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Est. April 5, 2002
April 12, 2018 - Issue 737

Ongoing Barriers to Success
Teacher Strikes and Protests

"Teachers are facing barriers to the current success of
their strikes and protests as they have to decide whether
to confront or support their traditional Democratic allies
over broken promises for public education."

Trump Updates to the Midterms:

  • Stormy Daniels (Stephanie Clifford), according to her attorney, Michael Avenatti, revealed in her 60 Minutes interview (although it was not shown in the segment) that Trump has midget genetalia which Sen. Marco Rubio alluded to during the 2016 Republican presidential primaries when he referenced Trump’s “small hands.” Daniels is also cooperating with federal investigators looking at the $130,000 payment she received.

  • Some Democratic political strategists feel that it will be to their advantage for Trump to remain in office through the 2018 midterms as his poll numbers continue dropping because if Vice President Michael Pence replaces him, he will piously implement right-wing policies using his religious ideology which will be more insidious than what Trump has done to date.

  • Insiders say Hope Hicks, former Trump Communications Director, is close to cooperating with Special Counsel Mueller in his investigation of President Trump after coming to realize that in 20 years, Trump will be dead and that she could still have a career if she does not take a criminal indictment for President Trump.

  • Speaker Paul Ryan will not run for reelection in 2018 as he allegedly wants to spend more time with his family. But the real reasons are: he sees a strong possibility of a blue tsunami for Democrats in the 2018 midterms; he has tired of Trump’s personal and political shenanigans as President; and at age 48, he is young enough to wait out Trump’s impeachment or defeat in 2020 and to run for President as a new Republican before he turns 60.

Teachers are facing barriers to the current success of their strikes and protests as they have to decide whether to confront or support their traditional Democratic allies over broken promises for public education. In New Jersey, former Republican Gov. Chris Christie cut public education funding by more than $9 billion dollars during his two terms (2009-2017). His successor, newly elected Gov. Phil Murphy, who received overwhelming support from teachers in his November 2017 victory, based on his pledge to increase funding for public education and to stabilize the funding of teacher pensions, has reneged on those commitments in his first proposed budget. He is apparently spending his political capital on an attempt to legalize marijuana which would benefit some of his major campaign contributors who have established cannabis dispensaries to take advantage of an expected windfall in drug profits.

At the same time, the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA), the state’s largest teachers’ union, continues its support of their Democratic U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, a prospective 2020 presidential candidate and an avowed supporter of vouchers and charter schools. He worked closely with U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos while she headed the American Federation for Children (AFC), a hard-hitting school choice/school privatization organization. As Booker readies his 2020 presidential bid, he has low-balled his school choice advocacy, first by voting against DeVos’s 2017 confirmation as Education Secretary (after he knew she had the votes) and by his refusal to co-sponsor the 2018 edition of the Senate resolution for National School Choice Week although he endorsed the 2016 decree.

Elsewhere, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D), who has been a strong backer of corporate charter schools, especially in New York City, where he threatened Mayor Bill de Blasio to provide space for corporate charter schools. Teacher unions have made peace with Cuomo, who earlier labeled them a selfish and monopolistic industry, were heartened by his 2018 State of the State address where he has moved away from controversial policies involving teacher evaluations, charter schools, and other issues that put him at odds with teachers unions. Most important, he has dropped his argument that New York gets limited results for its massive expenditures on public schools. Cuomo and teacher unions have united as they rally together around their opposition to their common enemy, President Donald Trump.

Teachers in Red Republican states (West Virginia, Kentucky, and Oklahoma) have enjoyed their greatest recent success in strikes and protests primarily because their Republican opponents have been resolute in disrespecting them as individuals, maintaining education funding cuts, and criticizing them for any absences from school. More than a third of Democratic U.S. Senators, backed by teachers, have quietly signed on to school choice privatization legislation, at various times, while keeping a low political profile on the issue, e.g., Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WVA) and Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA). Feinstein, California’s senior Senator, who has avidly backed the failing Washington, D.C. voucher program, is currently under political siege in her senatorial reelection bid, having been denied the endorsement of the state’s Democratic Party after serving since 1992. Her progressive positions have diminished over time. Manchin and Feinstein are joined by their Red State Senatorial colleagues, Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Jon Tester (D-MT), and Claire McCaskill (D-MO).

By coupling these realities with the fact that the Cartel of education reformers has poured billions of dollars into the campaign coffers of Democratic school board members, state legislators, Governors, and U.S. House and Senate candidates and members during the past two decades as its privatization of public education strategies have taken root across the nation. Numerous Cartel associates have funded Democrat Cory Booker’s rise to political power beginning with his election to the Newark, New Jersey City Council in 1998, his unsuccessful Newark mayoral run in 2002, his victories for Mayor of Newark in 2006 and 2010, and his election to the U.S. Senate in a special election in 2013 and his reelection in 2014. The Cartel’s tab for, in effect, growing its own Democrat has exceeded $100 million. This Democratic pipeline tactic has been repeated in state after state along with the Cartel’s continuing strategy to elect Republicans.

Thus, teacher assertiveness in Republican Red States is being offset by teachers and unions not holding Democrats accountable in Blue states. The 2018 midterms provide an opportunity for them to do so. “Times up!”

links to all 20 parts of the opening series Columnist, Dr. Walter C. Farrell, Jr., PhD, MSPH, is a Fellow of the National Education Policy Center (NEPC) at the University of Colorado-Boulder and has written widely on vouchers, charter schools, and public school privatization. He has served as Professor of Social Work at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and as Professor of Educational Policy and Community Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Contact Dr. Farrell. 




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