You didn’t listen to us in 2016 when we said Hilary Clinton was unelectable. You didn’t listen to us when we said Donald Trump had a real chance at winning. But you blamed the entire catastrophe on the handful of us who didn’t vote for your candidate.
And now the second Bernie Sanders suspends his 2020 campaign, you’re all over us to commit to your boy, Joe Biden.
We’ve been here before. We have a pretty good idea how this story ends. Maybe you’d do well to listen to us for once.
We’ve spent years of intense effort changing the narrative of politics in America. We’ve held live streams, phone banked, knocked on doors, overfilled arenas. We’ve pushed Medicare for all, raising the minimum wage, universal college, a Green New Deal.
And the only thing you can say is “I told you so”?
All you have to say is “blue no matter who”?
It’s just “Get in line or you’ll be responsible – again.”
Let me ask you a question: what are YOU responsible for?
In fact, the same Vox analysis found that Sanders is more popular among people of color than among white people.
Heck! Sanders’ polling numbers with black voters were double that of Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) who was also seeking the nomination before dropping out in December, according to a March Morning Consult poll – and Harris actually is a person of color.
Meanwhile, he also has strong support in the LGBTQ community.
Sanders is the first-choice for 34 percent of Democratic primary voters who identify as LGBTQ, according to the latest Morning Consult poll. That’s more than Elizabeth Warren at 19%, Joe Biden at 18%, Michael Bloomberg at 7%, even Pete Buttigieg at 12% – and Buttigieg is openly gay.
If that’s not enough, the Sanders campaign has women and people of color in prominent leadership positions.
Two women of color, Ohio state Sen. Nina Turner and San Juan, Puerto Rico Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, are co-chairs of the campaign, along with Indian-American Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) and Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Ben Cohen. Sanders’ campaign manager is longtime progressive activist Faiz Shakir.
Are all these women and minorities really Bernie Bros?
“It was absolutely meaningful for Bernie Sanders or for anyone else to say, ‘No, I’m going to step away from that white-skin privilege, I’m going to interrogate what is going on here around race. And then I’m going to do what most people never do: I’m going to actually put my body on the line and take a stand and work with those whose oppression we are committed to ending,’ That’s what Bernie Sanders did.”
In fact, her supporters tried a similar bit of propaganda back in 2008 when she was running against Barack Obama where Clinton supporter Rebecca Traister ran an article in Salon entitled, “Hey, Obama boys: Back off already!”
“If we were willing to invest in high-quality early childhood education, if we’re willing to pay great teachers and great principals significantly more, the benefits to our society, the benefits to our economy, the benefits to our democracy I think would be extraordinary…
[But] Money is never enough. So you’ll never hear me say, it’s only about money. For me it’s always about your high expectations as well as high support. And we have to hold ourselves accountable for great results. When schools aren’t working, we have to be willing to challenge the status quo. So investment is part of it, but high expectations have to go with that, and we have to hold ourselves accountable as educators for results, absolutely.”
So for Duncan this plan is entirely consistent with corporate education reform.
In fact, it makes sense as a continuation of those policies.
When privatization cheerleaders like Duncan talk about “high quality teachers” and “accountability” what they really mean are strings attached.
In this case, they probably mean merit pay – giving bonuses to teachers whose students get high test scores.
You can’t champion authentic public schools and public school teachers while also pushing for more institutions run without the same transparency, democratic government, and enrollment standards. If you think schools should be able to cherrypick which students to accept, they should be run by appointed bureaucrats, and it’s fine to cut student services while pocketing the profits, you aren’t a friend of public education.
“…there is still debate surrounding whether all teachers need a raise, or if it is enough to make changes for a select group of teachers through differentiated or merit-based pay. While differentiated and merit-based pay can help alleviate some specific teacher shortages, such as those in subjects or schools that are high-needs, they are not a substitute for higher base pay.”
Ultimately, Brown comes out in favor of an across the board salary increase for teachers, but in her view merit pay is part of that solution.
As education blogger Peter Greene points out, the language used in Harris’ proposal is right from the neoliberal playbook. It is full of the same euphemisms and code words that have signaled school privatization, high stakes testing and merit pay.
Consider this gem:
“Every child deserves a world-class education, regardless of their ZIP code. Of all in-school factors that impact their success, there’s nothing more important than our teachers.”
