be evaluated and fired as children are labeled and monetized within the framework created by billionaire corporate education investors. The faux-debate will also have the preordained candidate who says whatever it takes to get elected. She will be “challenged” by those who are actually there to attack the popular candidate who dares to speak truth to power, Bernie Sanders, who will be painted as the cartoon stereotype of the crabby old man.

Children, parents, teachers and everybody deserves better than this political Kabuki Theater of the Absurd which will take place tonight.

The script has been pre-written. Only the “performers” will be important.

Hillary Bernie Kabuki Debate.001


Posted in corporate education reform, corruption, government, legislative pillage, privatization, propaganda, public education, testing | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

President Obama helps every Republican Presidential candidate by appointing John King

“By appointing John King, the most unpopular education commissioner in the history of New York State, as Acting Secretary of Education, President Obama just gave a shot in the arm to every Republican Presidential candidate who proposes to abolish the US Department of Education.”
– Professor Mark Naison

President Obama and John King.001



Posted in Common Core CCSS, corporate education reform, government, privatization, public education, testing | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Fourteen Year-Old School Children, Rosa Parks, Donald Trump, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Planned Parenthood

When presidential candidates train for debates, each of their teams does research for months; the candidates are then coached, rehearsed and prepared for weeks on end. This is basic homework for their debate preparation.

Parks Trump Rubio Cruz.001

Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz all chose Rosa Parks to be on the ten dollar bill as a sign of honor and respect.

After a full night of demonizing Planned Parenthood, this choice showed little if any preparation on the part of all of the candidates. Their statements were bizarre. Rosa Parks was a board member of Planned Parenthood. A simple Google search is sufficient to discover this not-so-secret historical fact. Simple homework.

As a retired language arts teacher with over three decades of teaching experience, I never encountered a single fourteen year-old who gave a presentation so inept. Because I taught all ability levels and listened to thousands of presentations prepared with all degrees of homework (or lack of it), this is saying a great deal. I never encountered a student who didn’t grasp the very basics of his or her own presentation.

Each republican candidate wishes to become the President of the United States of America. The winner will choose a Secretary of Education who will, in conjunction with the President, decide the direction of both public and privatized charter education for American children.

Of course it is obvious that these presidential candidates did not do their homework.


The debates are not debates; the performances put on are mockeries of true debates. The arrogance, lies, distortions and pandering made for a performance that mocked the entire process of free elections. These arrogant candidates said whatever their incredibly wealthy plutocratic campaign donors expect them to say. Shock the audience; stir them up.

The people in the TV audience  were lectured by spin doctor interpreters as to what was meant and who scored what points for the game, and it was a game. Propaganda commercials will flow with money provided by super wealthy campaign donors, their PACs and Super PACs. It’s all about the $$$$$$$$$$$$$.

As long as mega-corporations with multinational investors are legally considered American people with rights and without accountability or responsibility for the common good, the performances will continue. Performances disguised as debates. Corruption as government. Money as freedom. Plutocracy as democracy. Puppets as leaders.

If I had had the republican candidates as fourteen year-old students in my classes, they would have failed their presentations. The reasons for the failing grades are obvious.

In this corrupted environment, reason is not a factor. The winner in this debate/game will arbitrarily determine which schools, teachers, and students will fail.

Whoever is elected will determine the destiny of our children.



Posted in betrayal, civic duty, corruption, government, greed, ignorance, lies, propaganda | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Illinois Retired Teachers: Are the details regarding our Medicare Advantage PPO misleading?

“You have the ability to see any Medicare provider without the constraints of a network.”
Then why are there networks? In my opinion the above statement is misleading, especially when the details are closely examined.

“Your health insurance does not cover what its says is covers. You, personally, must pay whatever amount that out-of-network hospital wishes to charge you.”
– My own paraphrase

Unfortunately, I am forced to paraphrase what I have in (emailed) writing from the State of Illinois Retiree Medicare Advantage Program provided by the State of Illinois UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage PPO.

“When any out-of-network provider is not willing to bill UnitedHealthcare directly, the retiree can be billed for any amounts above the Medicare Allowable amounts. The retiree is financially responsible for whatever charges the provider designates as billable.”
– My own paraphrase

Why must this be my paraphrased message?
The bottom half of the email response I received from UnitedHealthcare has the following at the bottom of the page.

“This e-mail, including attachments, may include confidential and/or
proprietary information, and may be used only by the person or entity
to which it is addressed. If the reader of this e-mail is not the intended
recipient or his or her authorized agent, the reader is hereby notified
that any dissemination, distribution or copying of this e-mail is
prohibited. If you have received this e-mail in error, please notify the sender by replying to this message and delete this e-mail immediately.”

I choose not to martyr myself as a whistle blower by stating the actual words of the email. I will disclose nothing that would allow me to be sued or prosecuted.

However, here is the specific written information given to all retired teachers as stated in the actual “Your Retiree Healthcare Decision Guide” for employees who need the more expensive PPO coverage. (None of this is about being taken to the nearest hospital as an emergency – such as an accident or a heart attack.)

