Waukegan Teacher’s Strike News, courtesy Fred Klonsky. Thank you!!!

Fred Klonsky can also be found at his blog and website: http://preaprez.wordpress.com/author/preaprez/

Thank you friends, for supporting an amazing online protest in support of Waukegan teachers:

Waukegan, an hour north of Chicago, got hit by a storm last night.
Starting at about 7PM and lasting until past 9PM, tens of thousands of people went on Twitter to announce their support for Waukegan teachers. They are on strike for a third week.
Kenzo Shibata of the Illinois Federation of Teachers posted the results last night on Facebook.
Including a Tweet from rocker Tom Morello who comes from Lake County where Waukegan is located.screen-shot-2014-10-21-at-8-00-24-am

In Other Waukegan Strike News:

A communication from the Waukegan board president:

I have not received an email from you, the vast number of petitions have knocked many emails out of the inbox. I do apologize!

First, let me say that no one wants our students out of school. The Board is committed to reaching a fair agreement and getting our students back into the classroom. I personally do not understand the community’s hostility towards the BOE, when we are simply trying to do what is best for students, taxpayers and teachers (who just received raises in May 2014, retroactive to July 2013 when the Union threatened to strike on April 16). If the community wants to cripple our School District…

I cannot speak to what the Teachers Union is feeling at this point. As you know we have been negotiating in good faith with the Union. We were as surprised as everyone when the Union told us they were walking away from the table. Recently, we have made progress on a number of issues, including healthcare, duration of school year and employment conditions. Including conceding to full release time for the Union President at $90,000 with no teaching duties. The remaining issue is yearly salary increases. We want a fair contract, but it cannot come at the expense of all the other investments we must make to sustain educational quality in our schools.

In regards to the Board using expert negotiators to represent it in the mediation sessions, we believe this is the best course because they represent the school system without emotions. The collective bargaining process requires objectivity, which our representatives have. We never thought the Union would take this drastic measure to interrupt student’s education. Further, all expenses are paid out of the Ed. Fund. I not sure what the issue is. We requested a 2 week postponement to the strike, in order for talks to happen while students were in school, they refused!

Speaking for myself, I have been running children programs in Waukegan for 30 years. I am passionate about theses issues. It saddens me that individuals that don’t know me, can name call, defame me as uncaring, even stupid, when my life’s work has been for children. Whether on the BOE or not I will continue to what I have been called to do, work on behalf of children and my hometown.

Please know we are doing everything we can without sacrificing our school system’s future. We cannot negotiate with ourselves. We hope that dedicated residents, such as yourself, will help us bring the Teachers back to the table so we can get our students back in class.

God bless you

Anita Hanna

The vast number of petitions Anita Hanna is referring to is the Moveon petition demanding the Board come to the table.

She mentions that she doesn’t understand the community’s hostility towards her.

Perhaps she is not listening to the vast numbers who signed the petition.

Hanna is totally confused about her proposals.

The union is quoted about the proposals in an article in the News Sun.

“The Board has said that we have settled on the issue of health insurance and that’s incorrect.” (union spokesmen Kenzo) Shibata said.

A proposal that would have the Board continue to pay 100 percent for single coverage insurance has a salary increase percentage that the Union has not agreed to.

Another proposal from the District offers a bigger salary raise but would have the teachers pay a percentage into their insurance coverage. The union has also not agreed to that.

Shibata said that conflicting proposals are confusing and that’s why the negotiating teams and leaders will continue to hit the streets and go door-to-door explaining the issues to those who want to listen.

Hanna admits that the $275 per hour that the board is handing over to the lawyer who is bargaining on the board’s behalf is paid for out of the district Education Fund.

The Education Fund is where teacher salaries come from.

But Hanna doesn’t see what the issue is?

And:

Background….In an effort to give the board time to review our latest counter proposal, we emailed them yesterday at 3:15pm in anticipation of them being prepared for today’s meeting.

