Posted In: Alabama, Florida, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Uncategorized, Utah, Wisconsin, Workers' Rights

April Fools Political Lowlights. We Wish We Were Kidding.

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Photo: Danny Peck/NEA

By Cynthia McCabe

You can’t make this stuff up. And believe us, we wish we were. But from coast to coast, there’s been no shortage of moments in politics and policy lately that have American workers and the middle class wondering if they’re being punked by the politicians sent to the statehouse to represent them.

In honor of April Fools Day, we present 10 of the most forehead slap-inducing moments in recent legislative and political action. (Several were contributed by our fans on the Speak Up for Education & Kids Facebook page.)

1. Despite a judge’s ruling not to do so, Wisconsin’s Gov. Scott Walker and Republican lawmakers made an end run last week and printed a law quashing the rights of public workers in the state. Judge Maryann Sumi issued a temporary restraining order against the law’s publication a little over a week ago, citing concerns that Republican senators might have violated the state’s open-meetings law with their late-night maneuvering to get the bill passed. But the Republicans had the law printed anyway. That prompted Sumi yesterday to issue a ruling saying she was serious about her earlier ruling, prompting the governor to say he’d comply with state law — which makes for news these days.

2. Florida Gov. Rick Scott invoked his emergency powers and cut 15 percent from the reimbursement rates for group home and case workers who serve 30,000 Floridians with cerebral palsy, autism, and Down Syndrome.  Scott claimed the cuts to aides for the physically and mentally challenged in Florida are necessary to address a budget deficit, while at the same time offering nearly $3 billion in corporate and property tax cuts. After announcing the cuts Thursday, Scott was on his way to an evening promotional event for the Special Olympics.

3. From Colleen Myers, early childhood specialist in Michigan: “Gov. Rick Snyder is proposing an added $470.00 per-pupil cut in funding to public education… and he just signed legislation to cut unemployment benefits from 26 down to 20 weeks. This is going to have a huge impact on our families. While it is easy to blame teachers and schools for the bigger systemic problems in our state, by signing this legislation, it just shows how out of touch he is with his constituents. There is no equal access to education. Children who live in poor rural or urban neighborhoods do not have the tax base needed to support education and if these proposed cuts take place, it will have a devastating impact in our state.”

4. Even children aren’t safe in the current anti-worker political climate. In Maine this week, Republican lawmakers introduced bills that would eliminate the cap on hours a child over 16 can work on a school day and extend the number of hours that an employer can require a child to work. They followed in the footsteps of lawmakers in Utah and Missouri who sought to roll back the law prohibiting children younger than 14 from working and who claimed child labor laws were unconstitutional.

5. When impassioned Ohio citizens — many of them educators and fellow public servants — stood up in the statehouse Thursday and cried “Shame on you!” at legislators passing anti-worker, anti-middle class legislation, the House speaker sniped them into an open microphone. As the protesters made their voices heard and were removed from the public chamber, House Speaker William Batchelder (R-Medina) stated dryly, “Now that the intellectuals have left the chamber…”

6. Two hours. That’s how long it takes to become an emergency financial manager and eradicate workers’ rights in Michigan now. From teacher Laurie Orr Houck: “The governor of Michigan has somehow passed ‘emergency financial manager’ legislation that allows him to declare any public entity (school, city) to be in crisis, and basically appoint a king, otherwise known as emergency financial manager. This person can come in and wipe out contracts, as well as remove elected officials. They have already trained 60 of these managers, in a two-hour training session.”

7. From Pennsylvania educator Megan Mabry: “Governor Tom Corbett is slashing $1 billion from education, from the block grant which pays for kindergarten in Pennsylvania, to a 50 percent-reduction in funding for our 14 state universities. Zero tax on the gas drilling/fracking corporation which plans to come into Pennsylvania,” though.

8. Maine’s Gov. Paul LePage can’t define offensive art but he knows it when he sees it. Believing one of the most pressing concerns in his state was a mural depicting the history of the labor movement in the state, LePage had it removed from the walls of a public building. And that public building where the labor mural was hanging inappropriately? It was the Department of Labor.

9. As they did in Wisconsin, Minnesota legislators took the wee-hours approach to passing unpopular legislation slashing the rights of workers to have a say in their working conditions. From educator Scott Coffman: “At 2:45 a.m. Wednesday the GOP-controlled statehouse voted to do away with tenure and institute a five-year contract, ban strikes, curtail collective bargaining, put in a voucher program, and freeze special ed. funding. This is the ‘Minnesota nice’ version of the Wisconsin/Walker plan.”

10. And now for something we really wish we were joking about. The battles for great schools for every student are not over. Politics promise more mischief and short-sighted thinking ahead. But YOU have the chance to stand up and take action.

That’s what members of the Alabama Education Association are doing.

“There is a movement occurring inspired by educators,” said Alabama educator Debbie Landers-Scott. “We are starting rallies all over our state for public education. We just had one where about 300 showed on a cold rainy day. Great media coverage also. I want to believe that this will have a trickle-down effect. I know we can’t allow these radicals to destroy 20 years of progress in education.”

It’s easy to get started. First, sign up as an online volunteer with EducationVotes.org. You’ll hear about events and calls to action in your state, in which you can play a significant role. And sign NEA’s National Petition for Workers’ Rights!

