Sunday, February 27, 2011

Losing the Future

President Obama wanted to be the Education President, with his State of the Union speech entitled Winning the Future. Where he said;"Cutting the deficit by gutting our investments in innovation and education is like lightening an overloaded airplane by removing its engine. It may feel like you’re flying high at first, but it won’t take long before you’ll feel the impact."

Here is the sound of Air America crashing:

Rhode Island school district issues pink slips to nearly 2,000 teachers in effort to deal with massive budget deficit

Guess they missed the Presidents State of the Union speech when he said;

If we take these steps – if we raise expectations for every child, and
give them the best possible chance at an education, from the day
they’re born until the last job they take – we will reach the goal I
set two years ago: by the end of the decade, America will once again
have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.

See this is what happens when Republicans sweep local elections, grab governorships and state houses and legislatures, when they say spending cuts they mean attack on public sector workers and services, and in the final end union busting.

In his letter to the entire school department, republished in The Providence Journal, Brady wrote, "Since the full extent of the potential cuts to the school budget have yet to be determined, issuing a dismissal letter to all teachers was necessary to give the mayor, the School Board and the district maximum flexibility to consider every cost savings option."

Ah ha flexibility, that means instead of laying off the teachers, which would require rehiring based on union seniority rights, they have fired everyone giving themselves the option of rehiring whomever they like. In effect union busting.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) - Hundreds rallied on the steps of the State House in Providence Saturday as they stood behind their fellow protestors from Wisconsin.

The Rhode Island Teacher's Union marched to show support for their Wisconsin colleagues vying to keep their collective bargaining rights and to preserve the American dream.

"We're not gonna let them take away collective bargaining from is time for every worker and every person in America to stand up and fight corporate greed," urged one protestor Saturday.

Mixed in among the crowds were Providence teachers who protested the recent firing of some 2,000 teachers in the district.

"Get down to city hall and tell Angel Taveras he has betrayed us...this is not just about a budget trying to bust our union," said Classical Teacher Anna Kuperman.

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval has shown "contempt" for public school teachers by proposing to cut their pay by 12 percent to 20 percent, the state teachers union leader said Thursday.

Lynn Warne, president of the 28,000-member Nevada State Education Association, said the annual starting pay of teachers -- now about $35,000 -- would drop to the $30,800 range in Clark County through the Republican governor's budget-cutting proposals.

"We feel an assault on education in this state," Warne told a joint Senate-Assembly budget committee hearing. "There is an assault on state workers as well."

Warne later explained that besides a 5 percent pay cut, teachers also would pay a 1.125 percent additional premium for retirement benefits and Sandoval also wants them to kick in 5.9 percent to help cover Public Employees Retirement System costs. That would bring every teacher's pay reduction to 12 percent.

Jeff Weiler, chief financial officer of the Clark County School District, said his district will have to lay off 2,500 teachers and 700 support personnel if Sandoval's plan wins approval.

The average class size would be increased by eight students and laid-off teachers would go on unemployment, he said.

The right wing pundits like to talk about 'class war' whenever someone mentions taxing the rich. This is what real class war looks like, union busting by Republicans. And it won't stop with the public sector unions.

In Wisconsin, the governor wants to gut collective-bargaining rights for public employees. Not to be outdone, the governor of Indiana is pushing two bills that would end bargaining not just for public employees but also for the private sector on construction projects (House Bills 1585 and 1216). In Ohio, Senate Bill 5 would end collective bargaining for state employees and take the heart out of bargaining for local government workers.

Governor Walker’s cuts aren’t just about Wisconsin. These legislative attempts to limit workers’ rights are a coordinated effort by the GOP and corporate CEOs trying to push cuts in our wages, abolish our benefits and outsource our jobs.

Public officials in several other states like Ohio, New Jersey, and Michigan are also set to consider eliminating collective bargaining (a worker’s ability to negotiate for wage increases, healthcare, job security, retirement plans, etc…) or drastically change employee pension and access to affordable health insurance.

In many states, public officials aren’t willing to negotiate with the unions that help protect the workers who keep states running—social and economic protections that help communities of color the most.

The Republican National Committee could not care less about the U.S. economy. A new RNC fundraising video ( demonstrates that it wants Americans to forget about our economic problems.

Instead the RNC has conjured up a new boogeyman to scare Americans enough to forget the past and open up their wallets: Union leaders.

“The RNC is trying to fool the public into thinking that they are defending the middle class against unions, and that is both outrageous and offensive,” said IAFF General President Harold A. Schaitberger. “Who do they think created the middle class? If they are successful in their efforts to destroy unions, there will be no middle class in America.”

The video seeks to paint middle class Americans – the teachers, sanitation workers, fire fighters and police in Wisconsin -- desperately trying to defend their collective bargaining rights as “jack-booted thugs.”

Unfortunately the firings in Providence this weekend were not a one off, nor should they have been unexpected as they had been done as early as last year, with support not only of Republicans but President Obama as well.

4 March 2010

Speaking before an audience of business executives at the US Chamber of Commerce on Monday, Obama hailed the decision to fire the entire teaching and support staff at Central Falls High after they rejected demands to work extra hours without pay.

He defended such measures as critical to implementing the national strategy of Education Secretary Arne Duncan to deal with 5,000 of the nation’s “lowest performing” schools, overwhelmingly located in the most impoverished areas of the country. In order to qualify for federal funding, school districts have the option of closing a school outright, handing it over to a charter school or school management company, imposing a longer school day and other attacks on teachers, or firing the staff and rehiring only half back.

Pointing to the 74 teachers and 19 other school employees in Central Falls, Obama insisted that teachers had to be held “accountable.”

The Rhode Island firings are meant to serve as an object lesson and warning to any teachers who dare oppose the destruction of their working conditions and wages and the government’s efforts to undermine and privatize the schools.

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