Thursday, November 28, 2019

NY Times Pulls Race Card in Report on Charters While The Guardian Exposes Sham Astroturf Protests

Recently a crowd of protesters disrupted a speech by Elizabeth Warren. The activists might have seemed grassroots, but they weren’t... The Guardian, Billionaire-funded protest is rearing its head in America
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/nov/27/billionare-funded-protests-america
But the NY Times (intentionally) fell for it as evidenced by this biased front page article in the Nov. 27, 2019 edition of the Times: Minority Voters Chafe as Democratic Candidates Abandon Charter Schools. 
The NYT doesn't raise the issue: Why is there a charter school industrial complex designed to make a lot of money for a lot of people using kids as a device.
[Addendum since publication - Ravitch on the same subject: Robert Kuttner (and I) Challenge the New York Times Slant on Charter Schools By dianeravitch November 29, 2019]

NYT:
Outside the Atlanta studio where the candidates were assembling for Wednesday’s debate, more than 300 people chanted “Our children, our choice” to the drumbeats of a marching band from a KIPP school. The next day, black and Latino charter school parents shouted the same refrain at Ms. Warren as she tried to start a speech about race in Atlanta. .... Since 2016, public polling has shown a widening divide on charter schools between white Democrats and their black and Latino peers. White Democrats’ approval of charter schools dropped to 27 percent from 43 percent between 2016 and 2018, according to a poll conducted by Education Next, a journal based at Harvard that is generally supportive of charters. Black and Latino approval for the schools remained basically steady at about 47 percent for each group.
Hmmmm - does this mean the majority of parents of color do not approve and why is that downplayed - note how misleading the NYT headline is: Minority Voters Chafe as Democratic Candidates Abandon Charter Schools

I don't expect anything less from NYT reporter Eliza Shapiro who shows bias in her reporting since she was at Politico - When she moderated a debate on charters I attended with Carol Burris as one of the participants challenging charters, I saw clear evidence of bias so I never trust her ed reporting --- at times Trump is right about NYT fake news -- NYC education activists have known that for decades.

Guardian:
Last week, Elizabeth Warren went to Atlanta to give a major speech about issues of concern to black women. Her speech touched on knotty, existential topics such as the legacy of slavery, institutional racism, voter suppression, mass incarceration and reparations. But the next day’s headlines overwhelmingly focused on the fact that the speech was interrupted by a loud group of pro-charter school protesters.
We were supposed to be talking about challenging centuries of institutional racism, but now we’re talking about charter schools. How did that happen? If you suspect that some sort of nefarious action that can be traced back to plutocratic billionaires is involved – well, of course.

The protesters themselves were, by all accounts and appearances, a group of concerned people who passionately oppose Warren’s plan to bolster public education and crack down on the charter school industry. But they did not all materialize in the crowd together in matching shirts by chance. Their existence was orchestrated by pro-charter school groups that are funded by an array of billionaires, including Netflix founder Reed Hastings, art and philanthropy titan Eli Broad and, most prominently, the Walton Foundation, controlled by the staggeringly wealthy family that owns Walmart. Thus we are all forced to deal with the spectacle of classic tactics of grassroots protest being coopted and fueled by a tiny group of the very sort of people that such tactics were developed to target in the first place.
NYT: their [charters] waiting lists swelling into the hundreds of thousands. ​
What bullshit about waiting lists - charter propaganda. The reporters should ask to see these lists. We know there are empty charter seats in Eva schools here in NY.

And are there also massive waiting lists for some public schools?

Nov 15, 2019 - 

One more bit from the Guardian to highlight how easy the charter lobby can distract from real issues:
One of the emotional backbones of Warren’s speech was the story of the 1881 Atlanta washerwomen strike – a relatively little known incident in labor history that she was no doubt inspired to cite by the union leader Sara Nelson’s recent speech on the same topic in front of the Democratic Socialists of America convention. Yet what should be a shining example of radical ideas rising to mainstream prominence in a presidential campaign has been pushed to the bottom of most news stories in favor of the charter school ruckus. This points to the fact that astroturf campaigns don’t have to be very sophisticated, or even very secret; they just need to make enough noise to weasel their way into a 30-second TV hit to get the job done.
 Oh, and Howard Fuller is one of the biggest pieces of crap and indicative of the slime the charter industry attracts.

Read both articles in full below.

======

Billionaire-funded protest is rearing its head in America

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/nov/27/billionare-funded-protests-america

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Daily Howler on Democratic Misleadership With Fiorillo Comment

Rep. Nunes will, on occasion, make an accurate statement! ---
In theory, two different nations could monkey around in the same U.S. election! That said, did Ukraine "meddle" or "interfere" with the 2016 election? Within our current tribal wars, this question has been bouncing around in the past two weeks, almost always being discussed in a muddled, incoherent manner.

Daily Howler
I loved Fiona Hill's testimony and had to keep reminding myself she worked for Dr. Strangelove - er - John Bolton who would attach himself to a missile aimed at Iran or Russia. So I take her sure bet assumption Ukraine had zero to do with the 2016 election with a grain of salt.

And let me ask this very dangerous question -- How do I know for sure that all Hunter Biden did was collect his 50K a year? Or that he never slipped a few words to his dad to earn that 50K? Sorry, but I've always viewed Joe Biden as suspect from way back when as a senator for banking and credit card companies. Obama saved him from himself by making him VP, though Obama is certainly not showing Joe much love lately. Actually I think that the Trump attacks to weaken and already weakened Biden have helped other candidates who in the long run may have a better chance than Biden of beating him.

I'm looking at all sides of the issues as a way to read through the muck. There are minority voices on the left/liberal wings that are pushing back against the Democratic narrative. Michael Fiorillo has been a left skeptic of Russiagate from the earliest days. Blogger Daily Howler advertises himself as a member of the liberal tribe though I'm not so sure at times since he seems to aim most of his darts at the so-called liberal press, with particular focus on MSNBC, the NY Times and Washington Post. I posted his comments on the ICE-Mail listserve and here Michael comments - followed by the DH post.

Fiorillo: 
Wow, it's shocking to observe some sanity and critical thinking in an American journalist concerning Son of Russiagate.

