Monday, March 07, 2016

Will Michigan Teachers Figure Out What Louisiana Teachers Never Did About Clinton Backers' "Reform" Agenda?


Yesterday, Maine's Democrats caucused and Bernie won another convincing victory over the establishment candidate whose campaign was bragging in the morning about how she had all the establishment endorsements. He beat her 64.3- 35.5% and took 15 delegates to her 7. On the Republican side Rubio won in Puerto Rico, while polling shows that Kasich is either winning in tomorrow's Michigan primary by 2 points-- or losing by 28 points (or losing by 24 points). Predatory billionaires like Eli Broad and Alice Walton are big backers of two awful things: replacing public education with charter schools and putting Hillary Clinton into the White House instead of Bernie. Valerie Strausss' Washington Post story about their activities in Louisiana needs to be read by teachers-- and voters-- in Michigan. Keep in mind when you read this, that "reform" means killing public education and killing teachers' unions, a dream of the billionaires who don't want their tax dollars to pay to educate other people's children. 
For years now we’ve watched school board races around the country attract a lot of money from donors who don’t actually live in the state where the elections are taking place. For example, in 2012, outsiders poured money into a New Orleans school board race; in 2013, millions of dollars were spent on school board races in Los Angeles, with much of the money coming from people who lived outside California; and in 2014, non-Minnesotans plowed cash into a school board race in that state.

Why? It’s part of an effort by school reformers and their financial backers to elect like-minded public officials to help spur corporate school reform around the country.

And now we have the latest example: A California businessman and a pair of Arkansas billionaires are dumping hundreds of thousands of dollars into races for the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education in Louisiana in an effort to help keep its majority friendly to corporate school reform. The election is Oct. 24.

The billionaires are Eli Broad, the California-based housing and insurance magnate who is now leading an attempt to send half of Los Angeles’s public school students to charter schools, and Alice and Jim Walton, heirs to the Wal-Mart fortune, who have collectively poured a total of $650,000 into Baton Rouge business magnate Lane Grigsby’s PAC, called Empower Louisiana. According to this post on Louisiana teacher Mercedes Schneider’s Edublog, Jim and Alice Walton each donated $200,000 on Aug. 20, and Broad contributed $250,000 on Sept. 10. The post says:
The total on the above report is $763,710, which means that as of September 14, 2015, money from two billionaires from Arkansas and one billionaire from California constitutes the principal funding for Grigsby’s efforts to preserve a BESE majority known for supporting charters and vouchers without equally supporting adequate oversight; supporting high-stakes testing without supporting timely, clear, comprehensive reporting of testing results, and for allying with a state superintendent known for hiding and manipulating data, refusing to honor public records requests, and refusing to consistently audit the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE).

Grigsby considers the above to be the desired course for Louisiana’s state board of education. According to the October 01, 2015, Advocate, he plans to spend his PAC’s predominately Walton and Broad money on 3 of the 11 BESE seats…
Alice Walton of Arkansas, incidentally, gave about $1.7 million in 2012 to support charter school initiative 1240 in Washington state, which was narrowly passed by voters (who had voted against opening charters three times earlier) but recently ruled unconstitutional by the Washington Supreme Court. Broad is busy leading a proposal to raise $490 million to build 260 charter schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District to enroll about half of the district’s students.

It’s interesting to note how conservatives like to scream about local control of public education-- except when they want to take control themselves.
Anyone else notice something fishy about this page?

The teachers unions didn't ask their members to vote on an endorsement. The union heads just endorsed Hillary-- gave one of her SuperPACs $1,064,102-- and informed the membership (about the endorsement, if not the contribution). I don't know any teachers who are supporting Hillary, only teachers who are supporting Bernie, although I guess there must be some teachers in Louisiana who are Hillary backers. The story above is too late for Louisiana voters to consider. Eli Broad, one of Hillary's biggest supporters, is also a big Rick Snyder supporter so maybe people in Michigan will find it interesting... especially teachers. Hopefully they will connect the dots.

Bernie penned an op-ed for the Detroit Free Press yesterday, U.S. trade policies proved disastrous for Detroit, Flint. Some excerpts:
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and I have differences of opinion on many issues. In no area are our differences stronger than trade policy.

In 1960, Detroit was the richest city in America and General Motors was our largest private employer paying union workers a living wage with affordable health care and a secure retirement.

Today, Wal-Mart is our largest private employer paying nonunion workers starvation wages with little or no benefits and selling products made in China.

America’s radical transformation from a GM economy to a Wal-Mart economy has decimated the middle class, turning Detroit into one of the poorest big cities in America and hollowing out communities across the country.

No city in America has suffered more than Flint. Long before Flint’s children were poisoned by contaminated drinking water, the city was poisoned by disastrous trade policies that allowed GM to eliminate more than 72,000 jobs and move several factories to Mexico.

Unfettered free trade turned this once-prosperous middle-class city, where residents could own a home, raise a family and retire with security, into a place where good jobs are scarce and extreme poverty is high. Today, a quarter of Flint residents have an annual income of less than $15,000 and 65% of the city’s children live in poverty.

The decimation of Detroit, Flint and communities all over this country did not happen by accident. It is a direct result of disastrous trade deals that have allowed corporations to ship our jobs to low-wage countries.

...It is easy for candidates to say what they want on the campaign trail. But voters must look at their record, rather than their rhetoric.

Throughout my political career I have stood with workers and demanded that corporate America invest in this country. Secretary Clinton’s position has been very different.

Not only did she support the North American Free Trade Agreement  and special trade status with China, she also supported disastrous trade deals with Vietnam, Colombia and Panama.

Enough is enough! As president, we will work together to fundamentally rewrite our trade policies to make sure American jobs are no longer our number one export.
Meanwhile, the Clinton Machine is growing impatient with Bernie's ability to keep winning and staying in the race. They are eager for her to pivot right and to stop mouthing a bunch of progressive platitudes to pacify the idiots who get taken in by the idea of her believing any of that claptrap. Like she said in an interview at NPR, at heart she's still very much a Republican when it comes to policy. "I feel like my political beliefs are rooted in the conservatism that I was raised with... I'm very proud that I was a Goldwater Girl." That's the Hillary they want out campaigning, not the one who is being forced to disavow her miserable politics as she's been forced to do during the primaries because of Bernie. Let's help keep Bernie in the race and keep her from selling out entirely. One Republican Party is more than enough. And the parasitic Wall Street banksters shouldn't have control over both political parties, should they?
Goal Thermometer

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At 2:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You refer to the "dream of the billionaires who don't want their tax dollars to pay to educate other people's children."

I'd say the dream of the billionaires is to NOT have other people's children educated - in the sense of being able to think for oneself - regardless of the funding source.

John Puma


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