“World class education” and “regardless of ZIP code” mean charter schools galore. And the only “success” these folks are interested in is high test scores.
“Our plan will include a multi-billion dollar investment in programs that help elevate the teaching profession and support principals and other school leaders. This includes high-quality teacher and principal residencies early-career induction programs that pair new teachers with mentors and master teachers, career ladder models that allow for advancement opportunities for teacher leaders, and “Grow Your Own” programs that help increase teacher diversity.”
Greene says that the term “Career ladders” is a red flag because it usually denotes career stagnation. It’s code for adding more duties and responsibilities on teachers without actually furthering their careers.
If I’m honest, these are all red flags.
As much as I want a raise, I’m doubtful Harris’ plan would actually accomplish much other than selling my soul to the testocracy.
Ultimately that’s what this is – a Faustian bargain.
“Crazy Bernie has just entered the race. I wish him well!”
Like Hell you do, you arrogant xenophobic windbag!
Bernie is running for President – the best candidate situated to take you down.
He’s anti-establishment. A populist. And stands for the opposite of everything you’ve built your rocky neoconfederate administration on.
You wish him well!HA!
Trump is the most transparently fake candidate in history. You know exactly what he’s thinking because you know he always lies.
When ex-Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz threatened to run as an independent and thereby split the Democratic vote, Trump was overjoyed! So much so that he tried – emphasis on the TRY – to use reverse psychology on Schultz.
Frankly, I feel more sympathy for them than the others. They honestly want policy that will benefit everyone – but especially the most at risk. They’re just wrong to think that character traits are the essential mark of authenticity.
The Democratic primary process was a mess, the media gave free airtime to the most regressive candidate, and our national teachers unions – the National Education Association (NEA) and American Federation of Teachers (AFT) – endorsed a Democratic challenger too early and without getting membership support first.
1) The AFT executive board invited all of the candidates to meet with them and submit to an interview. No Republican candidates responded.
2) Democrats including Bernie Sanders, Martin O’Malley and Clinton were interviewed in private.
3) The executive committee voted to endorse Clinton.
4) THEN the interviews were released to the public.
How can the AFT claim its endorsement was a result of membership opinion when the organization didn’t even release the interviews to members until AFTER the endorsement?
Ostensibly, the executive council used these interviews to help make its decision. Shouldn’t that same information have been available to rank and file members of the union before an endorsement was made?
Which brings up another question: were AFT members asked AT ALL about who to endorse before the executive council made the final decision?
“The AFT has conducted a long, deliberative process to assess which candidate would best champion the issues of importance to our members, their families and communities. Members have been engaged online, through the “You Decide” website, through several telephone town halls, and through multiple surveys—reaching more than 1 million members.
Additionally, over the past few weeks, the AFT has conducted a scientific poll of our membership on the candidates and key issues. The top issues members raised were jobs and the economy and public education. Seventy-nine percent of our members who vote in Democratic primaries said we should endorse a candidate. And by more than a 3-to-1 margin, these members said the AFT should endorse Clinton.”
So the AFT claims union members said to endorse Clinton on-line, on telephone town halls, surveys and a scientific poll of membership.
But did they really?
I’m not a member of the AFT but I know many teachers who are. Very few of them have ever been surveyed.
The press release says AFT members preferred Clinton 3-1. Yet to my knowledge they never released the raw data of any polls or surveys of membership.
This can’t happen again.
She said the executive council passed a four step process just last week to ensure members were behind whoever the union eventually endorsed this time around:
“Our Executive Council just passed a process last week which has four components. Number One is what do the members want? What are their aspirations? What are their needs in terms of Presidential candidates? And so we will be doing a lot of listening and engaging with members.
Number Two – There’s a lot of candidates that want access to our membership. What we would like them to spend a day with our members. We would like them to see the challenges in classrooms. The challenges that nurses have. [The AFT also represents nurses.] Listen to the challenges of adjunct professors who have student loan debt that is well beyond what salaries they get per month.
Number Three – People are really active these days. So we don’t want them to wait until there is a nationwide endorsement to involve or get engaged with candidates. So there’s going to be an ability to be involved or engaged as delegates to do these kinds of things.
Number Four – At one point or another we’ll get to an endorsement.”
Frankly, this seems kind of vague to me. I hope this new process gets better results than the last one.