The "Manafort Ledger" was released to the US media by members of the Ukrainian government, with the explicit purpose of harming Trump's campaign - and it did, resulting in Manafort leaving the campaign - as reported contemporaneously by the Financial Times. The Ukrainians had obvious reasons to prefer Clinton, given Trump's statements about Russia and Putin over the years, yet somehow that doesn't rise to the Pearl Harbor/911-level of interference the #McResistance TM insists we feel about childish, semi-literate Facebook posts, supposedly sent by the Russian government  (although unable to provide evidence of such, Mueller and the DOJ have in fact been prohibited from making that claim in court, not that Rachel Maddow would ever consider that news).

It should also be pointed out that, while Russian government hacking of the DNC and Podesta is certainly plausible (unlike the "collusion" narrative, which was preposterous and riven with inconsistencies from the start), in fact it has not been "proven" that they did so.

Recall that the DNC to this day has not turned over its servers to the FBI for forensic analysis, which was  instead done by Crowdstrike, a DNC vendor (which probably relates to Trump's incoherant/confused reference to it in the Zelensky phone call). 

Additionally, Bill Binney, a mathematician who was a rock star at the NSA (and later a whistleblower revealing NSA spying on ths US populace) and is now a member of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, claims that, based on the information made publicly available, it would not have been possible for the DNC/Podesta data to have been hacked remotely; he claims instead it must have been downloaded on to a thumb drive. He claims it was a whistleblower, not a hacker, who revealed the info.

The point is, the "proof" about Russian Interference In Our Democracy is less certain than is claimed and which the #McResistance TM would have us think.

Enjoy Son of Russiagate Theater while you can, since it's likely to help re-elect Hair Furor.

But the #McResistance TM is actually fine with that, just as long as they control the narrative and keep Bernie from the nomination...
Posted: 23 Nov 2019 09:41 AM PST
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2019

Why we can't have nice things:
Trigger warning! We start today with a statement so vile that it may rock your world.

The statement in question goes like this:

Even a tribalized player like Devin Nunes will make the occasional accurate statement.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Bloomberg Strategy: A Brokered Democratic Convention, Super Delegates (Randi is one) - I bet on Klobuchar being thei brokered choice

The 700 super delegates benefit if no one wins in the first ballot....  maybe this is only about Bloomberg getting enough delegates to team up with the super delegates to deny Warren or Bernie the nomination. After all, Bloomberg has more to lose in wealth from them and is investing his money now in an effort to stop them. Imagine the centrist candidates putting their delegates together to team up. This article covers some of this ground:

Nomination chaos? Democrats fear primaries won't produce a clear winner. - That could leave matters in the hands of hundreds of unelected super delegates to pick the party's candidate to take on Trump..... The last time Democrats went into their convention without a presumptive nominee already having a majority of delegates was 1984. And you have to go all the way back to 1952 to find the last time it took multiple rounds of ballots to pick the standardbearer.

An Ed Notes correspondent from Newark is a horrified-at-Bloomberg-for- president fellow traveler has been feeding me stories. Remember the charges by Bernie people in 2016 that the super delegates - un-elected and appointed by party powers - played a role in guaranteeing the nomination for Hillary - (she did win more delegates in the primary but the supers put her over the top.)

I republished an article from New Republic the other day (A Brokered Convention Opening for Bloomberg, Obama People Hate Warren, Clinton People Hate Bernie - Analysis from New Republic) pointing to the Bloomberg candidacy as relying on a broken convention where the 700 super delegates pick the candidate. When we went to see Randi at the CUNY Labor Institute on Nov. 15 she talked about her playing a big role in establishing "fairer" rules for super delegates (of which she is one) where they don't get to vote on the first ballot. Thus the super dels interest is also in a non-win for anyone on the first ballot so they get to choose.

This ties into her "freeing" locals for endorsing their own candidate - and I reported on the LA and NYC differing approaches by Labor for Bernie people - I handed this out at the UFT Del Ass: Labor for Bernie UFT members call for a democratic presidential endorsement process.

In her memo to AFT members Randi said she hoped all groups would unite behind the candidate chosen. Do we think that would happen in LA? Maybe, but if it is Bloomberg, chaos will break out and I bet a third party candidate somewhere. I would still bet on a Klobuchar as being a choice for the super delegates and give the anti-union Bloomberg zero chance for the nomination --- maybe this is only about him getting enough delegates to team up with the super delegates to deny Warren or Bernie the nomination. After all, Bloomberg has more to lose in wealth from a Bernie/Warren win and is investing his money now in an effort to stop them. Imagine the centrist candidates putting their delegates together to team up.

My correspondent sent me this article published Nov. 25 on
Who has more to fear from Bloomberg: The Democrats or Trump?
While rival campaigns in the 2020 race dismissed Tom Steyer's money and Deval Patrick's late entry, they're not as quick to write off Bloomberg's billions.
"The businessman has also taken the unusual strategy of skipping the early states, like Iowa and New Hampshire, to run a national campaign focused on winning delegates to next year’s Democratic National Convention. That has some wondering if he’s hoping to win at a potential contested convention when superdelegates— insiders presumably more amenable to his message— would get to vote."
 I followed a link in that article to an Aug. 25 article by the same author that is worth checking out. Since the convention is in the summer, that leaves a lot in the air just months before the election and gives Trump a real advantage since no matter the Dem choice, a whole bunch of people won't be very happy.

(Is there a split of sorts coming to the Dem party post election if Trump wins? And even if the Dems win there will still be political chaos with the new president and by 2024 who knows?)

Nomination chaos? Democrats fear primaries won't produce a clear winner.

That could leave matters in the hands of hundreds of unelected super delegates to pick the party's candidate to take on Trump.



By Alex Seitz-Wald


Sunday, November 24, 2019

Impeachment Crisis and American Imperialism -- World Socialist

It's the economics, stupid.
Do we think Bolton (don't forget who Fiona Hill worked for and with), who is the classic case for being Dr. Strangelove, is now our friend? Or the FBI, CIA, NSA are suddenly the good guys?
I've been trying to listen to all sides and of course the Republicans are a joke -- admit Trump did a quid quo pro and then fight on the grounds it is not impeachable. Actually, why didn't Trump just announce there should be an investigation of Biden - why seek phony cover from Ukrainians? You actually don't need to do an investigation - you cast the shade on Biden.

There are historians who believe that economics has been the driving force in all historical movements. While I haven't studied Marx very much, he seems to be a leading proponent and many even right wing economists give him some kudos for his analysis of historical movements and the economic basis of capitalism, which includes imperialism - but of course so do the so-called socialist states which have their own version -- see China with its fingers in every pie.

