I am not a cloud over anyone’s head. I am a human being targeted as a victim by a political thug.

Q – What kind of powerful person would decree that billions of earned dollars will be handed over to the financial industry and be free of oversight and declared exempt from ethics rules and regulations?

A – Rahm Emanuel, Democratic Mayor of Chicago. However, “what kind of person” still needs to be answered by the reader.

Why would he do this?

Mayor Emanuel’s own Ethics Commission openly revealed that the decision was designed “to attempt to ensure that no ethical clouds are hanging over any candidate’s head.” (Any candidate means Rahm.)

cloud over my head

My initial response is to remind everyone that I am not a cloud over Rahm’s political head. My income and the incomes of thousands of retirees are needed to pay for food, clothing and other necessities. We, as hard-working human beings, earned it and saved it over decades.

“Brushing off the lawmakers’ complaint about Emanuel’s donations from the financial industry, the mayor’s ethics commission issued a nonbinding legal opinion this week arguing that Chicago’s pension systems are ‘not agencies or departments of the city, and thus firms that contract with them are not doing or seeking to do business with the city.’ The commission said its interpretation means financial firms’ business with Chicago pension funds should be considered exempt from city ethics laws.”

The full story is even sleazier than these excerpts reveal. So, when the reader answers “what kind of person would decree” this insane degree of thuggery, please keep “sleazier” in mind as you decide.

Read David Sirota’s full article in International Business Times.

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Posted in betrayal, civic duty, corruption, government, greed, legislative pillage, pensions, propaganda, wage theft | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The use and abuse of adjuncts explained…

The use and abuse of adjuncts as day-laborers is presented in Glen Brown’s blog which quotes Alex Keefe, Annie Russell and Amanda Shepard. As often happens, the microcosm in Vermont is the perfect example of what is happening nationwide.

Unionizing Vermont Adjuncts Reflect a National Trend by Alex Keefe, Annie Russell and Amanda Shepard

adjuncts 7
“Within the past three weeks, adjunct professors at three educational institutions in Vermont have announced that they’ve voted to organize unions.

“Adjuncts at St. Michael’s College, Burlington College and Champlain College all say they want better pay, more benefits and stable working conditions.

“Peter Hans Matthews, a labor economist at Middlebury College, says that the recent events reflect a trend that reaches far beyond Vermont. ‘The face of education has changed drastically in the past half century,’ Matthews explains. ‘Fifty years ago, 70 percent of all academics were tenured or tenured tracked. At this point … 19 to 20 percent are tenured or tenured tracked. The rest are adjuncts who work under a variety of conditions, often not particularly hospitable.’

“Matthews, who is a tenured professor, sees the rising use of adjunct professors as a result of institutions responding to pressure to keep costs down. He worries that this is affecting the quality of education throughout the country. ‘Adjuncts simply don’t have time to spend in contact with students; they don’t have the time to supervise research; they don’t have the time really to inspire students, which is why they went into teaching in the first place,” Matthews says.

“This isn’t necessarily the fault of the adjunct professors, Matthew thinks, but simply a result of poor working conditions, low pay and lack of time. ‘The median pay for a three-credit course for adjuncts across the United States is about $3,000, which means that even if you teach [a heavy load] you would be making an amount that still qualifies you for food stamps in most of the United States,’ Matthews says.

“As for the working conditions, Matthews explains that most adjunct professors don’t have health insurance and often don’t feel like they are part of the faculty. ‘They have very little say in curriculum; they have very little say in votes and they often don’t have offices. In some cases, they work out of cars as they scramble from class to class,’ says Matthews.

“So, can colleges in Vermont afford to meet the needs of adjunct professors? Matthews thinks so. He explains that it’s important to look at institutions nearby that have gone through the same experience. ‘Tufts University [in Boston] underwent a recent campaign and I think both sides would argue that they found common ground. And it wasn’t just about compensation, but also about working conditions and professional support. We’re often talking about accommodations that aren’t necessarily hugely expensive,’ Matthew says. But he points out that it is clear monetary compensation for adjuncts needs to go up as well.”

Unionizing Vermont Adjuncts Reflect a National Trend

Commentary:

“Memories of the university as a citadel of democratic learning have been replaced by a university eager to define itself largely as an adjunct of corporate power. Civic freedom has been reduced to the notion of consumption, education has been reduced to a form of training, and agency has been narrowed to the consumer logic of choice legitimated by a narrow belief in defining one’s goals almost entirely around self-interests rather than shared responsibilities of democratic sociability…” (Henry A. Giroux, Higher Education and the New Brutalism).

