Apples, Smaller Classrooms, Room to Teach — Not Ted Nugent-style* Attacks on Teachers

This is the debate, now, is it not, in a microcosm – many, many schools across this great Consumer-Condemned Land of Amerika are struggling BIG Time to make ends meet. Mostly those of us in the underclass, that sweeping 80 percent holding 7 percent of all wealth in the USA, have skin in the game. We are a giant majority, diverse, not organized, and, unfortunately, at each other’s necks in a dog-eat-dog world of divide and conquer, attack the weak, disperse the weakest and prey on the one-paycheck-away-from-living-in-a-van-down-by-the river-and-PhDs-on-food-stamps-and Millennials-screwed-from cradle-to-grave.

We are a sick joke of a society that can’t distinguish from the coked out/botoxed over-defiance-of-the-Christo-Zionist-loving-producer-actor-REALITY-TV-and-braying-self-obsessed-film-or-little-screen-F-You-Book-obsessed-Land-of-the-un-free, where we are told to root for the most deviant, sick, overlord-type, violent, sexist, loud, obnoxious, dumb, pooping character.

We are in trouble, in all arenas, and just looking at a microcosm gleaning from the Scranton newspaper opinion page, we see that little places like that borough and the fight with the “union” leaders a la Old Forge Education Association, and the Board of Untrusty Trustees and the intellectually syphilitic Governor Tom “Driller” Corbett, we can make the connection there, in Scranton, as  emblematic of what’s happening from Seattle to Boston, from Michigan to Texass, to the collapse of USA society, starting 30 years ago in full-force.

People hate teachers, begrudge them a living wage, and many want teachers to go the way of call centers, and those that still teach, our fellow citizens believe, are the reason why little Johnny and skinny Juanita and good old Billy-Joe are three sheets to the wind intellectually.

Yeah, teachers’ fault …  not mom, pop, Walmart, WiFi, endless screen zombie time, and America’s endless Hillbilly diets of fat, sugar, salt nothingness. Nah, not the deviant crap coming from Zionist-Christo-Star Chamber Hollywood or created by the subliminal messaging Madison Avenue. Nope, no complaints lobbed at not the boardrooms of Verizon, GE, Boeing and, well, you name the Fortune 1,000 rot.

Chuck Orloski who is a DV contributor, in the poetry realm – check out his work there – keeps a vital line to his neck of the woods, Pennsylvania, Taylor, that is, and his work as a clean-up Haz-Mat guy and his other work as a live, kicking guy past sixty fighting the good fight literary-speaking with verbal revolutionary ZEAL and gusto.

Not that the following points in the Chris Kelly op-ed are foreign to me, and I like his writing, but, alas, he too has his blind spots, not connecting the dots  as to why teachers have to fight for health and retirement when in fact WE worked for those very things by taking on a sometimes-shitty-and-always-lowly-paid job that we see as MORE than a job. That’s the contract on America — pay for what you receive. If the municipality or county or state is having problems, then take it over and dump and jail the politicians and the lobby club and special interests and outside the country trans-financial-rodents spreading their plague upon the land. Take over your communities now, fast, and stop going to work. Stop the credit card payments. Forget the mortgages. As I have said before, a million of us doing that, or ten million or 60 million. WELL, you get the picture.

WE never ever see a huge question posed and a huge analysis of that question around WHY pig banks, pig CEOs, pig One Percenters and their 19 Percenter Little Eichmanns are crashing the American Party. Why do we attack grammar school teachers who make crap and who have to deal with more and more violent, special needs and dumbdowned (in many cases, not all) children and their dumber-than-dumb (sometimes) parents? And then face off mean-ass boards of education, communities who want teachers tarred and feathered, and the media who know how to dig a rusting nail into the eye of education but fear their own shadows like yellow belly careerists looking at the disaster capitalists, the deviant Larry Summers types, the entire mess of America that has allowed for trillions in tax write offs, billions in tax abatements, hundreds of billions in tax loopholes, and tens of thousands of people taking 90 percent of this country’s wealth, looking and presenting those as HEROES not to be criticized.

