Teachers Fight Back

Defend and Support School Teachers of America


leave a comment »

Retired teachers of Illinois won a small victory today when the 7th Judicial Circuit Court ruled that the pension reform law was not legal. Now the Supreme Court of Illinois will have to rule on the case.

Illinois retired teachers need to stop celebrating and realize they still have a lot of work to do. Even if the Supreme Court rules in favor of retirees, the State of Illinois is going to have to do something to shore up the terribly underfunded pensions. In the past I have suggested many ways that the State could start to pay back some of the money that was “stolen” from the pension funds over the past decades. I’m sure many of you have ideas as well. We need to continually bug legislators to do more to fund the pensions.

We also need to keep a close eye on the rate of return that our invested pension funds have been getting. The past few years have seen a soaring stock market that has a 20 percent or more rate of return for many savvy investment firms. The next financial report from the Teachers’ Retirement System had better show a real healthy gain. If the people who are investing our pension money are getting anything less than an overall return of 15 percent, we need to grab torches and pitchforks and march to our TRS headquarters and demand the resignation of our investment people and the hiring of some worthy investment managers. I realize a pension fund can’t make “risky” investments, but so many dividend paying stocks are not risky. May I suggest purchasing many millions of shares of Apple corporation?  You think that company is going under any time soon ?  We could put the names of several big growth companies on slips of paper, lay them on the ground and select the ones that a somewhat trained chicken might peck at.

Seriously, we better see a great rate of return on our investments or demand new people do the job. Retirees, you must keep on top of this. Illinois could go the way of Detroit, and then you would have to take what a bankruptcy judge gives you.

Written by alkleen

November 21, 2014 at 4:48 pm

Posted in Uncategorized


leave a comment »

I wonder if there would be as much dislike of illegal aliens in this country if they had all been white, English-speaking Canadians who poured across the Canadian border ?  Just asking.

Written by alkleen

November 20, 2014 at 4:15 pm

Posted in Uncategorized


leave a comment »

Many school districts in Illinois are in deep financial trouble and it’s not going to get better in the near future. Overall, more than 500 of the state’s roughly 860 districts spent more than they took in during the 2012-13 school year. The combined debt of public schools in Illinois is $931 million. State and federal aid continue to be reduced while spending per student has doubled in the last twenty years.

It’s time to make the public pay more to educate our children. The days when most adults in Illinois were married, had a family and payed property taxes are long gone. MORE THAN HALF OF U.S. adults are now single. That’s 125 million people, many who pay no property taxes and who don’t own a home. I’m not sure how many there are in Illinois. Many of these people live in apartments, and while the apartment building owners pay property taxes, the renters do not. The renters will say that part of what they pay in rent reflects the owner’s property costs, but that’s not valid reasoning.

ANYONE WHO IS NOT PAYING PROPERTY TAXES NEEDS TO SUPPORT PUBLIC SCHOOLS IN A MORE GENEROUS WAY THEN JUST ON THEIR INCOME TAXES. No more “almost free ride ” for these people. These people have to pay SOMETHING to their local school district. Our genius legislators can figure out some formula for that based on income and ability to pay.

People who already pay property taxes and have children in public school, need to pay something extra. There are millions of families who pay property taxes and send their kids to private school, while they also pay large amounts of tuition, and somehow these people survive financially. (And no, most are not wealthy, they just sacrifice in some areas so they can afford the education they want for their children).

Unless the state and federal government find more money for education, this financial problem is not going away. People like to talk about how nothing is more important than a quality education, and yet they become outraged at the thought of paying property taxes and then additional money to have their children educated.

The parents that pay tuition to a private school are almost always very involved in that school and in their child’s progress. This is America, if you want people to value something, you have to put a price on it. Make people pay some money directly out of their pocket for schools and watch them become way more involved in their local schools.

I know I’m going to get a lot of hate mail for this, but it’s time to end “free” education in our public schools. Pay up, people. Get a smaller screen t.v., downsize that van, shorten your vacation trip, stop going to Starbucks and make your own coffee. You get the idea, sacrifice for education. It was you who said that nothing is more important than education. Prove it. Pay up.



Written by alkleen

November 18, 2014 at 11:27 am

Posted in Uncategorized


leave a comment »

Oh no, South Korean children are the least happy in a study among developed countries, the government said last week, citing the stress of the country’s educational pressure cooker.

South Korea ranked at the bottom among 30 countries in terms of children’s satisfaction with their lives, the country’s health ministry said.

I think South Korea must decide if it wants to continue to lead the world in educational achievement among  children, or does it want to lessen academic pressures and have happy children.

S. Korea needs to reform its societal view of education. It needs to be more like the U.S where most families pretend that education is important but don’t really do what’s necessary to enforce that view.  S. Korea needs to be more like U.S. society where a child’s happiness is more important than all else. They need to follow the U.S. “happy happy” school model. They need to make sure all children are given daily doses of self-esteem and everything must be viewed in a positive light.

The U.S. is in the middle of the pack  among the top thirty nations when it comes to educational achievement, but so what, OUR CHILDREN ARE HAPPY !

The U.S. leads the world in military might, has the top economy, and no place on earth can come close to us when it comes to entertainment and sports. Education, bah, humbug, you can have stress free children and still lead the world in many things.

