Sunday, March 6, 2011

Scott Walker , Teachers , Unions and Wisconsin

Scott Walker , Teachers , Unions and Wisconsin

Governor Scott Walker has leveled the largest assault on public education in the history of the state of Wisconsin. This is an attack on the middle class and an attack on teachers who are being treated as political tools and pawns. They're bargaining chips in negotiations.

Teachers, who play more of a role in economic development than anybody who wants to take a chance on Wall Street, are being vilified and targeted unfairly.

Nobody goes into teaching to get rich. They do it because they love helping people. They love the reward of seeing kids reach their potential. It takes a special person to be a teacher.

The wonderful thing about public education is that everybody's welcome -- the gifted, the talented, the challenged. The socioeconomically challenged kid can walk in the door and have a chance to learn and his or her only hope, because that home life might not be the best, their hope is that teacher.

Republicans are placing the burden of economic recovery on the backs of the middle class and our teachers. An economic recovery required because of the policies put in place by Republicans, resulting in wealth distribution from the middle class to the top two percent.

My mother was a high school English teacher at Granby High School in Norfolk, Virginia. She had three accelerated classes and three regular classes. My mother graded papers until the wee hours of the morning. She got her kids off to school every day. And when she came home in the afternoon, she was still grading papers, and then she was working on lesson plans on Saturdays.

My mom used to take tremendous pride in knowing that one of her students went off to the University of Virginia and became a doctor. She took a tremendous amount of pride in being part of that student's education.

And I know in my heart that teachers haven't changed over the years even though my mom died years ago and came from a different generation. They're still the same. I know they're the same because I was in that crowd at Madison, Wisconsin and I looked into the eyes of those teachers. They haven't changed a bit.

This philosophy that teachers are overpaid is running them out of the industry. And we don't have the quality teachers in the classrooms that we could have as a nation if we invested in what should be a shared value by all.

How about tax credits for teachers who want to expand their horizon and get maybe a PhD? Is that a good idea? And how about the income for people in New Jersey?

New Jersey has the third highest percentage of millionaire residents in America -- nearly 7 percent of the people that live in New Jersey are millionaires. New Jersey millionaires, how many of them are there? Well, there are 212,000 of them. How many teachers? A hundred and twelve thousand. There are more millionaires in New Jersey than teachers, but we're asking the teachers pay for everything. We can't raise the taxes on the rich folks over in New Jersey, maybe the top two percent maybe giving one more percent?

It's unfortunate. And now, here we go with the attack on labor. Wisconsin, Ohio, New Jersey, Indiana -- let's keep up the fight. We can win this. And it's a long way from over.

And, mom, this is dedicated to you.

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Sure there are some professors, especially at the big name colleges, that make six figure salaries and some public school administrators also make into six figures ( we're talking about people with masters and PH.D. degrees). The average teacher works far more hours than the forty a week they get paid for. But wait, our schools kind of suck. Who's fault is that. Some of it has to do with the district the school is in and the lack of money. Some of it has to do parents not doing their part - helping with homework, making sure kids do their homework and reading ( public officials and politicians can't afford the feedback from blaming parents for anything). One thing that does not hurt education is recognizing teacher's basic rights to belong to a union and collectively bargain. Not all collective bargaining is about higher wages, sometimes it is about leaky school ceilings, bad ventilation or the lack of supplies. Unions are not armed thugs, politicians or extremists like Scott Walker can always say no.

Right-wing conservatives continue their attacks on basic democratic rights, In 22 Statehouses Across The Country, Conservatives Move To Disenfranchise Voters

In statehouses across the country, Republican lawmakers are raising the specter of “voter fraud” to push through legislation that would dramatically restrict the voting rights of college students, rural voters, senior citizens, the disabled and the homeless. As part of their larger effort to silence Main Street, conservatives are pushing through new photo identification laws that would exclude millions from voting, depress Hispanic voter turnout by as much as 10 percent, and cost taxpayers millions of dollars. In the next few months, a new set of election laws could make going to the polls and registering to vote significantly more difficult — in some cases even barring groups of citizens from voting in the communities where they live.

Conservative legislators across the country have said these laws are necessary to combat alleged mass voter fraud. But these fears are completely overblown and states already have tough voting laws on the books: fraudulent voters face felony charges, hefty fines, and even lengthy prison time. In Missouri, for example, voter fraud carries a penalty of no less than 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Yet conservatives have insisted on finding a legislative solution to a non-existent problem. In states like Indiana, where an ID law passed in 2005, both nuns and college students have found themselves turned away from the polls. Similar laws are on the books in eight other states and that number could expand dramatically in coming months. ThinkProgress examined these efforts in eight states