So NEA and AFT leaders, your members want to know:
What is your process for selecting our next U.S. presidential candidate?
What questions will you ask potential candidates?
How will members have a democratic voice in the process?
Please be transparent and publish your process to share with members through multiple sources.
And my union brothers and sisters, get involved. Engage in the endorsement process now! Call on our NEA and AFT leadership to invite early and widespread, as well as transparent, involvement in the endorsement process.
The outgoing Chicago Mayor USED TO subscribe to the radical right view that public schools should be privatized, student success should be defined almost entirely by standardized testing, teachers should be stripped of union protections and autonomy and poor black and brown people have no right to elect their own school directors.
But far from divorcing any of this Reagan-Bush-Trump-Clinton-Obama crap, he renews his vows to it.
“…what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.”
If only he’d respond like Madison:
“Okay, a simple ‘wrong’ would’ve done just fine, but thanks.”
But like that straight man school administrator in an Adam Sandler movie, I’m going to give you the long answer. I’m going to explain why what Emanuel said was supremely stupid.
But it leads into a series of important points he wants to make:
“For most of my career, I preached the old gospel of education reform. But now research and experience suggest that policy makers need to embrace a new path forward and leave the old gospel behind. Principals, not just teachers, drive educational gains. The brain-dead debate between charter and neighborhood schools should be replaced with a focus on quality over mediocrity. To get kids to finish high school, the student experience should center on preparing them for what’s next in life. Finally, classroom success hinges on the support that students get outside school. If other cities follow Chicago’s lead in embracing those ideas, they’re likely to also replicate its results.”
Wow. What an innovation! Stack your school system with yes-people and your initiatives will get done. Great. No room for diversity of thought. No one who thinks outside of the box. Just functionaries and flunkies who do what you say.
Imagine if pirates were robbing ships on the high seas. Would you talk about good pirates and bad pirates? Imagine if vampires were attacking people in the night and draining their blood. Would you talk about good vampires and bad vampires?
I mean Dracula did suck Mina dry, but he spends the rest of his nights reading to orphan children. Long John Silver may have stolen hundreds of chests of gold from merchant ships, but he donates every tenth doubloon to fighting global warming!
Finally you talk about the support students get out of school. That’s stupid because…
Actually it’s not.
You’ve got a point there. We do need to support programs to help students succeed outside the classroom – summer reading, after school tutoring, etc. However, making kids sign a pledge to go to college in order to be eligible for a summer job? That’s kind of cruel when many have no way to pay for college in the first place. Moreover, it completely ignores the huge section of children who have no desire to go to college and would rather go to career or technical schools.
Emanuel pushed forward a policy that in order to graduate, Chicago seniors must prove that after 12th grade they’re going to college, trade school, an internship, the military or would otherwise be gainfully employed. OR ELSE they can’t get a diploma!
Rahm’s all about adding more hoops for poor minority kids to jump through. Very rarely is he about providing any help for them to make the jump.
In October of 2014, Officer Jason Van Dyke shot the 17-year-old 16 times. Most of those bullets went into the teenager after he was already flat on the ground and the officer was at least 10 feet away.
Emanuel quickly issued a $5 million settlement to McDonald’s family on the condition they keep quiet about the incident. It wasn’t until after Emanuel had won re-election, that an independent journalist put two-and-two together and asked for the officer’s dashcam video to be released. It took the full power of the media and a lawsuit to accomplish this resulting in charges against Van Dyke for first degree murder. Just last year the officer was found guilty of second degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm, but was found not guilty of official misconduct. He was sentenced to 6.75 years in prison.
This is not a sterling mayoral record. It is not a proven record of success.
Could it be that they never intended workers at these schools to have any rights?
Could it be that small class size – one of the main demands of teachers at the 15 Acero schools – was never something these policymakers intended?
It certainly seems so.
For decades we’ve been told that these types of schools were all about innovation. They were laboratories where teachers and administrators could be freed from the stifling regulations at traditional public schools.
And now when charter teachers speak out and demand a better environment for themselves and their students, these ideologues have nothing to say.
It’s not hard to figure out what’s going on here.