While I signed on to the fundamental narrative from the Democrats on the Trump impeachment, I always am open to alternate interpretations, especially when they come from the left which has been skeptical for 100 years of the FBI, CIA, NSA and general anti-Soviet, not Russia views.

[Read the other side - Stevens is a conservative: The United States Is Starting to Look Like Ukraine
Why the president must be impeached and removed.
The left was under attack for most of the history by these same forces and that the right is feeling attacked now makes for delicious irony. But many areas of the left (as opposed to the liberals) are still skeptical and in another irony are buying into some of the Trump defense narrative. In the next few posts I am going to share some of those views - not because I buy all of them but to show that we should not jump automatically because we hate Trump. For Bernie people if you listen carefully you will find some elements of careful disagreement by him on the attacks on Trump for wanting to talk to the enemies list put forth by the Democratic Party which the Republicans used to be aligned with. (Trump people rarely attack Bernie because he is considered a maverick and possibly because he is a missile ultimately aimed at the Democratic Party.)

Articles have been floating in from some of the leftists associated with the ICEUFT caucus over the years that throw some shade on the Dem narrative. Some big name skeptics are out there like Matt Taibbi and Glen Greenwald.

Below is an article from the World Socialist web site which I don't always trust - so read through the lines here to filter out what makes sense and what doesn't - a lot of this makes sense to me because when the fall of the Soviet Union occurred, supposedly Bush 1 assured Yeltsin that we would not try to bring Ukraine into NATO which would allow it even as an independent to be a buffer for Russia. But the old cold warriors wanted to align Ukraine with the US and Europe and the crisis began in 2014 with the overthrow of the Russian vassal president. Not we viewed that as a good thing but remember that imperialist battles are always over resources and Ukraine has major resources which this article points out.

Note on Bolivia -- a big resource is lithium for all those batteries - and Morales wasn't going to allow major corps to get control of that resource. And Venezuela- oil, oil, oil. And socialist-type governments no matter how bad maintain control of their resources if they can while your standard dictator will allow multinationals to bribe them to get control. That is one reason that any state that even touches on socialism with its major tenet of state control of resources is viewed as such a danger to the economic interests of the few.

Opinion -The impeachment crisis and American imperialism


By Patrick Martin

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Memo from the RTC: A Weekend of Mirth and Merriment


The WAVE - Nov. 22, 2019

Memo from the RTC: A Weekend of Mirth and Merriment
By Norm Scott

Are you having trouble finding reasons to laugh in today’s troubled world? Then get yourself down to the Rockaway Theatre Company this weekend for the final performances of the hysterical “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.” I hadn’t intended to write about the show due to the superb weekly coverage, Backstage With the RTC, by Fionnuala O’Leary which has given us so many insights into the performers and other movers and shakers at the theater.

As one of the videographers, I taped opening night. But looking through a camera and not having the best location to hear everything well I don’t always get the nuances and subtleties of a show. So I always go back as a regular audience member and I did so last Saturday night, accompanied by my wife and four friends. We joined the rest of the audience in laughing our heads off. With the cold and dark days we have entered, being able to laugh so freely for a couple of hours put me in a great mood for the entire weekend.

Actually, the weekend began early Saturday morning on a great note with a yoga class with Barry at Burn Fitness followed by a group of us going out for great breakfast at The Last Stop. So I was very relaxed and ready to laugh Saturday night when we hit the theater after dinner at Tiberios. I was still smiling Sunday morning for a 7:30 hot yoga class with Missy at Hot Yoga Rockaway Beach. And the smiles turned to wild laughter later that afternoon when we went to Symphony Space in the city to see the political review and hilarious song parodies of The Capitol Steps. We especially love the enormously talented leader of the group, Mike Thornton, who is a friend of a family member. (We got to meet him last summer when he emceed a memorial tribute to a family member who died). He and his troop wowed us for an hour and a half with songs such as “Oops I Tweeted Again”, “Fiscal Shades of Gray” and “Impeachable You.” Following a seafood dinner on Amsterdam Avenue I returned to Rockaway as a very happy fella and feeling I had to share some of the joy.

But the linchpin of the weekend was Spelling Bee (wish I could share some of the funny lines but I don’t want to ruin it for you) and I had to come back to this space to rave about the show, especially the nine performers and the enormously talented Catherine Leib in her first time directing and multiple time choreographing. Catherine has delighted us on stage for thirteen years, so seeing the outcome of her work behind the scenes is wonderful.

Now I don’t have room here to talk about the nine cast members and Fionnuala has been giving them space in her weekly profiles but I do want to make a general point about how the actors playing children manage to pull it off to an extraordinary extent. And of course the three adults in the room are also extraordinary. Having seen most of these performers in other roles that are so different from these only emphasizes what great actors they are.

One more point that I gather every week from Fionnoula’s reporting is how these actors emphasize the supportive environment the RTC provides. Seeing them look so confident on stage you might not realize that actors are often insecure and need a cocoon of sorts to make them brave enough to take on greater challenges than they might have thought they were capable of. This comes through time and again. So the real star of the RTC is the RTC itself.

This show ends the RTC season and Monday Tony Homsey and crew will take down the fabulous set that mimics a real school gym and start building sets for the upcoming children’s shows in January and February. See you next year unless there is some new RTC news to report.

Norm posts writes on politics, education and whatever pops into his head on his blog https://ednotesonline.blogspot.com/

Friday, November 22, 2019

A Brokered Convention Opening for Bloomberg, Obama People Hate Warren, Clinton People Hate Bernie - Analysis from New Republic

Democratic Party elders are making plans.

I loved this insight from Alex Pareene at New Republic. Hillary people can live with Warren but never Sanders. Obama people will do what they can to stop Warren - which he doesn't explain the reasons for but the bad blood from Obama abandoning her and her response still stings. And both camps have given up on Biden. (That there are even competing center camps and competing leftist camps in the Party bodes well for Trump.)

He explains why the Deval Patrick entry - combined with the Obama attack on the left -  makes sense only in a certain context. He theorizes they want to hurt Warren in the New England states and also offer another Black alternative in Nevada and South Carolina to drain from Warren who is making some inroads now. Obama people aren't worried about Bernie because they don't take him seriously. Then he explains the Bloomberg entry too.

Both candidates have a hope in a brokered convention where no one can win on the first ballot. Last week I was at an event where Randi spoke and she said she played a major role in the rule that super delegates can't vote on the first round but then can -- so there is a strategy here --- aim for no one on first round and then broker who they want in round two or three.
Should be fun.

