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Profile Information

Gender: Female
Hometown: Florida
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 85,743

About Me

Retired teacher who sees much harm to public education from the "reforms" being pushed by corporations. Privatizing education is the wrong way to go. Children can not be treated as products, thought of in terms of profit and loss.

Journal Archives

Weingarten, Broad, and *Collaborative* Privatization...the birth of TURN to "reform" unions.

Weingarten, Broad, and *Collaborative* Privatization

This is a post about two individuals whose actions contribute to the privatization of American public education: billionaire Eli Broad and American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten.

Weingarten is working in tandem with corporate-driven “reform.” I wish it were not so. However, the evidence of Weingarten’s pro-privatization bent is profound.
This post focuses chiefly on Weingarten and Broad. It is a long one.

UFT/AFT and the Simulated “Company Union”

What led to this post was my recent reading about billionaire Eli Broad, who spends his foundation’s money in order to turn public education into a continuous churn of profit-driven chaos.

In writing A Chronicle of Echoes, I learned that Weingarten is a favorite of Broad. It was then-New York City Chancellor Joel Klein (also a privatizer) who was writing as much to NYC charter vixen Eva Moskowitz. (See page 32 of Echoes.) Weingarten was president of NYC’s United Federation of Teachers (UFT) at the time.

....In reading this post by blogger and retired Philadelphia classroom teacher Ken Derstine, I finally understand why Broad “favors” Weingarten, a union president. Derstine writes:

The Broad Foundation Mission Statement states that one of its goals is the transformation of labor relations. The Broad Foundation is not anti-union. Rather, it seeks to transform unions into a form of company union. A company union is a union located within and run by a company or a national government, and the union bureaucracy is incorporated into the company’s management. This opens up the workforce to unfettered exploitation for profits of the owners. Many right-wing governments internationally use company unions to suppress worker struggles against low living standards. In 1935, during the labor struggles of the Depression, the National Labor Relations Act was passed which outlawed company unions in the United States.

Eli Broad appears to have been instrumental in starting TURN to "reform" unions.

NEA, another teachers' union, is part of this union reform group. At the website the local unions are all listed separately.

The reformers appear to have infiltrated union leadership in several unions.

Be sure to read the author's credentials and her tragic experiences during Katrina. Lists of her research are also there.


Bernie gets "mostly true" about words on youth unemployment by race.

I am not that fond of Politifact as a rule. I think they often go overboard to prove something false that is really true. I think they nitpick.

Sounds like they did a decent job analyzing Bernie Sanders' claim about unemployment among
Caucasian, Hispanic, and African American youth.

Bernie Sanders says 'real unemployment' rate for African American youth is 51 percent

During a campaign event in Portland, Maine, that attracted thousands of supporters, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders made a striking claim about unemployment among African-American youth.

"For young people who have graduated high school or dropped out of high school, who are between the ages of 17 and 20, if they happen to be white, the unemployment rate is 33 percent," he said. "If they are Hispanic, the unemployment rate is 36 percent. If they are African-American, the real unemployment rate for young people is 51 percent."

A reader asked us to check whether Sanders was correct, so we took a closer look. (Sanders seems to have made this a go-to talking point in his campaign; he offered a similar claim in an interview with The Nation.)

The article describes the different sources used and concludes it is mostly terminology in question.

It’s a real statistic, but Sanders didn’t really describe it the correct way. He twice used the term "unemployment rate" and once used the variation "real unemployment rate," a vague term that doesn’t have any official definition at BLS and wasn’t mentioned in the EPI research he was quoting.

On the other hand, Sanders’ choice of statistics actually understated his broader point. Since it’s reasonable to assume that dropouts have an even higher unemployment rate than high-school graduates, the figure for "young people who have graduated high school or dropped out of high school," as he put it, is probably even higher than 51 percent, since that figure includes only high school graduates.

Politifact concludes that "The statement is accurate but needs clarification or additional information, so we rate it Mostly True."