Reader Comments

  1. Lee Adams

    The time for talk and complaining has long been over. We MUST act. Even for those who have disabilities, we must act. I hear far too many teachers complaining and asking how could this have happened. I work hard etc. etc. We have been a political football and bargaining chip for votes since the ’90’s.NCLB just hastened it. Pleas do whatever you can to work for Education. i have been asking for nearly 20 years how could the Universities abandon us? I still ask that. I have a body of work that goes for 36 years. I know how to teach. How do I know? I still have students from many years still finding me to tell me what I had done for them. I don’t need to complain. I know what’s wrong. Don’t you? Please put the effort into action.

    Reply
  2. Greg Van Hee

    If you stand individually against the bigger bully in the playground, you likely end up pounded into the ground. If you’re Belgium or Holland and you stood up alone against Hitler’s bigger and stronger army, you were run over in a matter of days, if not hours. If you were an African American and you attempted to stand up against the Ku Klux Clan by yourself, you were liable to end up tarred and feathered or even lynched. What are the small and weak by themselves supposed to do against the big and strong to protect themselves against possible abuses and being eventually pounded into the dirt? The answer is not complicated. It is to unify or form a union. The American Colonists did it. The Allies did it in the World Wars. The countries in NATO do it. Black and white Americans did it in the civil rights movement. The idea that there is something wrong or evil about the individually weak acting collectively to stand up for themselves is a fabrication concocted by the big and strong, who sometimes want to control and, in some cases, even abuse the weak and divided. The truth is there are all sorts of unions in America, unions by other names but, nevertheless, unions for the same purpose: to stand together stronger than when they are weak individuals. There’s even a Chamber of Commerce that also, like other unions, contributed millions to the past elections.

    Reply
    • Linda Lewandowski

      You should run for office. Inspiring. We need inspiration in NJ. LInda

      Reply
      • Sharon McLaughlin

        I agree! Greg’s post was spot on! We could use it in Washington state, too! People here seem to be disturbingly complacent, too (at least in my building). Some of them seemed genuinely surprised when I told them what was going on in other parts of the country-and that was just Friday!

        Reply
  3. Donna Richards

    Dear Frank,

    The problem with “government” schools is “government. Our government needs to fund the system of public education and allow professional educators to professionally develop, plan, organize, and administer public education programs? Politicians are not professional educators and their unfunded mandates have crippled our public schools or as you more aptly stated earlier, our “government” schools.

    Having said that, I’d like to order one more well done standardized test with a number two pencil on the side (smile). Then we can allocate even more of our valuable classroom instructional (actually teaching) time and our continually dwindling fiscal resources towards the ever flawed (review the research) “one size fits all” approach to measuring educational achievement. Our high school students are currently involved in some fashion of standardized testing from March to June, during which time the regular instructional day is turned on it’s head. Should we really forfeit so much of our regularly structured “TEACHING” days to participate in a flawed system of evaluation so that we can gather an invalid measure of our educational effectiveness? We are mandated to administer so many standardized exams that we are forced to administer some year-end exams before students have even completed the courses because there are simply too many of these standardized exams to manage (if they are administered in the fashion that is mandated, of course ; p )

    Standardized Testing List for High School

    PSAT (October)
    EXPLORE (October)
    PLAN (October)

    SAT multiple times per year (Saturdays, SAT or ACT required for college admission)

    ACT multiple times per year (Saturdays)

    Benchmark tests – Fall – roughly 1 week

    High School Graduation Testing, 5 subject areas at 3 hours maximum time each, with one test given each day- 3 times per year (Sept, Nov, March)

    AP testing May – roughly 2 week period

    End of Subject tests – 2 week period May

    Final Exams – December – 1 week, May – 1 week

    Reply
    • frank

      Donna, the system is broken. We cannot teach the children of the 21st century with antique methods, and we cannot teach them how to think and act if all we do is teach them to take some sort of test. Government education these days is all about the tests. Tests only require memorization of answers.
      Teachers aren’t the bad guys. The system is broken. It needs reform. I’m reading The Learning Revolution, by Dryden and Vos. They’ve figured some things out that we are now applying in a school we’ve started (with our own funds, and private donations) overseas in a third world country. It works.
      Since we’re talking about government schools, they are top heavy, and people tend to be promoted to their highest level of incompetence. Unions have aided this. True reform is needed to get the best results.
      I agree that teachers, in some cases, don’t earn enough for what they do. However, to be truthful, many teachers earn a little bit more than the “average” professional in their communities, get the summers and holidays off, and so shouldn’t complain too much about the salaries.
      You correctly state that “Politicians are not professional educators and their unfunded mandates have crippled our public schools or as you more aptly stated earlier, our “government” schools.” So we agree that the government, run by politicians, is doing a horrible job at running the schools.
      I’m going to try to answer a bit from each persons comments regarding mine.
      This country was founded on the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I am not sure where Tari got her idea that this county was founded on freedom, equality and education. I hope she’s not a history teacher.
      I suggest a rereading of my post. I’m not anti-education, nor am I anti-school. I’m anti-waste. I’m pro-people, pro-child. I’m not a republican. I am not a democrat. I’m pro-liberty.
      It’s obvious that Matt doesn’t know how to draw a pie chart. It’s simple economics. Brad makes a few good points. Hauser, I don’t watch television. I didn’t mention the two illegal wars started by Bush nor the illegal invasion of Libya by Obama because I thought we were talking about schools and education, not wars. I don’t watch television, I prefer to read books.
      So, for all the “open minded diversity” that most of the people here espouse, it’s obvious that it’s just talk and a bunch of crap. With the exception of Brad and perhaps a few points by one or two others, the rest of the folks here are narrow minded, shallow thinking, small minded, self interested folks.
      It’s true. Corporations have a super-greed mindset. Politicians have the self-serving attitude. Union members are neo-commies. It reminds me of a local gas station owner I recently spoke with. An immigrant, he told me he came to America because it was the land of opportunity. English was not his native language, but he learned it because he knew it was needed to succeed in America. He has become a success because he was willing to apply himself, learn English, follow the rules. He intended to stay here and die here. Over the past 5 years, he has changed his mind, is selling his store and going back to his native country, and taking his dollars with him.
      Our entire culture is breaking apart at the seams. It’s the politicians, it’s the system, it’s the family breaking apart, it’s many things indeed. The underlying “thing” is personal selfishness and greed on the behalf of many, and all suffer as a result.

