Teachers Fight Back

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According to news reports, James Baumann, a key member of the Illinois State Board of Education, formally resigned last week, citing concerns about the “unusual way” the new state school superintendent was chosen.

There was no national search and only one candidate.

The governor doesn’t hire the state school superintendent, but he appoints members to ISBE, an independent board.  Rauner recently appointed five board members – a majority of the nine-member board.

ISBE spokes-woman Mary Fergus wrote in an email, “The law dictates when the superintendent’s contract expires and allows the Governor to make a recommendation. Governor Rauner made a recommendation and the Board chose to go with that recommendation.”

The board could have conducted a national search but declined to do so.

Here’s my interpretation of the above mentioned events. Rauner wanted a fire-breathing anti-teacher union superintendent and made sure the board would go along with his pick. It’s that simple. This governor will stop at nothing in his all out attempt to smash unions in Illinois, and especially destroy the teacher’s unions. He is obsessed with this, a real man on a mission. I can’t ever recall a governor so obsessed with the destruction of unions. Rauner makes Wisconsin governor Scott Walker look like a union sympathizer.

Written by alkleen

April 22, 2015 at 11:30 am

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The following news article explains why the dead bodies of indigent people in Illinois might soon be left unburied.

“Another consequence of Rauner’s budget cuts has left nursing homes wondering what to do with poor Medicaid patients who die while in their care after Rauner froze grants that pay for funeral and burial services for the indigent. Nursing homes say they’ve had trouble getting funeral homes to take the deceased because they won’t get paid for their services, while the medical examiner’s office often charges daily storage fees that also are no longer covered.”

Donna Ginther , deputy director of the Health Care Council of Illinois, which represents nursing homes, said, ” Someone has to pay them, we can’t keep a body in a nursing home.”

The nerve of these indigent people to die knowing full well that budget cuts will leave them with no place to go!

Fortunately, in my infinite wisdom, I have a solution to this problem.  Illinois retired teachers who own property, will agree to bury at least one indigent person on their property, if the governor agrees to restore the cut  money from the burial grants and then put it into the Teachers’ Retirement System.

It’s a win – win, the retired teachers take the bodies, and the Retirement System gets some much-needed funds.

Please note, before I get too much hate mail for this post. I’M JUST BEING SARCASTIC, AND FACETIOUS. Just trying to point out the absurdity of the whole situation.

Written by alkleen

April 20, 2015 at 11:13 am

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According to a Tribune news article, more than a third of the savings – the spending reduction – in Illinois governor Bruce  Rauner’s proposed budget comes from $2.2 billion he plans to subtract from the amount of money the law requires Illinois to invest next year in its public pension plans.

U N B E L I E V A B L E !

Yet again ?  More pension stealing ?  Can you believe this ?  I can’t find the words to express my outrage.

Written by alkleen

April 18, 2015 at 9:40 am

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According to the news, Jason Barclay, who serves as Gov. Bruce Rauner’s general counsel, has paid $1.37 million for a four-bedroom house in Hinsdale. Barclay’s new house has 3 and a half baths, three fireplaces, hardwood floors, an office, a rec room and game room. The house had been listed for $1.4 million.

Here’s a great chance for one of Rauner’s leaders to show the kind of “shared sacrifice” that Bruce has been talking about to retired teachers and other public employees on pensions.

Surely, Jason could allow some of our retirees who can’t afford a vacation to spend some time at his home, as a kind of “vacation get away” that they otherwise couldn’t afford. Maybe they could stay in the rec room, or perhaps the game room for a few days. A simple cot would do fine for sleeping. I’m sure the home has a pool and other vacation like amenities.

This is a wonderful opportunity for some great public relations work on behalf of the governor. I know this would be what the governor had in mind when he talked to teachers, public employees, and retirees about “shared sacrifice”.

Let’s see, could I stay over this coming Memorial Day weekend ? I’ll even bring some brats for the grill.

Let me know if that’s okay, thanks, Jason..

Written by alkleen

April 17, 2015 at 10:44 am

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Time for a quiz, boys and girls. Please stop whining, the quiz only has one question and it has a yes or no answer.

