Teachers Fight Back

Defend and Support School Teachers of America


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Some parents and teachers are up in arms about the way student “opt-outs” are being treated. These are students who have opted out of the PARCC tests. In some schools, the students are left in the test room to “sit and stare” for a couple of hours during testing. They are not allowed to read, work, or do anything.

One Chicago suburban principal seemed to be defending the “sit and stare” policy by saying the opt-out process was a “first time experience” for the school, and “it’s a learning process for everybody.”

I’m not going to comment on the “sit and stare” policy, but I will comment on the principal’s defense of the situation. If I interpret the principal’s comments correctly, he is using the newness of the experience to excuse the ill prepared policy.

As my old principal used to say, “fail to plan, plan to fail.”  Virtually everyone knew there were going to be opt-outs well before the tests were administered. It was all over the news reports that many of the parents were going to tell their children to opt out. It’s inexcusable that the school and or district would not be prepared for this situation.

Teaching is one of the most difficult jobs in the world because a teacher must constantly plan for every eventuality. Can you imagine a science teacher trying an experiment for the very first time in front of a classroom without having previously tried it alone to see all the possible problems that might arise ?

School boards, school administrators, and principals had plenty of time to decide a policy for opt-outs. “First time experience”, and “it’s a learning process for everybody” are not acceptable comments. The principal should have given the teachers the responsibility of coming up with a policy for opt-outs. That’s what teachers do best, plan for every eventuality and make sure every child’s needs are met. Next time you want to prepare for something new, ask a teacher for advice.

Written by alkleen

March 24, 2015 at 11:22 am

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I think I remember Bruce Rauner, governor of Illinois, saying that he wanted to be the most compassionate governor in Illinois history.

The news is reporting that a study by California researchers published in “Current Biology,” observed a drug that altered brain chemistry, making people more compassionate.

We need someone to obtain a small amount of this drug and somehow slip it into the governor’s drink when he makes his next stop at a local diner to promote a new round of social service cuts. That way, we can help him with his “compassionate governor” pledge.

The new drug part is real, but I’m just kidding about the governor’s drink. Please don’t send the state police to my door.

Although, where is the Republican national convention going to be held ?  Perhaps someone could put the drug in the convention water supply and, NO, NO, I‘m just kidding again. Some of my best friends are Republicans. I would never suggest such a thing.

Written by alkleen

March 24, 2015 at 10:37 am

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According to the director of the Illinois Department of Revenue, two-thirds of Illinois corporations pay no state income tax.

Just once I would like to see the Chicago Tribune have a headline involving this fact.

What is today’s headline ?   Of course it’s about some lobbyist who only taught one day and is abusing the Teachers’ Retirement System pension. It’s the headline and the lead story of the day.

Thank you, Tribune, for exposing this, and yes it’s wrong and let’s work to fix these abuses.

The Tribune has done this in the past, found a few most extreme cases of pension abuse and made them front page news.

I believe the Tribune wants the general public to get the impression that the whole pension system is unfair to taxpayers and is as governor Rauner puts it, “overly generous” to even the average pensioner.

Are corporations that don’t pay taxes unfair to the taxpayers ?

May I suggest that in fairness the Tribune run a headline exposing how two-thirds of corporations in Illinois pay no state income tax.  How about a story that the public isn’t even allowed to see which corporations these are ? How about a headline exposing corporate tax abuse ?  I may be mistaken, but I don’t ever remember one and I read the Tribune every day.

The Chicago Tribune is number one among newspapers when it comes to protecting business interests and bashing public employees, their unions and their pensions. Tribune honchos must go home at night swelling with pride how they protect the corporate world at the expense of the little guy.

Chicago Tribune, shame on you.


Written by alkleen

March 19, 2015 at 11:17 am

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Poor Ashley Judd, she could have avoided all this tweeting turmoil had she just checked in with a teacher before tweeting. Judd said that she was attacked on social media for her tweet that she posted during the SEC championship game Sunday between Kentucky and Arkansas. Apparently she tweeted, “I think Arkansas is playing dirty”.

Ashley and everyone else should always check in with a teacher before tweeting ANYTHING. Teachers are experts on political correctness and can tell you immediately what comments will get you in trouble.

Do you ever hear a teacher describe a child as lazy ?  Of course not. A teacher wouldn’t even tell a parent that the child is “difficult to motivate.”  Wouldn’t even say, “motivationally challenged”.  A teacher would say something like the following, “I, as a teacher, have yet to find out how to completely motivate your child. It’s my job to motivate your child, and I will keep trying new ways to motivate your child”. Teachers know to blame themselves and always absolve the child or parent of any blame.

Ashley, whenever you are going to accuse someone of a fault, you must first pretend that the fault might lie in you or who you are supporting. This is what you should have tweeted, “I hope my Kentucky team isn’t doing something that is causing the Arkansas team to play in a manner that is befitting a team that is irritated about something. As a Kentucky fan, I would like to apologize to the Arkansas players if my team is causing them to be irritated.”