      Reply
      • Irwin

        Frank,

        You state: ” I agree that teachers, in some cases, don’t earn enough for what they do. However, to be truthful, many teachers earn a little bit more than the “average” professional in their communities, get the summers and holidays off, and so shouldn’t complain too much about the salaries.”

        So I can assume that you are NOT part of the teaching profession. I too once thought like you when I had my fat cat industry job years ago. When that went away, my love of mathematics brought me the opportunity to do full time teaching. I started off at working for peanuts and no benefits and after 9 years figure that I finally have learned how to reach adolescent learners. This is the hardest and most demanding job I have ever had. I no longer think as you do since I now walk in the shoes of a real teacher. You should try the same for , say, 6 months, and do ALL that is necessary to do the job RIGHT. Then let’s see what tune you sing.

        Reply
        • Frank

          Incorrect. I have been a part of the teaching profession for 25 years, and now am in the consulting end of it, along with running a not-for-profit charity organization that supports and runs schools and other educational systems in third world countries. Now what is your point? You don’t have one.

          Reply
          • Michelle

            Frank, I don’t care if you were in the teaching profession 5 years or 25 years, the facts are that you are no longer experiencing what educators are going through NOW and in the last several years. You are no longer a teacher, you are a consultant, and I’m assuming you no longer have the salary or the same demands of the classroom teacher any longer. There must be a reason for that! It’s like the general trying to tell the troops that you’ve been there, done that… You are in a different place now. Please don’t presume to speak for those of us who are experiencing the changes in education this year, this week, and this day. We have summers and vacations off, and WE DON’T get paid for that time off. We qualify for food stamps, we are losing our homes, we are forced to take unpaid days off where STUDENTS are also suffering from the lack of education.
            You are right. The system is broken – it is not the system of teaching and public schools in most cases, though. It is the government and politics that thwart good teaching at every turn. The politicians who know little about education are making the policies and the laws that teachers have to abide by. The Finnish education system that everyone is touting is based on the teachers being highly trained (we do that here in most places), less testing, AND the teachers being treated as the professionals without government interference.
            The other aspect that everyone needs to consider is that state government and politicians have been allowed “free” rein to run public schools, and not only do states’ education policies differ, but huge differences exist between counties, cities, and school districts. What is true where you are is not necessarily what is true elsewhere.
            We MUST band together rather than go backwards. Unions protect due process, not bad teachers. Those rights are being attacked.

            Reply
  4. Angela Olsen

    Instead of just complaining, we can do something about it.Consider the number of teachers and state workers in this country.
    1. Publish the names in each state of those elected officials that voted against education and state workers.
    2. Vote ALL of them out no matter what party they belong to.
    3. Publish the names of companies that made large profits and paid little taxes and gave lots of money for lobbyists and election campaigns If we ALL got together and boycotted those companies they would soon change their tunes.

    Reply
  5. Tari

    This nation was founded on the principles of freedom, equality AND education. We have no opportunity for freedom or equality without education. The poor stay poor, the rich stay rich…. Maybe this is a piece of why certain groups are trying to destroy the public education system. I left the business world and all the opportunity for money to teach. I have no illusions about becoming rich…no teacher does. This makes us targets. Everyone who knows a good teacher, knows we don’t do it for the money and we do not give up on kids. We will do our job no matter how difficult you all make it for us, often at our own and our families’ expense. Thank God there is one group still willing to put their time, money and energy into the riskiest of all investments…our children.

    Reply
  6. Leonard

    The responses to the GOP’s latest sins may be too much too late. Having taught in California at a Community College until I retired this year, it became clear to me that teachers are their own worst enemy. Too many of us shunned paying union dues, getting involved with issues, keeping track of administration (college, state, and federal) tactics, and speaking out in a uniified manner.

    While it’s good that people are taking action by voting and demonstrating, the unions need to sue the b**stards. Nearly of the GOP’s actions are unconstitutional.