Broad Foundation allied with union president Randi Weingarten of AFT from the start for reform.

(This is partially a repost from 2012. Some added information on the depth of involvement of foundations who want to transform public education to something else entirely. )

That is called infiltrating.

From the 2009 annual report of the Broad Foundation, one of the major groups pushing education "reform" and charter schools. They admit they as much as enlisted Randi Weingarten, president of the AFT, from their beginning and have allied with her quite often.

This is how the groups that fund the education reforms have infiltrated the unions without anyone noticing.

" Teacher unions have always been a formidable voice in public
education. We decided at the onset of our work to invest in
smart, progressive labor leaders like Randi Weingarten, head of
the United Federation of Teachers in New York City for more
than a decade and now president of the American Federation
of Teachers (AFT).
We partnered with Weingarten to fund two
union-run charter schools in Brooklyn and to fund New York
City’s first incentive-based compensation program for schools,
as well as the AFT’s Innovation Fund. We had previously
helped advance pay for performance programs in Denver and
Houston, but we were particularly encouraged to see New York
City embrace the plan."
Page 11 Broad Report

Not just Randi Weingarten. Andy Stern of the SEIU is a member of the Broad Foundation.

Slick Broad Foundation Roped in Andy Stern -Scoop From Ravitch

Eli Broad and his billionaire buddies Bill Gates and the Waltons can be very good with coloring education deform policies with "liberal" or "civil rights" language.

So it is no surprise that Broad's foundation chose blue dog Democratic congressman Harold Ford (TN) or Andy Stern, former president of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), to shore up the liberal credentials.

But WHY did Andy Stern have to join the Broad Foundation, an organization so antithetical to education workers' interests? He could have turned it down. By signing up he gives the impression that organized labor is fine with collaborating with a foundation that drives the education deform or stand-on-children abuse of school policy, teachers and children.

..."But why couldn't Stern practice some labor solidarity and keep more than a 10 foot pole's distance from the noxious company of the Broad Foundation?

Diana Ravitch's blog from July listed some of the outrageous antics of the Broad Institute grads who make their ways to the schools as superintendents and other leaders. She also lists some of them.

Does the Public Have a Right to Know about Broad Academy?

A Broad-trained superintendent in North Carolina left Michelle Rhee’s team and was hired by a Tea Party majority of the local school board in Wake County, North Carolina that wanted to eliminate the district’s successful desegregation policy, even if it meant resegregation of the schools. That board was ousted last fall. The superintendent has stayed on, and the choice plan now in effect seems likely to undo years of work to avoid resegregation. The schools of Wake County were lauded (before the Tea Party takeover) as a model of desegregation by Gerald Grant in his excellent book, Hope and Despair in the American City: Why There Are No Bad Schools in Raleigh.

Chris Cerf in New Jersey was trained by Broad. So was Deborah Gist in Rhode Island, John White in Louisiana, J.C. Brizard in Chicago, and John Covington in Michigan. when Philadelphia picked a new superintendent recently, the two finalists were both Broadies. And there are many more. Read about them here.

Now that the Broad Foundation “trains” so many new superintendents, doesn’t the public have a right to know what the Broad Academy is teaching its students?

When I once posted that Randi Weingarten was on the faculty of Broad superintendent's academy I caught some flak.

However these superintendents who are trained and sent out with so much money and power behind them will most certainly have their loyalties defined in advance.

In 2001 the Broad Foundation made an important investment

UNIONS The Broad Foundation invests $2 million in the Teachers Union Reform Network (TURN), a network of National Education Association (NEA) and American Federation of Teachers locals (AFT).

That investment would pay off.

Education researcher, Mercedes Schneider, posted a great article last year about TURN. She shows the close connection between Eli Broad and Randi Weingarten.

Weingarten, Broad, and *Collaborative* Privatization

This is a post about two individuals whose actions contribute to the privatization of American public education: billionaire Eli Broad and American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten.

