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    “There is a campaign under way to essentially destroy the public education system along with every aspect of human life and attitudes and thought that involve social solidarity. It’s being done in all sorts of ways. One is simply by underfunding. So, if you can make the public schools really rotten, people will look for an alternative. Any service that’s going to be privatized, the first thing you do is make it malfunction so people can say, “We want to get rid of it. It’s not running. Let’s give it to Lockheed.” — Noam Chomsky, The Progressive Magazine, September 1999, p.37
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    “To achieve world government, it is necessary to remove from the minds of men their individualism, loyalty to family traditions, national patriotism, and religious dogmas.” - Brock Chisholm, Director UN World Health Organization (1948-53).

Union officials work with Obama administration to crush Detroit teacher protests

DetroitFearing a continuation of the “sick out” protests by teachers that shut down nearly the entire Detroit Public Schools system last week, the interim president of the Detroit Federation of Teachers sent out an email yesterday to DFT members urging them to stop further resistance.

Angered over the long years of DFT collusion with the attack on public education, rank-and-file teachers took matters into their own hands and organized the job actions independently of the union. Defying state threats of fines and decertification, the teachers used social media to expose deplorable school conditions and demand the restoration of wages and benefits given away by the DFT.

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Democrats and unions scramble to contain Detroit teacher protests

DetroitThree straight days of “sick outs” led to the shutdown of 93 of the district’s 97 schools. Teachers used social media to expose the intolerable conditions in their decaying schools and to demand increased staffing and resources to lower class sizes, address chronic poverty among schoolchildren and recoup years of lost wages and benefits negotiated by the DFT.

Within leading corporate and political circles there was fear the spreading protests and open defiance by teachers of the union and legislators’ threats of fines and dismissal could become the catalyst for a far broader movement of the working class. Detroit has been the epicenter for the attacks on the working class, including the 2013-14 bankruptcy when both parties, with the full support of the unions, looted city worker pensions and public assets on behalf of Wall Street bondholders. In nearby Flint social anger is at a boiling point over the lead poisoning of the water supply—by the very same emergency manager overseeing the Detroit schools—and late last year thousands of autoworkers engaged in a near rebellion against the pro-company contracts pushed through by the United Auto Workers.

Every section of the political establishment—from Republican Governor Rick Snyder and the Republican-controlled state legislature, to the Democrats, including Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, city and state officials, all the way up to President Obama—are hostile to the teachers’ demands. All of them defend the “right” of the banks, wealthy bondholders, and for-profit education businesses to decimate public education and teachers’ living standards.

After recovering from their initial shock, the enemies of teachers regrouped and began a counter-assault last week.

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Detroit teachers determined to continue fight

“We are not happy with the union. We finally acted independently”

DetroitLast week, teachers conducted three straight days of “sick out” protests that forced the closure of 92 of the district’s 97 schools.

Rank-and-file teachers organized the job actions independently of the Detroit Federation of Teachers to demand the removal of the state-appointed emergency manager and adequate staffing and resources to repair decaying school buildings, lower class sizes and provide social services to children facing chronically high levels of poverty. Teachers also insisted on the return of wage givebacks negotiated by the DFT and the protection of their health and pension benefits.

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The Detroit teachers’ fight to defend public education

DetroitOn Monday, hundreds of teachers took part in a coordinated “sickout” that closed two-thirds of the district’s 97 schools. On Tuesday, 24 schools were closed. The job actions have been organized independently of the Detroit Federation of Teachers (DFT), which has long collaborated in the bipartisan attack on teachers and the public schools.   Read More…

Thousands of Greek students protest educational reforms

Athens-protest

Thousands of Greek students and teachers have taken to the streets of the capital, Athens, to protest the government’s planned reforms to the education system.  Read More…

State authorities revoke labor contract for 15,000 Philadelphia teachers

u_turn_1In a meeting held virtually without any public notice and no public testimony, the five-member School Reform Commission overseeing the Philadelphia public school system in the US state of Pennsylvania voted unanimously Monday morning to revoke a labor agreement covering 15,000 teachers.

The move, which has the backing of the Republican-controlled state government in Harrisburg and the local Democratic Party establishment in Philadelphia, clears the way for authorities to unilaterally impose deep health care cuts for current and retired instructors and accelerate the dismantling of public education in the nation’s 14th largest school district.

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California court ruling signals nationwide attack on teacher tenure, seniority rights

int_lawA Los Angeles, California court ruled Tuesday that teacher tenure, seniority and other basic rights are unconstitutional. The ruling was immediately hailed by the Obama administration as a precedent for the entire country.

The ruling declares unconstitutional five California statutes, some in existence for over a hundred years. The laws guarantee the democratic right of teachers to a fair dismissal process and to job security. They also require that when budget cuts mandate teacher layoffs, the most recently hired teachers are the first to be cut. The judge placed a temporary stay on the ruling pending appeal.

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