There’s Only One Way the Patrick and Bloomberg Campaigns Make Sense:  Democratic Party elders are making plans.
By Alex Pareene
November 20, 2019

https://newrepublic.com/article/155789/theres-one-way-patrick-bloomberg-campaigns-make-sense

I’m going to write something annoying. I’m going to write some horse-race campaign analysis. I’m going to write very broadly and subjectively about trends in the race without using hard data or discussing policy. I’m doing so because I think what I am describing has a possibility of happening, and I think people who are invested in this presidential election should be prepared for it.
The following things are true:
To be very overly broad (I am, I am aware, describing the beliefs and motives of a large and diverse set of individuals), “Clinton World” detests Bernie Sanders, is largely on board with Kamala Harris, but has no real problem with Elizabeth Warren and would greet her nomination without much rancor.

“Obama World” doesn’t share this perspective. It doesn’t take Sanders seriously, and thinks of him—even with some affection—as a harmless crank. It, however, strongly dislikes Warren. I don’t want to say it would stop at nothing to prevent her from winning the nomination, but there are a lot of ancient tensions between the two camps that are far from settled.

If it is the growing consensus among many top Democrats in those two worlds that Joe Biden does not have it in him to win the nomination (or the general election), there are a couple of obvious paths forward: Boost the prospects of the “mainstream” candidate most likely to win if Biden fades or Option B, which we will get to in a minute.

In Clinton World, it seems obvious to continue to offer support to Kamala Harris, or to hope for Amy Klobuchar to surge, or perhaps get behind Warren. It would be smarter for anyone in the anybody-but-Sanders camp to throw in with Warren now, given the fact that the Harris and Klobuchar campaigns have entered a decaying orbit. But for many, those two senators still “make sense on paper,” so seemingly smart people are still convinced something might come of them.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Labor for Bernie UFT members call for a democratic presidential endorsement process

[Addendum Nov.  21 - I watched the MORE people promoting this idea and getting people to sign for this democratic process - and many did - but since the idea is to get the union to support Bernie - which will never happen - why not just get UFTers on board who are for Bernie and promote a Bernie campaign inside the UFT because these halfway measures go nowhere other than when the reso is brought up in December for the January meeting the DA will shoot it down. In the NY State primary getting people to vote for Bernie is a goal and I can see using every UFT event as an organizing tool for Bernie.]

I wrote this article for the Nov/Dec print edition of Ed Notes, distributed at the Nov UFT Delegate Assembly. (There's also an article on health care reprinted from Under Assault: The public option needs to go on the “ash heap of history".

I'm for Bernie but I also have some doubts - about his program and the way it would be implemented - if at all.

We probably need transformational change but I fear it could as easily go right rather than left if it gets screwed up. Imagine an economic crash under Bernie or any Democrat - and this is what I fear - whatever Dem wins the economy crashes and a competent right winger comes into power.

Anyway, this is about democracy at the UFT over the presidential nomination process and there's a lot of irony in that it is being pushed by people in the MORE Caucus which certainly didn't poll the members when they suspended me and others over trivialities.

But while I still support the idea of any democratic process in the UFT though I wonder why a referendum on this issue over all others? I'd love to see one on class size. I also call into question exactly how democratic the process was in Los Angeles which basically had a Bernie up or down discussion and never went to referendum. I point out that the UFT will never go for a democratic process. Randi will decide and then we will have a series of events to endorse her choice - and that AFT choice will be the UFT choice despite Randi giving locals permission to make their own choices.

And exactly how would this process work in the UFT? And what if Biden get the most support -- what would MORE and Bernie for Labor do? No way they would be bound for Biden. So in some ways this is a way to charge the UFT with not being democratic and try to make some hay out of this in a future electoral campaign. Also an organizing tool to get people to sign the petition and use that list for future contacts and organizing opportunities. But no one ever said MORE was not opportunistic.

By the way - Labor 4 Bernie is having a debate watch tonight at Versa Books, 2 Jay Street in Brooklyn.
Labor for Bernie UFT members call for a democratic presidential endorsement process -- by Norm Scott

Let me state right up front. I support Bernie Sanders for president, but I am not Bernie or Bust, meaning I would support most (but not all – Bloomberg, Booker, Bennet) Democratic Party candidates. I have joined national and local Labor for Bernie groups, designed to gather union support for Bernie, who has been the most consistent supporter of labor unions and worker rights over his entire career of any politician in either party. 

Bernie's education and labor plans are the most supportive for our members of any candidate. [A Thurgood Marshall Plan for Public Education - berniesanders.com/en/issues/reinvest-in-public-education and The Workplace Democracy Planberniesanders.com/en/issues/workplace-democracy.] It should, theoretically at least, be a no-brainer for us here in the UFT to join with our colleagues in Los Angeles – the UTLA – which endorsed Bernie with an 80% vote of the UTLA DA equivalent in his favor. UTLA president Alex Caputo-Pearl said: “Sanders is shaping up to be the candidate with the best chance not just to win the White House, but to actually change the conditions of massive inequality and underfunding of public education.” I pretty much agree, though I feel Bernie has a better chance to defeat Trump than he has in getting the nomination. We know the party big-wigs hate him and when push comes to shove I wonder if they wouldn’t prefer Trump to an avowed socialist.

The Chicago TU coming off a major strike may soon follow. Two of the three largest teacher unions endorsing Bernie is not insignificant. Yet long-time chapter leader and union activist (now retired) James Eterno at the ICEUFT blog stated, “there is a one in a billion chance of the UFT endorsing Bernie.” (My odds would be more like one in a million.) How can that be? Getting into the politics of why is beyond the scope of this article other than stating that our union leaders here in the UFT and AFT have been firmly planted in the center wing of the Democratic Party.

Randi Weingarten has acknowledged that the 2016 nomination process was flawed, saying in a recent statement “we have enabled locals and state federations, if they choose, prior to any national endorsement, to endorse a candidate for the purpose of their state primary or caucus.” So we are freed in the UFT to take action without waiting for Randi to decide.

You may have seen petitions being circulated by Labor for Bernie pointing to the UTLA endorsement of Bernie and urging support for a Resolution for Union Democracy in the 2020 Election. The reso states: The campaigns have started, but it will take a while for most busy educators to educate ourselves about the candidates, their records, and their visions for the country. Once we have had time to research, discuss, and deliberate, nobody knows better what is best for our union than the members ourselves.