    It’s clear that the GOP wants to destroy the social infrastructure in order to privatize schools and government services. They claim that things are now done in wasteful manners and that the government taxes business to a fault. None of this is true. But so many uninformed citizens believe this stuff. The GOP wants nothing less than for corporations to control, more than they do now, all aspects of our lives. Privatizing everything, they promise, will mean more efficient and cheaper government and services. Maybe at first, but be assured they WILL raise prices in a short time.

    Monopolization is against the law, but the last few administrations have done nothing to rein corrupt coporations and their CEOs.

    Maybe it’s not too late, but union members, myself included, need to organize, draw more memebers in, and put enormous pressure on elected officials to counter the corporate influence and money.

    Otherwise, we’re doomed.

    Reply
  7. Peggy Tierney

    It’s easy, “Don’t vote REPUBLICAN”! They have an agenda and it isn’t for improving America.

    Reply
  8. Ed Mutchnick

    It is not only education that is being attacked. Soon Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid will come under the gun. Our government is being controlled by corporate interests, e.g. Koch Industries, the Walton (Walmart) family, the Prince family, et. al. They pay millions in bribes er contributions to those on Capitol Hill that are supposed to represent the people. These politicians return the favors by reducing taxes and giving welfare to the corporations in the form of subsidies. The oil companies, that had the greatest profit in 2010 than any other industry in history, was given a 53 billion dollar subsidy (They also did not pay any taxes in 2010). The wealthiest 1% of the citizens have been raking in excess income with a low tax rate for over a decade. The Reagan “trickle-down economics” never created one job, yet this policy is still declared to be the needed job creator. We all know what trickles down! FDR said “there is nothing to fear but fear itself. He was wrong. You should fear Ryans proposed budget to prosperity. He plans to reduce taxes on the wealthiest Americans to 25%, so if you make $100K, you will be at the same bracket as someone who makes $1 billion. Don’t forget that the billionaire has more “write-offs” than “joe the plumber”, so his realized tax rate will be the lower one. It is evidenced by the recent election in Wisconsin, that half of the population is either not paying attention, vote party line, or because of a single issue or ideology such as abortion rights or big government. When they lose everything, it will wake them up, but unfortunately, it will be TOO LATE!

    Reply
  9. Jeff

    Lynnette, you make a great point. My question is this: How do we get the average working-poor citizen to vote? They sit on the sidelines and say $%^% like “Oh my vote doesn’t matter”

    Makes me physically ill, to tell the truth, and I have a classroom assistant who says it all the time, and she makes maybe $8500 a year BEFORE taxes.

    I say we pass a law that REQUIRES voting at LEAST 3 TIMES in a 5 year period in order to maintain a valid driver’s license, and if you DON’T, you pay the rest of us $2500 every 5 years that goes by that you don’t get your sorry butt out and vote.

    Then if you fail to vote in 5 cycles, you lose your American citizenship and have to reinstate your green card just like 90% of the non-voting Arizonans do right now.

    They do it here in Florida with regards to the jury system~~using driver’s license rolls to mail jury duty notices, so what is more fundamental than voting? Jury duty??
    Are you freaking kidding me???

    But Republi-Klans across the nation FIGHT tooth and nail to REDUCE the number of people who are ALLOWED to vote!!!???!!!

    Why?? Because the less Americans vote, the more weight their 11% carries.

    Reply
    • Marie

      I agree to a point, Jeff. My concern is that too many folks are voting blindly. They don’t watch the news, are unsophisticated and uncultured, are completely oblivious to the reality of the situation and are too easily swayed by politicians who quote the Bible. Rednecks who still believe ‘American’ can only mean being a WASP.

      How do we educate voters? How do we sift through all the deceptive campaign promises? Adding an outline of a candidate’s voting record or professional history would be cumbersome. Yes, all this information is accessible on the Internet whenever you want it. But who takes advantage of it?

      If the majority of Americans are being cheated, then why aren’t our supporters winning elections? Ignorance, apathy and laziness. Good grief. And to think these are my peers who could judge me if I should be falsely accused of a crime. That’s frightening.

      Reply
      • Jeff

        No, I’ll settle for a simple requirement that everyone vote. I trust the people who don’t currently vote to do the right thing. Yes you have people voting blindly…we call them Republiklans—they goose-step to FoxNews.

        Bottom line—the SCOTUS ruling must be overturned that allows unlimited corporate election puchases.

        Reply
        • Nick Clark

          What is perilously close to fascism is the making corporate entities akin to citizens and since they make more than $250,000, it is double insurance against their ever having to pay taxes.

          That said, this should open a flood of class action suits brought upon these new citizens.

          Uh…oh…er…ah… Did I say class action suits? No, those are civil. It is time to hold them criminally liable. The citizenry could start a non-profit legal defense/offense fund to cover initial legal costs… Just imagine what we could do!

          Reply
  10. Frank

    From an online publication:

    Alabama ranks 48th on school report card

    Published: Sunday, April 20, 2008 at 3:30 a.m.
    Last Modified: Saturday, April 19, 2008 at 11:32 p.m.

    While Alabama has upped the amount of money it spends on each student, education researchers say they have found no direct correlation between expenditures per pupil and average scores on standardized tests.

