Saturday, April 30, 2011

Parents group calls for reform of NCLB

Parents across America. Our proposals to reform NCLB
The US Congress is considering how to revise No Child Left Behind, the Bush-era version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the most important federal law that governs our public schools.  NCLB has been extremely damaging in the eyes of most parents, and needs fundamental reform.  Unfortunately, the Obama administration plans to make it worse in many respects.
Parents Across America has developed our own blueprint, based upon less testing and privatization, more parent input, and a greater emphasis on evidenced-based reforms that have been proven to work to improve schools, such as class size reduction.  Our complete blueprint was featured on the Washington Post Answer Sheet, and is posted on our PAA website as a pdf here.
Please sign our petition in support of our proposals, and send a message to the President and the US Congress now!
Then  join us, as we fight for better schools!
Our children, our schools, our voices.

Teachers jobs at Risk

Jonothan Raymond,
And there's the irony. This amazing teacher is one of 405 certificated employees in Sacramento City Unified School District that have been pink-slipped – one of thousands of hardworking, dedicated educators across the state. "I love what I'm doing," says Cooperman, "but it's so hard not to feel like you're not valued when you get a pink slip."
Without the extension of current temporary taxes, our district faces a $22.35 million deficit for 2011-12. To address this shortfall, our Board of Education approved painful cuts, including the elimination of most bus service, the elimination of all extracurricular activities like sports, drama and yearbook, and increased class sizes. With bigger class sizes, the district needs fewer teachers. Hence the pink slips.
Recently, The Bee published a commentary on tax extensions and education written by state Sen. Ted Gaines of Roseville, one of the Republicans opposed to giving voters a chance to weigh in on the future of K-12 education.
In his article, Gaines ignores the years of cuts public schools have endured as legislators chose time and again to balance the budget on the backs of children – $18 billion in cuts in the last three years. Our district has cut its budget by $177 million in the last nine years – a 35 percent reduction. Last year, SCUSD slashed its central office administration by $5.6 million to keep reductions away from classrooms.
Gaines also fails to address the possibility that the state will once again suspend Proposition 98, the constitutional guarantee passed by voters in 1988 that determines a minimum level of school funding. As Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, recently told The Bee, "There isn't a chance in the world that Proposition 98 will be sustained if $12 billion disappears from the budget."
Instead, Gaines poses a series of questions – no answers – about state spending, using hot-button examples. "What about prison costs?" he writes. "What about public employee pensions … ? What about the welfare system?"
With all due respect, Sen. Gaines, California will have higher prison costs, more inmates and more citizens dependent on state and federal services if we fail to adequately fund our schools.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

May Day Action in Sacramento

Immigrant Rights / International Workers Day

Let’s Rally!

Sunday, May 1st, 2011 @ 10 AM
CA State Captiol – North Steps

For more information, please contact Lino Pedres, Vice President of SEIU Local 1877, USWW at (916) 275-2039 or

Monday, April 25, 2011

New Superintendents, leaders?, why school reform fails

Stop Waiting for a Savior

DID Cathleen P. Black, the former publishing executive who was removed last week after just three months as New York City’s schools chancellor, fail because she lacked a background in education?
In this respect, she has had quite a bit of company over the decades. In 1996, Washington hired a former three-star Army general, Julius W. Becton Jr., to take over its low-performing schools; he left, exhausted, after less than two years. For most of the last decade, the Los Angeles Unified School District was run by non-educators: a former governor of Colorado, Roy Romer, and then a retired vice admiral, David L. Brewer III. They got mixed reviews. Raj Manhas, who had a background in banking and utilities, ran Seattle’s schools from 2003 to 2007, balancing the budget but facing fierce opposition over his plans to close schools.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who had hired Ms. Black without public discussion, quickly replaced her with a deputy mayor steeped in education policy. But the real issue is not the superintendent’s or chancellor’s background, but the excessive emphasis that politicians, educators and parents place on the notion of leadership rather than on empirical evidence about what improves education.
Even as the specific fixes advocated for schools have changed, the role of school-district leaders has gotten greater attention — and the selection process has become more political.
It doesn’t always take actual success to be lauded and promoted, nor does an education background guarantee anything. Roderick R. Paigebecame superintendent of Houston schools in 1994 and in 2001 parlayed his “Houston miracle” to become President George W. Bush’s secretary of education, and the point man for the No Child Left Behind law. That Houston’s test-score increases and low dropout rates were mirages did not impede Mr. Paige’s ascent or the emphasis on testing as a magic bullet.
Perhaps the best-known school leader today is Michelle A. Rhee, who was schools chancellor in Washington from 2007 to 2010. She aggressively took on the teachers’ union, but made more headlines than lasting reforms.