An interesting contrast to what happened in LA where they didn’t wait for people to research or even offer them a choice other than Bernie. Here is their process:
Sept. 11 – UTLA Board of Directors votes 35-1 to begin exploring an endorsement process for Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Sept. 18 – UTLA House of Representatives votes 135-46 to confirm the process to explore endorsing Sanders.
Oct. 2 – School site leaders discuss and review endorsement materials.
Oct. 2 – Nov. 12 — School site leaders engage members on consideration of a UTLA endorsement of Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Nov. 13 –  Membership advisory up or down vote at 9 regional area meetings. 72.5% of voters, representing more than 500 LAUSD schools, say yes to endorsing Sanders.
Nov. 14 — House of Representatives votes 80% to endorse Sen. Bernie Sanders.

The reso for the UFT goes in a very different direction than LA:
Resolved that 1) The UFT will wait to endorse a presidential candidate until after members have had a chance to learn about the candidates through the first six DNC debates through December 2019. 2) The UFT will hold forums for members to discuss the endorsements, and invite as many candidates to speak at such forums as possible. 3) The UFT will decide which candidate to endorse through a citywide, binding, one-member, one-vote poll of our members.

I am trying to parse what a binding one-vote poll of our members might mean for us in the UFT considering the politics of our union leadership and where our own membership might stand with so many candidates (yes, even Trumpers). 

So this petition is very different than the process in LA by calling for a referendum of sorts where all members of the UFT would get to vote for their candidate of choice. What if the UFT membership splits along the lines of the candidates with “the winner” getting, say, 25% of the votes. Thus, Bernie or Biden could “win” with a minority of votes. Would that be binding? Or democratic? The process being called for seems flawed, especially coming from a group billed as “Labor for Bernie.” Would a Biden endorsement by a clear minority of voters in the UFT be acceptable when they clearly have a preferred candidate in Bernie? Where do people in your schools stand at this point?

The reso being circulated in the UFT seems to recognize the realities of the control the leadership has over the Exec Bd, the DA and most of the schools, and never mentions Bernie. To go around that process, the sponsors are pushing for chapters to endorse the reso and hope that in schools where they have people, they can come to the DA with some chapter endorsements. The main group pushing this reso in the schools would be the MORE Caucus, whose leadership is prominent in Labor for Bernie. 

If a real referendum went against what the UFT leadership or even L4Bwants, that would put both of them in a box. So this reso has zero chance of passing, but putting it forth offers an opportunity to charge the leadership and Unity Caucus with not being democratic. And gathering signatures is an organizing opportunity for MORE. They’re certainly not interested in organizing me. But I will sign it anyway. Calling for democracy is good, I say, with some sense of irony (that’s an inside joke).
-->

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Leonie Haimson: Are charter schools the boogeymen of progressive Democrats?

After googling the terms, I discovered that in recent years, the term boogeyman or boogeymen has been used literally thousands of times by charter school advocates in dismissing the arguments of critics..... Leonie Haimson
When I read the Corey Booker oped defending charter schools my "never Booker" credentials were firmed up. Here Leonie take a deep dive on the use of the boogeyman talking point by ed deformers. She points to Booker's lagging finances and I see his oped as a plea to charter billionaires to jump in with some bucks to stop the growing Dem anti-charter candidates.

And I love it when she exposes the press when she says:
One has to wonder when there is a growing recognition among many progressive Democrats of the negative consequences of the unchecked growth of charter schools, why political reporters who are supposed to be objective observers of this debate are adopting this patronizing and essentially incorrect term.
Wonder indeed.

Is it accurate to say that charter schools are the "boogeymen" of progressive Democrats, as Corey Booker and some reporters claim?

The Chicago Teachers Strike Was a Lesson in 21st-Century Organizing - The Nation

Before the Chicago teachers first struck, teacher strikes were almost always cast—by politicians, the media, this or that administration—as “care-offs,” with administrators clutching their pearls and worrying to the press that the teachers simply didn’t care enough about the students. Even self-identified progressive commentators had gotten used to dismissing teachers’ unions as selfish. This language was echoed in popular myths like that of the “rubber room,” where supposedly lazy, bad teachers who couldn’t be fired were sent to hang out for years on end, getting fat on the taxpayer dime.


Now, in 2019, that conversation has been flipped. There is no longer any question that teachers love their students and their work; indeed, the CTU fought Lightfoot after an agreement had been reached, demanding to make up the 11 days lost to the strike, while the mayor insisted on just five make-up days.
Again and again, Chicago’s teachers have successfully made the point that it is they who care about the students, the schools, and the city as a whole. They have fought for a revitalized public sector, for an understanding that no issue is outside their purview.
This article makes some important points about changing the tone of the conversation. Look at today's NYT - Cory freakn Booker has yet another op ed supporting charter schools. We must be relentless in going after these people. The Chicago and LA strikes along with the red state teacher rebellions are changing the dialogue and any Democrat wanting to be president better take this into account. It is not only big industry and the wealthy who are nervous about Bernie and Warren - the charter industrial complex is very nervous.

The Chicago Teachers Strike Was a Lesson in 21st-Century Organizing

Despite the Janus decision and years of labor losses, the Chicago Teachers Union has figured out how to organize—and win.

By Sarah Jaffe

November 16, 2019

Monday, November 18, 2019

Los Angeles Teachers Endorse Bernie, Chicago May Follow, Wither the UFT?

As union endorsements for Bernie come in he gains momentum. If CTU in Chicago joins UTLA then the second and third largest teacher unions endorse Bernie. James Eterno says it's a billion to one chance the UFT endorses Bernie and I somewhat agree. Maybe a million to one. I think they may settle on Warren if Biden falters. Imagine being faced with Bloomberg - thank goodness he has no chance - see my recent post: Bloomberg as President Would Be More Undemocratic than Trump.

I'm going to address the petition being put up by Labor for Bernie UFTers - pretty much MORE Caucus calling for a democratic poll - where I will point out that if they do actually hold a poll and it turns out not to be Bernie they will scream bloody murder and won't support the winner. But that's a story for another day.