    In the recently released 14th edition of the Report Card on American Education, compiled by the American Legislative Exchange Council, Alabama ranked 48th overall. Ranking first was Minnesota, with the District of Columbia ranked last.

    The study analyzed 2007 scores on standardized tests, including the National Assessment of Educational Progress, the ACT and SAT college entrance exams, expenditures per pupil, salaries of instructional staff and teacher/pupil ratios.

    According to the report, Alabama spends $7,486 per pupil. While that’s nearly $2,000 below the national average, it’s more than it ever has been. Within the past five years, the expenditure has risen approximately $2,000 per pupil.

    Reply
    • Jerry

      Ironic, that the conclusion was that money didn’t matter. Minnesota pays among the highest taxes in the country and the outcome is excellent students, good public educational institutions, one of the strongest vocation training programs in the country and a high standard of living. Oh, and Minnesota gives their teachers the right to strike (unless it changed since I left there.)

      The problem is that Alabama has very poor and weak institutions, and they have permitted middle class white people to abandon public schools for “Christian Academies” where teacher do not have rights. Now they want tax deductions for these sectarian, racist institutions, at the expense of public education.

      Perhaps one of the best trends in the South is the return of an educated, middle class African American population. They will bring with them expectations about the sort of public institutions they saw in their communities in Illinois and Massachusetts, and expect the same thing in Alabama. Or at least we can hope.

      Reply
    • Wisconsin For Us

      Why would anyone accept the findings of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)? ALEC is one of the shadiest organizations in America, yet one of the most powerful. They are essentially a group which is paid for by the wealthy elite (you must pay multi-thousand dollar yearly memberships or be a hand-picked and vetted GOP politician to even read their publications) who, as a private, non-government entity writes blanket legislation. They then take this legislation that they wrote and convince GOP legislators to sponsor ALEC written legislation in their state house. I’m not joking, although I wish I was. ALEC was fundamental in writing the Wisconsin “Budget Repair Bill” and there is every reason to believe that they were involved in writing all of terrible legislation in other states (ALEC makes it nearly impossible to track it’s involvement in state politics as they hand-pick their members and don’t release any information to independent media). William Cronon, a history professor at UW-Madison was recently attacked by the state GOP (they unconstitutionally tried to access his email account) after he blogged about ALEC’s role in shaping Wisconsin legislation. To read his blog post about ALEC, visit http://scholarcitizen.williamcronon.net/2011/03/15/alec/.

      -Wisconsin For Us (www.wi4us.com, http://www.twitter.com/wi4us, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Wisconsin-For-Us/179615352082592)

      Reply
    • Marie

      It will be a good day for education when people stop reading the misleading, inaccurate and incomplete reports written by number-crunching ‘experts’. How do you know what effect cuts in education really have unless you spend time in these institutions?
      Does anyone sitting in their comfy offices, far removed from this crisis realize who pays for classroom supplies when the schools stop providing them? Do you realize how many students come to class with no writing implements, not paper and no notebooks? If teachers want the students to work, they have to provide these basic tools for them. And it adds up when you have 80 – 700 students/year!

      Does anyone know who tutors needy students after hours free of charge? We all know that parents have far better things to do in the afternoon and evening than helping their kids.
      Who’s purchasing incentives for our students who won’t put forth an effort to meet their responsibilities unless there is a tangible reward being offered (thanks to the parents who raise their children to believe that intrinsic rewards and personal responsibility are ridiculous notions.)?
      Who purchases materials for classes such as band and orchestra? You do realize that instruments need maintenance, don’t you? Or are you one of those people who believe arts education is just ‘fluff’.?

      Are you aware of how many teachers buy their own paint, etc. to fix up their classrooms to make them more conducive to learning? How many professionals are expected to function in rooms that are either cold as ice or as hot as Hades? Do you know what it’s like to have sweat rolling down your back at 09:00 and students are literally lilting in front of your very eyes? How do you propose teaching high-level thinking skills to students who are irritable and can only focus on the need for water?
      Buildings are falling apart. Cuts in funding means that there are not enough resources to keep these structures safe, let alone comfortable.

      Cuts make a difference. If you don’t notice that, it’s because there are teachers who are making up the difference by making huge sacrifices with their time and money. It’s time someone else shared this burden! We’re not the only ones who will benefit from the fruits of our labor.

      Reply
  11. Frank

    In response to the Alabama Education Association comment, “I know we can’t allow these radicals to destroy 20 years of progress in education.”, I ask the following question. How do you call falling test scores, while increasing spending, progress? That’s only one of the problems with government schools, they call failure success, and then ask for more money so they can further increase failure/success.

    Reply
    • Patty

      Frank,

      Just so you know:
      (1) If educators want to show that test scores are going up, all they have to do is refuse to test kids that don’t show the aptitude for passing in the first place. Yes, Frank, schools used to do that. Now that anyone can test, scores are going down.
      (2) If you are so sure that you want private corporations to run schools, I hope you understand that many corporations pay less in tax than you and I do.

      Reply
    • Marie

      And you can support the salaries of physicians and the rise in health care costs? What do you say about the ever-increasing obesity rate? With all the advancements in research, why aren’t we holding health care professionals more accountable? Why are there still smokers, alcoholics and drug abusers? The more of them, the more children come to public schools in need of A LOT more than the 3 R’s.

