Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Pension wars and Moore

Puerto Rican teachers strike: "No somos criminales, somos maestros." "We're not criminals."
The attacks on public worker pensions, especially teachers' pensions, has become a centerpiece of corporate reform strategy aimed at degrading the teaching profession, eroding public space and undermining union contracts. It's a response to the growing public-sector debt crisis that avoids taxing the corporate sector and puts the entire burden on the retired (or soon to be retired) public sector workers. But with it has come with growing resistance across the country and now in Puerto Rico. Since December 19, members of Puerto Rico's teachers union and their supporters have been protesting both inside the island's Senate chamber and outside its Capitol, including a 2-day strike, against the so-called "pension reform" legislation advocated by governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla.

Look who's defending Rauner

No surprise here. It's the Trib's Eric Zorn. He identifies with the Republican billionaire's clout problems.
I didn't have to play that game with my elder son, who easily tested into Payton in 2004, but I can't blame many of those who did. "Nothin' wrong" with asking for a favor, after all, when favors were going to be doled out anyway.
 Was it seemly for Bruce Rauner to then drop a quarter-million dollar donation on Payton Prep Initiative for Education in December 2009? Yes. Given the timing, not just seemly but generous, creditable and consistent with his charitable outreach to schools.
Does Rauner have anything to apologize for, other than dropping his "g's" to try to sound folksy? No. He didn't break the rules in place at the time and no one broke them on his behalf.
Has Ald. Joe Moore become a complete lap dog for the Mayor?

Yes he has. He ran as a progressive, but now has become an enemy of the teachers union and the leading Rahm apologist in the City Council. Moore argued Tuesday that City Hall spent $7.2 million on salt after the New Year’s Eve storm that preceded a polar plunge — and “wasted” tons of it — because it was trying to meet the “unrealistic” expectations of a demanding Chicago electorate. He may be right about the salt, but not about blaming Chicagoans' for their expectations. His was a conscious diversion from the real issue that has neighborhood folks so pissed off. While downtown and Boule Miche were plowed clean enough to eat off the streets, neighborhoods were barely touched. Dangerous potholes are everywhere in the neighborhoods. None downtown. It had nothing to do with salt. 

Congrats to ALEC, Brookings, Gates... on their Bunkum Awards 
“Congratulations, Brookings! You just won the Bunkum’s Grand Prize for shoddiest educational research for 2013.” -- NEPC

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