Ravitch had a report on the LA endorsement (Los Angeles: UTLA Endorses Bernie Sanders) with a full statement on the process used 

timeline of UTLA’s endorsement.
  • Sept. 11 – UTLA Board of Directors votes 35-1 to begin exploring an endorsement process for Sen. Bernie Sanders.
  • Sept. 18 – UTLA House of Representatives votes 135-46 to confirm the process to explore endorsing Sanders.
  • Oct. 2 – School site leaders discuss and review endorsement materials.
  • Oct. 2-Nov. 12 — School site leaders engage members on consideration of a UTLA endorsement of Sen. Bernie Sanders.
  • Nov. 13— Membership advisory up or down vote at 9 regional area meetings. 72.5% of voters, representing more than 500 LAUSD schools, say yes to endorsing Sanders.
  • Nov. 14 — House of Representatives votes 80% to endorse Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Note the process was not a poll to see which candidate members wanted but an up and down on Bernie. But it looks like Bernie was pretty up. But if the numbers were say 50-50 it might be sticky.

James reported at the ICE Blog and James seems to be pretty open to Bernie - and James is a progressive but no open lefty which is interesting. I find pretty much all the ICEUFT people are pro-Bernie.

UNITED TEACHERS OF LOS ANGELES ENDORSES BERNIE SANDERS FOR PRESIDENT

Teacher union news from Los Angeles, California:

LOS ANGELES — United Teachers Los Angeles, the second-largest teachers’ local in the country, is proud to endorse Senator Bernie Sanders for US President in the 2020 Primary Election, making UTLA the first teachers’ union in the country to endorse a presidential candidate.

Tonight, the UTLA House of Representatives – the elected leadership body of the 34,000-member union — voted 80% in favor of endorsing Sen. Sanders, capping the most comprehensive member engagement process that UTLA has ever conducted for a political candidate.

Thursday’s House vote followed a six-week discussion at school sites. Following that member engagement, on Wednesday at nine regional meetings, more than 500 elected site representatives voted 72.5% yes to the presidential endorsement of Sen. Bernie Sanders. Wednesday’s vote was opened up to allow any member who attended to vote alongside elected chapter leaders.

UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl said: “Why now, and why Bernie? Because we want him to win in the primary election and because we need an unapologetic, longstanding ally of progressive policies to make public education a priority in the White House. Sanders is the first viable major candidate in 25 years in the Democratic Party to stand up against privatization, the charter billionaires, and high-stakes testing and to stand up for a massive redistribution of wealth to schools and social services. Critically, like UTLA, Sen. Sanders believes in building a national movement for real, lasting change.”

Alex led a successful strike in LA earlier this year.  I take this union out in LA seriously. We can only dream that our Union will follow.

Do you see a process like UTLA had before endorsing Sanders going on in the UFT?

For anyone who has not seen Bernie's education and labor plans, please read them. They are worth your time.

Diane Ravitch covered the story and there are some interesting comments there.

The largest nurse's  union also endorsed Bernie this week. We will see where labor goes. 
 ======
I'm including this report from September from the right wing critic Mike Antonucci who does make some interesting points:

UTLA Begins Process to Endorse Bernie Sanders


United Teachers Los Angeles isn’t waiting around for the field of Democratic presidential candidates to be winnowed down. The union’s representative bodies took steps last week to endorse Bernie Sanders.
It’s unclear who introduced the motion, but the UTLA board of directors voted 35-1 on September 11 to “initiate a process of exploration to endorse Bernie Sanders for President of the United States in the Democratic Party primary.” On September 19 the union’s house of representatives concurred by a vote of 135-46.
The process involves “engaging” chapter leaders in a discussion of Sanders’ qualities that will culminate in an advisory vote for or against an endorsement of Sanders on November 13. The UTLA house of representatives will then take up a formal endorsement vote on November 14.
It’s not unusual for state and local teacher unions to endorse primary candidates on their own when a clear front-runner hasn’t emerged. But even UTLA calls this process “unique.”
What isn’t unique, judging by the evidence so far, is that the process isn’t really about determining whom chapter leaders (or rank-and-file members) want to endorse, but about selling them on Bernie Sanders.
“Sanders is shaping up to be the candidate with the best chance not just to win the White House, but to actually change the conditions of massive inequality and underfunding of public education,” said UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl.
We’ll see how this approach plays with those in UTLA who support one of the other dozen or so Democratic presidential candidates. The desires of Republican UTLA members can safely be ignored.
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Saturday, November 16, 2019

Chicago Teachers Ratify Contract by 80%

The second and third largest cities, social justice leftist oriented unions, in contrast to the UFT, have some interesting news to report.

Despite some controversy in Chicago over what was won by the recent strike and some questions raised about how democratic the process was, the 25,000 membership ratified by 80%. Not too shabby and not far below the numbers here last year.

Read: Chicago Teachers Didn’t Win Everything, But They’ve Transformed the City—And the Labor Movement
Rebecca Burns
November 1, 2019
Working In These Times 


Class size was a premium issue and some gains were made. Some gains were made in terms of enforcement here in NYC but the numbers remain the same here as they were in 1970. The last time the UFT went on strike over class size was in 1967 - I was on that strike - my first days on the job and I didn't have a clue what it was all about. The class size wins in Chicago seem limited but made some progress. The UFT is also lauding the progress. You know I am a critic of the UFT over class size and I think more can be done but when pro-Unity people point out a comparison of contracts by our so-called "business union" vs the CTU "social justice" union, I don't have an easy answer. But I do point out how the Chicago people used community ties and made a case of pointing out where the money was while here we never hear a word about the outrageous real estate and corporate deals -- like let's give Amazon and Hudson Yards funders enormous tax breaks while arguing there is not enough money to at the very least reduce class size in the early grades as was done in the early 90s but reversed by Bloomberg.

The Mayor is a liberal -and probably a neo-liberal who wanted to hold the line on the ed budget but seems to have no qualms about giving breaks to certain corporate or real estate interests. By the way, de Blasio is no different despite claiming to be left of liberal.

I want honest reports not ideologically tainted reporting. I trust Fred Klonsky's analysis. He is a retired union leader in the Chicago area and does not fawn over the CTU even if he is a big supporter.  So here is his report listing some of the gains and why they are important.  Chicago’s teachers approve their contract.  

