stephanie jones

Archive for February, 2011|Monthly archive page

Governor Walker “punk’d” and exposes the real issue: political and class warfare – not balancing a budget

In Neoliberalism and Education, politics, social action, social class, Teaching Work, work and workers on February 24, 2011 at 2:26 pm

Check this out… from

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has been punk’d, his office confirmed Wednesday. The Republican governor who is pushing legislation that would end collective bargaining for public employees was at the wrong end of a prank telephone call with a person he believed was David Koch, a conservative billionaire businessman.

By Seattle Times news services

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Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker speaks to the press outside his office at the State Capitol on February 23, 2011. Protestors have occupied the State Capitol building for the past nine days while the governor has tried to push through a bill that would restrict collective bargaining for most government workers.

Enlarge this photoSCOTT OLSON / GETTY IMAGES

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker speaks to the press outside his office at the State Capitol on February 23, 2011. Protestors have occupied the State Capitol building for the past nine days while the governor has tried to push through a bill that would restrict collective bargaining for most government workers.

David H. Koch

Enlarge this photoROBERT CAPLIN / NYT

David H. Koch


Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has been punk’d, his office confirmed Wednesday. The Republican governor who is pushing legislation that would end collective bargaining for public employees was at the wrong end of a prank telephone call with a person he believed was David Koch, a conservative billionaire businessman.

In reality, the caller was Ian Murphy, a blogger from Buffalo, N.Y.

Koch and his brother, Charles, own Koch Industries, the largest privately owned company in America and one with significant operations in Wisconsin. Its political-action committee gave $43,000 to Walker’s campaign, and David Koch gave $1 million to the Republican Governors Association, which funded ads attacking Walker’s opponent in last year’s election.

The Kochs also give millions to support Americans For Prosperity, a conservative business group that launched a $320,000 television ad campaign in favor of Walker’s legislation Wednesday.

Posing as David Koch, Murphy makes inflammatory statements on unions and Democrats. Walker says Wisconsin is at the vanguard of a set of states in which conservative governors are battling with workers over union rights. Walker agrees with the impersonator that Wisconsin is the “first domino.”

“This is our moment,” he says on the recording.

Walker also explains potential tactics for breaking the deadlock, including trying to lure Democratic senators who fled the state back to the Capitol to negotiate and then pushing the bill through while Republicans have the quorum needed to move the measure.

“If you had heard that I was going to talk to them, that would be the only reason why,” Walker says on the recording.

The governor also said he planned to announce Thursday that state workers would start receiving notices that they’re at risk for layoff. Walker says 5,000 to 6,000 such notices could be sent.

At the end of the call, the prankster says: “I’ll tell you what, Scott, once you crush these bastards, I’ll fly you out to Cali and really show you a good time.”

“All right, that would be outstanding,” Walker replies, adding the standoff is “all about getting our freedoms back.”

Democrats seized on the recorded comments as evidence that Walker plans to go beyond budget cuts to crushing unions.

“This isn’t about balancing the budget. This is about a political war,” Rep. Jon Richards yelled Wednesday on the floor of the state Assembly.

The governor’s plan would strip most public employees of collective-bargaining rights and force them to pay more for health-care and retirement benefits. Unions could not collect mandatory dues and would be forced to conduct annual votes of members to stay in existence.

The proposal has set off more than a week of protests at the Capitol.

Murphy, who runs an online publication called the Buffalo Beast, said he was inspired to prank the governor Tuesday after hearing he was difficult to contact. Murphy said he developed his Koch impression through brief research mixed with guesswork as to how the businessman might sound.

Charles Marsh, who teaches journalism ethics at the University of Kansas, said the website’s tactic “certainly doesn’t fall into any time-tested concept of what a true journalist is.”

Yet, Marsh added, “I acknowledge my own hypocrisy. I think it’s disgraceful and shameful. I would fire any reporter who did that. But I can’t wait to read what the governor said.”

