Thursday, January 10, 2013

Crowd Laughs approvingly as Chicago Teachers Union President Talks about Killing the Rich

The Chicago Teachers Union is not just about looking out for its members’ interests. The union wants to fundamentally change America, too.

That shift occurred when the radical Karen Lewis was elected as its president two years ago. She’s best known for mocking U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s lisp and for taking on - and defeating - Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel in the district’s first teachers’ strike in a generation.

CTU leaders have been on a victory lap of sorts since the September strike, with union activists seeing themselves as protectors of union power during a time of membership decline and education reform at the state and local level.

They’ve also taken on the role of social activities, fighting for causes like the Occupy movement and gay marriage, which have nothing to do with education.

Some union leaders have called for violence and other radical tactics to achieve social goals.

When Lewis appeared at the Illinois Labor History Society’s “Salute to Labor’s Historic Heroes from the History Makers of Today,” she didn’t disappoint the crowd. She threw gasoline onto the fire of class warfare, and even mentioned mob killings of wealthy Americans.

“… Do not think for a minute that the wealthy are ever going to allow you to legislate their riches away from them. Please understand that. However, we are in a moment where the wealth disparity in this country is very reminiscent of the robber baron ages. The labor leaders of that time, though, were ready to kill. They were. They were just – off with their heads. They were seriously talking about that.”

Some in the audience laughed and clapped at her remark.

“I don’t think we’re at that point,” Lewis laughingly replied, without specifying when “that point” might arrive. “And that’s scary to most people. But the key is they think nothing of killing us. They think nothing of putting our people in harm’s way. They think nothing of lethal working conditions.”

She then used schools without air conditioning as an example of “lethal working conditions.”

The true labor leaders of the “robber baron” age would probably roll over in their graves and remind Ms. Lewis that she and her colleagues have it quite good.

Big salaries with an average income in the $70,000 range. Generous benefits and pensions. Limited work days and nine-month work years. What are these people complaining about?

Lewis also used the occasion to mock “job creators.”

“Which side are you going to be on? So are we going to be on the side of justice? Are we going to be on the side of a living wage for every person? Or are we going to be on the side of people whose entire mentality is based on a lie. ‘Job creators.’ Really? Then why have we lost so many jobs?”

With such a cynical, un-American attitude coming from their union president, does anyone really expect Chicago teachers to introduce students to the many virtues of the free market system, or the nobility of taking a risk to become an entrepreneur and therefore a “job creator”?

As domestic terrorist-turned-professor Bill Ayers acknowledged, leftists have the power in our schools and classrooms, and they’re taking full advantage.

The Chicago Teachers Union is the tip of the spear in terms of “social justice unionism.” It’s a union led by far-left radical activists who are determined to alter American society through our schools and children. Advocating for the interests of teachers is simply a means toward a larger and nastier goal.


Say bonjour to cheaper childcare: Ministers study French-style nurseries to double the number of children staff can look after

Childminders and nurseries will be able to double the number of children they look after under radical plans to cut care bills for working families.

Ministers are considering a move to copy French childcare rules where each member of staff can look after up to eight children. In England the limit is just four toddlers.

It is hoped that reducing the red-tape burden on employers will help to bring down childcare bills which sees British parents spending more than a quarter of their income on looking after their children.

Education minister Liz Truss today signalled she wants to tear up ‘onerous requirements on numbers’ to bring reduce nursery bills.

Britain has some of the highest childcare costs in the world, meaning the typical mother with one child and a full-time job needs to work for up to four months of the year just to break even. Millions with two or more children conclude it is not worth working at all.

But Miss Truss said the problem could be tackled without additional government funding.

She pointed to ‘strong examples’ in Europe where rules on staff ratios are less stringent, which would enable nurseries to employ fewer, better-paid staff.

The minister warned that in the UK some poorly-paid childcare workers do not have good qualifications in English and maths ‘yet we expect them to help our young children learn to speak and do their first sums’.

In France Écoles Maternelles offer traditional nursery style teaching by teachers in large groups of 3 and 4 year olds and the government there is about to extend them to disadvantaged two-year-olds. French crèches for the under-3s are also in much demand, Miss Truss said.