Capitalist Education Reform: Democracy is the new "socialism"

           By Morna mcDermott, Baltimore Education Reform Examiner
Capitalism and democracy are not synonymous terms-while they overlap in American society they are often also at odds with each other.
Capitalism (particularly the free market version) is often based on the evolutionary notion of “survival of the fittest.” The most vulnerable are at greatest risk. The framework for this parallel is grounded in an ideology that presumes capitalism as “natural” and “given” rather than a social construction which, as such, is liable to be fraught with bias, prejudice and greed- human constructions which at times need to be checked. The assertion that capitalism is a natural state insinuates then that as in “nature” the weakest ones are thinned out of the herd. In socioeconomic terms, the so called “weakest” are those with the least economic or political power, namely: children, the elderly, those less educated, people living in lower socioeconomic conditions, minority groups (all of whom are often marginalized from the center of access to privilege and opportunity). They can’t fight back as easily so their needs are the easiest place to cut the fiscal budget.
Schools in a democratic society, free and open to all, are supposed to be sites where all children can receive access to privilege and opportunity. But instead they have become sites of tests and measurements. The democratic system of schooling has gradually been replaced with a capitalist one.
Democracy is grounded in collaboration and collective participation. A democratic process is one in which multiple voices and perspectives can be heard. It is an emergent dialogic process. It relies on fairness, not competition.
High stakes testing as a means for making schools “accountable” is a capitalist notion. It suggests that tests, in a one size fits all model, is offering “equality” across the curriculum, while ignoring factors such as poverty that directly influence the shape, scope, and outcome of that content delivery. In ideology-land, everyone has an equal chance to take and succeed on the test if only they “try hard enough.” They’re all learning the same material and taking the same test, right? This eerily parallels the myth of meritocracy, close cousin to free market thinking, which blindly wishes to assume that everyone has an equal chance to succeed regardless of the obstacles. Therefore, any failure must be on behalf of the teacher or the student themselves for most likely “not trying hard enough.” This mentality suggests that somehow teachers and schools are the greatest determining force in remediating social and economic ills, and denies the reality that existing problems with social and economic inequality are larger determining factors in shaping childhood development and classroom learning than testing.

How Do We Respond to Obama?

By Bill Fletcher, Jr.
April 21, 2011

Rather than dwell on the question of whether we can
bring Obama home, whether he ever was home, etc., I
want to refocus on this question of how to respond to
him, particularly as we start to think about 2012.

First, what do we now say about 2008? Contrary to those
who have thrown up their hands and feel betrayed by
what the Obama administration has not done, I start in
a different place. I continue to assert that Obama was
knowable in 2008. He was a charismatic, smart candidate
who made the right call on the Iraq War and stepped out
on the issue when it was necessary. He was also, as I
said at the time, someone who could appear to be
different things to different people. The problem was
that too many of his supporters saw what they wanted to
see rather than what existed.

What existed? Well, from the beginning he was a
corporate candidate. We knew that. The question was not
whether he was one but the extent to which his views
could be shifted in order to take progressive, non-
corporate stands. Second, he was a candidate who was
going to avoid race as you or I would avoid a plague
ship. He went out of his way to prove that he was not
an `angry black man' and that race was not going to be
an issue that he would harp on. Third, he was clear
that he wanted to change the image of the USA around
the world, but it was not clear to what extent he
wanted to change the substance of the relationship of
the USA to the rest of the world.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Cornel West and the fight against injustice - Riz Khan - Al Jazeera English

Cornel West and the fight against injustice - Riz Khan - Al Jazeera English

Arianna's Greeting Party In San Francisco: Sister, Can You Loan Me A Dime?