“We are the stoop laborers of higher education: adjunct professors. As colleges and universities rev for the fall semester, the stony exploitation of the adjunct faculty continues, providing cheap labor for America’s campuses, from small community colleges to knowledge factories with 40,000 students” (Colman McCarthy, Adjunct professors fight for crumbs on campus).
University and College Adjunct Faculty Remuneration per Course in Illinois:
Medians compared
All Illinois: $2,700
All 4-year private not-for-profit: $3,000

Pay is based on three-credit courses.

A Sample:

Augustana College: $4,500 per course
Aurora University: $2,400 – $4,000 per course
Benedictine University: $2,250 – $2,750 per course
College of DuPage: $2,440 – $4,880 per course
Columbia College: $1,400 – $6,360 per course

DePaul University: $3,000 – $6,000 per course
Dominican University: $2,300 – $3,200 per course
Eastern Illinois University: $3,000 – $7,667 per course
Elgin Community College: $2,118 – $3,360 per course
Elmhurst College: $3,000 – $3,227 per course

Illinois Institute of Technology: $3,000 – $9,500 per course
Illinois State University: $3,500 – $6,400 per course
Illinois Wesleyan University: $3,000 per course
Lake Forest College: $6,500 per course
Lewis University: $2,700 – $3,000 per course

Loyola University: $4,000 – $12,000 per course
North Central College: $780 – $2,460 per course
Northeastern Illinois University: $5,475 per course
Northern Illinois University: $2,700 – $5,000 per course
North Park University: $2,680 -$4,800 per course

Northwestern University: $3,000 – $8,586 per course
Oakton Community College: $2,000 – $6,000 per course
Roosevelt University: $2,100 – $4,750 per course
Southern Illinois University: $3,000 – $6,000 per course
University of Chicago: $3,500 – $5,000 per course

University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign: $2,625 – $8,400 per course
University of Illinois at Chicago: $4,000 – $8,000 per course
University of Illinois at Springfield: $5,500 per course
Waubonsee Community College: $1,875 – $2,100 per course
Wheaton College: $2,775 – $3,700 per course

The above information is from The Adjunct Project.
Ending the Exploitation of and the Reliance on a Contingent Academic Labor System in Higher Education from the American Federation of Teachers:

WHEREAS, American colleges and universities have long been recognized as world leaders in higher education, both in instruction and in research; and

WHEREAS, access to and success in higher education are more important than ever to ensure that students reach their fullest potential and that the United States continues to develop as a just society, a vibrant democracy and an engine of opportunity; and

WHEREAS, frontline academic workers—college faculty—are central to the mission of providing a high-quality education to students; and

WHEREAS, this promise demands that students be taught and mentored by faculty and staff who are well-prepared, professionally supported and guaranteed a voice in academic decisions; and

WHEREAS, this reputation is being undermined by the systematic dismantling of the structures that contributed to the system’s efficacy and quality; and

WHEREAS, the promise of higher education is under attack by those who demand and pursue austerity, polarization, privatization and de-professionalization; and

WHEREAS, state appropriations for higher education per full-time enrollment have been cut to their lowest level in 25 years, an ongoing disinvestment that disproportionately impacts institutions serving those who have traditionally been excluded from higher education; and

WHEREAS, state disinvestment has also led to an instructional workforce in which more than 75 percent of available jobs are contingent; and

WHEREAS, the exclusion of three-quarters of faculty from permanence, shared governance and the full protection of academic freedom weakens the entire college or university, and the weakening of shared governance has contributed to the undermining of academic quality as administrators attempt to seize control of the curriculum from faculty; and

WHEREAS, contingent faculty face precarious employment situations from term to term; uncertainty about their prospects for being rehired, despite rehiring being a repetitive process that occurs every term; uncertainty or late notifications about what courses they will be teaching when they are rehired, which affect their ability to prepare for these courses; and

WHEREAS, while contingent faculty are among the most talented and dedicated of educators, their working conditions affect student learning conditions: Contingent faculty’s lack of access to equitable pay and benefits, lack of job security, lack of access to professional supports, and lack of access to a voice in their workplace and profession place constraints on the quality of the education they are providing; and

WHEREAS, polling data show that almost half of contingent faculty would prefer full-time, tenure-track positions; and

WHEREAS, the institutional practice of relying on a system of labor that exploits a large number of precarious faculty undermines the educational and civic missions of our colleges and universities; and