TRAIL Booklet

“With the UHC PPO, you will not have the restrictions of out-of-network coverage. So even though UHC has a network of providers, if you receive care from a provider not in the UHC network (i.e., an out-of-network-provider), the PPO plan pays those providers the same amount Medicare would have paid; you pay the same out-of-pocket percentage as if you had received in-network care.” page 15

Also on page 15, posted as a jpeg above, is the following:

“You must pay the bill and submit a request for reimbursement to UHC for payment. UHC will then reimburse you the Medicare allowable amount, minus any deductible or coinsurance for which you are responsible.” (bold face is mine)

You are responsible for the rest, whatever the total may be.

When the bill goes to you for whatever an out-of-network charges you, you are financially responsible for the bill.
Remember that an out-of-network provider has no obligation to charge the same as an in-network provider. That is why they are out-of-network. The same out-of-pocket percentage of a larger amount could be a hell of a lot of money, money you accepted as a personal debt.

Above is a scan of the actual program.”Without the constraints of a network” is not totally accurate in my opinion.

Is this misleading, a lie, misinformation, a scam, disinformation, fraud, an egregious error, political-corporate collusion, theft, or any one of the above? Only a lawyer could figure out which it is. Because of the corruption called government in Illinois, many of us no longer trust the goodwill of the state legislature.

Part 2: —————–

After days of spending hours on the phone with local hospitals and the employees and supervisors of the UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage PPO, I was told repeatedly that additional information was not available to me, an employee covered by the plan, in writing.
A secret-public healthcare plan?
Finally, one supervisor emailed me the statement below.
“When any out-of-network provider is not willing to bill UnitedHealthcare directly, the retiree can be billed for any amounts above the Medicare Allowable. The retiree is financially responsible for whatever charges the provider designates as billable.”
– My own slightly paraphrased account for reasons mentioned above

This is what harms, financially and emotionally, retirees across America. Information distributed by UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage PPO, chosen by Illinois politicians, can break retired teachers who believe the broadly stated language in this plan without seeking further details which are difficult to obtain.
What other secret-public healthcare language exists in a longer list of detailed billing information? Why is this information not readily available to all potential members prior to their making a momentous decision?

Please get this information out to all of the Illinois retired teachers in your contact lists. Retirees must demand to be given factual, detailed, and unobscured information regarding their selection for coverage.

(I offer one suggestion for all Illinois retirees regardless of what state you may personally reside in today. Stay in-network. The pressure of unexpected bills and personal responsibility for debt should not be risked while you are undergoing serious illness and/or surgery.)



Posted in pensions | Tagged | 6 Comments

Hungry school children, Rahm, hunger strikers, and so-called compromise

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) is playing a very sick power game. He claims to offer a public high school at Dyett for a year, but not the one the community wants and needs. His PR department has presented this to the media as a  so-called compromise.

The corporate media controlled by the billionaires’ private club, the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago, will support the so-called compromise. This has been Rahm’s usual method-of-operation for years. Corporate media in Chicago, especially the Tribune News Media Services which includes WGN radio and television, is controlled and extreme. One of its editors recently wrote of her desires was to see a Katrina type of storm that would destroy Chicago ,except her exclusive area, and leave a wake of bodies floating outside her window.

Rahm Dyett Edict.002

Go to #FightForDyett and #WeAreDyett to understand that people have resorted to a hunger strike, intentional starvation with severe risks of health damages and death, in order to have a public high school available for their children – in the third largest city in the wealthiest country in the world. There is bitter irony in a hunger strike for children who rely on schools for free or reduced meals to keep them out of hunger.

Rahm is the face of the corruption called government in Chicago. Of course Rahm’s Chicago allows many of its corporations to pay no taxes and even gives away its citizens’ taxes as additional offerings to Rahm’s corporate campaign donors. School children be damned. Communities be damned. The hunger strikers? Starve and die. Or “compromise” and watch your children get dumped on again and again.

Rahm is playing a very sick game. To him it is a thrilling game. It’s all about a land-grab, power, and money. Yes, it’s all about the $$$$$$$$$$$$$$ to Rahm and the boys.

To the adult hunger strikers it is life or death.

To the children of working class people? Their future is being determined.


Posted in betrayal, civic duty, corporate education reform, corruption, government, greed, legislative pillage, lies, poverty, propaganda, public education | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

What to believe? Greedy teachers, a successful budget director, a warped news account, threat of a shutdown

Teacher pensions are bankrupting a state, the $30,000 per month budget consultant successfully saved the state, the legislature and governor still have no spending plan, the governor praised the consultant’s brilliant success, the consultant suddenly quits in triumph, the state faces a shut down by the governor for lack of budget funding – all in the same article in the Tribune.

Donna Arduin

This is not, unfortunately, a TV soap opera.

This what happens when corporate media propaganda disguises itself as news, as honest journalism.

This causes cognitive dissonance which causes stress and can lead to destructive behavior and damage to an individual’s mental health. On a mass delusional level, this can destroy a country’s ability to tell the difference between image and reality.