The latest audit of Acero shows they have $10 million a year in additional revenue that they aren’t spending on the students. Yet they’re cutting the budget by 6 percent annually. Meanwhile, Acero’s CEO Richard Rodriguez is taking home more than $260,000 for overseeing 15 schools while Chicago Public Schools CEO Janice Jackson makes slightly less money for managing more than 500 schools.
If the school privatization lobby cared about kids, it shouldn’t be hard to come out against Acero and in favor of these teachers and students.
It seems to prove what charter critics have been saying all along – and how full of crap the privatization lobby has always been.
I know many educators who’ve worked at charters. In most cases they are dedicated, caring professionals who’d rather work at a traditional public school but had to settle for employment where they could find it even if that meant less pay, longer hours, and fewer rights.
I know many parents who sent their kids to charter schools because of funding inequalities or rampant high stakes testing at traditional public schools. In every case, they are doing the best they can for their children – navigating a system they hate looking for the best opportunities.
I’ve taught many students who’ve gone to charter schools and then returned to my traditional public school classroom disillusioned from their subpar experience in privatized education. Without exception they are great kids who try their hardest to succeed despite huge deficits from the years lost at charters.
These people are not our enemy. We are their allies.
We are pushing for a better education system for all of us. And this strike is part of that.
Every school should have an elected school board. Every school should have public meetings, transparency and be accountable for how it spends tax dollars. Every school should have to accept the kids living in its borders and provide them the proper services and respect their rights. Every school should treat its employees like professionals and pay them a fair wage for a fair day’s work.
Ultimately, I think this means the end of the charter school concept. But that doesn’t have to mean the end of all these charter schools. Many of them that can operate effectively and efficiently should become traditional public schools. That may mean incorporation into existing districts or creations of new ones. It may mean additional funding from the state and federal government.
In the case of fly-by-night charters that do nothing but enrich their investors while cheating kids out of an education, they should be closed immediately and the persons responsible should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law (whatever that is, if at all possible).
I don’t have all the answers, and what’s right in one neighborhood may be wrong in another. However, I am confident that there is a solution.
No matter how this strike is resolved, the fact that it exists – and is probably a precursor to more such strikes – points the way to a brighter future for everyone.
“I have decided to stop taking offense at the suggestion that we are buying influence. Now I simply concede the point. They are right. We do expect something in return. We expect to foster a conservative governing philosophy consisting of limited government and respect for traditional American virtues. We expect a return on our investment.”
Her boss – and philosophical soul mate – Donald Trump feels the same way. He once bragged at a rally:
“I’ve given to everybody because that was my job. I gotta give it to them, because when I want something I get it. When I call, they kiss my ass.”
DeVos doesn’t just talk the talk. She walks the walk.
One of the most infamous examples of quid pro quo was when the DeVos family gave Michigan Republicans $1.45 million over a seven-week period as an apparent reward for passing a no-accountability charter school law in 2016. That’s $25,000 per day! The editors of the Detroit Free Press’ described it as a “filthy, moneyed kiss.”
Yet somehow it’s unions that have a “stranglehold” on politicians and policy!?
Let’s get one thing straight – money should not be able to buy political influence. Period.
That’s union money. That’s billionaire money. That’s anyone’s money.
But that requires major reforms to how we finance political campaigns. It requires several Supreme Court decisions such as Citizens United to be overturned. It requires additional regulations and transparency from our legislature.
Until that happens, no one can afford to stop making these campaign contributions.
In Buckley v. Valeoand several additional rulings that built on it, The Supreme Court wrongly ruled that money equals speech and thus any limitation on political spending would violate the First Amendment.
Therefore, no one can afford to limit their voice by voluntarily closing their pocketbook.
People with truckloads of cash – like DeVos – cry wolf when the unwashed masses pool their resources to the point where they can come close to matching the wealthy.
But make no mistake – with the rampant economic inequality in this country, the rich can outspend the poor. And they often do.
It doesn’t take a political genius to see that our national policies invariably favor the wealthy and ignore the poor. That’s no accident. It’s the rich getting what they’ve paid for.
But DeVos wasn’t done whining to a sympathetic audience on Fox Business Channel.
“…they [i.e. teachers unions] are very resistant to the kind of changes that need to happen. They are very protective of what they know, and there are protective, really protective of adult jobs and not really focused on what is right for individual students.”