Weingarten is working in tandem with corporate-driven “reform.” I wish it were not so. However, the evidence of Weingarten’s pro-privatization bent is profound.

This post focuses chiefly on Weingarten and Broad.

It is a long one.

UFT/AFT and the Simulated “Company Union”

What led to this post was my recent reading about billionaire Eli Broad, who spends his foundation’s money in order to turn public education into a continuous churn of profit-driven chaos.

In writing A Chronicle of Echoes, I learned that Weingarten is a favorite of Broad. It was then-New York City Chancellor Joel Klein (also a privatizer) who was writing as much to NYC charter vixen Eva Moskowitz. (See page 32 of Echoes.) Weingarten was president of NYC’s United Federation of Teachers (UFT) at the time.

I wondered how it was that a privatizer like Broad would “favor” a union president. After all, Broad is known for “favoring” the teacher temp agency, Teach for America (TFA) and the numerous traditional-public-school-replacing charters that thrive on TFA temps, and he is known for creating his own privatizing superintendents via his non-accredited, educational-leader-as-disruptive-business-CEO-propagating Broad Superintendents Academy (now just called Broad Academy).

If you are really interested, her article is very long and with many links. It's a fascinating look at how we can lose America's tradition of public education and not even notice until it's too late.

From Substance News, another well-known education site, just a few of the members of Eli Broad's Institute.

Arne Duncan, Chief Executive Officer of Chicago Schools until he became U.S. Secretary of Education in the Obama Administration

-- Joel Klein, Chancellor of New York City Schools

....Wendy Kopp, chief executive officer and founder of Teach for America

-- Mark A. Murray, president of Meier Retail and Grocery Supercenters

-- Michelle Rhee, Chancellor of the District of Columbia Schools

....Margaret Spellings, former U.S. Secretary of Education in the second George W. Bush Administration where she oversaw the implementation of No Child Left Behind

.... Lawrence Summers, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury in the Clinton Administration

....Added to the Board in July, 2012 were:

-- Andy Stern, former President of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU)

-- Representative Harold Ford, five-term Congressman and former chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council

This kind of takeover is done so quietly that you don't even know it is happening.

Gadfly blog tells how AFT process supposedly worked. Makes no sense.


But the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) endorsement of the former First Lady is strange in many ways.

First, it’s awfully early. The initial Democratic primaries aren’t scheduled for half a year yet – February of 2015 to be exact. And the general election isn’t until Nov. 8, 2016 – more than a year away.

Second, the manner in which this endorsement was reached is somewhat mysterious.

This much seems certain:

1) The AFT executive board invited all of the candidates to meet with them and submit to an interview. No Republican candidates responded.

2) Democrats including Bernie Sanders, Martin O’Malley and Clinton were interviewed in private.

3) The executive committee voted to endorse Clinton.

4) NOW the interviews are scheduled to be released to the public.

This is a perplexing timetable. Why would the AFT endorse BEFORE releasing the interviews? Ostensibly, the executive council used these interviews to help make its decision. Shouldn’t that same information have been available to rank and file members of the union before an endorsement was made?

Farmworkers were enslaved, beaten in Florida. Thanks, bigtree, for posting about Bernie's efforts..

to help them. Florida leaders did nothing. It took Jimmy Carter and Bernie Sanders coming here to get any help at all for them.

Hat tip to bigtree for his post today.

That Time Bernie Fought for Farm Worker Rights in Immokalee

In 2008 Bill Maxwell of the Tampa Bay Times wrote about Florida's shame.

Farmworkers exploited, even enslaved, in Florida

A federal case just ending in Fort Myers, in fact, shows that too many farmworkers, especially tomato pickers, are being held as slaves. Five Immokalee field bosses, all relatives, pleaded guilty to several charges of enslaving Guatemalan and Mexican farmworkers, forcing them to work and brutalizing them.