Compiled from the Chicago Tribune, The Associated Press and McClatchy Newspapers

More great teaching materials…

In Uncategorized on February 24, 2011 at 2:42 am
From Class Action:
Responding to Attacks on Unions and Social Services

Growing public sector unions present inviting target for right-wing, neo-liberal onslaught, but they provide the services, from fire protection to child care, that we all need.  Wisconsin mobilization provides a model for state-wide and national pushback.

Author activist Bill Fletcher, Jr. gives us the background of the struggle and points to social justice unionism as a way out in “Modern-day Pirates: the Republicans vs. the Public Sector.”

In “Caregiver Unions: Needed but Vulnerable,” labor journalist Steve Early recounts the rapid rise of unions representing home health care aides and child care workers, and what they’re up against now.
In “Who Gets Plowed in New York,” Class Action workshop facilitator Nicole Brown focuses in on classist decisions made by the city’s leadership, and of the misplaced blame placed on sanitation workers.
We encourage you to respond with a comment.  What attacks on public sector unions are occurring in your home state?  How are those unions responding?  Do you see the Wisconsin mobilization spreading?

Is this land still made for you and me?

In American Dream, democracy, government, institutions, justice, social action, social class on February 24, 2011 at 2:21 am

Tom Morello at the Wisconsin protests – this is amazing stuff!!



Make a sign and put it in your car – use a marker for a T-shirt and wear it tomorrow – draw on your backpack or grocery bag – stand in solidarity with workers in Wisconsin and everywhere. This is how history is made, and we have to be on the right side of it this time!



What a fun time to be teaching about work, workers, and government!

In critical literacy, democracy, Education Policy, government, Neoliberalism and Education, politics, professional development resources, social action, social class, social policy, teacher education resources on February 24, 2011 at 1:45 am

What an incredible time!!! It’s all so exciting, and scary, and…wow.

Get to work teaching this stuff! Teach your elementary students what’s going on; teach your high schoolers; teach your graduate students; teacher your children and neighbors. Just dig in and go for it.

Cool YouTube site and contact information for We The People Wisconsin:

Email We The People Wisconsin at – and check out this video that folks are hoping can 1) talk back to the media narratives that we feel are misleading or inaccurate, 2) create an archive for people to store/share their experiences, and 3) provide space for people involved to show their support for each other, wherever they are.

12 things you should know about the protests in Wisconsin!

Gooooooo Wisconsin! And Ohio…

In democracy, discourse, Education Policy, gender and education, institutions, justice, politics, professional development resources, social action, social class, social policy on February 23, 2011 at 3:55 pm

Great post from Diane Ravitch on Bridging Differences – I’m lovin’ Diane!