      You’re comparing students from 10 years or so ago with the youth of today. Not at all fair or valid. Society is changing, and not for the better! You expect the schools to fix all of these issues – the ones that start at home. You want the schools to fix the issues that arise from the powerful few in this country keeping all the wealth and squandering it on ridiculous life styles rather than putting it back (by way of tax dollars invested in education) into the communities where they live to help stop this country from imploding.
      You ask a lot of your schools. You need to give them the tools in order to meet the increasing number of special needs students. Educators aren’t volunteers. They are professionals. They are expected to work the same grueling schedule as attorneys, yet look at the difference in compensation. They are given the blame of why this country is falling apart rather than the greedy so-and-so’s who started this seemingly endless fall into the economical abyss.
      There are so many uncontrollable factors in teaching. How are they supposed to control who attends class on a regular basis if the parents don’t make it a priority? How are educators to fight against parents who would rather have their kids sit for six hours getting their hair done rather than do homework? How are educators supposed to combat the fact that single parents care more about getting a date rather than sit at home with their own kids to read or do homework in the evening? How are educators supposed to inspire students who are being raised by strangers because their parents are in prison?
      Students who show up at school are not always coming because they want to learn. They are coming to get a few free meals and a place to stay for a few hours. How would you address these issues if you had 15 students in a class of 25 in these various situations? You’d beg for help and demand more pay!

      Educators are expected to be the punching bag for students, parents and administrators who are worried about their school making AYP. They subject themselves to criticism from people who have never set foot in a classroom, but can somehow theorize what teaching is. If educators were business people, this country would have hit the skids long ago. You need to thank the educators in your community for not giving up, for continuing the fight to save our society! No one accepts this role because they want to make a fast buck. They get it the hard way.

      When will someone recognize educators for being the patriots they truly are? The police who are treated with much the same unappreciative attitude? Who, may I ask, believes and cares about their country more than the professionals who enter a veritable war zone every day to try to educate and inspire the victims of horrible home lives (a.k.a. students) or who are diagnosed with learning or emotional disabilities? On whom could these children depend if there were no teachers? On whom could this country rely if it weren’t for the generosity and perseverance of these professionals?

      Reply
  12. Frank

    I’m for people. That is, I’m for the all the people of (in this case, since we’re specifically speaking of) the United States of America. I agree that it’s been the politicians who are to blame for the poor budget spending habits. Politicians on both sides of the spectrum, Democrat AND Republican. There really aren’t two parties anymore, just a Democrat and a Republican wing of the United States Big Government Party.
    Of course, there are individual issues and causes, but it is not those of which I speak. Our government employees (in this case, elected officials) have spent like a drunken sailor on shore leave after a long time at sea. They are to blame.
    However, they never pay the price. It’s the people (citizens) who end up paying the price. Always is.
    Obama doesn’t get it, nor did Bush. Wake up and realize this.
    Government only gets money one of two ways. Printing it, or taxing the people. If they print more (our money is fiat money, not backed by any precious metals like gold or silver), it causes inflation, which is not really prices going up, but the value of the money going down. Therefore costing more to buy goods and services. However, pay raises typically do not keep up with inflation, and we, the people, get hurt by this.
    If they raise taxes, it hurts we, the people, because through tax increases, we, the people pay more for goods and services, because tax increases are aimed squarely at we, the people.
    We, the people, always pay.
    I’m for the rich. I hope to one day be rich. Not for personal greed, but so I can do more good with the money. Money is a tool. You, too, should strive to be rich so you can do more good with your money.
    Poverty is a curse. We should teach people how to not be poor.
    Unfortunately, when more and more people work, either directly or indirectly, for the government, there are less and less taxes paid. Draw a circle and let it be representative of all the working people. Now, make it into a pie chart, Divide it up into those who work for private industry, self-employed, government workers, and government contractors. I’m not sure what the percentage would be, but if you take out the government workers and government contractors (since they actually get paid FROM tax dollars, and pay less back in taxes than they take out), you will see there is a much smaller pool of people to pay taxes.
    Therefore, our tax base is actually shrinking, yet government continues to want to spend more and more. This is the fast track to bankruptcy. This is where we are now.
    Although the people who work as government employees and government contractors are, for the most part, good and honest people, we, the people cannot afford to have so many of them on the payroll.
    Therefore, we have come to this place. It’s painful. It hurts. It’s not going to be easy. It must be done, though. If the government continues to spend and spend and spend, more on government programs and agencies, it will collapse. Then what will we, the people do?
    We cannot continue to “kick the can down the road”, thinking that everything is going to be alright. It’s time for a true economics lesson. Don’t read Keynes, his theory of economics is incorrect. The Austrian school is the most accurate, Chicago school comes close. It is Keynes theory of economics that has gotten us into this mess.
    Stop being a pawn in this game between the two wings of the USGP, and realize it’s more than you or me, or my job or your job, that is at stake here. It’s the future of the United States of America that is at stake here. If we, the people, truly care about the children of our nation, about the people of our nation, and the future of our nation, we will unite together on this issue and stop the thugs that are stealing from our present and our future.