Disclaimer: Oh, wait, I forgot. Studies have shown that U.S. children have a higher percentage of psychological problems than any developed country. Some estimate 1 in 4 U.S. children have some psychological problem. Now I’m really confused.  Maybe we don’t have the happiest children on earth. Our kids should be the happiest, we are always positive with them, feed them tons of self-esteem, bend over backwards to make sure they have everything that could lead to happiness.

Maybe it would be best if S.Korea stuck with its “pressure cooker” education system, and just hoped that the unhappy children would grow happy once they reach adulthood.

It’s all so confusing, I should never have written this post.

Written by alkleen

November 12, 2014 at 10:57 am

Posted in Uncategorized


with one comment

If senator Elizabeth Warren runs for president she is going to give Hillary Clinton a real battle in the Democratic primaries. I haven’t heard any Democrats in recent years that can articulate the liberal viewpoint as well as this lady. If you are a true liberal Democrat you must read Warren’s editorial that appeared today in the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune and perhaps other newspapers. It’s entitled, “Big Donors Win in Washington.”

Warren knows exactly what to say to inspire the liberal base of the Democratic party and perhaps others who are fed up with big corporations, big banks, big oil companies, lobbyists and big political donors. I haven’t heard this kind of liberal rabble rousing since Teddy Roosevelt went after the big corporate trusts. (No, silly, I wasn’t alive to hear Teddy Roosevelt, and or FDR for that matter, but I read about it).  I’m old, but not that old.

This woman is going to make corporate America very uncomfortable. If Republicans call Obama a socialist, what in the world are they going to call Warren ? If she does run for president she would be at an incredible financial disadvantage. There isn’t a large corporation anywhere that would donate one penny to her campaign.

Here is part of her editorial if you can’t find it.

“People are ready to work, ready to do their part, ready to fight for their futures and their kids’ futures, but they see a government that bows and scrapes for big corporations, big banks, big oil companies and big political donors – and they know this government does not work for them. The American people want a fighting chance to build better lives for their families. They want a government that will stand up to the big banks when they break the law. A government that helps out students who are getting crushed by debt.  A government that will protect and expand Social Security for our seniors and raise the minimum wage.”

Wow! She’s even got an old jaded person like me fired up. Where do I sign up to campaign for her ?  Elizabeth, you go girl. I’m ready to dig out my old Che Guevara tee-shirt, put it on, and get rolling!


Written by alkleen

November 11, 2014 at 4:26 pm

Posted in Uncategorized


with one comment

I apologize to Illinois governor-elect, Bruce Rauner.  I thought Rauner was just another wealthy businessman who would favor corporate interests over the common man. From what Rauner is saying, I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Shortly after his election he was quoted as saying he wanted Illinois to be the “most compassionate state in the country.”

Yesterday, he was in poor Hispanic and African-American communities saying, “the good Lord didn’t make us Republicans or Democrats.  The good Lord made us in his image to do the good Lord’s work, to make the world a better place for all families.”

Wow, what next ?  What kind of Republican is this ?  Rush Limbaugh must be gagging on his chicken sandwich.

In the future, I fully expect Rauner to sit down and have lunch with leaders from the gay and lesbian community as they plot ways to continue work on marriage equality.

I’m sure I will soon see him walking arm and arm with union leaders from across the state while singing union ballads from the 1890′s when strikers were getting their heads bashed in.

Everything Rauner has been saying would lead people to believe he’s a cross between Mother Teresa and Karl Marx.

Let the record show I hereby apologize for all the pre-election negativity that I directed at Bruce Rauner. How was I to know the real Bruce Rauner was this incredibly compassionate man ? Once again I’m reminded to never judge people too quickly. I’m reminded of the old country-western song, “Her Teeth May Have Been Stained, but She Had a Heart of Gold.”


Written by alkleen

November 10, 2014 at 8:04 pm

Posted in Uncategorized


leave a comment »

Dear fellow Illinois retired teachers – stop calling me and telling me about how you are in a state of despair.

No need to panic just because Bruce Rauner has won the Illinois governorship. I will guide you as to how to survive under a Rauner administration that is going to do everything it can to decrease your pension benefits.

I already started my own personal austerity program this morning. I cut my morning bowl of oatmeal in half, only had one piece of toast instead of two, and drank only half of my normal amount of orange juice. This afternoon I am canceling my Comcast cable subscription that allows for hundreds of channels, and will replace it with one of those new antenna devices that cost only a one time fee of 40 dollars. I will only receive a few basic channels, but that’s fine, I will just read more books instead of watching HBO, which I will no longer receive.

My daughter also called lamenting the fact that her social worker job will probably be eliminated. I told her to look on the bright side, she can now be a “stay at home mom” until she finds other employment.

I will guide all my friends on how to adopt your own personal austerity program. Think back to when you began your teaching career. Your salary was extremely low, how did you live then ?  I supported a family of four on a salary of $12,000 a year. My wife was a “stay at home mom.”  I was in my 15th year of teaching and my kids still qualified for “free lunch”, although we never applied for it.

I’m sure most of you retired teachers remember how to live in poverty. Now get to McDonald’s for your free cup of coffee, and start clipping coupons once again. I would suggest you check and see if your local Wal-Mart might be hiring any elderly “greeters”.

The voters have spoken, Bruce Rauner won, and we need to accept that fact and change our lifestyle. Please let me know if you need any further reminders of how to live in poverty. Now, sit back, take a deep breath and relax, you’re going to be fine.



Written by alkleen

November 5, 2014 at 10:12 am

Posted in Uncategorized


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 40 other followers