Posted: 22 Feb 2011 06:31 AM PST

Dear Deborah,
As I write, thousands of teachers are staging a protest in the state capitol in Wisconsin. Others stand with them, including the Green Bay Packers, other public-sector workers, and even public-sector workers who are not affected by the proposed legislation, namely, firefighters and police. The teachers and other public-sector employees are speaking out against Gov. Scott Walker’s effort to destroy their collective-bargaining rights. Gov. Walker demanded that the teachers pay more for their health benefits and their pension benefits, and they have agreed to do so. But that’s not all he wants. He wants to destroy the union.
I wrote an article about this contretemps for, not realizing that the teachers had already conceded the governor’s demands on money issues. The confrontation now is solely about whether public employees have the right to bargain collectively and to have a collective voice. Monday’s New York Times made clear, both in a column by Paul Krugman and in its news coverage, that the union is fighting for its survival, not benefits.
It’s time to ask: Why should teachers have unions? I am not a member of a union, and I have never belonged to a union, but here is what I see. From the individual teacher’s point of view, it is valuable to have an organization to turn to when you feel you have been treated unfairly, one that will supply you with assistance, even a lawyer, one that advocates for improvement in your standard of living. From society’s point of view, it is valuable to have unions to fight for funding for public education and for smaller class sizes and for adequate compensation for teachers. I recently visited Arizona, a right-to-work state, and parents there complained to me about classes of 30 for children in 1st and 2nd grades, and even larger numbers for older students; they complained that the starting salary for teachers was only $26,000 and that it is hard to find strong college graduates to enter teaching when wages are so low.
I have often heard union critics complain that contracts are too long, too detailed, too prescriptive. I have noticed that unions don’t write their own contracts. There are always two sides that negotiate a contract and sign it. If an administration is so weak that it signs a contract that is bad for kids, bad for the district’s finances, or bad for education, then shame on them.
The fight in Wisconsin now is whether public-sector unions should have any power to bargain at all. The fight is not restricted to Wisconsin; it is taking place in many other states, including New Jersey, Ohio, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Illinois. The battle has already been lost in other states.
I have been wondering if advocates of corporate school reform, such as Bill Gates, Eli Broad, and Michelle Rhee will come to the aid of the teachers in Wisconsin. I have been wondering if President Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who were quick to applaud the firing of teachers in Central Falls, R.I., will now step forward to support the teachers in Wisconsin. I have been wondering if Secretary Duncan, who only a few days earlier had led a much-publicized national conversation in Denver about the importance of collaboration between unions and management, will weigh in to support the teachers. I am ever hopeful, but will take care not to hold my breath.
If there is no organized force to advocate for public education in the state capitols of this nation, our children and our schools will suffer. That’s the bottom line. And that’s why I stand with the teachers of Wisconsin. I know you do, too.

The Other Side of Poverty Workshop

In professional conference, professional development resources, social action, social class on February 21, 2011 at 3:09 am

Hello everyone!

Looking for ways to build class-sensitivity in your teaching practices and school policies? Folks have loved these workshops, and our next 2-day workshop is March 4th and 5th in Athens, Georgia.

Hope to see you there!

Other Side of Poverty March 2011

and democratic education…for all?

In creativity, democracy, Education Policy, high-stakes tests, institutions, justice, politics on February 20, 2011 at 2:47 pm

Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Morocco…

Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana…

People exercising their human right to stand up against punitive governments making decisions affecting their work, personal, and political lives, are taking over television images, radio airwaves, and internet blogging in 2011.

The struggle for democracy continues far beyond the toppling of dictators – the struggle continues in the “democracy” of the United States of America where children spend the majority of their young lives in institutions that do not engage democratic principles. How is it that a democracy can thrive when its children are educated in largely authoritarian settings?

If you don’t know IDEA yet, check it out – here’s a great video to share with others and use in schools and colleges to help us reconsider what we want for the youth of our country.

At least watch the video…

Blog your heart out on Monday about public schools – and support SOS!

In communities, democracy, Education Policy, justice, NCLB, politics, social action, Standing up for Kids, teacher education, teacher education resources on February 11, 2011 at 11:33 pm
Listen up everyone –
I’ve posted about SOS (Save Our Schools) before and the Million Teacher March –
They’re organizing an “I Love Public Education Blog Day” on Monday February 14th…so read below, blog your heart out – write your newspapers – send emails and messages to SOS and your legislators and your administrators and your teachers and your families and your students…and anyone else who might listen.
Two different folks – one from California and one from North Carolina contacted me about getting this word out to you all. Shout out to them and their leadership!
Everyone who cares about young people cares about our
schools. Our best schools nurture our children, make them feel safe, and able

to take the risks they need to in order to learn. But our schools are in danger

of becoming even more narrowly focused on test preparation, while class sizes

rise, and teachers are blamed for the ravages poverty inflicts on their


We are responding. We love our schools. We declare

Valentine’s Day, 2011, to be
I Love Public Education Blog Day. On this day we
will write our hearts out, about why it is that public education is so

important to us, our children, and our democratic society. If you or your readers will join us and tell why you love public education too, send your comments and posts to
Writing will be displayed at the website, and will be tweeted with the
hashtag #LovePublicEd. We offer the march and events of July 28 to 31st

in Washington, DC, as a focal point for this movement, and we ask participants

to link to this event, so we can build momentum for our efforts. If your readers wish to repeat this post on their own blog, we would love it. Please try to use the attached graphic to indicate that this is part of our campaign.