School "Reformers" most went to private schools

In Public School Efforts, a Common Background: Private Education

by Michael Winerip  New York Times  April 18, 2011

Ten years ago, the No Child Left Behind bill was passed by
the House of Representatives, 384 to 45, marking the first
step toward a major transformation of public education in
. The law has ushered in what its supporters like to
call the "reform movement."

No longer did a person with a clipboard have to spend days
observing a school to determine whether it was any good.
Because of the law, it is now possible for an assistant
secretary of education to be sitting in his Washington
office and, by simply studying a spreadsheet for a few
minutes, know exactly how a school in Juneau is performing.

Each year since then, researchers have found new things to
assess. The New York City Department of Education, a pioneer
in the science of value-added assessment, can now calculate
a teacher's worth to the third decimal point by using a few
very long formulas. (No word yet on whether department
researchers have developed a very long formula to assess
chancellors and mayors.)

For a while it appeared that the Republicans were way ahead
on the reform front, but in 2007, Whitney Tilson, a hedge
fund manager and Democratic fund-raiser, founded Democrats
for Education Reform to help his party catch up. By all
accounts, it has worked. Today, the consensus is that there
is little difference between President Obama and former
President George W. Bush
 when it comes to education policy.
Nor is it easy to distinguish differences between the
secretary of education under Mr. Bush, Margaret Spellings,
and the current secretary, Arne Duncan.

Those who call themselves reformers are a diverse group, men
and women of every political stripe and of every race and

But there is one thing that characterizes a surprisingly
large number of the people who are transforming public
schools: they attended private schools.

Which raises the question: Does a private school background
give them a much-needed distance and fresh perspective to
better critique and remake traditional public schools? Does
it make them distrust public schools - or even worse -
poison their perception of them? Or does it make any

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Oprah promotes Arizona, progressives boycott Arizona

Oprah Winfrey from time to time makes media exposure contributions to civil rights efforts.  She has also made extensive contributions to the fake “school reform” crowd of Bill Gates, Michele Rhee and others.
Today she had her Best Friends show.  All the members of the audience received a trip to an Arizona spa.
Apparently she does not know that many in the labor and Latino community are boycotting Arizona in protest of the anti immigrant, anti Latino legislation passed there.  That is unfortunate.  Perhaps you should send her an e mail and tell her of her contributions to the anti Latino campaigns.
Solidarity works when we work together.
Boycott Arizona

Groups that announced travel boycotts of Arizona:
                                Service Employees International Union
                                United Food and Commercial Workers International Union
                                National Council of La Raza
                                Asian American Justice Center
                                Center for Community Change
                                League of United Latin American Citizens
                                National Puerto Rican Coalition
Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
You can leave comments to the Oprah show  here:

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Barack Obama on the debt- Facebook

On Facebook today.

  Mark Zukenber: So my question to kind of start off is:  What specifically do you think we should do, and what specifically do you think we can cut in order to make this all add up?
     THE PRESIDENT:  Well, let me, first of all, Mark, share with you sort of the nature of the problem, because I think a lot of folks understand that it’s a problem but aren’t sure how it came about.
     In 2000, at the end of the Clinton administration, we not only had a balanced budget but we actually had a surplus.  And that was in part because of some tough decisions that had been made by President Clinton, Republican Congresses, Democratic Congresses, and President George H.W. Bush.  And what they had said was let’s make sure that we’re spending wisely on the things that matter; let’s spend less on things that don’t matter; and let’s make sure that we’re living within our means, that we’re taking in enough revenue to pay for some of these basic obligations.
     What happened then was we went through 10 years where we forgot what had created the surplus in the first place.  So we had a massive tax cut that wasn’t offset by cuts in spending.  We had two wars that weren’t paid for.  And this was the first time in history where we had gone to war and not asked for additional sacrifice from American citizens.  We had a huge prescription drug plan that wasn’t paid for. 
And so by the time I started office we already had about a trillion-dollar annual deficit and we had massive accumulated debt with interest payments to boot.  Then you have this huge recession.  And so what happens is less revenue is coming in -- because company sales are lower, individuals are making less money -- at the same time there’s more need out there.  So we’re having to help states and we’re having to help local governments. 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Teach In 1 Cornell West

We are not broke, but Corporate Tax Subsidies are Killing Us!

