Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for February, 2011

By Sarah Roberts

To my out-of-state and international friends who want to know what to do: I recommend you do your own phone banking or mass emailing event. With a little review online you can find out the names/numbers of Wisconsin state GOP senators and Assembly reps who are supporting this bill. You can also find out which ones are in danger of recall.

Then, you can have your callers explain to the legislator’ staffers on phone or in email that you consider the Wisconsin state line a PICKET LINE. No more dollars into Wisconsin. No more purchasing of Wisconsin products. Publicity ALL OVER YOUR LOCAL AREA (issue a press release) of what you’re doing. This is my advice here.

I can try to get more info regarding names and numbers, or if someone has a cheat sheet, please let me know.  You can start with this list from the Daily Kos:

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/02/19/947160/-Recall-Wisconsin-Republican-Senators

And use lookup info from: http://legis.wisconsin.gov/

http://legis.wisconsin.gov/w3asp/contact/EmailDirectory.aspx?house=senate

http://legis.wisconsin.gov/w3asp/contact/EmailDirectory.aspx?house=assembly

Hopper, in particular, is vulnerable, having won by only 163 votes, in 2008. In addition, you can get information about the unbelievable provisions of SB 11, including:

– the privatization of state-owned power plants, to be sold on a no-bid basis to whomever the state decides

– the rejection of MILLIONS of federal dollars for public transit, due to contingencies around collective bargaining for employees, that will SHUT MUNICIPAL BUSES DOWN, stranding thousands upon thousands who rely on bus travel to work every day

– the decimation of state heath care funding for those who have no other heath care

These are just a few of the other items not receiving as much coverage, but worthy of immediate action and mention.

Finally, in other quarters, Walker’s appointees are rejecting millions from the federal government for state broadband service, intending to funnel state money to Walker campaign donor AT&T:

http://host.madison.com/ct/news/local/education/local_schools/article_28c5e5c6-3882-11e0-8bd0-001cc4c03286.html

Please mention any or all of these issues in your communications with Wisconsin state legislators.  Thank you.

Would you like to donate some funds to a clearinghouse group coordinating efforts on the ground? Visit: http://www.defendwisconsin.org/

Read Full Post »

By Sarah Roberts

As I write to you from inside the Wisconsin State Capitol, the jubilant cacophony of tens of thousands of peaceful protesters both inside and surrounding the building is echoing off the walls.  People have arrived on this Saturday from all over the state of Wisconsin – firefighters from Eau Claire and Green Bay, teachers from every corner of the state, steelworkers, iron workers, municipal workers, police, teamsters, nurses, graduate students, and their friends and families.  Solidarity caravans of people have come from Illinois, Washington state, Iowa and elsewhere to support the people. All have descended upon the state capital of Madison to defend the rights of working people to organize and bargain on their own behalf – not just in Wisconsin, but across the country and across the world.  The showing it Madison is the civics lesson you had in elementary school in action.  As the chant refrain goes, “This _is_ what democracy looks like!”

(more…)

Read Full Post »

By Sarah Roberts

I’m writing to you to share with you a little bit about the unprecedented events in Wisconsin, and to ask how you might like to make a presence and show of solidarity with brothers and sisters to the north. As you probably know, the Tea Party-backed recently elected Governor, Scott Walker, introduced a sweeping anti-labor, anti-family and union-busting budget last Friday afternoon, hoping to avoid public discourse and using a trumped-up fiscal crisis as his excuse (http://host.madison.com/ct/news/opinion/editorial/article_61064e9a-27b0-5f28-b6d1-a57c8b2aaaf6.html). He did so with no warning, and refused all negotiation on his measure. In addition, he made a menacing and disturbing suggestion that he would send out the National Guard on citizens rightly incensed by the dismantling of their collective bargaining rights, among _many_ other hard-earned benefits and protections. (more…)

Read Full Post »

By Susan Jhirad

I just wrote how inspired I was by the mass movement in Egypt. In addition to bouquets of roses, I might add that we need to start organizing our own mass movement against the budget cuts being proposed both by Republicans (the harshest) and the Obama Adminstration- including such items as aid for home heating oil in one of the worst winters we have known, all in the phony name of “cutting the deficit.” Can we organize a giant, broad-based rally in D.C. under the simple rubric: “End the War in Afghanistan: Support Human Needs at Home” or something at that ilk? We could mobilize students, labor, poor people, parents of children with disabilities etc. to join us. We could use Facebook, Tweet, Twitter, whatever to make it really huge. I am no longer connected with any organized peace groups, and have found most of them too narrow in their outreach and focus. But maybe some of you younger folks out there know how to do it! I will certainly be happy to put my marching shoes on these arthritic feet and join you!

Read Full Post »

By Donald Lazere

Dick Ohmann’s provocation on the contradictory messages being put out by politicians, corporations, and the media about the fiscal crisis of American education sent me back to a critique I’ve been drafting of conservative economist Richard Vedder on this issue. In the following, I’ve sketchily pasted together sections of that piece and modifications suggested by Dick’s notes.

Recent public debates on both the financial decline of American universities and the escalating costs and debts incurred by students have increasingly been framed by conservative scholars such as those surveyed by Jacques Steinberg in a New York Times article, “Plan B: Skip College” (May 15, 2010).  These scholars’ arguments include the following: The economic benefits of public universities to both the public and to their graduates do not repay their costs to taxpayers.  Universities are inefficiently operated, and an excess of government-funded financial aid contributes to their fiscal irresponsibility. Too many Americans go to college who are unqualified, unmotivated, and thus likely to drop out before graduation; more should settle for vocational education. Employers often fetishize college degrees that may not be necessary for the level of work they supposedly certify.  Many students falsely consider college education an entitlement rather than a privilege that must be earned by financial and academic probity.  Arguments like these have an obvious appeal for taxpayers who might not have been able to afford college themselves and cannot understand why they should be subsidizing four years or more of cushy campus life for other people’s children.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

By Susan Jhirad

As a retired teacher who has heard far too many spurious claims for the educational virtues of technology in the classroom, and a former activist from the thrilling protests of the 60’s, you might call me a skeptic about the revolutionary potential of the internet. Well, I’m not too old to admit when I am wrong.

Facebook, which I still refuse to join as a means of personal communication, has just enabled a youth revolution in Egypt that is completely inspiring. To see that this movement, largely led by the young, as were so many of the protests of the 60’s, spreading to all sectors of Egyptian society, from labor to farmworkers, to intellectuals and even capitalists who actually believe in democracy, has been nothing short of astounding. While we were able to build a powerful anti-war movement in the 60’s, it took years when all we had at our disposal were mimeograph machines cranking out posters that we affixed to lamposts at midnight- only to have them torn down. There is no doubt that that the instant communication afforded by Facebook, Twitter et al, have enable a rapid progression of events that would have seemed unthinkable to our generation.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

In keeping with a suggestion of the Radical Teacher board that (1) our blogs be more like provocations than like articles, and 2) we bloggers think of one another as our primary readership, with others hopping in as they choose, here’s a puzzle for you all.

For 30 years, government and think tank reports have built on the premise that schooling and higher education are valuable chiefly for their contribution to US prosperity, and more particularly, US “preeminence in commerce, industry, science and technological innovation. . . .”  (A Nation at Risk, 1983).  International competitors were overtaking the US then, and are still doing so, according to just about every report since, and every piece of educational legislation.  The main Bush II entry in these loser sweepstakes, with reference to colleges and universities, was A Test of Leadership; Charting the Future of U.S. Higher Education(familiarly, “The Spellings Report,” 2006).  What “we want”  is “a world-class higher-education system that . . . contributes to economic prosperity and global competitiveness.”  What we’re in danger of getting is a system of higher ed “characterized by obsolescence,” like the railroads and steel mills of an earlier time.  Help Wanted, a report of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce (2010), says “we will need 22 million new college degrees” by 2018, and that falling short of that goal will “damage the nation’s economic future,” as well as the prosperity of millions of workers unprepared for work in the new knowledge society.  And so on, through many worried studies about our endangered capitalists.

But wait:  how come, two and a half years into the depression, the job market for college graduates is still so terrible?  How come the market for professionals (e.g., Ph.D.s) stinks?  How come half of the older workers who have been unemployed for six months or longer have had at least some college education (TomDispatch, Oct. 5, 2010)?  It seems that the capitalists know what they are doing:  stock prices and profits have recovered briskly since 2008, with no recovery in employment, and no rush to hire college grads.

No surprise in any of this, for people who have followed globalizing capital’s assault on highly educated and well paid workers in the US.  Why, then, do the Obama administration, its Republican opposition, the think tanks and task forces, unions and privatizers, all agree that “we” need a lot more of such workers?  That’s my puzzle.  How come the ideology of education as engine of US competitiveness chugs along, untroubled by what actually-existing capitalism is doing every day to regain control and further its project of development?  And if I’m not missing something here, why does this ideology seem to require dutiful pledges of allegiance from academic administrators and progressive legislators?

Dick Ohmann

 

Read Full Post »