WHEREAS, if we are to reclaim the promise of higher education and provide a high-quality college experience for all students, we must begin with a fundamental reinvestment in the higher education instructional staff, and we must demand an end to the reliance on an underpaid and under supported contingent workforce:

RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers reaffirm its commitment to ending the practice of contingent employment as the normalized state of employment for faculty, as well as to improving the lives of contingent faculty by ending the rank exploitation of the majority of the higher education instructional workforce; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will work with contingent faculty to organize local unions for the purpose of collective bargaining in order to improve their lives and working conditions; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will conduct research on the impact of contingency on the lives of faculty, on academic institutions, on students and on the economy—where low wages not only prevent workers from contributing to economic growth, but also promote taxpayer subsidization for services that are accessible to those employed in stable jobs; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will continue to work with its affiliates and promote their successes in collective bargaining to bring about the elimination of contingency within the instructional workforce by advocating for faculty currently in contingent positions and all new faculty entering the workforce to achieve:

Pay equity, including compensation for class preparation time and office hours;

Equitable access to employee benefits;

Access to and compensation for opportunities for professional development;

Meaningful job security, including job security comparable to tenure, long-term academic appointment contracts or certificates of continuing employment, which guarantee the presumption of rehiring;

Opportunities for career advancement, including conversion opportunities to full-time, tenure-track positions;

Enforceable standards for the timely notification of teaching appointments;

Protections for academic freedom, regardless of tenure status; and

Full inclusion in and compensation for participation in all institutional work, including service, research and governance; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will continue to work with and mobilize its affiliates to increase funding for instruction and student support services and ensure that these funds are used to build a stable and professional faculty corps and expand access for contingent faculty to healthcare, retirement and unemployment insurance; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will continue to engage in collective action with our affiliates, our members, our students and our communities to build a movement that educates people about the impact of contingency on the lives of teachers and their students and on the quality of education and effectively advocates for high-quality, student-centered public colleges and universities that are grounded by a stable, professional instructional workforce; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will work toward these ends in unity with students, parents, faculty, staff and the community to reclaim the promise of higher education.

(2014) from AFT Resolutions

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RETIREES: You are nothing. (Congress and the media ignore you during a major crisis.)

How are YOU affected by the CRomnibus Bill?

Retirees need not answer.

10 million retirees will be hurt. The 1,600 pages devoted to legalizing pension pillage alone could not have been read by any member of Congress in the short time allotted prior to a vote. Thousands of phone calls, emails, petitions, letters from American citizens to U.S. Senators and Representatives obviously mean nothing. Major media such as CNN, the New York Times, etc. and even lesser sources of significance such as Politico.com don’t even mention the section of the bill which destroys basic legal pension protections established over decades. They don’t mention our attempts and actions to retain our financial and contractual rights.

Major media news coverage in 2014 is corporate media information and propaganda. YOU and your best interests are counted only as data targeted for you as consumers. YOU have been monetized in the name of the “free” market – whatever that means today.

pawn

YOU? You are not even a pawn, not a trading chip, not a footnote in an article on a back page of paper or online coverage.

Even nothing gets a nod or a shrug because of its position as a part of memory that cannot quite be brought to mind at the moment. That makes YOU less than nothing.

That means that your earned compensation (pension) as your life savings and your ability to survive with that contracted and legally assured income mean nothing. Cut it. Reduce it. Destroy it with a new law by lawmakers that reverses all previous law on the subject of pensions. You worked for it. You earned it. The new law makes cuts for specious reasons or no actual reasons. Today’s lawmakers threw you under the bus.

YOU are collateral damage – targeted, but considered expendable.

“In order to save the pension fund, we had to destroy the pension fund.”

YOU are less than nothing. You remember when America was more than a group of corporate toadies disguised as legislators. You remember when we had rights that are now referred to as privileges to be denied to you for the whim of the moment or less.

That was then; this is now.

A corporate coup of historic proportions has take place. Now, we must either remain in denial or refuse to be willing victims.

Because I am a human being, I choose to be humane in my treatment of others. I further choose to fight the immense corporate and financial forces and the billionaire plutocrats behind those forces. I refuse to be a willing victim.

Please organize locally to refuse victimization. Now is the time to plan. Please act where and when possible.

YOU are a human being with human rights. Please remain so in spite of this setback.

Refuse to be willing victims.

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“Sacrifice the earnings of the elderly, or the government will be shut down.” – U.S. Legislators

The legislative extortion this year is horrible for the elderly, but not all of the elderly. Extortionists divide-and-conquer by promising some that they will not be hurt – this time. Who will be paid what they are legally entitled to since it is their own earned compensation (pension)?