Judd did admit that she probably should have only accused the Arkansas team of, “what seems (like) ultra-aggressive play.”

Yes, Ashley, that’s better than “I think Arkansas is playing dirty”, but not good enough.

Rule number one of any tweeting criticism is to ASSUME THE FAULT IS IN YOU OR YOUR PERCEPTION. You need to think like a modern teacher. Rule number two, if it isn’t positive, don’t tweet it.

Most fans in this country want to see Kentucky lose. People tend to dislike an overwhelming favorite. If Kentucky does win the national championship, this is what Ashley should tweet. “I’m so happy Kentucky won, but I’m even happier at seeing the tremendous effort and class displayed by all the wonderful teams in this tournament. I wish every team could have won a championship, and in my mind they are all champions in their own right.”

Remember, next time check in with the teachers, they are masters at forced political correctness and know exactly what to say at all times.

Written by alkleen

March 18, 2015 at 11:50 am

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I hereby give a Golden Chalk Award to Illinois judge Robert Thomas. Yesterday, the Illinois Supreme Court heard oral arguments about the proposed “pension reform”, otherwise known as “pension double stealing.”

Judge Roberts basically asked the state’s lawyers to explain how the government can seek power to reduce public pension benefits in the face of a fiscal crisis when the government itself is responsible for the financial mess.

Hallelujah !  Someone who gets it !   It’s double stealing!  The government is basically saying to pensioners, “we stole your money and now you are going to have to pay us to replace the money we stole from you in the first place.”

The Illinois Legislature created this mess and now they need to find a way out of it. I have a few suggestions of how that might be accomplished:

1. Try taxing the dozens of Illinois corporations that pay ZERO in state taxes.

2. Go with speaker Madigan’s suggestion to increase taxes on those making over a million dollars a year.

3. Renew the temporary income tax hike at least until the pension crisis is better.

4. Switch the Illinois income tax rate from a flat rate to a graduated one like the Federal tax. The more you make, the more you pay.

5. A thousand dollar fine will be imposed on the Illinois Policy Institute and all the union bashing, teacher trashing groups and people who try to incite public opinion against the Teachers Retirement System. Every anti-teacher, anti-union article will result in a fine. (Okay, that’s a bit vindictive, I’ll withdraw #5).

You legislators need to get creative, you made this mess, now fix it.

Pension recipients like me could also do our share to fix the problem. Our pension benefits are not taxed by the state. I would be willing to pay state tax on my pension if I was guaranteed that I could keep the cost of living increase and not have to contribute more to my medical insurance premiums. I understand we can’t totally tax our way out of this so I’ll sacrifice something.

Written by alkleen

March 12, 2015 at 10:14 am

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According to news reports, the president of Oklahoma University, David Boren, said that he was sickened and couldn’t eat or sleep after learning about the fraternity racist video.

Really?  Couldn’t eat or sleep ?  Never heard anything like that video in your 73 years of life living in Oklahoma and Washington D.C. ?

David Boren has been a governor, U.S. senator and representative. He had a distinguished political career and at one time he was considered presidential material. He is a very smart man. He graduated in the top one percent of his class at Yale, and was a Rhodes Scholar, receiving a master’s degree from Oxford. For years he was the go to guy on Congressional intelligence committees.

Oklahoma University has about 27,000 students and only about 5 percent are black.  If you throw out the black students who are on athletic scholarships, you would probably only have a few hundred black students. Boren must have been aware of these numbers, and yet what has he done to improve those numbers ? Those numbers are something to lose sleep over and not be able to eat if you are a university president.

Did Boren understand how segregated fraternities and sororities tend to be in this country? What has he done in the past to challenge that status quo ? Boren belonged to the famous “Skull and Bones” secret society at Yale University. I wonder how diverse that group was ?  Not much has changed in fifty years.

I’m certainly not accusing Boren of being a racist.  His past political actions show at times he has been on the right side of the civil rights movement. I’ll give him a pass for his actions years ago when he was part of a House committee that investigated the University of Oklahoma for allowing a black militant and anti Vietnam activist to speak at the university.

I’m just tired of people who are in positions to make real changes when it comes to racial equality and do very little about it until some dramatic incidence forces their hand. I’m tired of their overly dramatic outrage for the cameras and other forms of media.

Would I expect Boren to be angry at the video ?  Absolutely. Would I expect him to be unable to sleep or eat ? Not really.

Written by alkleen

March 10, 2015 at 12:35 pm

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I need to correct my previous post.

All active and retired teachers please refer to any pension changes that reduces your benefits as “Pension Double Stealing”.

The legislature initially stole your money and now years later they want you to replace the stolen money.

I’ve used this analogy before –  This is like a burglar robbing your house, then not being satisfied with what they stole, then sending you a letter asking for a large check from you because they were unhappy with their original take. Double stealing, plain and simple.

Actually, I can’t imagine any burglar with enough chutzpah to do that.  Only Bruce Rauner and people like him have enough chutzpah to “double steal”.

Written by alkleen

March 9, 2015 at 10:22 am

Posted in Uncategorized


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