Friday, February 22, 2019

Oakland Teachers Strike- Day 2

“We’re Fighting a Mean-Spirited and Antidemocratic Attack on Public Education”

Oakland teachers aren’t just fighting for a living wage and better working conditions. They’re fighting against the closure of dozens of schools, which would pave the way for the privatization and destruction of public education.
Oakland teachers on strike on February 21, 2019. Joe Brusky
Meagan Day
On the first day of the Oakland teachers’ strike, I met up with Oakland teacher and union activist Tim Marshall at the rally downtown. Marshall has been an Oakland public school teacher for twenty-two years. He sits on the organizing committee for the Oakland Education Association (OEA), the teachers union that’s fighting for a living wage, smaller class sizes, more student supports, and an end to school closures. He’s also a cluster leader, in charge of organizing union activity at a handful of school sites. And he’s a member of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), having joined in the big post-Bernie membership wave.
Marshall and I peeled off the rally and settled into a restaurant called Ed’s Cheesesteak. From our booth, we could hear more than five thousand teachers chanting and singing outside City Hall. Before the interview began, Marshall got a phone call from a leader at one of his school sites. “It’s a propaganda war right now,” he told the organizer on the other end. “That’s why you take attendance. We need to show that we shut it down.”
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Wednesday, February 20, 2019

We Stand With Oakland Teachers

The union contends that all of the district’s offers to date don’t leave teachers with enough money to keep pace with the Bay Area’s soaring housing costs. The average annual salary for Oakland teachers was $63,149 during the 2017-18 school year, according to a report from the state’s Department of Education. Salaries range from $46,570 to $83,724.
Before talks broke off Wednesday, Oakland Unified offered a 7 percent raise across 2 1/2 years retroactive to Jan. 1, 2019 and ending June 30, 2021, plus a 1.5 percent bonus. That’s up from the district’s original offer of 5 percent over three years but far short of the union’s demand of 12 percent over three years.
The union — which represents nurses, counselors, psychologists and other faculty members as well as teachers — wants smaller class sizes and the hiring of additional counselors and nurses.
“It isn’t a great increase, it isn’t a great raise, it’s just stretching things out, and it does not address the high cost of living that’s driving educators out of Oakland,” Oakland Education Association president said at a news conference Wednesday.
District spokesman John Sasaki would not say whether the district upped its offer ahead of the strike but did confirm that both parties met again at the bargaining table Wednesday morning following the release of an independent fact-finding report.
According to the report, the district can’t afford the union’s demand for a 12 percent raise across three years, not when it faces a budget shortfall estimated to reach $56.6 million by the 2020-21 school year. The deficit stems in part from a sharp decline in student enrollment over the past 15 years, from 54,000 to 37,000, and the district’s failure to budget accordingly. Union officials and other critics say that’s a result of the district’s fiscal mismanagement.
East Bay Voice.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Bernie Sanders is Running for President

I am writing to let you know I have decided to run for president of the United States. I am asking you to join me today as part of an unprecedented and historic grassroots campaign that will begin with at least a million people from across the country. 
Our campaign is not only about defeating Donald Trump, the most dangerous president in modern American history. It is not only about winning the Democratic nomination and the general election.
Our campaign is about transforming our country and creating a government based on the principles of economic, social, racial and environmental justice.
Our campaign is about taking on the powerful special interests that dominate our economic and political life. I'm talking about Wall Street, the health insurance companies, the drug companies, the fossil fuel industry, the military industrial complex, the private prison industry and the large multinational corporations that exert such an enormous influence over our lives.
Our campaign is about redoubling our efforts to end racism, sexism, homophobia, religious bigotry and all forms of discrimination.
Our campaign is about creating a vibrant democracy with the highest voter turnout of any major country while we end voter suppression, Citizens United and outrageous levels of gerrymandering.
Our campaign is about creating a government and economy that work for the many, not just the few. We are the wealthiest nation in the history of the world. We should not have grotesque levels of wealth inequality in which three billionaires own more wealth than the bottom half of the country.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Sacramento Teachers Propose $16 Million budget reform.