Here is most of Fred's report:

The vote came two weeks after an eleven day strike that put thousands of teachers on the picket lines and in the streets for nearly daily mass protests.
Late Friday night, with 80% of the vote counted from 80% of the schools, votes for approval were running at 81%.
I found no information on what schools the vote was coming from or whether that information will be made available later.
79% approved the deal after the seven-day 2012 strike. The 2016 CBA received a 72% vote of approval.
Teachers have reason to be proud of their unity and militancy during the bargaining.
Members will receive a 16 percent hike over the five year length of the agreement. That is a long time compared to most contracts, and to the 3-year deal that the CTU wanted.
There will be no increases in health care costs for the first three years, a quarter-percent increase in the fourth year and a half-percent increase in the fifth year.
A disappointment for many was the failure to add to elementary teachers prep time and the dispersal of veteran pay must still be negotiated.
The contractual numbers of students in a class – a central demand of the CTU – seems limited.  A teacher may appeal for a remedy to a newly constituted Joint Class Size Assessment Council, consisting of six members appointed by the district and six by the union. The council will determine if, and what, action is to be taken.
Class size and staffing were huge issues in the strike. The union demanded that class sizes and staffing numbers be put in writing in the contract.
What was important for the union was that the numbers and the procedures for remedy be written into the contract which would allow them to be grieved if the numbers and process for remediation were violated.
Now the numbers and remedy are in writing in the collective bargaining agreement.
Still, the numbers themselves remain high.
As for staffing, the union won 209 additional social workers and 250 additional nurses over the duration of the contract.
CPS must now add an additional 44 social workers and 55 nurses next year above what the district had already budgeted. 
There was no agreement to add school librarians.
The new contract designates funds to hire community representatives at schools with large numbers of homeless students.
A stipend will also be available for some schools to hire a Students in Temporary Living Situation (STLS) Liaison. Together, the representative and liaison will ensure homeless students are attending class, have transit passes, and are aware of neighborhood resources.
There were other improvements for teachers in the agreement as well.
Some will continue to argue over who won, the CTU or Mayor Lightfoot. Or whether an 11-day strike significantly improved the agreement over what Mayor Lightfoot and the CPS board offered before the walkout.
As someone who has some experience in bargaining teacher union contracts, I think the fundamental issue is whether this contract is an improvement over the previous one. In this case, it appears the members believe it is and their vote is the one that matters most.
What I am most pleased about is that unlike in a growing number of right to work states, Chicago public school union teachers had the right to bargain it and to vote on their agreement.
That is no small thing.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Bloomberg as President Would Be More Undemocratic Than Trump

Bloomberg inspires much fear and loathing from those of us who knew him close up from his takeover of the NYC school system. The very arrogance of his entry into the presidential race speaks volumes. I think I might prefer an often inept clown like Trump to a high end technocrat like Bloomberg who would know how to pull the levers of power without anyone being willing to challenge him. Bloomberg should have been impeached for the lies and misinformation when he ran the city.

I am laughing out loud at the idea of Bloomberg challenging Trump. How often have we heard that Trump would refuse to leave office if he lost or even if he won a 2nd term? He even joked about that.

I know where he got the idea - from former mayor of NYC Bloomberg who defied term limits to demand a third term here in NYC. Bloomberg was as undemocratic a mayor as we've had, punishing critics or buying them off. Community groups suddenly went silent, bought off with Bloomberg donations.

We saw that first hand in his takeover of the education department just how dictatorial were he and his henchman, Joel Klein and Dennis Walcott (see my post the other day, Former Bloomberg Hit Man Dennis Walcott as Queens Library Head Absolves Himself of Responsibilty for Errors - What Else is New?)

And how about that Cathy Black appointment as chancellor?

He called the rising test scores "a  great victory," but they were bogus all along
https://nypost.com/2011/02/20/new-yorks-school-testing-con/

And those school cheating scandals stem directly from Bloomberg policy.

And remember the wasted time and money over building a stadium on the west side? Imagine traffic in the city.

As for racism, Bloomberg is certainly in Trump territory, just smoother. Stop and frisk is exhibit number one. Since it's been cut down, the crime rate still dropped.

How about those gentrification real estate deals? Bloomberg is way more responsible for the homeless crisis because he refused to build housing - he wanted to push poor and even middle class people out of the city. I taught in Williamsburg and saw what his policies did to that neighborhood which is so crowded and dense and overbuilt with awful architecture too. Are there some good outcomes? Of course but anyone who allows what happened without thinking through the consequences is bad news.

How about the transportation issues? Billions for a few fancy subway stations with no concept of expanding service to more areas that needed it.  Just see that Hudson Yards #7 train station as an example.

And sexism - the guy who told pregnant women who worked for him to "get rid of it?" Oh, I could go on.

Bloomberg is not running against Trump but to stop Bernie or Warren.

He and fellow billionaires are terrified at the thought of high tax rates and cutting into their wealth which is used to give them inordinate power over everyone else.

Bloomberg inspires fear to members of the press who might one day be looking for a job -- I remember getting that feeling from some reporters over their weak, fawning coverage of the Bloomberg years.

We already saw that act here in NYC.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Former Bloomberg Hit Man Dennis Walcott as Queens Library Head Absolves Himself of Responsibilty for Errors - What Else is New?

When Dennis M. Walcott, a former New York City schools chancellor, took over the helm of the Queens Library system in 2016, the branch was just an empty shell on the Long Island City waterfront. By that point, Mr. Walcott said in an interview, the focus was on finishing the building, not in rethinking its details... NYT
Right. The very same guy who was Bloomberg's hit man on the schools for a dozen years making another excuse.  Ahhh, I remember him defending the appointment of Cathy Black as chancellor to succeed Joel Klein and then took over for her after she was dumped.
The congestion is compounded by the placement of the main stroller parking area on a second floor landing, which is insufficient for the dozens of strollers sometimes seeking a spot.
“It’s crazy right now,” said Nikki Rheaume, one of three children’s librarians, as she tried to navigate a crush of strollers around the second floor elevator last Wednesday, when dozens of strollers descended on the building. “It’s chaos.”... NYT on $41 million library mess
Update: A comment from a reader points to Walcott's history - and by the way he replaced a corrupt Queens library head before him - and to the role played by Melinda Katz as borough pres in getting Walcott the job.
Walcott lacks any qualifications for the job. He and the entire board should be removed for this fiasco. He has been on public welfare for so long. The politicians in Albany keep finding him jobs. He is one reason why I did not vote for the female Dem candidate for DA. She has proven bad judgement year after year but the public has not paid attention to her incompetence.
Most professional employees at the library system are ignored and marginalized. DW has no idea who they are or what they can really do for our residents nor do the idiot architects. No one spends the time, money, and effort to becomes a highly skilled library professional in the digital age only to be assigned carrying books up and down stadium stairs. Watch the career of the person who spoke out. She is marked for extinction.
This is just a repeat of the similar debacles he left with us all over the school system. (Not qualified there either.)
Yes - his role alone in closing so many NYC schools and supporting charters should have resulted in intervention by the UFT when Walcott was appointed.