Has the newly hired Superintendent of Illinois Schools ever taught in a classroom or even have a teaching certificate ?

That’s correct, the answer is no.

I knew you would do well on the quiz. I’m so proud of you boys and girls. You may all have a free ice cream cone at lunch, oops, sorry, I mean a gluten-free frozen yogurt. And, have I told you how much I like the way you are breathing today ?

According to the news, the new superintendent has three degrees from Berkeley, a bachelor’s in English, a master’s in education, and a Ph.D. in education.

Ah, yes, another brilliant mind from California, (remember boys and girls, that’s the state where most silly education reform ideas originate from).

This is how the Tribune describes the new superintendent. “Tony Smith – a charismatic but sometimes unpopular leader who closed struggling public schools, butted heads with teacher unions and created more privately run charter schools in California – was hired Wednesday as Illinois’ new state school superintendent.”

Hmm, I wonder what obscure Midwest governor might have wanted such a person in that position ?

No, boys and girls, no need to answer that one. That question is similar to a rhetorical question. I know, we haven’t learned what a rhetorical question is, but perhaps the new superintendent can visit our classroom and explain it to you. He does have a degree in English, and perhaps he would enjoy teaching in a classroom. At least it would be a new experience for him.

Written by alkleen

April 16, 2015 at 9:50 am

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According to a 2011 study by the National Center for Health Statistics, the rate of antidepressant use by teenagers and adults jumped almost 400 percent between 1988 and 1994, and that trend continued between 2005 and 2008, with 1 in 10 Americans using an antidepressant medication. Antidepressants are now the third most prescribed class of medications in the United States.

I’m convinced our parents, teachers, schools and society in general are raising whole generations of children who have no idea how to deal with the little setbacks that happen in most everyone’s life.

We need to stop this unhealthy obsession with trying to insure our children’s happiness at every waking moment of their lives. I’ve been warning about the “happy happy school” philosophy for years. We need to stop handing out fake self-esteem, worrying about everything that could possibly result in a child’s temporary unhappiness, and instead allow our children to experience life’s disappointments.

This obsession with total happiness is having the exact opposite effect. We are raising a generation of depressed people.

Parents and schools, please allow children to experience the normal setbacks in life. Stop handing out trophies for kids who finish in 5th place. Stop insisting that every child “be a winner”.  Please let them experience failure. Children are very resilient, they will bounce back from their failures.

I first saw this disaster coming about 35 years ago. As a teacher, I would post the test scores of the top several students on a bulletin board. One day my principal objected to my postings. He told me not to post the scores because the students who weren’t in the top-tier would be disappointed that their name wasn’t on the board. He had recently attended workshops that were promoting a new approach to students. He learned that we need to make sure, “every child is a winner.”

Ugh, it was all down hill from there. We’ve raised a whole generation of people who can’t handle the normal disappointments of life. We need to stop this madness.

Written by alkleen

April 13, 2015 at 10:06 am

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I’m not sure how accurate this is, but an article in the Huffington Post has gone viral.  It’s entitled, “How the Billionaire Governor Taxed the Rich and Increased the Minimum Wage – and Now His State’s Economy is One of the Best in the Country.”  They are referring to Minnesota. See  huffingtonpost.com/carl-gibson/mark-dayton-minnesota-economy.

There is also a statement from one author how, “a small sales tax on financial transactions at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the Chicago Board of Trade could fund the pension shortfall in Illinois in less than two years.”

I’m sure some of this is exaggeration, but could we at least consider SOME increase in taxes in Illinois on the people who can afford it ?  Governor Rauner is slashing assistance programs and cutting aid to the most vulnerable in Illinois. He wants to cut wages and destroy unions for government workers. He wants to make huge cuts in pension plans.

I understand some cuts are necessary, but could we at least balance those with some tax increases on the people who can most afford them ?  Oh, no, that would go against everything that Bruce stands for.

Bruce Rauner, you are without question, the governor of the wealthy, by the wealthy, and for the wealthy. Cut aid for the most vulnerable and not suggest one penny of tax increases on those who can afford it ?  Bruce Rauner, how can you sleep at night ?

Written by alkleen

April 10, 2015 at 10:06 am

Posted in Uncategorized


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