The 17-count indictment alleged that for two years, ringleaders Cesar Navarette and Geovanni Navarette kept more than a dozen men in boxes, shacks and trucks on their property. The workers were chained, beaten and forced to work on farms in North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida. Incredibly, the indictment shows that the men were forced to pay rent of $20 a week to sleep in a locked furniture van. They were forced to urinate and defecate in a corner of the vehicle.

A major shame is that Florida's leading lawmakers, not to mention ordinary citizens, have rarely expressed outrage over such abuses, and even fewer have raised a finger on behalf of farmworkers. Former Gov. Jeb Bush and his labor emissary openly criticized the coalition for its work, and Gov. Charlie Crist has yet to show real interest.

Outsiders, such as former President Jimmy Carter, have had to come in and lead the fight. Now U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., is the most outspoken elected official in Washington to advocate for the cause of Florida farmworkers. He is a member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

Following the conviction of the Navarettes, Sanders said in a prepared statement: "I think most Americans would find it hard to believe that people in our country are pleading guilty to slavery charges in the year 2008, but that is what is going on in the tomato fields of Florida.

Thanks for helping us remember that Florida has been no stranger to such acts of slavery, and that it took folks from out of state to get anything done.

When you give a 19 minute floor speech about going to war, it can not be called a mistake.

When we invaded Iraq in 2003 they played it out on TV. They called it Shock and Awe. It was meant to strike fear. It did strike fear in other countries, but the hours of bombing and bragging on America's TV caused more than that. It caused rebellion to rise up.

That was a sad day in our nation's history. I had tears in my eyes, had to turn off the TV to avoid the celebratory atmosphere.

Senator Bob Graham warned his fellow Democrats that they would have blood on their hands over Iraq.

"We are locking down on the principle that we have one evil, Saddam Hussein. He is an enormous, gargantuan force, and that's who we're going to go after," Graham said on the floor. "That, frankly, is an erroneous reading of the world. There are many evils out there, a number of which are substantially more competent, particularly in their ability to attack Americans here at home, than Iraq is likely to be in the foreseeable future."

He told his fellow senators that if they didn't recognize that going to war with Iraq without first taking out the actual terrorists would endanger Americans, "then, frankly, my friends — to use a blunt term — the blood's going to be on your hands."

On October 10, 2002 Hillary Clinton gave a floor speech in favor of authorizing the use of force in Iraq. Here are the two parts of that speech from You Tube.

Part 1

Part 2

Here is the transcript of her floor speech that day.

The ending paragraph:

So it is with conviction that I support this resolution as being in the best interests of our nation. A vote for it is not a vote to rush to war; it is a vote that puts awesome responsibility in the hands of our President and we say to him - use these powers wisely and as a last resort. And it is a vote that says clearly to Saddam Hussein - this is your last chance - disarm or be disarmed.

CNBC and Bureau of Labor Statistics...the real unemployment rate. Not just Bernie's word on it.

I noticed the source was questioned when someone posted about Bernie Sanders talking of the real unemployment rate.

Here is the CNBC link:

Chart: What’s the real unemployment rate?

The U.S. Labor Department said Friday that the unemployment rate was 5.5 percent in May—but does that rate tell the real story?

A number of economists look past the "main" unemployment rate to a different figure the Bureau of Labor Statistics calls "U-6," which it defines as "total unemployed, plus all marginally attached workers plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of all civilian labor force plus all marginally attached workers."

In other words, the unemployed, the underemployed and the discouraged—a rate that still remains high.

Several charts are at the link.

Alternative measures of labor underutilization.

12.4 10.4 10.8 12.0 11.0 10.9 10.8 10.8 10.5

Those are the stats for "U-6 Total unemployed, plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force.

They are in order from May 2014 to June 2015
2014 May
2015 June
2015 June
2014 Feb.
2015 Mar.
2015 Apr.
2015 May
2015 June

So Bernie was right.

