Archive for teacher

Thank a Teacher...and a Nurse or Healthcare Worker, Public Defender or Public Employee



I had no idea the American Federation of Teachers represented so many of the people whose work is in helping people until I arrived in Los Angeles for the 2014 AFT Convention on Friday. But I sat in the opening session, with the powerful Rev. Dr. William Barber (more about him in a moment) and the electric president of the AFT Randi Weingarten, and saw a huge contingent of nurses waving their flags.

I learned that the AFT, whose numbers have swelled to over 1.6 million members, represent five constituencies:

And I'm glad to hear it. We live in the era of union vilification. But the people who work in the professions listed above have one thing in common: their devotion to public service.

Most of the people in those professions aren't in it for the huge financial rewards. Once you stop laughing, realize that there is a bigger motivator than the almighty dollar-- on their end They do these jobs to help others.

Yet Corporate America™ keeps pulling funding from public education and the public sector in general, claiming that the private sector can do it better. But they're just keeping a big chunk of the dollars that should be spent on educating our kids to plump up their own bottom lines, and certainly aren't getting better results.

The Rev. Dr. William Barber, head of the NC NAACP and the man behind the Moral Mondays movement that began in Raleigh, spoke in the opening session Friday morning, and in a moving, fiery speech, explained the attack on public education and laid out the Moral Agenda we must embrace and organize around to fight back.

Amazing, huh? (Rev. Barber will also be speaking at Netroots Nation, and will sit for an interview with me following his speech, to air Friday morning!)

David Dayen at Salon wrote about the divide in the Democratic Party, evidenced by a no confidence vote in Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and in the formation of a new organization, led by Democratic Party operative Donna Brazille and former governors Granholm of Michigan and Strickland of Ohio, called Democrats for Public Education.

The internal war among Democrats over education policy escalated another notch this weekend at the annual convention of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) union in Los Angeles. Delegates savaged the “education reform” agenda as a corporate-led threat to “everything we hold dear.” And three high-profile party stalwarts announced the formation of Democrats for Public Education, to contest the reform agenda with a public-centered alternative. We’re likely to see proxy fights between these opposing forces for years to come.

...DNC vice-chair and frequent commentator Donna Brazile, who addressed the convention Sunday. “I am ashamed of some of Democrats in my own party,” said Brazile in a feisty speech that received multiple standing ovations. “We’re not going to be silent while you are being attacked.”

Please read the rest of Dayen's article as it's a great recap of what happened at the convention this weekend - and he'll be on my show to discuss it this morning.

Speaking of the show, I have to get ready for that, so below are the two shows I did from AFT14, featuring teachers, delegates, healthcare worker and others represented by AFT, talking about the issues I've already mentioned as well as one of the big topics for debate, Common Core.


Ohio teacher fired over comment to Black student, “We don’t need another Black President



The service is no longer available so we have removed that code from The Political Carnival.

Here is the original post on FreakOutNation


No Choice, Says Priest to Teacher -- You're Gay, Okay, You're Married, You're Fired


Michael Griffin

Oh, those prickly Catholic priests, sticklers for the rules. Especially when you're the headmaster at a Catholic school. Rules are rules. There is no any choice.

Michael Griffin, an openly gay teacher the Holy Ghost Preparatory School, was fired from the Catholic institution he has worked at in Bensalem, Pennsylvania for the past 12 years. His crime? He applied for a marriage license. A same sex marriage to take place in New Jersey where it's legal.

Griffin who teaches French and Spanish, said his sexuality was no secret at the Bensalem school. As a matter of fact, he and his same-sex partner of 12 years had been dinner guests more than once at the home of the school president, Father James McCloskey. Everything was fine and dandy until the two gay men decided they wanted to sanctify their relationship with a legal marriage.

How does being legally married disqualify this teacher from being a good faculty member after being openly accepted for the past dozen years? The answer to that from the principal is simple: He has no choice.

No choice? That seems so convenient. Did he take into any consideration that Mr. Griffin has no choice either? His sexual identity isn't a choice. He didn't pick it up at school (coincidentally, he attended this same Holy Ghost Prep as a youth). If they believe sexuality is a choice, does it mean he learned to be gay at this Catholic school? If so, they have bigger problems there.

The sad thing is that by making his living conditions legal, this popular teacher is losing his job. For Holy Ghost Prep, it's okay to be homosexual and live outside the law, but try to bring love, decency and a marriage license into a relationship and the church is saying that's bad. No wonder Pope Francis has so many problems among his flock. Ignorance has pervaded many of their educational institutions.

Here's the story in video form. It's short but fills in some details. But you have the broad strokes of the failings of understanding at this Catholic institution. And I'm sure they're not alone. But what hypocrites this school is to welcome a good deserving teacher until he does something just and right. I guess you have to remove human emotion and tolerance for your fellow man/woman if you want to live by these limited tenets.



The Facebook Picture That Got High School Coach Fired


Loraine Cook

When I heard this story, I was scratching my head and truthfully, there was an immediate interest to know what kind of picture a person could post on Facebook and find themselves out of work -- fired. Well, you've just seen it. That picture above is all that it took.

Laraine Cook, a former girls' basketball coach at Pocatello High School in Idaho, wasfired from her job in October over a Facebook photo in which her fiance, Tom Harrison, holds her breast. The photo shows Cook and Harrison in bathing suits at a lake. Cook said the photo was snapped during a family vacation in July. As the New York Daily news put it, Harrison, who is a football coach at Pocatello High School, "wasn't flagged for holding," but was "reprimanded" -- short of termination.

Now let's analyze this for a moment. Putting aside the appropriateness of posting such a playful picture, what harm is there for two consenting adults to show some PDA's. (public displays of affection)? Is anyone really going to be irreparably harmed by this photo?

Two teachers, both coaches at the same school as well, are in a seemingly committed, "healthy" relationship. They're engaged. If this picture was skin on skin, they were kissing, would that have been deemed inappropriate? I think not. But this story gets into an area that I can't understand at all. Two people of legal age seem to be involved voluntarily in the same act. So isn't what's right for one, right for the other -- or conversely what's wrong for one is wrong for the other?

Yet here we have two sets of punishments. The male coach gets a reprimand and the female coach gets sh** canned?

Now if you really want a hoot, you've got to hear the opposing side, why she should be fired and why nothing should be done to the guy. And this is from a female attorney. A hint, it's okay to assault someone even from unwanted advances, but it's wrong if the victim posts proof with a picture on Facebook. You gotta see this to believe it.