Everyone ready for the slow school movement?

In creativity, Education Policy, environmental issues, family-school relations, justice, NCLB, Neoliberalism and Education, politics, social action, Standing up for Kids, teacher education resources on February 7, 2011 at 12:35 am

Yep – that’s right. I’ve coined a new phrase, or at least I’ve never read or heard this phrase before, but it’s exactly the sense I get when I’m at my daughter’s new school.

It’s slow.

There are no rigid beginnings and ends to anything. The day ebbs and flows with the children’s interest in and commitment to what they’re doing – or what they need to do.

When they need a snack or a drink, they get it.

When they need to move to a different place to be more comfortable, they do it.

When they need to use the restroom, they go.

When they are finished working on their current project or task, they move on.

And they are nice.

When children or adults are talking, they listen – at least mostly – and they respond thoughtfully.

It’s slow.

It’s quite relaxed, actually.

I never get the sense that any of the children or the adults are anxious about time.

They get anxious about other things: how will we make our projects work? When will we get the details about the next fieldtrip? What questions should we ask the University intern who wants to work with us? How can we help one of our friends make better decisions so she or he doesn’t get into physical confrontations with others?

Time – however – is not an anxiety-provoking concept.

Just the opposite of what I always felt in my daughter’s classrooms in the past: we have to go here; we have to cover this; we have to go there; time to line up; time to go in; not enough time to read; not enough time to play; not enough time to talk; not enough time to think: go – go – go – go – go – go – go!

How can one be thoughtful in such a fast-paced place?

How can one grow to consider many different perspectives?

How can one acquire a repertoire of conversational practices?

How can one focus on something so deeply that they truly gain an insight and fully embodied understanding of it that it changes the way they experience the world from then on?

These things happen in my daughter’s new school – a school that doesn’t have “tardies” or “absences” – a school where you can begin dropping off children at 8:15, the community meeting is held at 9:00, but anyone is welcome to arrive whenever it is best for the child’s and family’s schedule or mood that morning.

FYI – I’m no longer Devil Mommy on school mornings.

Yes, I’ve become a better mother because of this slow school approach. I don’t spend my mornings yelling, “Let’s go! You’re going to be late! If you miss the bus you’re in trouble!! Hayden, NOW!”

And guess what? 99% of the time we arrive before the community meeting, and 90% of the time I drop her off at 8:15.

In other words, we manage to get to school in a timely way – but the experience of getting there couldn’t be more different from the time-tied and punishments-based-on-time system. In the fast-school-time-rules-everything-else system that turns me into MONSTERMOMMY and lots of teachers into monster teachers…just because they’re trying to be on time or cover things on time, complete the paperwork faster, and as soon as we try to rush things, children will frustrate us.

A slow school movement could parallel the slow food movement and might:

Assume children are learning all the time, regardless if they are in a formal school or with family members and friends;

Recognize the significant value of informal learning and its links to greater educational goals;

Move at the pace of children and families with built-in flexibility in schedules, routines, responses, education goals, social goals, emotional goals, physical goals;

Provide space for contemplation, deep study, long-term projects, and flexibility;

Focus on place-based learning that emphasizes human and nature relationships through outdoor education and deep academic inquiry;

Aim for a consciousness-raising education that centers all humans’ responsibility for other humans;

Meet the needs of individual children and families through long-term listening and response;

Strive for a holistic education for confident, socially-conscious, generous, contemplative, physically agile, and academic children live mindfully and creatively in the world for the benefit of themselves, others, and the natural world.




Gotta love Susan Ohanian…

In corporations, discourse, Education Policy, family-school relations, government, high-stakes tests, NCLB, Neoliberalism and Education, politics, Standing up for Kids, teacher education resources on February 6, 2011 at 11:54 pm

She’s done it again, and I’m only a couple months late in responding.


Thanks to Gloria for passing this along!

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