Really? How would you know? You never sent your kids to public school. You never went to public school, yourself. You’ve only ever visited a handful of public schools after purchasing your position in Trump’s cabinet (Check the receipts to the Senators who confirmed her!).
Teachers want change. They’re begging for change – just not the kinds of change DeVos is pushing.
But she went on:
“One of the most fundamental things again is focusing on individual children and knowing that all students are different, they learn differently. I have four children, they were all very different, very different learners.”
To enable her scheme, she needs to attack teachers:
“We have a lot of forces that are protecting what is and what is known, a lot of forces protecting the status quo. We need to combat those, break them, and again empower and allow parents to make decisions on behalf of their individual children because they know their children best.”
Betsy, charter and voucher schools are not reform. They ARE the status quo. They’re the same crap championed by Obama and the Bushes and the Clintons.
Republicans are famous for their privatization advocacy. But most Democrats are in favor of it, too.
He is an incurious liar who constantly trolls the media and the public.
He is an admirer of dictators and fascists across the globe with no qualms about enriching himself and those like him at the expense of you and me.
Everyday he provides aide and comfort to anti-American regimes from Moscow to Riyadh by diminishing our international stature, withdrawing us from treaties and contracts, leaking sensitive information and otherwise pursuing foreign interests over those of American citizens.
A democratic republic is like any other machine – it only functions properly if all of its parts are working.
You can’t have majority rule when 40% of voters shirk their duty.
A study by the Pew Research Center found that not only were non-voters likely to be younger, less educated, less affluent, and nonwhite, but 55% of them were Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents.
“The most significant civil rights problem is voting. Each citizen’s right to vote is fundamental to all the other rights of citizenship and the Civil Rights Act of 1957 and 1960 make it the responsibility of the Department of Justice to protect that right.”
In Arkansas, thousands of voters were erroneously flagged in 2016 under the guise of removing people who had been convicted of felonies. In Virginia, voters were wrongly deleted from the rolls in 2013 under the excuse of removing people who allegedly had moved.
To make matters worse, the purge was overseen by Secretary of State Brian Kemp, a Republican candidate for governor. Since most of the people being removed from the polls are people of color, the poor and other Democrats or leaning Democrat voters, the move makes it harder for Democrat Stacey Abrams to challenge him.
Kemp and his Republican buddies wouldn’t be going through all this trouble if voting made no difference.
Compare that to a traditional public school – an institution invariably operated by duly elected members of the community with full transparency and accountability in an open forum where taxpayers have access to internal documents, can have their voices heard and even seek an administrative position.
THAT’S a responsible way to handle public money!
Not forking over our checkbook to virtual strangers!
Sure, they might not steal our every red cent. But an interloper who finds a blank check on the street might not cash it, either.
It’s really that simple! I turn over nearly all of my public tax dollars to the management company that then uses it to operate the school – and keeps whatever it doesn’t spend.
Heck! It doesn’t even matter who owns the company! It could even be me!
The law actually allows me to wear one hat saying I’m nonprofit and then put on a different hat and rake in the cash! The only difference is what hat I’m wearing at the time!
SO I get to claim to be a nonprofit while enjoying all the advantages of being for-profit.
I may even be able to buy things with public tax dollars through my for-profit management company and then if my “nonprofit” school goes belly up, I get to keep everything I bought! Or my management company does.
So the public takes all the risk and I reap all the reward. And I’m still graced with the label “nonprofit.”
Both types of privatized institution allow for huge windfalls in real estate. If I own property X, I can sell it to my charter school (or management company) and then pay myself with tax dollars. Who determines how much I pay for my own property? ME! That’s who!
And I can still be a nonprofit.
Think that’s bad? It’s just the tip of the iceberg.
I could do like the almost exclusively “nonprofit” Gulen charter schools and exist solely as a means to raise money for an out-of-favor political movement in Turkey.
I could use charter funds to finance other businesses. I could decide to discontinue programs that students receive in traditional public schools such as providing free or reduced lunches but keep the cash. I could fake enrollment and have classes full of “ghost students” that the local, state and federal government will pay me to educate.
So all this talk about nonprofit and for-profit charter schools is either a mark of supreme ignorance or a ploy for weak willed politicians to weasel their way out of taking a stand on an issue whose merits are obvious to anyone who knows what really happens in our education system.
It’s time to stop wasting taxpayer money on this expensive fraud.