SCTA Proposes  16 million $ budget reform.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Denver Strike Settled : Oakland May Be Next

DENVER (CBS4) – An agreement between the Denver teachers’ union and Denver Public Schools has been reached, bringing a resolution to a three-day strike that caused a major disruption to the district’s operations this week. It was the first time in 25 years that public school teachers in the city had gone on strike.
It is a tentative agreement. 

Last month, the Los Angeles teachers led a historic strike. 35,000 teachers and support staff walked off the job, taking on their investment banker superintendent, Austin Beutner, and the racist billionaire privatizers who are at war with public education. Through mass rallies, and a near complete shutdown of the school system, the LA teachers, parents, and students won smaller class sizes, more student support, a nurse in every school, and an immigrant defense fund for families within the school district, among much more.
As we enter what appears to be a time of renewed labor militancy, the teacher strike wave shows no end in sight. Striking Denver teachers just won their demands, and Oakland teachers are preparing to strike as I write. DSAers are with striking teachers all the way — read on to learn how you can help!
Maria Svart
DSA National Director

Last week a 95% supermajority of Oakland public school teachers voted to authorize a strike. The vote turnout was a record-breaking 84%. With the future of public education on the line.
When the teachers strike wave hits the Bay Area, democratic socialists will be there to stand with Oakland teachers!
Just like Los Angeles teachers earlier this month, teachers in the Oakland Education Association are fighting a school district bought and paid for by billionaire school privatizers. Funded by the likes of the Walton family, these billionaire-backed politicians are carrying out a nationwide plan to privatize schools, segregate education, and break teachers unions. The end goal? To slash taxes for the hyper wealthy who don’t want to pay for the schools our students deserve.
Oakland teachers are demanding smaller class sizes, more student support, a living wage to keep teachers in the city, and an end to school closures. Their fight is our fight!

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Teacher Insurgency: What Are The Strategic Challenges?

Teacher Insurgency: What Are The Strategic Challenges?: Leo Casey argues that a powerful new working class movement is taking shape, with American teachers in the lead. But sustaining the momentum of this movement will require addressing the strategic challenges it now faces.

Teachers’ Strikes and the Future of U.S. Labor

Rachel M. Cohen. The Intercept.

Speaker after speaker at the Future of American Labor conferencespoke confidently and animatedly about the progress unions have made in the United States, organizing strikes and winning some protections for contract workers — gains they expect to continue even in the wake of Janus.

Much of the conference focused on the national teacher insurgency, which continues this week as Denver Public Schools teachers go on their first strike since 1994. Last month, teachers in Los Angeles went on strike for six days, and thousands of Virginia public school teachers also stormed the state capitol in January for a one-day demonstration of power. Oakland teachers may be next to strike.
DENVER, CO - FEBRUARY 11: Denver teachers and community members picket outside Abraham Lincoln High School on February 11, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. Denver teachers are striking for the first time in 25 years after the school district and the union representing the educators failed to reach an agreement after 14 months of contract negations over teacher pay. (Photo by Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images)
Denver teachers and community members picket outside Abraham Lincoln High School in Denver, Colo., on Feb. 11, 2019.

Photo: Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images
The strike in Denver, which started on Monday, is seeing comparatively low levels of participation. It comes after drawn-out negotiations between teachers and the district, and it has been mired in some controversy, including about giving financial incentives to educators who work in the district’s highest-poverty schools. The union calls these “failed incentives” and prefers to raise the base pay for all teachers in the district instead. This school district, which has already offered to raise base pay for all teachers from $43,255 to $45,500, wants to keep the incentives in place to attract and retain teachers in those more challenging schools and demonstrate a commitment to equity. The teachers want the starting pay to be $45,800.
In an interview, Becky Pringle, vice president of the National Education Association, the nation’s largest public-sector union, said she agreed that schools in high-poverty districts should get more support, but that it shouldn’t happen at the expense of other schools. 
“Those schools absolutely should get more investment,” Pringle said. “But here’s what we’ve been forced to choose: The [district] say[s], Here’s the pie and those teachers [in high-poverty schools] should get the incentives. No, no, no. You need to redefine the pie, and that’s the false choice. Since the recession, we’ve been dealing with a smaller pie, but we’re not going to accept that narrative, that premise. A progressive agenda doesn’t start from their premise.”