Are Hillary's "Personal Savings Accounts" in addition to Social Security still on the table?

In 2006 Hillary Clinton presented a policy called The American Dream Initiative. It involved among other things, "Personal Savings Accounts" to be set up in addition to Social Security.

This seemed to be a compromise. George Bush's "Private Savings Accounts" were in effect privatizing Social Security. The Democrats' plan seem to be a more gradual phase out.

Here is more about the plan that changed the Private to Personal.

Hillary Clinton's American Dream Initiative

At the 2005 national conversation in Columbus, Ohio, DLC Chair Gov. Tom Vilsack asked Sen. Hillary Clinton to lead a year-long project to shape an economic opportunity agenda for the country. Over the past year, the American Dream Initiative has engaged political, business, labor, civic, and intellectual leaders in an effort to address the central economic challenge of our time -- saving the American Dream.

The recommendations of this Initiative, presented at the DLC's 2006 National Conversation in Denver, Colo., are the work of many of the brightest leaders and thinkers in the Democratic Party and the country. Under the leadership of Sen. Clinton, DLC Vice Chair Sen. Tom Carper, and Gov. Vilsack, a broad and unprecedented coalition of progressive think tanks took part in developing this agenda: the Democratic Leadership Council, the Progressive Policy Institute, the Center for American Progress, NDN, and Third Way. In addition, this coalition solicited input from other groups focused on the future of the American Dream, including Hope Street Group, a nonpartisan public policy network of private-sector professionals.

I bold them because though we haven't heard the words lately the groups who developed the plans are still around except for the DLC which became the Third Way.

I agreed so much with the words of Josh Marshall about these accounts. They seem to be a way to gradually phase out Social Security to replace it with private accounts that profit more companies.

From 2004 Talking Points Memo:

Imagine for a moment

Imagine for a moment that we were having a different sort of Social Security debate. In this alternative universe it wouldn't be about reform or privatization or who had the best plan to save Social Security. The issues would be different. The question would be whether we should abolish Social Security and replace it with a system of loosely-federally-regulated 401ks, or not.

It wouldn't be abolished overnight, of course, but phased out over time. So any oldsters collecting benefits now wouldn't need to worry. And the same would probably go for pre-fogies too ... say, anyone over 55.

But that's the essence of it: abolishing Social Security or not.

Well, guess what? That is exactly the debate we're having. Only many of Social Security's defenders don't seem to know it. It's not that they don't know it exactly. They, more than anyone, understand the stakes involved. But for all the great facts they're bringing to the table, they still seem content to frame the argument in a way that obscures the true issues involved and benefits their opponents immeasurably.

I believe Bernie Sanders is against any such accounts. He is against any step toward privatization.

I do know that Hillary Clinton has said she does not want privatization of Social Security. I need to know if these groups are still hanging around with the personal accounts, waiting for a candidate to push this policy.

We have had to fight our own party on benefit cuts for the last few years. It's been a rough road. I don't want to have to fight my own party on the safety nets anymore. It's been about 10 years since this initiative was presented. But the recent fights we have had with Obama and his Bowles Simpson Commission make me think the battle's not over.

Can't resist. Reasons for voting against one's self-interest. This is so true.

Still trying to crash the gates. Got a foot in the gate before. Maybe two feet this time around.

In 2006 Jerome Armstrong and Markos of Daily Kos wrote a book called Crashing the Gate. I can't find my copy now, but I did find some excerpts from the New York Times then in 2006. Still pertinent, still at it.

The Deaniacs gave it a hell of a try in 04, but it just wasn't the time.

Many of us thought the 2008 election would get us further inside the gate, but it just didn't work out that way.

