These Teachers Don’t SEEM “Greedy”

By odd stroke of timing, the American Federation of Teachers is meeting this weekend in Detroit–just as the city’s Emergency Manager insists that the solution to Detroit’s budget woes is to teach the next generation in classrooms of 61 students. That means AFT President Randi Weingarten will go lobby the school district’s Emergency Manager, Roy Roberts, herself this morning. It means AFT members will join Michiganders in canvassing to support the Protect Our Jobs referendum, which would add collective bargaining to the MI Constitution.

The AFT is in Detroit at a time when Detroit is the latest ground zero of the attack on public teachers.

But at least as represented by Weingarten’s opening speech, the emphasis is on larger social issues, of which education is just one key part, not just teacher’s salaries or class sizes.

Weingarten noted, for example, that public education is the best way to reverse the loss of wealth brought about by the banksters’ crash.

A study by the Federal Reserve found that the average American family has lost approximately $50,000 since the start of the recession—nearly 30 percent of their wealth. That figure is 53 percent for the average African-American family and 66 percent for the average Latino family. Yet our opponents want to abandon our best long-term strategy for broad-based prosperity: a world-class system of public education.

She focused on the AFT’s partnership in McDowell, WV (among others, with Joe Manchin’s wife) to address both the educational challenges but also the underlying poverty.

The area’s educational challenges are inseparable from many other problems affecting the county. So our focus is not just on schools, but on jobs, transportation, recreation, housing, healthcare and social services. And then there is our intangible, but perhaps most important goal—that Reconnecting McDowell will bring back the light of hope. [snip]

Is what we’re doing in McDowell our job? Technically, no. But as a labor union with most of our members working in education, the AFT stands at the intersection of two important social movements—creating educational opportunity, and advancing economic dignity. That’s who we are.

And she talked about investing AFT pension funds in projects that will create jobs.

By working with pension trustees and encouraging allocations of some of our pension money—in a responsible and sound manner—to support projects to rebuild our infrastructure, and retrofit out-of-date buildings to make them more energy efficient, we’re creating win-win-win situations.

In other words, at least as Weingarten kicked off the Convention, the focus is as much on solutions to the problems of society generally, as it is on more focused educational issues.

These are the people the billionaires are demonizing as greedy.

12 replies
  1. county notary says:

    1) from “public education” to government programming, forced vaccination and CPS (Child Pedophile Sickos) abductions via “public school” parent surveilance

    2) the so-called “teacher” union’s priority is still the soon-to-be-vaporizing pensions

    3) attention! all parents still possessing some little modicum of reality focus and critical thinking skills need to get the hell out of the urban/suburban soon-to-be civil war zones – compliments of government “offical” thugs and the Eric-the-(place)Holder-AG’s Fast & Furious-armed-gangs

    4) home-school on the rural county land and survive to thrive!

  2. bmaz says:

    @county notary: Just to be clear, and with all due respect, this is simply nuts. Teachers are concerned about their pensions because that is all they have, and they contractually agreed to lower pay in order to have them for their future; they are entitled to them. Your items in point numbers 1,3 and 4 are not even worth responding to they are so silly and ill informed. Other than that, thanks for stopping by.

  3. prostratedragon says:

    Elsewhere on the education beat, guess who is looking to carve out a hiding place there? (h/t a responder at Eschaton) I’ll just bet that anyone who looks around a bit can see these folks heralds out already, preparing the ground.

    News Corp. Ed. Division Moves Into K-12 Curriculum

    Global media conglomerate News Corporation jump-started its fledgling—and mostly quiet—education division today, unveiling Amplify, a new brand for its education business that will include education software products and, in a surprising move, curriculum development.


    “It’s both a branding exercise, but beyond that it’s an introduction to our vision and where we’re going,” Joel I. Klein, the head of the education division whose new title is Chief Executive Officer of Amplify, said in an interview.

  4. quixote says:

    @prostratedragon: Ray Bradbury once said something to the effect that the most interesting thing to study in a hugely advanced society of the future would not be how they achieve faster than light travel or immortality. It would be to study the methods of their first grade teachers.

    I guess when we don’t even see the need for teachers and replace them with corporate software, the writing is pretty much on the wall.

  5. Bob Schacht says:

    I have a niece who teaches in the Detroit metro area. Why has Michigan become so batshit crazy?

    Go Blue!
    Bob in AZ

  6. Bob Schacht says:

    @bmaz: Heh. Well, I guess Flagstaff, Tempe, Tucson, and Ann Arbor float like Islands (glaciers?) of sanity in a sea of insanity.

    Bob in AZ

  7. kuhiokane says:

    see pic @thechalkface . Biden has his arm around Michelle Rhee. AFT+NEA+Obama/Biden=right of center flatlining of public education, public ed teachers and staff. Privatization=corporate extractionist corruption and fraud that brought down middle/working/poor in America. At the expense of taxpayers, not the banks. @weingarten talks the talk, but walks the walk with the privatizers. She straddles the political fence hoping she doesn’t fall. Activism in education will reduce her influence, and none too soon.

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