From the Chicago Tribune:
“(Illinois) Gov. Bruce Rauner’s “superstar” (Donna Arduin) $30,000-a-month budget consultant is leaving the administration as a stalemated state government continues without a spending plan…

Donna Arduin, who joined the Rauner team in early February, helped the rookie Republican governor put out his first budget proposal, which relied on $2 billion worth of savings from state worker pension cuts that never materialized and that critics said would be unconstitutional…

‘She helped engineer the elimination of an inherited $1.5 billion budget deficit without a tax increase and produced an on-time budget proposal for the governor to present barely more than one month after taking office,’ (Gov. Rauner’s budget chief Tim) Nuding said.”

(Try reading that aloud three times in a row without having your head explode.)

Arduin has worked for California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michigan Gov. John Engler, New York Gov. George Pataki and Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. And we all know what condition those state economies are in. Successes? No way!

Gov. Bruce Rauner has cut programs for state education programs, for children with autism and for other essential public services impacting seniors and disabled children. He continues to threaten to shut down the state government for lack of a spending bill. This catastrophe may occur very soon.

And the legislatively created crisis (pillage) of teacher pension funds is to blame? How bizarre is that scapegoating?

Cognitive dissonance. Mass delusions. Millions of Illinois residents are suffering.



Posted in betrayal, corruption, government, legislative pillage, lies, pensions, propaganda, public education | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

OMG: Florida Rep. Bill Posey sends hurricane preparedness email with useless, outdated link.

U.S. Rep. Bill Posey (R) of Florida’s Space Coast, as an imminent hurricane approaches, immediately sent an email to his constituents with a long outdated link that gives no storm watch information. It is useless.  (

Posey hurricane warning

It is so outdated that the link within the link that redirects Floridians to watch the storm’s progress is also dead. (“This link not available.) (

Posey emergency site links

Posey is a long time incumbent in a Republican district that assures his re-election for as long as the present district keeps its configuration. Posey supports privatization, public-private partnerships for schools and other public services, that profit greatly from any crisis. His appeal to Tea Party supporters basically states that government cannot be trusted. With Posey in charge, this is a self-fulfilling prophesy.
Old. Outdated. Useless.

As I and millions of Floridians sit and await the hurricane, Posey and his ilk are responsible for keeping us safe.

God Help America. The legalized corruption called government in Florida certainly is not helping us.



Posted in betrayal, civic duty, corruption, government, greed, legislative pillage, privatization, propaganda, public education | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pearson to become the gate-keeper for student teachers in Illinois.

Ken Previti:

A foreign owned corporation (Pearson) that takes our education tax money overseas and does not pay American taxes will decide who teaches what in Illinois. Our Republican and Democrat politicians have gone mad as they dismantle public education and America.

Originally posted on Fred Klonsky:


Sandra Deines (center).

-By Sandra Deines. Sandra is a member of the Skokie Organization of Retired Educators IEA Retired and a retired Park Ridge high school teacher.

Starting this fall Pearson will be in the business of deciding who becomes a teacher in the state of Illinois. 

The Illinois State Board of Education has adopted a rule that designates Pearson’s “edTPA” as the means by which student teachers will be evaluated and granted certification. 

As the fall semester begins, all student teachers in the state will be required to pay an extra $300 (on top of the tuition they are already paying) and arrange for videotaping so that they can submit a lengthy narrative that covers the planning, execution and evaluation of a series of lessons with one of their classes as well as a ten-minute video of themselves carrying out their lesson with a class.

Student teachers are required to get…

View original 193 more words

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“If I were King in America” attends a private/public NH Education Summit that refuses attendance to a pre-approved teacher

John Kasich, the “moderate” candidate for president, hates teachers so much that he attended an Education Summit in New Hampshire that refused attendance to a pre-approved teacher who had a valid ticket. Private organization pretending to be pro-education do things like this.

Edushyster Jennifer Berkshire reports via twitter.

The Ohio governor (R), who wishes to be King, wouldn’t even allow teachers to speak to each other or be allowed a room to speak in.If I were king in America, I would abolish all teachers’ lounges, where they sit together and worry about, ‘Woe is us.'”

John Kasich

It is also important to realize that Donald Trump is a distractor to make the other republican candidates, such as Kasich and Bush, appear moderate. Of course the latest North Carolina poll shows that Trump is running neck-to-neck against Deez Nuts. (No joke, though I wish it wasn’t.)

“The new PPP poll revealed independent candidate Deez Nuts is polling at 9 percent in the Tar Heel state. Running as an independent from Wallingford, Iowa; population 197, Deez Nuts has gone viral and has a large fan base.”

The scapegoating of career teachers continues with a degree of hate mongering that is mind boggling. There is nothing funny about this.

Teachers, parents and all who hope to see America’s children advance and succeed must educate people to this hate mongering and insane scapegoating that pretends that massive numbers of rotten teachers are destroying America even as corporations dismantle schools for their own private profit. Untaxed profits from American tax dollars. Profits shipped to foreign tax havens which are not even addressed by these corporate-paid politicos.

This has to end, or America as a world leader will end.


Posted in betrayal, Common Core CCSS, corporate education reform, corruption, government, greed, legislative pillage, lies, privatization, propaganda, public education, testing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment