Opine I will

I am an elementary school teacher just trying to do the right thing

Archive for the tag “Democrats”

A Nation in Distress

distress-flag

I love our nation, I say the Pledge every day with my class and yes, we do say “One nation under God!”  I respect the lives lost defending our national symbol that represents the dreams and aspirations of our forefathers. I would never wear a flag, burn a flag or otherwise desecrate it. I am the son of a veteran and I am fully aware of the controversy surrounding those who would use the flag as a symbol protest.

So why then am I displaying an upside-down flag? Flying our flag upside down is not disrespectful if it is being used as signal of distress. Our nation is in a state of distress and it is about to be destroyed from within if we do not wake up as a nation. My upside-down flag signals that we are facing pain. I fear pain that we have never seen before. I am frightened. Frightened foremost for my children and grandchildren, as well as everyone else.

The election of Donald J. Trump happened because our country is in distress. Ultra- alt-right Tea Party types have brainwashed the masses (even though more people rejected Trump at the polls) into believing our country is no longer great. Our news outlets gave free reign to give un-American rallies air time and our radio airways have been taken over by propogandists spewing hatred.  Social media has been a breeding ground for false news, hatred, racism and worse. Congress has hijacked our Constitution and effectively stole the right of President Obama to appoint a member to the Supreme Court.

A huge segment of our population has been brainwashed into believing that America needs to be great again and that our national identity has been hijacked by ‘undesirables’. The result is Donald J. Trump! You may disagree with my analysis of our situation, and that is your right. However, you need to understand what is about to happen.

Trump is putting together a cabinet of individuals that pose a huge threat to our way of life. His potential Supreme Court nominee or nominees will lead our nation down a dangerous path.

Looking at Trump’s cabinet we see a crew should frighten us all.  Trump’s ties to Russia are emerging as he is considering appointing a Secretary of State that will ease sanctions so he can close his ExxonMobile deal with Putin. He has chosen a Secretary of Education who has actively worked to destroy public education. His choice for Homeland Security is a General. What’s next, martial law?

Trump’s cabinet will include an EPA Secretary who disputes climate change and wants to roll back regulations that protect our climate, and the very air we breathe. His choice for the SBA comes from his pals at the WWE! What’s next, death cage matches on the Mall?

It gets worse, he wants a General with the Nickname “ Mad Dog” to lead our Department of defense and a certifiable lunatic who got booted from the NSA as his top security adviser.  His top pick for HUD is psychotic according to Trump himself.  Even if we  survive this cabinet of fools, the middle class will not survive his Supreme Court.

Labor will be in distress. Workers across our country are about to be economically slaughtered. Trump’s first salvo was his attack on the United Steel Workers this week. Trump paved the way for Carrier to move hundreds of jobs under the guise that they are saving jobs. When called out on his lies, we saw Trump’s true agenda. He told them they needed to work harder and implied that they should accept a salary cut that would take them below the minimum wage.

Be prepared for a bloodletting on the labor front. First on his agenda will be a National Right to Work Law that will target every private sector union in the nation. Anti-Labor National Labor Relation Board appointments will make it impossible to correct unfair practices in the workplace. A SCOTUS decision that will allow ‘free riders’ to benefit from union bargaining and protection. Even those ‘free riders’ will lose the benefits of collective bargaining when it is banned (see Wisconsin). SCOTUS will rule that public school budgets can be raided to fund private and religious schools. Hedge fund controlled Charter Schools will eventually finish off our public-school system, Trump’s push for privatization will take a death grip across every public service sector across the nation. Teacher’s across the nation will watch their tenure and seniority rights get stripped away and students will be at the mercy of the power-brokers.

Our social safety net will be ripped apart as public service worker’s pensions will be stripped bare. Medicare and Medicaid may be destroyed. Healthcare for all may be a thing of the past. Our most vulnerable will be labeled as burdens and interlopers.

Our Country is in distress. Head the distress signal. Resist!

Be All-In and dump those with Tin Foil Hats

It’s been far too long since my last post. Been way to busy, shutting down the classroom, packing things away, and decompressing the mind and soul. I now have to begin gearing up for next year. I was elected President of my local union and just finished an intensive 4 day new president’s conference with NYSUT. In the meantime, I’ve also been watching the discussions on Twitter and Facebook. The good news is, groups like “Badass Teachers Association” (BAT) on Facebook are growing exponentially. The bad news is, more and more awkward alliances with those who wear ‘tin foil hats’ are also happening.

I consider myself a badass teacher. I agree with their mission and I have joined their site along with nearly 20,000 others in the last week or so.

Badass Teachers Association was created to give voice to every teacher who refuses to be blamed for the failure of our society to erase poverty and inequality through education. BAT members refuse to accept assessments, tests and evaluations created and imposed by corporate driven entities that have contempt for authentic teaching and learning.

I wholeheartedly agree with that statement. I believe our nation’s most precious asset, our public schools, are at risk. I believe the Common Core is a dangerous national social experiment, that was rushed to the forefront without
research, study, piloting or critique. I believe that parties on both sides of the aisle have rushed onto the reform bandwagon in a futile attempt to fix what they perceive needs fixing. Unfortunately, both groups have chosen the same asinine reform methods to fix very different perceived problems.

Those on the left perceive the problems lie with social justice issues, while those on the right perceive the problems lie with teacher’s unions, and a so called left wing curriculum.

Both groups have united in a call for a Common Core Curriculum, some form of high stakes testing, evaluating teachers, closing rather than fixing schools in need, and ignoring the expertise of those of us in the field. They have shared the spoils of this reform movement, billions of tax payer dollars are being divided up by consultants, publishers, software companies, and corporations opening their own version of “nirvana schools.”

The resulting backlash has been from groups like BAT, Parents against the Common Core, Opt Out and others. Forces from both sides of the aisle are speaking out, claiming non-partisanship, and claiming numbers count in this battle for our nation’s schools. I think we all agree, creating our own bandwagon, taking over the public discussion, driving our agenda, pushing that pendulum back toward common sense and reasonableness is the way to go.

Unfortunately among us with the tin foil hats may destroy our efforts.

Yes, I have heard the claim that we are united and this should be non- partisan. But in reality we are not united. To be Badass, to believe in opt out, to really against the Common Core as it presently stands,and to be against high stakes testing, you need to be all in. I mean really all in!

You can’t support the Tea Party types, who with their tin foil hats, believe government is taking over our minds and souls, You can’ t place your support and discussion of Parents against the Common Core on a Heritage Foundation website. You shouldn’t allow people like Glenn Beck carry your banner against the Common Core. You can’t support those in the Republican Party who ignore social issues, bash teachers and their unions, and destroy collective bargaining rights.

The truth is, you are not all in if you support these groups.

Creating alliances with any group that would look to destroy public unions is a death knell to our profession and our national identity. Don’t tell me we all can’t agree on every issue, don’t say, “look at what we agree on and not where we differ.” That’s not being all in.

Granted the Democrats are part of the problem as well. However, their motivation from the social justice side is far more tenable that the motivations of those on the Right. I refuse to ally with those who look to destroy us from the Right.

I am beginning to see those with the tin foil hats in our groups, emerging as a voice against teacher’s unions, questioning their motivation and their decisions. Those of us who believe in unions know that change must happen from within. The Union is us, we need to drive change from within our ranks by getting involved, attaining leadership positions, and educating our members.

That’s what it takes to be all in.

 

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