Who won’t be hurt? Retired engineers? Retired lawyers? Retired power company employees? Retired college professors? Who…? No one knows. The bill is too long to be read and studied by the tomorrow’s arbitrary vote deadline. All of the details have not been disclosed. The vague wording will open the door for other groups and corporations who want to claim underfunding.

United we stand, divided we fall.

corrupt politicians throw elderly scapegoats under the bus

Those who have already earned their compensation are the scapegoats, but they are old and cannot organize and gather legal defenses quickly enough to avert disaster. Besides, lawmakers make and unmake laws to suit the needs of their corporate donors.

UNDERFUNDED means that legislators chose to take money legally required for one thing and gave it to something else. The “something else” often refers to legislation that favors and profits those same personal and corporate donors who finance the campaign funds for those same legislators. This used to be called corruption. By the way, this is bipartisan extortion; corruption, greed and cruelty are bipartisan.

This massive omnibus bill makes elderly retirees “collateral damage” in the ongoing attacks against the middle class which is fast becoming the lower class because of plutocratic demands to amass wealth at the expense of everyone else.

IMG_6794A

What can YOU do? Call your own Senators and Representatives by using your zip code HERE.
Tell them to stop this human sacrifice and legislative extortion.

For more known details about this horrific state of affairs, read the following sources.

“Dubbed the ‘cromnibus,’ the package includes 11 appropriations bills to fund most of the government through September 2015, and tacks on a continuing resolution to fund the Department of Homeland Security through February 27… The bill was posted after 8 p.m. Tuesday. Passage of the bill would avert a shutdown…  The delayed release of the funding bill will push the lame-duck schedule back, with lawmakers itching to wrap up work for the year and return home for the holidays.” - read more from The Hill.

“Congress is hatching a lame-duck sneak attack to keep multi-employer pensions solvent by cutting current retirees’ pensions. The precise language of this last-minute political deal still has not been made public, as elected officials are working behind closed doors. There have been no public meetings or opportunity for public comment. The goals by those behind this appear to involve adding such a provision in the last week of the Congress on an unamendable must-pass government funding bill.” read more from NJ.com.

“About a quarter of the roughly 40 million workers who participate in a traditional “defined benefit” plan—those that pay retirees a guaranteed check every month—are covered by these multiemployer plans.” read more from CNBC.com.

“For the first time, the benefits of current retirees could be severely cut, part of an effort to save some of the nation’s most distressed pension plans. The change would alter 40 years of federal law and could affect millions of workers, many of them part of a shrinking corps of middle-income employees.” read more from the Washington Post.

“After all, with many high-fee Wall Street firms failing to deliver returns that beat low-fee stock index funds, investors like Warren Buffett are saying public pension systems shouldn’t be plowing retirement savings into hedge funds, private equity and other so-called “alternative investments.” That is an especially powerful argument when such investments keep allowing the financial industry to charge ever-higher fees in near-total secrecy. read more by David Sirota on Bill Moyer’s site.

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Cuts for 10 Million American Retirees to be Legalized. Where is the RAGE?

“Thee Congressional proposal to deal with a supposed crisis in worker pensions by allowing trustees to slash the benefits of already-retired workers to shreds is heading toward enactment.”

Where is the rage?

pension cuts legalized at federal level

“Its details were secret. They still are. Reps. John Kline, R-Minn, and George Miller, D-Martinez–the chairman and ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, told reporters on a conference call late Tuesday that the measure is being passed over to the House Rules Committee, which will move it as an amendment to an omnibus spending bill, as early as Wednesday. Senate action will follow, presumably no later than Thursday, when Congress departs for vacation.”

Secret details performed by our own federal legislators to be included in a lame-duck session as part of a giant omnibus bill within 24 hours prior to the legislative Christmas Break. Vote for the whole bill or everyone else will suffer for it.

Where is the rage?

This is a hostage crisis. The terrorists are the U.S. Congressional bullies. “Allow the elderly to be pillaged and starved from their legal earned compensation which has been stolen and used for other things (This is what “underfunded” means.) or we will hurt everyone in the nation.”

Where is the rage?

Sen. Kline and grinning woman

By the way, get that grinning woman standing behind Senator Kline out of camera view. The lives of 10 million people forced into destitution is not a situation calling for grinning Senate supporters and family members mugging for the camera.