Dr. Duane E. Campbell and Dr. Bill Barclay.

“We’re broke,” said John Boehner, Republican speaker of the House in arguing for $100 billion in cuts in the federal budget, cuts that impact students, poor and the elderly.
 This argument is false.
 The US is not broke – and neither is California.

We suffer from two problems: a huge concentration of income at the very top of the income distribution and a tax system that fails to tax  that concentration.  Our tax system asks those with less to pay more and those with more to pay less. 

Who Doesn’t Pay their Fair Share?

Concern about budgets and taxes should begin with a focus on who doesn’t pay their fair share of taxes. The most recent IRS Oversight Board Report found that $290 billion in individual and corporate income taxes goes uncollected because of misreporting.  Almost 2/3 of the misreporting by individuals occurs among the top 10% of households by income.  So, you might think that John Boehner would be concerned about collecting  these taxes.  You would be wrong:  instead Mr. Boehner proposes cutting $285 million from the IRS budget.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Bill Gates and the Soap of Education

                                 Bill Gates and Soap of Education
     Bill Gates recently claimed class-size doesn’t matter.
     Mr. Gates, I need to talk to you about soap.
    I teach fifth grade in Castroville, California, and a former fifth-grade student, Rojelio (Ro for short), sends me powerful and disturbing gifts. He is twenty-seven now and freshly released from prison.  His gifts, although welcomed because they represent an ongoing seventeen year teacher-student bond, also unnerve me. Ro says they are for “hanging with him all these years.” His gifts have included a newspaper belonging to Charles Manson (A Christian Science Monitor – go figure), and four Sudoku puzzles completed by Sirhan Sirhan. Today he gave me a bar of soap. Inscribed on it are three letters, PIA -- Prison Industries Authority.
     My student has been incarcerated for thirteen-plus years - since he was an eighth-grader. He got the newspaper and the Sudoku puzzles when he was on the same tier as Charles Manson and Sirhan Sirhan. He played chess--a game I taught him in fifth-grade-- with both men. 
   Rojelio’s mom called me, “Mr. Karrer, Ro is coming home on Sunday. Can you straighten his ass out? We’re having a party for him. You wanna’ come?”
     Can I straighten him out? Probably not.  Will I keep on trying to help him? Yes.
So, today right after class, we met at Starbucks. He spotted me and walked to my car, big grin under his nose. He had put on lots of weight. Last time I saw him was in Salinas Valley State Prison, over two years ago. He was in ankle chains, waist chains, then chained from his waist to his ankles, and handcuffed.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Students continue to hold the building at Sac State

Over 2,000 students walked out of their classes at Sacramento State  University today April 13,  in protest against the  state budget cuts and the rising tuition in the California State University  System – part of the largest university system in the world.  Student protesters expect that already passed budget cuts will lead to larger classes, fewer classes, eliminated programs,  and an increased time to graduate.
 History Professor Joe Palermo spoke to the crowd gathered in the Sac State Quad arguing,
 “What we've been witnessing in recent years is nothing short of the wholesale auctioning off, often to the lowest bidder of the public commons right under the feet of the majority of California's citizens who never signed on to this long-term project of destruction…
see stories below.

A series of student organizers from Students for Quality Education spoke of the costs of cuts to their lives.  Amanda Moores described the irresponsibility of the University Administration in producing a 66% increase in Executive Salaries paid for in part by   a 224 % increase in student fees.
After a loud  rally on the Quad, several hundred students marched across campus.  At this hour over 300 students, faculty and staff are occupying the offices of the University President.
There were rallies and marches on at least 10 of the CSU campuses today, ranging from 50 students to several hundred.
Sacramento State is the only one we know of where students have occupied the administration building.
At 8;30 PM. some 30 students continue to hold the Administration building and they plan to spend the night.
They ask that supporters join them inside or outside of the building when it opens on Thursday at 7 A.M.