Monday, February 11, 2019

Denver Teachers On Strike !

DPS is one of Denver's largest employers, boasting 207 schools and about 90,000 students. Administrators plan to have schools open for at least the first few days of the strike. They prepared lesson plans and secured substitutes, but if the strike lingers on, administrators might run out of substitutes and fill-ins.
East High School students told the Coloradoan that substitutes gave them packets to fill out today, adding that "many" students walked out of the school during the strike. 
Though reporters weren't allowed inside schools Monday, videos shared widely by East High School students showed students crowding the hallways, singing, shouting and dancing while school was in session. 
1:10 a.m. — A total of 2,169 teachers called out sick on Monday as of 11 a.m., according to DPS spokesman Will Jones. That would be about half of the 4,329 teachers in the district, according to its website. The district is supposed to provide more information about the staffing levels at an 11:30 a.m. news conference, which Denver7 plans to stream live.
There are approximately 5,000 pre-school children not in early childhood care Monday because the district did not have the staffing to keep those classes open.
House Majority Leader Alec Garnett, D-Denver, told the Associated Press that he believes the sides are “super close” to a deal and said that districts have to do a better job of putting their dollars toward classrooms and not administration.
10:50 a.m. — We are hearing from a few students across the district, many of whom are supporting the teachers, as well as some politicians from Colorado and across the country.
"I think the people who are genuinely educated as to what's going on definitely causes a lot of support and respect toward these teachers and the amount of effort that they put in," said East High School student Cali Sherer.
Congressman Jason Crow, D-Aurora, tweeted his support to the teachers despite not representing Denver: "Proud to stand in solidarity with Colorado teachers. Our teachers do so much for our kids and community. They deserve to be paid a fair wage and afford to live where they work. Let's give our kids & teachers the schools they deserve.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., also tweeted his support for Denver teachers.
“I stand with the Denver teachers. Public education is fundamental to any functioning democratic society, and teaching is one of its most valuable and indispensable professions. We need to treat educators with respect and dignity. #DenverTeacherStrike,” he wrote.

10:44 a.m. — Video from students at East High School shows kids leaving their classes and filling the hallway this morning as teachers across the district went on strike.

Wednesday, February 06, 2019

Ocasio-Cortez Says Trump Attack on Socialism Shows President 'Scared' of Popular Progressive Policies

Ocasio-Cortez Says Trump Attack on Socialism Shows President 'Scared' of Popular Progressive Policies

SACRAMENTO PROGRESSIVE ALLIANCE: Oppose U.S. Intervention in Venezuela

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Fact Check Trump's State of the Union

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There is No Wall in El Paso

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Sunday, February 03, 2019

Oppose U.S. Intervention in Venezuela

Stop Dangerous and Counterproductive US Intervention in Venezuela
Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) categorically opposes any and all efforts by the US government to intervene in the domestic politics of Venezuela. The US has a long and bloody track record of actions to overthrow democratically elected governments, stop the spread of socialism, and maintain US imperial dominance in the region. This includes the US government’s support of the 2002 Venezuelan coup that led to the temporary ouster of the legitimately-elected president of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez. These imperial interventions must stop immediately; the future of the Venezuelan people, and the broader prosperity of Latin America depend on it. 
Venezuela is currently suffering devastating economic and political crises that have left millions  without consistent access to basic goods and services, and in a state of perpetual insecurity. Inflation has reached astronomical levels, rendering the local currency practically valueless, and limiting the positive impact of regular minimum wage increases implemented by the Venezuelan government. In the wake of President Nicolás Maduro’s inauguration for a second term on January 10, the political situation has become still more dire. 
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