You can see this library from the Manhattan side of the east river from the 34st ferry terminal. I had to check it out and took a 5 minute ferry to Hunters Point - I also wanted to talk to the librarian about dropping off copies of the Indypendent every month. I loved the design - outside and the views from inside. But it did not seem to be as good an idea functionally. I shlepped up stairs and down stairs and it was just weird the way the books were placed and where they were placed -- with a few desks on each level.

A week ago reports surfaced over leaks and cracks. And then this from our old NYT ed reporter Sharon Otterman who should be well acquainted with the squirmy Walcott.

New Library Is a $41.5 Million Masterpiece. But About Those Stairs.

“It’s chaos,” said one of the children’s librarians. 
 https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/05/nyregion/long-island-city-library.html

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Jim Vail - The Chicago Teacher Strike - A View from the Inside - Part 2

So the strike helped expose the lies of politicians, and the fight between the people 99% and the billionaires 1% who supported Lightfoot's campaign. It was an eye opener to teachers who voted for Lightfoot based on her lies.

The union leadership organized and ran a very successful strike to fight for better schools. They are to be commended for that. 


But the union leadership also plays a dirty political game that they say they have to in order to get anything in this system. 
this strike won't change the ugly reality we live in today - where over the past 30 years or so the 1% have accumulated 21 trillion dollars, while the rest of us have lost 900 billion dollars. 
.... Jim Vail
In the continuing search for truth and justice, on the Chicago teacher strike I've been looking for articles that come from different directions - examining all sides of the cube to see through the chaff. Like you know you can expect a glowing victory article from Labor Notes and an attack from the World Socialists on the far left. The liberal press will support the liberal mayor and the right wing will attack her for caving. It is a spin zone.

In every one of these posts on other teacher unions, keep in mind how our union operates here in NYC and compare it to the others. Despite the different political views of the UFT leadership (center Democrat - Biden type politician) and the CTU leadership (social democrat - Bernie  like), they operate on some levels in the same way -- with the CTU being more top-down that one would expect.

Yesterday I presented an insider view from someone I trust who is not in the leadership but close to it. Assessing The Chicago Teacher Strike - A View from...

Today I am presenting the views of Jim Vail, not loved by the CTU leadership if I remember correctly, an original CORE member from a decade ago but who became a left critic of the leadership. I got to hang out a bit with him at the AFT convention in Detroit in 2012 when he was still a delegate and we did agree on some of the critical issues. Here is his report republished from Substance and first published on Jim Vail's website Second City Teachers, which may be accessed here. Jim exposes the Lori Lightfoot sham which was predictable based on her supporters. (But it is funny to see the left Jacobins attacking Elizabeth Warren on similar grounds despite the fact that Wall St hates her guts.

Strike ends! Was it a win for teachers?




The Chicago Teachers Strike finally came to a crashing end after a historic 11-day walkout, the longest teachers strike since 1987.


The union and its supporters are going to say it was a win. The opposition and those with high hopes will say it was not.


And that was reflected in the vote - 364 - 242 to end the strike.

So the union was a bit divided when they voted on ratifying the tentative agreement.

Chicago Teachers Union CTU President Jesse Sharkey stated that the delegates vote on the contract, that he is not here to sell the contract.

But he then went on to sell the contract - saying repeatedly it would be a risk to strike for another week or so with no guarantee we would get more in the contract. But he didn't sell it hard, he knew people would be disappointed.


CTU Vice President Stacy Gates played politics – putting a tweet on the board for the delegates to show that the Speaker and the Governor have agreed to support an Elected School Board.

Another political promise?


Mayor Lori Lightfoot campaigned on empty promises of supporting the neighborhood schools and adding more social workers and nurses, straight from the CTU playbook. When it came down to putting her pledges in writing - she refused until the union and the strike forced her to put some things in writing (about $400 million in extra staffing and support for the schools).


She promised to invest in the South and West Sides that have been neglected, and now in office she is fighting against activists who sued the Lincoln Yards $1.2 billion TIF where tax money to help those "blighted" areas is instead going to a wealthy development company called Sterling Bay. She gave these guys everything they wanted in writing.


She also campaigned for an elected school board and then immediately stopped it. The union has a right to be furious with her.


So the strike helped expose the lies of politicians, and the fight between the people 99% and the billionaires 1% who supported Lightfoot's campaign. It was an eye opener to teachers who voted for Lightfoot based on her lies.

The union leadership organized and ran a very successful strike to fight for better schools. They are to be commended for that.


But the union leadership also plays a dirty political game that they say they have to in order to get anything in this system.


So it was disappointing to hear our leaders say Mayor Lightfoot was fanatical, or religious, a true believer - who wanted a five-year contract (crazy for that long since she can do a lot of damage by closing a lot more schools in her alliance with development), no extra prep time for elementary school teachers (this preserved the 'longer school day' that she they say has led to higher graduation rates) and no change to the Reach teacher evaluation system used to fire lots of teachers at a time of extreme teacher shortages.


What was the union zealous about? What exactly were we all willing to not go back to school until we got it?


The union framed it as a cap on class sizes - we got some good stuff in writing, far from perfect, a nurse in every school, every day (look close at the contract wording!), veteran pay (not that much considering $25 million over five years) and extra pay for Para Professionals (a definite win the union and teachers can be proud of). They forced CPS to increased the sports budget by 35%, adding $5 million to a meager $15 million was a win for city athletics.


It was very inspiring to hear many high school delegates say that their schools still wanted to strike to support of the elementary schools getting a 30 minute prep period each day, to ensure a better school day. Solidarity!

This contract is a reflection of the ruling class attack on public education that was at the apex when President Barack Obama took office in 2008 and implemented the Race to the Top.


The teachers unions supported President Obama (the newly elected CORE leadership was able to abstain from an endorsement, though former CTU President Karen Lewis pushed for it).


Like one of the many colorful signs said during the teachers protests - Unlike Burger King, you can't have it both ways!


But ultimately politics played a very big role here. It almost became a pissing match between the Mayor and the CTU. Nobody wanted to lose - within the box they were playing.


As the great political philosopher and linguist Noam Chomsky says, in the American system you put everything within a box - and within that box you can have some very rigorous debate and free speech. But in this system you are not allowed to go outside that box.


So this strike won't change the ugly reality we live in today - where over the past 30 years or so the 1% have accumulated 21 trillion dollars, while the rest of us have lost 900 billion dollars.


It is a fight not only for teachers, but all of us!