HAYWARD, CA 4/13/11 --  Students and faculty at California State University, East Bay, marched to the administration building on the campus and then occupied the building in protest.  Organized by Students for a Quality Education and the California Faculty Association, the civil disobedience protested budget cuts and fee increases for students, and cutbacks on staff and benefits, while administrators' salaries are increased. 

The building occupation demanded the resignation of CSU Chancellor Chuck Reed, and a list of other demands discussed and adopted during the occupation.  Similar building occupations took place on other campuses.  Some students wore face paint with scars symbolizing the painful slashing impact of budget cuts.

Before the march and building occupation, students and faculty organized a "People's University."  Workshops talked about the attack on education and the rights of public workers, especially teachers, throughout the U.S., as well as campus issues that included lack of childcare, parking and student services.  Other SQE demands included democratizing the state university's board of trustees, budget transparency, fair treatment for unions and workers, and a recommitment to the California Master Plan for Higher Education.

According to the California Faculty Association, "the California State University has lost some $1 billion, let go more than 3000 faculty, slashed course offerings and tripled student fees. Tens of thousands of eligible students have been turned away or given up because of rising costs and inability to get necessary classes."
Hayward report above by David Bacon.

Join the Day of Action- April 13 at Sac State

Joe Palermo
On April 13, California State University students and faculty are organizing demonstrations at all 23 CSU campuses across the state to protest the latest wave of brutal budget cuts. CSU students, faculty and staff, alumni and their families have a special obligation to make their voices heard in supporting pragmatic solutions to the state's budget woes that have so adversely affected public higher education. We refuse to sit by passively and watch as the public sector of this state -- most notably higher education -- is systematically decimated.
See video in post below. 
California's fiscal crisis, like that of many other state governments, is a product of the Great Wall Street Toxic Waste Dump of 2008. After the bankers' recklessness ignited a financial hydrogen bomb, home values plummeted, life savings and retirements evaporated, jobs vanished, and California's tax revenues dried up by about $20 billion a year. Lower valued homes shrank property taxes and unemployed people cannot pay income taxes. Yet, as in Wisconsin, we're told that the crisis is somehow the fault of teachers, nurses, police officers, firefighters, social workers and other public employees.
The Republican legislative minority in California has killed every good-faith attempt to address realistically the state's fiscal mess. After months of pretending to "negotiate" the "GOP 5," in the name of the minority, conjured up 53 brand new demands before they would agree to allow California's citizens the opportunity to vote on extending existing taxes. This blatant obstructionism came after Governor Jerry Brown and the Democratic majority sought bipartisan support by cutting the state budget by about $13 billion, including another whopping $500 million downgrade in the funding of the CSU system.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Cornel West on Barack Obama and Wall Street

New New York School Chancellor. No Teaching Experience

Another high-level administrator without classroom experience
Sent to the NY Daily News, April 9, 2011

Andrew Wolf points out that "Dennis Walcott is more of the same: Bloomberg's new chancellor once again lacks classroom experience," (April 8). 
Here is another obvious case: US Education Secretary Arne Duncan has never taught and has no actual credentials in education. He has no background in education other than administration. 
His uniformed view that increased testing is the answer to improving schools demonstrates that, like Dennis Walcott, he "lacks the instructional experience to actually fix what is going wrong in our classrooms."
Stephen Krashen 

Andrew Wolf article:

Unions organize teachers at Chicago Charter Schools

Unions Move In at Chicago Charter Schools, and Resistance Is Swift
In a trend that worries charter school operators, teachers at 12 of Chicago’s charters have formed unions over the past two years, and the Chicago Teachers Union is seeking to organize all 85 of the schools.
Union leaders say the growing charter movement is changing the landscape of public education and, with its disdain for unions, could leave teachers without a strong voice on issues like working conditions, teacher evaluations and curriculum.
Administrators and operators are battling back, arguing that unionization could undermine the basic premise of the charter school model: that they are more effective because they are free from the regulations and bureaucracies that govern traditional public schools.
Unionization of charter schools is a major step for the Chicago Teachers Union. Though charter teachers in other cities have formed unions, Chicago is one of the first where the public school system’s major union has directed the effort, according to the American Federation of Teachers.