Today was scheduled to begin at 9am, the district remained in caucus until 11:09am when they finally presented their counter proposal.

The union caucused at 11:21am and returned to the negotiations room at 11:40am to find the entire district team had left for lunch and was not prepared to receive the counter.

As neither the union, nor the federal mediator was not notified, it is uncertain as to the time they will return. At any rate we are ready and waiting on them.

The team finds it alarming that they are more concerned with running out for lunch, than negotiating.

The district attorney claims “simple miscommunication” we ask how many simple “miscommunications” can there be during such an important time.

Teresa ‘T’ Hansen: How rude! They should have ordered Jimmy Johns Box Lunches for everyone and worked through lunch! #Waukegannegotiationsteamhungry
Like · Reply · 4 · 28 minutes ago

Dorothy Joyce: Do they even care about the kids?. I know the teachers but does the boardreally even wonder about them?
Like · Reply · 1 · 11 minutes ago

Lin Waggener: SMH!!! They never cease to amaze me. Hang in there! #waukeganstrong
Like · Reply · 1 · 17 minutes ago

Bud Hicks: Don’t take the bait. Keep calm.
Like · Reply · 1 · 21 minutes ago

Jenny Alexander: Wow this is incredibly frustrating, I am so sorry they are behaving this way. I’m in Chicago in full solidarity
Like · Reply · 1 · 29 minutes ago

Tom Tavernier: Stay strong teachers.
Like · Reply · 2 minutes ago

Dana Gothelf-Lerner: They obviously want this dragged out.
Like · Reply · 25 minutes ago

Gabriela Bustamante: In good faith???? Waukegan slapped again.
Like · Reply ·


The Illinois Policy Institute (IPI) is a conservative think tank with offices in Chicago and Springfield, Illinois, and member of the State Policy Network. IPI is a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) as of 2011. IPI is also a member of ALEC’s Health and Human Services Task Force and Education Task Force. Senior Budget and Tax Policy Analyst, Amanda Griffin-Johnson, presented model legislation (the “State Employee Health Savings Account Act”) to the HHS task force at ALEC’s 2011 annual meeting.[4] Collin Hitt, Director of Education Policy, is a private sector member of the Education Task Force representing IPI. He sponsored the “Local Government Transparency Act” at the ALEC 2011 States and Nation Policy Summit. In its 2006 annual report the Cato Institute states that it made a grant of $50,000 to the Illinois Policy Institute. The Cato Institute is a libertarian think tank founded by Charles G. Koch and funded by the Koch brothers.


CAM00236WC Turck is an author, artist, playwright and talk radio host in Chicago. He has been called the most dangerous voice on the Left. He is currently working on a new book “Shoot Down: An unflinching look at the events leading up to the shooting down of Malaysia Air Flight 17.” His first novel, “Broken” was recommended by NAMI for its treatment of PTSD. In 2006 he published “Everything for Love,” a memoir of his experiences during the siege of Sarajevo. He wrote and produced two critically acclaimed plays, “Occupy my Heart” and “The People’s Republic of Edward Snowden.” He works with the homeless and foreclosure victims in Chicago. He partners in a weekly radio show dedicated to issues, society and politics with cohost, activist and artist Brian Murray For more information, past shows, videos and articles, visit www.revolutioandbeer.com

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#WAUKEGANSTRONG TWITTER STORM, MONDAY FROM 7-9PM

Courtesy Fred Klonsky:

Tomorrow is day 11 of the Waukegan teacher strike.

Waukegan teachers, “It’s not about the money — it’s about respect.”

Letter from Waukegan union president Kathy Schwarz (via Fred Klonsky) http://ow.ly/CZVhm

The Board of Education still has yet to attend one negotiations session and the contract expired on 6/30/14.

On Wednesday, the Union gave the District administrators negotiating the contract a break from negotiations to take the time to regroup, reflect, meet with the Board to come up with a serious proposal to present to the Union. Negotiations have been constantly stalled by the District breaking to ask the Board for permission to sign off on proposals.