‘They operate with fewer staff who are better qualified and better paid than their English equivalents,’ she said in an article for the ConservativeHome website.

In France, staff are paid over £16,000 and are responsible for up to eight toddlers. The figure in Ireland and Holland is up to six children.

By comparison, nursery staff in England earn £13,000 and can be responsible for no more than four toddlers.

Miss Truss said: ‘In England, we need to move to a simpler, clearer system that prioritises quality and safety over excessive bureaucracy.

‘We also need to think about the balance between the number and quality of staff in our system.

‘It is no coincidence that we have the most restrictive adult-child ratios for young children of comparable European countries as well as the lowest staff salaries.

‘Our ratios put a cap on the salaries staff can be paid because of onerous requirements on numbers. ‘If staff are being paid barely more than minimum wage, nurseries struggle to retain and recruit high quality people.’

However, Labour warned a move towards the French system could harm the quality of care.

Shadow education secretary Stephen Twigg said: 'David Cameron is presiding over a childcare crisis – with 381 Sure Start centres shut down, spiralling costs for working parents and less support through tax credits.

'Now his own Children’s minister says they plan to cut the number of nursery staff – which experts say will threaten child safety and the quality of care for toddlers.'

Ministers are expected to set out a major overhaul of childcare next week.

In addition to changes to staffing ratios, it is likely to include generous tax breaks being offered to families with children under five who need to pay for nurseries and childminders.

Senior coalition figures are to meet later this week to finalise a deal expected to be worth up to £2,000 per year per child for all working parents.

The favoured model would more than make up for the loss of child benefit for better-off families that comes into effect today – but only for those where both parents work.


Australia: Parents to dig deeper as private school fees soar

40% of Australian teenagers go to non-government High Schools (Only 7% in Britain and 9% in USA)

ANNUAL tuition fees will top $20,000 this year for some Queensland students as school fees soar by up to 10 per cent.

Brisbane Grammar School (BGS) is the first in the state to post an annual tuition fee of more than $20,000, charging an all-inclusive $20,920 for Years 8 to 12 this year. That is 6.5 per cent up on last year.

Year 8 to 12 students at the school also face an $1100 tablet levy and a voluntary building fund donation of $1000.

Parents at some other schools will pay more than $20,000 for Year 12 students once levies, uniforms and textbooks are factored in.

Schools in this category include Brisbane Girls Grammar School, Brisbane Boys' College, The Southport School (TSS) and Anglican Church Grammar School (Churchie).

Churchie parents will pay more than $17,000 just to send their children to prep - known as Reception at the school - when all costs are counted, including a $15,548 tuition fee.

Fees for Year 12 students are at least $20,397, including a tuition fee of $18,272 - up 5.5 per cent on last year.

The school's preparatory - Reception to Year 6 - students have their own gymnasium, teachers are paid at a higher rate than many others across the state, pupils have specialist music and arts programs and co-curricular staff are paid for their expertise, unlike in many other schools.

Churchie headmaster Jonathan Hensman said: "Churchie's educational program is built on a strong tradition and reputation for excellence, offering the highest quality educational experience".

Brian Short, headmaster of BGS, which has consistently topped state academic performance charts, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Parents at Loreto College have been hit with the biggest known fee increase in Queensland of 10 per cent - from $7400 for a first child in 2012 to $8140.

Loreto College principal Cheryl Hamilton said fee increases in recent years had typically been between 6 per cent and 8 per cent, but factors including a freeze in State Government funding levels and information technology development meant they were higher for 2013.

"I encourage any parents with any concerns about the increase to contact me," she said.

Queensland Catholic Dioceses have also released their suggested or mandated fee increases, with Brisbane Catholic Education suggesting a rise of 4 per cent in primary and 3.7 per cent in secondary.

These increases are for systemic schools, which do not include religious institute schools such as Loreto.

Systemic schools in the Cairns Diocese have a mandated 5.5 per cent increase, while parents in the Rockhampton Diocese will pay 4 per cent extra.

Queensland school fees are still substantially below some interstate.

Victoria's Geelong Grammar School will cost parents of Year 12 students more than $32,000 in fees this year.


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