Friday, April 08, 2011

The Peasants Need Pitchforks

The Peasants Need Pitchforks/By Robert Scheer
A “working class hero,” John Lennon told us in his song of that title, “is something to be/ Keep you doped with religion and sex and TV/ And you think you’re so clever and classless and free/ But you’re still fucking peasants as far as I can see.”
The delusion of a classless America in which opportunity is equally distributed is the most effective deception perpetrated by the moneyed elite that controls all the key levers of power in what passes for our democracy. It is a myth blown away by Nobel Prize winner Joseph E. Stiglitz in the current issue of Vanity Fair. In an article titled “Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%” Stiglitz states that the top thin layer of the superwealthy controls 40 percent of all wealth in what is now the most sharply class-divided of all developed nations: “Americans have been watching protests against repressive regimes that concentrate massive wealth in the hands of an elite few. Yet, in our own democracy, 1 percent of the people take nearly a quarter of the nation’s income—an inequality even the wealthy will come to regret.” 
That is the harsh reality obscured by the media’s focus on celebrity gossip, sports rivalries and lotteries, situations in which the average person can pretend that he or she is plugged into the winning side. The illusion of personal power substitutes consumer sovereignty—which smartphone to purchase—for real power over the decisions that affect our lives. Even though most Americans accept that the political game is rigged, we have long assumed that the choices we make in the economic sphere as to career and home are matters that respond to our wisdom and will. But the banking tsunami that wiped out so many jobs and so much homeownership has demonstrated that most Americans have no real control over any of that, and while they suffer, the corporate rich reward themselves in direct proportion to the amount of suffering they have caused. 
Instead of taxing the superrich on the bonuses dispensed by top corporations such as Exxon, Bank of America, General Electric, Chevron and Boeing, all of which managed to avoid paying any federal corporate taxes last year, the politicians of both parties in Congress are about to accede to the Republican demand that programs that help ordinary folks be cut to pay for the programs that bailed out the banks.

Government shut down

Government Shutdown Looms as Congress Fails to Reach Budget Compromise
With the federal government on the verge of shutting down at midnight on Friday, budget negotiations intensified between President Obama, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) in the hopes of reaching an agreement on a substantial reduction in spending for the remainder of the 2011 fiscal year. The three leaders have held a series of meetings this week in the Oval Office with increasing urgency as the deadline draws ever nearer.
House Republicans, lead by their tea party contingent, seek $61 billion in cuts to the FY11 budget, a figure that is substantial in its own right but whose impact would be significantly magnified because the 2011 fiscal year is half over (effectively doubling the impact). The White House and Senate Democrats have reportedly countered with an offer of $33 billion in cuts. Already, Congress and the White House have cut $10 billion in FY11 as part of the series of temporary funding extensions known as continuing resolutions (CR) that kept the government operating while work continued on a final budget plan. Among those earlier reductions that have gone into effect are $891 million in cuts to education programs that completely eliminated funding for Striving Readers ($250 million), Even Start ($66 million), and the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards ($10 million) among other programs.
Indeed, House Republicans passed another one-week CR late this week in the event negotiations fail. But the price for the one-week extension is $12 billion in additional cuts to federal spending, including $391 million from education programs such as Education Technology State Grants ($100 million) and Teaching American History ($119 million). Such a CR has little chance of being approved by the Senate or president.
Complicating a final deal is the insistence of House Republicans that several policy changes be included in any funding compromise, notably eliminating funding for Planned Parenthood and language prohibiting the EPA from enforcing certain Clean Air and Clean Water Act rules.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Save Our Schools March

by Lisa Schiff
Exon Mobil, $156 million. Bank of America, $1.9 billion. General Electric, $4.1 billion. Chevron, $19 million. These highly profitable companies, and many others like them, received these extraordinarily large amounts of money back as tax refunds. Yes that’s right, Republican lawmakers at the state and federal levels are trying to convince the American public that we need to decimate critical services like Medicare and public education so that we can hand over our money to these companies.