    Reply
    • Matt

      Frank,

      Are you serious about all of this or just making it up? Government employees don’t pay an equal share of taxes? I’d like to show you the deductions in this government employee’s paycheck. There is no separate set of income tax laws for government employees. The more they make, the more they pay, just like everyone else. Where do you think I spend the money I make; at government employee only stores? The money I earn as a government employee goes right back into the private sector every time I buy gas, groceries, clothing or any services. I appreciate your concern, and yes, I do agree there are plenty of places to scale back government services, but please don’t believe that those in the private sector are treated unfairly when it comes to paying their share.

      Reply
    • Jeff

      No, “Frank” you may be, but honest you are not.

      Yes, there are examples on the side of the Democrats of those who are selfish and wasteful, but it is the exception to the rule…on the other hand you can find Republicans who are honest and dedicated to enriching all Americans, but again they are the exception to the rule.

      The Republican philosophy is simple: Little government for the BIG guy, BIG government for the little guy.

      Reply
    • Deb

      Dear Frank,

      I will tell you why the tax base is shrinking. Its because of big corporations and the trillions of dollars they do not have and have not had to pay because of the Bush tax cuts. I dare say that is a philosophy that the republicans hold dear and continue to tell us helps stimulate the economy and create jobs. On the contrary. It simply makes the richer richer and the poor poorer. Our society has truned into a disgusting display of greed. I pay my takes every year, yet millionaires, big corporation can use money to avoid pay taxes because the pay someone to find the loop holes. How about putting the money they use to pay the accountants and lawyers as tax revenue?

      My fear is that ignorance is growing in our society and we prefer to be spoon fed information rather than research it. If one gets all their news from FOX we have no hope of changing the current situation. How do we educate people who love their Medicare/medicaid but don’t want “socialized” medicine? Many people don’t understand how they are personally impacted by the decisions of the government. I don’t just want people to vote, I want them to be “educated” voters.

      Reply
      • Kim

        Agreed. This is not mentioning that years ago corporations paid taxes on their goods and in manufacturing. Not now. Now the companies that do have a “factory” or business inside the border of the United States get massive “tax incentives” to still be inside the U.S. The ones that have factories outside the U.S. are taken care of by NAFTA and they pay no import fees OR taxes. We lose jobs and revenue. It is a big one that needs to be rethought. The rich don’t pay because they hide their profits and income. The only people left to pay the piper are the average citizens who have no cash in the first place. Government then wonders why it has no funds. Even elementary school children understand that if you put no money into the piggy bank, you have no way of getting any out. Ironic that such a simple fact eludes big government. They need to make big business and huge corporations (foreign and domestic) pay their fair share. That is the only way this country will ever get back on its feet and no one in Washington (or in the case of Alabama, Montgomery) wants to hear it. Yet they sure don’t seem to mind sticking it to the rest of us.

        Reply
    • Brad

      Thanks for the lesson in economics, Frank. I actually agree with a couple of the principles you’ve put forth, but you’ve completely missed the boat when it comes to spending on education. Just like the members of the Big Government Party, including President Obama, you’ve mistakenly concluded that cutting spending on education, or in the President’s case, telling state lawmakers that in order to even compete for Federal funds they must change laws to suit the Secretary of Education (blatant tampering with states’ rights, in my opinion), is the solution to school improvement. Do you honestly believe that asking schools, and teachers, to do more with less is going to somehow assure a better educated America? Are we more likely to see results when we up the student-teacher ratio in our classrooms from 32:1 to 39:1 as proposed for schools where I live? That’s the result of decreased school funding, Frank!

      Perhaps what bothers me even more about what you’ve written, Frank, is that you, like the politicians who have decided that teachers are the real problem with schools today, have failed to look at all aspects of why schools are not performing as well as you’d like. You make no mention of the government’s failure to enforce immigration laws. No, I am not taking a shot at immigrants, but it’s impossible to deny the impact that children who do not speak English have on our schools, especially in light of reduced funding for programs that are intended to help these kids assimilate more rapidly. You also make no mention of the changes in the social fabric of our nation… broken homes; parents both working and spending less time with their children, and certainly less time taking an interest in their children’s education; crap on TV that promotes disrespect for teachers (Bart Simpson, for example); the news media so determined to promote distrust for schools rather than promote a culture in which education is valued. Instead of working as a national community to overcome the problems I’ve cited, there’s a greater public desire to avoid taking responsibility for helping in the struggle to improve our schools. It’s so much easier to simply point the finger of blame at teachers, right?

      The problem is, by not looking at the big picture and recognizing that school improvement is an extremely complex issue that requires adequate funding AND a change in how we deal with social issues that stand in the way of student achievement, we are failing miserably as a nation when it comes to finding the solutions we need if we’re to solve a myriad of problems that have created the situation in which we now find ourselves. If we continue to hop onto whatever seems to be the popular political bandwagon of the day, just because it’s the least expensive ride, we’ll be no better off in ten years or twenty than we are right now.