They fear taking on Exxon, Monsanto, GE, Intel, Gates, Bezos, Walton, and, well, find your poisonous corporation by just going to that list of tax evaders NEVER-EVER paying that 37.0 percent mythical corporate tax that gets bandied about as their cross to bear. See, Citizens for Tax Justice — get the list, and rant and spit on their cars, their children’s Hummers, and their grandmothers’ graves, if that’s all you can do!

At least 18 companies, including Nike, Microsoft and Apple, are stashing profits in offshore tax havens likely in a bid to avoid paying taxes, according to a new report from the Citizens for Tax Justice, a [tax] research group. If the companies brought that money home, they would pay combined more than $92 billion in U.S. taxes, the report found.

“It’s misguided to say it’s some unique thing that Apple has created,” said Matthew Gardner, the executive director of the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, a research partner of CTJ. “A lot of big companies are very likely doing it.”

Read Kelly’s Sept. 15 work. He is spot on in most cases, but alas, not knowing Kelly well, I have to ask how hard has he fought for print journalism, for the Millennials coming into his biz, or fought for a huge collective of reporters and journalists who must be funded by the US taxpayer to be not just the Fourth Estate, but to bring up the rear guard since the judicial, executive and legislative branches of the Repo-Demo-lition Party have  not just been bought and sold by the arms dealers and resource thieves and people killers, they are actually ready for a huge casting call for the next five dozen reality TV shows around sex, drugs, meanness, stupidity, and endless droning.

We need wages up for EVERYONE in the 80 percent class, and WAGES down for EVERYONE in the One Percent Class and their 19 Percent Cultural and Ecological Conquistadors. Redistribute the wages, the hard-earned benefits, the lands back to the public commons.

Here are two pulled quotes from Kelly’s latest opinion piece in the Scranton Times-Tribune:

Taxpayers are legitimately frustrated with the unions’ inflexibility on issues like health care costs, but go too far when they demonize striking teachers.

The most telling fact behind this strike is one you won’t hear cited by either the union or the board: In all but one of the past seven years, Old Forge students scored lower than the state average on SAT tests, and they consistently fall short of state averages in PSSA testing.

Nice, and I get the op-ed format – keep it short, Kelly, and punchy and limited to under 500 words. In the vein of Mark Twain. Fine, but, taxpayers should not be framed as legitimately frustrated with the unions’ inflexibility. They have to wake up and smell the hydraulic  fracturing goo.

Pennsylvania, like all other states, have failed taxpayers, and the taxpayers have failed themselves BY letting banks rule (any state bank initiative  happening in Penn?), by propping up punks like Paterno and that pathetic athletic mess of a worshiping addiction that has taken over all fifty states;  letting companies pollute, dilute communities and get away with obscene profits and cultural-community-ecological rapine and rape; and promoting this disaster-felonious system of Capitalism that eats the young, the poor and the eviscerated  middle class for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Begrudging teachers and public workers their rightful pensions and retirement? Sick, sick, sick, and the Koch brothers and the prison-military-IT-extraction welfare Kings and Queens sleeping with Wall Street hookers have gotten off the proverbial hook. Obscene that there is not a daily outrage and street action in every community far and wide around the OBSCENE disparity of those who do no work worthy of a society in the midst of climate change, over-population and poverty rule 93 percent of the power and wealth. Going after teachers? Garbage collectors? State wildlife biologists?

They go after public workers and hard-working people trying to protect the public’s health, safety and well being? Oh, sure, many in public service checked out at five years on the job and I know how the job market is, and that I would make Portland in any sector proud as a planner, communications specialist, educator, and development specialist.