The community continues to support the Union, and the Union’s team and rank-and-file members spent the weekend reaching out to churches and community organizations to tell its side of the story. They make a strong coalition that is becoming stronger through this struggle.

Today Waukegan teachers, parents and students march in solidarity to the District office.

Tomorrow night (Monday October 20th), let’s rally online with a social media storm.

From 7-9 PM, tweet your support with the hashtag #WaukeganStrong.

Let’s make this trend and show the world that we support teachers!

Sample Tweets/Facebook posts (feel free to copy/paste into your status or make up your own — just use #WaukeganStrong)

Waukegan stands by its teachers! #WaukeganStrike #WaukeganStrong http://ow.ly/CZW2E
#Waukegan Board of Education – stop hiding behind your $275-an-hour Downtown Chicago lawyer! http://ow.ly/CZW6H #WaukeganStrong
#Waukegan teachers are under attack! What do we do? Stand up, fight back! http://ow.ly/i/7h5ib #WaukeganStrong #WaukeganStrike

Fred Klonsky | October 19, 2014 at 5:42 pm | Categories: Waukegan | URL: http://wp.me/p4C3g-9Wb

Learn more about how the State Policy Network aids ALEC and spins disinformation in the states.

The Illinois Policy Institute (IPI) is a conservative think tank with offices in Chicago and Springfield, Illinois, and member of the State Policy Network. IPI is a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) as of 2011. IPI is also a member of ALEC’s Health and Human Services Task Force and Education Task Force. Senior Budget and Tax Policy Analyst, Amanda Griffin-Johnson, presented model legislation (the “State Employee Health Savings Account Act”) to the HHS task force at ALEC’s 2011 annual meeting.[4] Collin Hitt, Director of Education Policy, is a private sector member of the Education Task Force representing IPI. He sponsored the “Local Government Transparency Act” at the ALEC 2011 States and Nation Policy Summit. In its 2006 annual report the Cato Institute states that it made a grant of $50,000 to the Illinois Policy Institute. The Cato Institute is a libertarian think tank founded by Charles G. Koch and funded by the Koch brothers.


CAM00236WC Turck is an author, artist, playwright and talk radio host in Chicago. He has been called the most dangerous voice on the Left. He is currently working on a new book “Shoot Down: An unflinching look at the events leading up to the shooting down of Malaysia Air Flight 17.” His first novel, “Broken” was recommended by NAMI for its treatment of PTSD. In 2006 he published “Everything for Love,” a memoir of his experiences during the siege of Sarajevo. He wrote and produced two critically acclaimed plays, “Occupy my Heart” and “The People’s Republic of Edward Snowden.” He works with the homeless and foreclosure victims in Chicago. He partners in a weekly radio show dedicated to issues, society and politics with cohost, activist and artist Brian Murray For more information, past shows, videos and articles, visit www.revolutioandbeer.com

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Damn Straight! Education is a Right! Time for a constitutional amendment to secure that fundamental freedom

It is a fundamental right, particularly when the difference between a life of despair, poverty and hardship relies upon one’s access to education. And please, friends on the Right, don’t confuse motivation with access as you regularly do. If someone has the motivation to pursue education and learning, those are the people who the nation needs in its public and private institutions. These are the architects of America’s dreams. Access, reasonable access to education, like housing IS a fundamental human right, just like access to proper healthcare, clean water and healthy food.grunge_flag_of_usa-t2

Absolute needs such as not having access to housing, clean water and a decent diet are essential to true freedom. Righties, stop listening to the paid propagandists for the oligarchs who are securing prime control and access of essentials to life for themselves and to maintain power over the rest of us. How much time and energy is truly lost when working folks and families are consumed about essentials for basic human existence-the basis for assigning rights-and what might they accomplish? When you are poor, not being weighted under the spectre of a healthcare calamity is extraordinarily liberating.

Did the founding fathers, here on the eve of our nation’s birthday not Declare certain “truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness?”