“At this moment the pension bill appears to be a legislative juggernaut. “The last ‘I’ has been dotted and the last ‘T’ has been crossed,” Kline said. He and Miller presented their achievement as a huge boon for workers and retirees, but it could be a disaster instead. No one will know until they see the language, but that may not happen until it’s too late.”

Where is the rage?

This is not a democratic process enacted by the Congress of the wealthiest nation in the world. This is autocratic theft and pillage that will cause unimaginable suffering to the elderly who are not all sitting in golf carts or gathered at a local restaurant wearing their flannel shirts and union caps complaining about their latest unnecessary surgeries. These are not all retired bad teachers (scapegoats for nearly everything today) whose greed is supposedly destroying the fabric of the nation. Human beings are being victimized and made to suffer.

Where is the rage?

Read the entire article in the L.A. Times, That awful Congressional plan to allow pension cuts heads for enactment. (Notice that the article is from the Business section. Lots of money will become available to hedge fund managers and pension attorneys, and-and-and…) Google the topic for other sources.

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FIRST THEY CAME FOR THE TEACHERS, AND I DIDN’T SPEAK UP.

Active and retired teachers are being told about the local problems that are making it necessary to steal their wages* and raid their earned compensation (pensions**).

What we are being told are lies, distortions, untruths, spun data, etc. meant to shame teachers and distract every citizen who believes the propaganda.

Like all well-made lies, some basic original truths are used to spin the added misinformation and disinformation that become the lies.

The biggest lie of all is that this massive pillage and theft is local.
Here are a few glaring proofs on state levels.

The final example proves the national (probably multinational) level of this massive theft via paid and/or propagandized legislators.

The Chief Legal Counsel to the President of the Illinois Senate actually explained in writing the theft procedure to President John Cullerton. It was publicly printed on the official state site but has subsequently disappeared from that source. Glen Brown reprints it for us HERE.
“Anyone following the pension-reform debate knows Illinois has long diverted the money needed to properly fund its pension systems to avoid tax increases, cuts in public services or both. Some may not admit it, but they know it. They also know this practice is the primary reason why the systems are under water.”

Kentucky, Rhode Island and Illinois teachers as well as all of their citizens are not even allowed to know the details of what Wall Street firms and international hedge funds and managers are doing with each state’s pension fund investments. David Sirota explains HERE in the International Business Times.
“You have no right to know the details of the investments being made with your retirement savings. That was the crux of the declaration issued by state officials to a high school history teacher when he asked to see the terms of the agreements between the Kentucky Teachers’ Retirement System and the Wall Street firms that are managing the system’s money on behalf of him, his colleagues and thousands of retirees.”

Fred Klonsky posts TRS’s Jon Bauman’s attempt at discrediting David Sirota’s report. The discrediting attempt doesn’t work, and it actually explains an even more bizarre undercurrent HERE.
“The TRS and ISBI denied requests for lists of hedge funds contained within hedge fund of fund investments in which they invested. The FOIA is not crystal clear on hedge funds as with private equity, but I believe the pension systems are on firm legal ground.”

The West Virginia legislature has also slashed the veins of its citizen employees. The spin is the usual austerity blather with tough-decision-but-somebody-has-to-make-it overtones. Read the West Virginia Education Association report HERE.
“‘Nobody wants any cuts. Nobody wants any changes, but we do have a fiscal responsibility to the taxpayers and to the government of West Virginia to balance this budget and keep it balanced and that’s what we’re doing,’ said Ted Cheatham, PEIA director.
As difficult as those decisions are, I think we’ve done a reasonable job of structuring a plan to do that.’”

One man in one city, Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago, has a choke hold on billions of dollars of its public employee’s pension funds , including teacher pension funds. (This is not a republican versus democrat issue. Corruption is bipartisan.) Multiply that by cities and states across America, and the immense amounts of money awaiting the plunderers become evident.

Yes, teachers are the primary target, the scapegoats, for all of the damage done by the political theft and corruption that is strangling people who work for a living. But the target area has widened and continues to widen.

teachersfirst

The federal government’s members of the House Education and the Workforce Committee seems to be the giant bully of bullies – especially during the lame-duck session of Congress. The Los Angeles Times reports it HERE.
“Passing legislation on a tight deadline–especially a bogus deadline–is invariably a formula for serious mischief. That’s what’s happening with a proposal to deal with a supposed crisis in worker pensions by allowing trustees to slash the pensions of already-retired workers to shreds.
(They) are trying to slip the measure into an omnibus spending bill to be passed before Dec. 11, when Congress leaves Washington for its vacation recess. Pension advocates are up in arms, not least because the measure’s actual language hasn’t been made public. (It’s still in negotiation, committee staffers say.) What is known is that it would change four decades of labor law in a way that mostly affects the oldest and most vulnerable workers.”