'Crashing the Gate'

Meanwhile, we've also been plagued by a Democratic Party unsure of itself, lacking the expression of any core principles, and devoid of any institutional machinery to develop and promote its agenda. Democrats have utterly failed to offer a compelling alternative to Bush and his Republican acolytes, oftentimes parroting Republican positions on any number of issues in the mistaken belief that it might help them capture centrist or independent voters. We saw that strategy fail in 2000, in 2002, and in 2004. But the Democratic Party-its leadership in Washington, D.C., its legions of campaign consultants and the single-issue groups that form its traditional base-has failed to learn lessons from these recurring losses. The party's stakeholders resist being dislodged from their entrenched positions of wealth and power. Even as a marginalized minority, they won't surrender their fiefdoms without a fight. Why risk their comfy little gigs and rackets in a bid for majority status when they've already got it so good?

The Democrats are content to wait for the Republicans to self-destruct so that they can become the default option. Sure, the ever-increasing scandals and mismanagement surrounding the Republican Party threaten to drown its near-term electoral chances. But Democrats can't be political vultures-winning only when there are rotting Republican carcasses to munch on. We need a party that can win on the strength of its own ideas and convictions. And we need to build our forces to match what the Republicans have on the political battlefield-in technology usage, in media access and resources, in research and message development, and in training and leadership efforts.

We cannot wait any longer for the Democratic Party to reform itself and lead us into a new era of electoral success. Those of us who became energized ever since Bush and his circle of fiends took over in 2000-the netroots, the grassroots, the progressive base of America-must act now to take back our party and our country. They may view us in D.C. as barbarians at the gate, but we are not armed with pitchforks and torches. Technology has opened up the previously closed realm of activist politics to riffraff like us. Whether the stagnant establishment wants it or not, the new progressive populist movement will reclaim the Democratic Party as the party of the people. Our message is simple: You can get out of the way or work with us. Trying to stop us is a losing proposition.

If only we could say, "To hell with the Democratic Party!" But part of the present American reality is that we live in a two-party system, and the Democratic Party is our only alternative. It's efficient-and expedient-to reform the existing party of the left, much as the conservative movement took over the Republican Party in the 1970s and converted it into the electoral powerhouse it is today.

There is someone else trying to bring change while still working within the party.

Great post today.

Bernie Sanders Is Crashing the Gates

A political revolution is coming.

It won't need a map, it’s been here before, it’s been everywhere before, it knows what the banksters have done, it knows what the politicians have done, it knows what the CEO's have done, it knows who the war profiteers are, who the hedge fund managers are, who the vulture capitalists are, it knows where those predators live, it knows where they all live, and it’s coming.

It's coming because ignorance is not strength, because corporations are not people, because money is not speech, it's coming because the propaganda of the corporate state never ceases, because the treachery of the bankers never ends, because the greed of the corporations is never sated, because corruption just keeps spreading like a virus through the bloodstream of corporate capitalism.

....We gave signing petitions a try, we gave calling our congressmen and senators a try, we gave more and better Democrats a try, we gave waiting for Hillary a try, we gave every one of those dead end roads a try. We've been there, we've done that, we've heard all the excuses, we've heard all the explanations, we've seen all the smoke and we've seen all the mirrors and we've seen how far down the rabbit hole goes.

....I don’t know when that populist storm is going to hit the Capital, I don‘t know which craven congressmen are going to grab their life-jackets first, I don’t know how high the We the People waves are going to get, but I know one thing, when that storm hits full force, it’s going to be much too big for those centrist sailors and their little boat.

Sometimes it seems like that gate will always remain closed to most of us. Some days things seem more hopeful.

And the diarist's words about Bernie's campaign impress me.

He's crashing the gates. Because someone has to. He's telling the truth about the fraud and deceit and corruption infesting this country's economic and political systems, and that truth is resonating across this entire nation. We’re seeing history being made. America is finally awakening after decades in the darkness of apathy and moral cowardice, the light of moral courage is finally shining, it's shining like a beacon everywhere Bernie Sanders campaigns.

The huge number of recommends there are indicative of just how many want inside those gates.

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