That Declaration was the founding element amid a war of independence and the establishment of a nation unified 11 long and bloody years later under the United States Constitution. Life and Liberty are empty terms without the supposition that opportunity are imbued and inseparable characteristics of both. Happiness is the consequence of satisfaction of the reasonable security for both Life and Liberty. They are all, together, one in the same; part and parcel to one another. Without one none of the others can or should stand.

It is undeniable that education was and is considered fundamental to the opportunity and pursuit of true Liberty. The decision to end that mandate at high school is simply arbitrary, not something that is set by biology or the physical laws of the universe, nor even the ideological assumptions of economics. It is the decisions of men, not gods. Schools and access to education are the seeds of our nation’s legacy, not the training camps for the nation’s wealthy business owners. Are we building citizens or programming drones? Are we building a future or maintaining the issue that pursue us in the present?

The answer to that is fundamental to the future and security and continuance of our nation. It should indict immediately the un-democratic, anti-liberty motivations of those who would demean that notion!

Recently a friend from Michigan who is undertaking a run for the senate posed a question regarding the crisis growing with regards to the affordability . Chris Wahmhoff has, for a number of years, been a selfless and stalwart environmental and community activist in Michigan, standing with Occupy and then the Michigan Coalition against Tar Sands as a champion for the people. I offered this idea on one way of maintaining this basic right, securing the posterity of our nation and refocusing the promise and intent the constitution to where it begins-the People:

“I am for a constitutional amendment that mandates college in public 4 year institutions can never exceed what a full-time minimum wage worker brings home in one year, and that Masters and PhDs can never exceed 30% and 40% above that basic cost, respectively, that same amount. Private institutions may charge more but will receive no public funds or subsidies if they exceed 45% above what it costs to attend a public institution. If colleges want or need to charge more the nation will be required to raise the minimum wage to maintain pace.”

Simple, doable, equitable and maintains a bracket insulating the nation from institutionalized poverty. More than that, it becomes a banner that reminds us all that the American Dream is what we build together and maintain for one another. Ask yourself, what the martyrs of this nation’s wars, its independence and struggle for civil rights sacrifice and accomplish? What did they sacrifice for?

Happy birthday, America…if you will.

WC Turck is an author, artist, playwright and talk radio host in Chicago. His first novel, “Broken” was recommended by NAMI for its treatment of PTSD. In 2006 he published “Everything for Love,” a memoir of his experiences during the siege of Sarajevo. He wrote and produced two critically acclaimed plays, “Occupy my Heart” and “The People’s Republic of Edward Snowden.” He works with the homeless and foreclosure victims in Chicago. For more information, past shows, videos and articles, visit www.revolutioandbeer.com

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$500 mill of debt’s a-burnin – More great action from Chile on Student Debt

As we demonstrated on a previous show, in an interview with Chilean Anarchists, Chile has some strong grassroots mojo. Due to our concerns over student debt, and the quality of education in general, this story caught my eye.

This act of political fire sports pairs nicely with Strike Debt’s Rolling Jubilee initiative, to student debt relief. But this action has a distinct 1971/old-school flair.

Headline from the 1971 break-in of the Philadelphia FBI office.

It’s inspiring to see a multifaceted set of tactics coming together to address the grossly disproportionate debt that exists within our culture of higher education. If you’re curious about how school debt resistance is carried out, be sure to check-out Strike Debt’s “Debt Resisters’ Operation Manual (DROM).”

If you want a good introduction into what the grassroots student movement is doing in Chile, check-out our interview with Melissa, Gabriel, and Pablo, three Chilean organizers visiting the US.

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Interview: What Inspires a Chicago Public School Teacher?

On Saturday, March 15th, 2014, Anne Carlson and Juan Gonzalez of Drummond Thomas Montessori School in Chicago joined us to talk about what inspires them as public school teachers, and why they joined many teachers and parents across Chicago to boycott the ISAT test.

Download the MP3 here.

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