      Reply
      • Marie

        Public education is one big Gordian knot. Where do you begin to pull in order to straighten this thread?
        Public education = school-homing (per The Onion). Where did everyone else in the ‘village’ get to?? Especially the parents? Teachers were left holding the bag. Stop blaming them for being overwhelmed after being told they are now the police, counselors and parents to each student who enters their school (no, not just their classroom.
        When teachers can stop using valuable classroom (and planning) time to teach character education, explaining over and over again appropriate behavior in a school and justifying the curriculum to students, then their energy can be focused on what they were trained and hired to do: teach! It’s time parents and the media pitch in.

        Republicans need to ensure that funds intended for bank regulators doesn’t get cut out due to budget cuts. I mean really – hold teachers’ feet to the fire but let those outlaw bankers go free without any consequence? Can you even imagine how much better our societies would be if we had honest bankers using their talents and knowledge to benefit society rather than lining their own pockets and passing some along to their friends in high places? The more business people I meet or read about, the more I like the educators I know.

        Reply
        • Nick Clark

          What is perilously close to fascism is making corporate entities akin to citizens. Since they make more than $250,000 a year this isdouble insurance against their ever having to pay taxes.

          That said, this should open a flood of class action suits brought upon these new citizens.

          Uh…oh…er…ah… Did I say class action suits? No, those are civil. It is time to hold them criminally liable. The citizenry could start a non-profit legal defense/offense fund to cover initial legal costs… Just imagine…what we could do!

          Reply
    • Ed Mutchnick

      Frank:
      You are 100% correct when you say that government workers are paid from tax dollars, but you recieve services for that money; police provide safety, firefighters save lives, teachers educate, etc. Are you aware that the price you pay for goods in stores include the cost of doing business, i.e. stores, shippers, producers and manufacturers all have overhead including fuel for transportation, lighting, heating and air conditioning, and mostly the cost of labor. So in reality, you are paying the salaries of everyone involved in getting your purchases to you. The difference is that when you pay for government services, you are not supporting CEO salaries which are more often than not in the 7-8 figure category (even the president doesn’t get a 6 figure income and the stockholders, (which are non-existant in the public sector) who also expect to make profit without adding value to any goods or services you avail yourself of. Take the medical insurance industry for example. Medicare has about a 6% overhead. Private companies are profit motivated and look for ways to deny coverage in order to increase their bottom line. They get between you and your doctors.

      Reply
      • Frank

        Hi Ed,

        Yes, public services come from tax dollars. There is so much WASTE where tax dollars are concerned, no matter if it’s schools, fire, police, garbage, or whatever other government service. That’s one of the points I want to make: let’s cut the waste. Not let’s cut out education for poor little Billy, Susie, LaQuisha, Jose or Vinh. I never said that. It’s a point of view that there is so much waste, and thank you Big Government for creating such a mess. Benjamin Franklin said, “When the people find they can vote themselves money; that will herald the end of the republic.” He was correct. This is the reason we need limited government, and let private industry bid on and provide those necessary services. Their “stockholders” would include the taxpayers. If they do a great job, they get to keep their contract. If not, they’re out. The danger in my suggestion comes in the form of companies like Haliburton and Lockheed, among others. Those companies are socialist in nature because they’re in part government owned and they control the government. In reality, Lockheed and companies like them are no different than the state-run entities such as, say, Dallas ISD (TX), where it’s a huge organization, rampant with corruption, and yet the folks at the top keep their jobs while the little folks (teachers, aides, and others) lose theirs because of budget mismanagement. Corruption is corruption. When people vote for or against a candidate because of a particular “issue” (my job, my industry, or other) and not on set, non-fluctuating principles, we have corrupt politicians. That’s what Ben Franklin was talking of. Then we end up with what we currently have now: so many people working for the government, directly or indirectly, that politicians are afraid to touch various issues for fear of not getting reelected. The problem continues to grow, and at some point, the problem will cause an implosion of massive proportions. People will be hurt. Unfortunately, many will be hurt due to their lack of understanding of the core issues which lie at the heart of this conversation. Yes, society has changed, homes have changed, culture has changed, schools have changed, and so many other factors. Many parents think it’s 100% the schools and teachers job to take care of everything. They’re wrong. Yet, if there isn’t enough money to pay for things, we must look at the core and see why. We must make painful adjustments and “reboot” for the 21st century.
        The question I pose now is this: Are you, the reader, in favor of fixing and reforming a broken government, saving it in the process and passing it on to future generations, or are you so wrapped up in saving your personal interests that you cannot and will not allow any viable reform to take place, which may for a while save your job,, but result in an implosion of such large proportions that it cannot be repaired? If you choose the latter, you are just as responsible for the problem as any politician. If you chose the former, you are a true thinker, and welcome to progress.

        Reply
    • Hauser

      Frank should stop watching FOX news for a minute. Funny that you don’t mention the two very expensive wars that the last administration got us into as part of this whole financial problem. The rich pay less and less tax, not the majority of the population (as a percent of their wages). To blame our problems on both sides of the isle is maybe simplifying the issues. While I am not overly pleased with our current president – perhaps I expected too much – but he is so much better than even the BEST republican out there that it would be hard to compare.

      Reply
  13. Lynette Miller

    I feel like I live in as though I live in East Berlin. Just waiting on the wall. We the people need to get this put to a vote and show the Repugs who really is in charge.

    Reply

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