I see the wage disparity, don’t fret, personally, and I am precarious beyond precarious at age 56 in this hinterland of crass marketing and surveillance and end of constitutional rights. And when city or county or other entities throw money at certain jobs I am seeing advertised (oh, $110,000 a year, plus primo benefits to be a public information officer or to be a city planner), well, it is surreal looking at my level of education, experience, language skills, work diversity, and stick-to-it attitude, as well as creativity and people skills and the fact that as an adjunct for well known colleges and as an adult educator – taking care of people’s loved ones who have developmental disabilities – I make less than $10 an hour, well, screw Kelly and screw the people of Scranton and screw the entire vegged-out mess of Americans who can just yammer on and denigrate teachers.

Or denigrate hourly sub-minimum wage workers.

Screw you and the high horse or Hummer or economic holocaust deuce-and-a-half you rode-drove-napalmed-droned into town on!

From bad English to secret meetings to head jocks, Old Forge seems lacking

Published: September 15, 2013

The Old Forge Education Association recently took out a full-page ad in the Times-Tribune to present the union’s view of the “facts” behind its interminable labor dispute with the district.

The text began with a run-on sentence, the first of several grammatical errors that included misused and missing punctuation, improper use of pronouns and incorrect, inconsistent capitalization.

“Cannot” is one word, not two. Those who live by spell check die by spell check.

The union’s literary misfire is just the latest errant shot in a three-year war best weathered with shoulder pads and helmets. On Monday, the school board huddled in its private locker room and voted unanimously to keep football season holy.

Games will continue as scheduled. Classes will resume whenever, said the elected adults who recently promoted the varsity basketball coach to superintendent at a salary of $76,000 a year.

Swish!

The Old Forge strike is a hot mess, but hardly unique. School boards across the state are juggling massive funding shortfalls and pension obligations while trying to ink new labor pacts that don’t require huge tax hikes.

It’s an exercise in futility thanks in large part to Gov. Tom Corbett, R-Drillers, who from his first budget has made a priority of shortchanging public education. He used disastrous cuts to pose as a fiscal hardliner, but all he really did was shift the burden to local taxpayers. Meanwhile, the Legislature is too busy serving Marcellus Shale drillers to bother with anything so trivial as education.

Teachers play a key role in promoting an informed, inventive and competitive society. They work hard in and out of the classroom, and deserve respect, good pay and benefits.

Public teacher unions, however, have battled for decades to shield their members from the stagnant salaries and soaring health care costs that bedevil the private sector. That buffer dissolves faster every day, and the unions are desperate to slow the erosion.

Taxpayers are legitimately frustrated with the unions’ inflexibility on issues like health care costs, but go too far when they demonize striking teachers. A speaker at a Monday town hall meeting likened them to “terrorists,” a preposterous, ugly thing to say, particularly two days removed from the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

Such irrationality fuels the continued election of school directors who only know how to say, “No.” The inevitable result is gridlock and diminished standards.

The most telling fact behind this strike is one you won’t hear cited by either the union or the board: In all but one of the past seven years, Old Forge students scored lower than the state average on SAT tests, and they consistently fall short of state averages in PSSA testing.

Getting classes back in session is the bare minimum. When the students return, it will be to a district overseen by a basketball coach and staffed by educators who haven’t mastered basic grammar.

Go Blue Devils!

CHRIS KELLY, the Times-Tribune columnist, is a proud product of public schools. Contact the writer: moc.kcormahssemitnull@dlrowsyllek, @cjkink on Twitter and read the article and others by Kelly here.

 Note — Oh yeah, the Ted “Nuts-and-Dementia” Nugent reference? Here, and my apologies!

Paul Kirk has been a journalist since 1977. He's covered police, environment, planning and zoning, county and city politics, as well as working in true small town/community journalism situations in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Mexico and beyond. He's been a part-time faculty since 1983, and as such has worked in prisons, gang-influenced programs, universities, colleges, alternative high schools, language schools, as a private contractor-writing instructor for US military in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and Washington. Read other articles by Paul.