Teachers. This state. That state. This fund. That fund.
Who is targeted, and how many separate funds can be attacked.
Over 1,400 separate funds are at stake. Separate funds.

The Washington Post explains it HERE.
Congress could soon allow the benefits of current retirees to be cut as part of an agreement to address the fiscal distress confronting some of the nation’s 1,400 multi-employer pension plans.
‘This proposal would devastate retirees and their surviving spouses,’ said Karen Friedman,
executive vice president of the Pension Rights Center, a nonprofit group. ‘The proposal would also torpedo basic protections of the federal private pension law . . . that states that once benefits are earned, they can’t be cut back.’”

The news bites will show smiling legislators returning home to spend a quiet holiday with their families to open beautifully wrapped gifts under the tree in their warm, spacious and secure homes. What these legislators are doing to us is morally wrong, and inhumane.

Your legislator wishes you a Merry Christmas. Really?
The behavior of legislators is the reality. The wage theft and pension raiding by our own government officials on local, state and national levels must be reversed, or we shall all suffer for the profits of a very few who already possess immense wealth, wealth nearly beyond imagination.

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*(Money taken from every paycheck is nearly guaranteed not to exist in its entirety when pension time arrives, or required retirement savings are shorted by having fees taken out upfront, along the way, and at the end.)

**(Contracted, deferred earnings have been given to other people, corporations and funds in spite of contractual and legal obligations.)

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DATA IS NOT TRUTH

The National Education Association is holding its National Council of Urban Education Associations. The Big Data Wars are evident there, but we all need to question data every day in every way.

Simply because a few billionaires seek to monetize children, end public education, and make immense profits for themselves, the “Data Driven” claims of truth need not be believed or acted upon. The NEA uses the interpretations of data from the think tanks, organizations and foundations paid for by these same billionaires.

Big Data not Truth

Read Why Big Data Is Not Truth in the New York Times.
“That promise of certainty has been a hallmark of the technology industry for decades. With Big Data, however, there are even more hazards, some human and some inherent in the technology.”

Read the definition of Data in Technology in the dictionary.
Data on its own has no meaning, only when interpreted by some kind of data processing system does it take on meaning and become information.”

Read Why Nobody Said Big Data is Truth in project-disco.org.
“Big data is at the end of the day just a tool. Like all other tools, its results should be examined for efficacy and desired outcomes.”

Read The Hypocrisy of Data Drivers in Anthony Cody’s blog.
The question that comes to mind is: ‘If these officials really cared about data, wouldn’t they make sure that the data they are using to drive their decisions is accurate?’
And this then leads me to a whole series of similar questions about the mighty agents of reform that are disrupting and transforming our schools from coast to coast and beyond. To be clear, the proponents of reform I am describing include the Gates Foundation, the Federal Department of Education, and their allies and grant recipients around the nation.”

Read Project Will Increase Activism Through Big Data Analytics as a press release of the NEA quoted on catalist.us/news.
“The National Education Association (NEA) announced today that it is working with Catalist and NGP VAN to develop its ‘Activist Continuum.’  This project uses Catalist ‘Big Data’ analytics to synthesize and understand NEA member activity across a range of civic activities, and make that understanding of each member actionable in the NGP VAN software via features developed for the NEA.  This will allow the NEA to interact with members at the correct level of engagement, on the issues they care about, leading to more action and greater efficiency.”

Read Our Children Are Not Bill Gates Guinea Pigs! by Myra Blackmon via Diane Ravitch’s blog.
Where is the moral outrage? Why on earth do we accept what Bill Gates says and deny the research that tells us not only that data-driven, test-based education doesn’t work, but tells us what can best help our children learn?”

Gates collects data

Put them together and the massive attack on public education, its children and teachers. and the total reshaping of class training and education becomes evident.

Stop the corporate takeover of the futures of America’s children, our children. Opt-out of all state mandated testing; dry up the data at its source. Public-private partnerships (privatization) is the corporate euphemism for a political coup of historic scope.

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Posted in betrayal, CCSS, government, greed, privatization, propaganda, public education, testing, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

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.’”

WHERE IS THE RAGE?

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Posted in betrayal, corruption, government, lies, pensions, poverty, propaganda, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

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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