Education reform is neither. Pension reform is neither. Healthcare reform is neither. The list goes on. Reform is presently a code word that needs to be reclaimed for what reform actually is. Reform now stands for the corporate pillage of public tax money, the destruction of our social services, and the raiding of middle class financial assets.
Reform actually means to improve by updated means, and actual reform needs to be an ongoing process.
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I am a retired teacher from both the Chicago Public Schools and suburban Lyons Township H.S. who presently resides in Florida blogging primarily for the just cause of public-education-for-all and the contractual rights of deferred compensation for active and retired teachers. I believe that we must “Reclaim Reform” from the Corporate Industrial Education Complex which is attempting to dismantle public education and attempting to raid public pension (deferred income) funds for the profits of multinational investors.
I watch as the Democratic super-majority Illinois State General Assembly (both the Senate and the House of Representatives) attempt to legalize the theft of pension payments from active teachers and the pillaging of my retiree pension (earned compensation) while scapegoating me, all active teachers, unions, public schools and public schools districts for the problems which legislators themselves continue to cause due to political campaign contributions from wealthy investors, hedge fund managers, corporations and others who financially gain by privatizing schools and raiding pensions.
Because I presently live in Florida, I also witness the same things happening and the same legislation written, often word-for-word, by the Republican Tea Party governor and the super-majority Republican legislature. State after state is undergoing this nationwide collusion of legislation. Having friends and relatives who teach in other states, I am aware of the same pillage in the guise of education reform occurring there as well.
Why one more blog when so many excellent blogs exist? Our strength is not in dollars; our strength is in numbers. Networks work because of numbers. Mass information. A few of my fellow active and retired teacher friends encouraged me to add my voice to the network of networks. Please take all you can use from this blog and pass it along. Include the informational sources as well. That is the hope we have to reclaim reform.
– Ken Previti
“Starve the Beast” is a political strategy employed by neoconservatives in order to limit government spending by cutting corporate taxes and the taxes of the wealthiest in order to deprive the government of revenue in a deliberate effort to force the government to reduce and cripple social programs – thus forcing the privatization-profitization programs as the only alternatives to failed programs. This behavior is condoned, rationalized and propagandized by corporate owned legislators via corporate owned and/or controlled media sources. There is no humanity involved; destroy a public system and replace it with a profitized system that people will be forced to take as their only choice. These charters are accountable to no one; though funded with public tax money, charters are private corporations with private agendas and undisclosed profits. Privatized charters, even non-profit ones, write undisclosed contracts for private profiteers. Privatization. Profitization. Public Private Partnerships. Corporate charters. Vouchers. High stakes mandated testing. Opportunity Scholarships.
This blog supports public social services.
“There are two sides to every issue. We examine both sides equally.” – TV News
This inane, insane statement is a perfect example of propaganda based on the distortion of truth. There actually are “at least” two sides to every argument – often many, many more than two sides. (Ask anyone who has three or more children and one broken lamp.) Not all sides should be examined equally, of course. Some sides are truly negligible while other sides are even more multifaceted and complex than first meet the eye. Issues are not all arguments or opinions.
This blog attempts to show as many sides of multifaceted issues as possible.
“Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion.” Nonsense. So-called opinions not based on facts should never even enter the discussion. People totally ignorant of a subject merely spout ignorance when speaking of their opinions, feelings or beliefs about that subject. Illogical logic abounds while disguised as opinion. (His head is a rounded object. A pumpkin is a rounded object. Therefor his head is a pumpkin. Hey, I’m just sayin’. Unnatural people like him should be shot on sight to save our country.) This goofiness has no place in the ignorant and propagandized opinions spouted in our media as reforms.
This blog attempts to present substantiated opinions based on reality.
“Public-private partnership” is a euphemism for handing public tax money to corporate and private profit-makers, such as corporate charter schools and highly profitable testing companies. It is the pillage of public property and taxes by individual people, foundations and corporations for their own amassing of immense wealth at public expense. It was called privatization, and it continues to be profitization. In schools this requires the dehumanization of children by monetizing them. This horrific behavior is rationalized by data collection as the interpretation of the date is interpreted by the profiteers who collect both data and profit. Because data is not wisdom, this interpretation for profit leads only to corporate/foundation profit.
“Villainthropists” are the billionaire villains who paint themselves as altruistic philanthropists. The sponsoring of everything from curing measles to supporting public radio and television programs to naming theaters and public area pavilions after themselves is done in the name of their foundations. The foundations, in turn, are allowed to 1) make profits, 2) be tax free (or nearly so), and 3) receive even more tax-based profits in the forms of grants and tax incentives. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is the largest and has the friendliest public relations motto and press release imagery. In 2012 alone the Gates Foundation gave away hundreds of millions of dollars as it profited by over $9 billion. Even local politicos have created their own foundations, usually tax free, that allow their families and friends to collect salaries and monetary rewards for serving as trustees, consultants, etc.
“Democrapublicans” are the democrats and republicans who wave the flag of their party’s claimed platform of beliefs while enacting identical laws proposed by their supposed opponents. (Rahm Emanuel is one of the most widely known Democrapublicans.) These laws were written by and benefit the corporate wealth and power of those who paid to write them – billionaires and multinational mega-corporations. (ALEC is the best known of these fence groups.) There are too many groups to list in this blog.
CEOs regularly collect legally deferred or delayed compensation. Teachers and other public workers have often over the years been negotiated with by being asked to forgo pay raises and asked to accept earned, legally deferred or delayed compensation called pensions. In Illinois teachers were mandated to pay into the state’s pension system and its healthcare system. The money was taken directly from their paychecks to be placed into their Teacher Retirement System (TRS).
9.4% of each Illinois teachers’ total gross income was deducted and the local school system and the state were both supposed to have paid an additional share. Teachers were not allowed to pay into Social Security or Medicare, and their healthcare was an additional separate deducted fee as time went on. Co-pays, minimum contributions, etc. were additional financial costs for teachers. Earned delayed compensation was costly for all teachers to accept, but the secured and contracted promise plus the state constitutional guarantee of the issue were agreed to – just as state bonds were guaranteed. Now teachers and other public workers are treated as acceptable victims whose accumulated pensions are threatened and regularly raided by state legislatures. CEO deferred compensation – safe. Bonds issued – safe. Teacher pensions – to be plundered at will.
This blog defends earned pensions and the fairness of the delayed compensation.
“Underfunding” is the euphemism used for grand theft when done by lawmakers who make laws to free lawmakers from prosecution for grand theft. Take the money and don’t put it into the fund the money was scheduled to be in? Write juicy government contracts to friends, relatives, cronies and campaign contributors who get paid with the pension fund money. Say nice words such as pension holidays or redistribution or redirection of revenue – but continue the legalized theft. The term for this at one time was corruption. Fraud and grand theft are underfunding. Stealing from the elderly, widows and orphans has become underfunding in the corporate owned media whose press corps once acted as the Fourth Estate who policed power and righted wrongs. We are the collateral damage caused by the legalized pillage of our own earned compensation. We are slated to suffer for legislative theft.
This blog will not accept euphemisms and spin as right or just.
“Illinois is broke.” This lie, which is also a separate highly financed, non-partisan, non-profit organization that spreads propaganda via all media outlets, has become the pervasive motto repeated loudly and often. The state is a taxing body; it cannot go broke or bankrupt while it still has the power to tax. There is no pension problem. “Illinois is broke,” is a scare mongering term. There is a revenue problem – a legislative caused revenue problem.
This blog attempts to expose propaganda and emphasize reality.