In the most intense ideological battle since Newt Gingrich was in office, Republicans at state and federal levels are holding fast to plans to extend tax breaks and implement drastic cuts to a variety of social services, including education. In California, the health care community, K-12 public schools and public institutions of higher education are steeling themselves for unknown levels of losses.
But for public school supporters the challenge is doubly difficult. Not only do we need to fight more forcefully than ever for the minimal, insufficient funding that schools currently receive, we must also fight for a totally revamped approach to education. Education activists across the nation have made the painful realization that President Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan are no friends to the project of providing a quality education to all children. If anything, the programs and proposals of this administration have set schools back even further than under the Bush regime. Certainly they have only reinforced the approaches established by No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and their destructiveness has been extended through the outrageous Race To The Top (RTTT) competition, that attempts to pass for policy.

We have no choice but to face facts--public education is under attack from all sectors of elected leadership, regardless of party. There is no one now to turn to other than ourselves, which may in fact be the best position to be in.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Why We Must Raise Taxes on the Rich - Reich

Why We Must Raise Taxes on the Rich, ASAP!
America's wealthiest are paying a pittance in taxes, while the country is chipping away at its central foundations to meet budget shortfalls.
 It’s tax time. It’s also a time when right-wing Republicans are setting the agenda for massive spending cuts that will hurt most Americans.

Here’s the truth: The only way America can reduce the long-term budget deficit, maintain vital services, protect Social Security and Medicare, invest more in education and infrastructure, and not raise taxes on the working middle class is by raising taxes on the super rich. Even if we got rid of corporate welfare subsidies for big oil, big agriculture, and big Pharma – even if we cut back on our bloated defense budget – it wouldn’t be nearly enough.
The vast majority of Americans can’t afford to pay more. Despite an economy that’s twice as large as it was thirty years ago, the bottom 90 percent are still stuck in the mud. If they’re employed they’re earning on average only about $280 more a year than thirty years ago, adjusted for inflation. That’s less than a 1 percent gain over more than a third of a century. (Families are doing somewhat better but that’s only because so many families now have to rely on two incomes.)
Yet even as their share of the nation’s total income has withered, the tax burden on the middle has grown. Today’s working and middle-class taxpayers are shelling out a bigger chunk of income in payroll taxes, sales taxes, and property taxes than thirty years ago.It’s just the opposite for super rich.

Fight Back Teach In


'60s Style Teach-In Meets the Digital Age in Live Stream Webcast
Local Campus Events on more than 180 Campuses Nationally
Frances Fox Piven (professor, CUNY Graduate Center) and Cornel West (professor, Princeton University) of America, hosted  a national webcast teach-in addressing the roots of the current economic crisis and what people are doing to fight back this Tuesday, April 5, 2011.
Some 100 plus students and faculty at Sacramento State participated in the Teach In.  the video quality did not work well, but the audio reports worked.
In the Local Strategy Sessions, the group planned for the demonstrations on April 13, for the CSU Days of Action sponsored by California Faculty Association and Students for Quality Education, the Progressive Alliance and others.

Professors West and Piven, each Chairs of Democratic Socialists of America,  were  joined by the Honorable Gustavo Rivera, New York State Senator from the 33rd District in the Bronx who will moderate the teach-in. Also joining the live-stream teach-in were  economist Jeffrey Sachs (Columbia University); public policy analyst Heather McGhee (Demos); President Richard Trumka (AFL-CIO).
In addition, the teach-in   featured activists from around the country: Beth Huang, Student Leader from Wisconsin (United Students Against Sweatshops), Anthony Klug, Public Education Activist (UFT Wadleigh High Chapter) and Sergio Cuevas, Housing Activist (National People’s Action).

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