Category Archives: Laura Flanders

>Ray Stever: America Still Needs Unions

>Ray Stever is the President for the New Jersey chapter of the Industrial Union Council (IUC). In this interview, recorded on April 4th at the huge UMWA We Are One rally in Newark, Ray Stever talks to GRITtv‘s Laura Flanders about the history and plight of labor unions in this country. Ray Stever argues that even though manufacturing in the US is nearly gone, we need unions now more than ever.

Stever makes a compelling argument while connecting the dots between the old Congress of Industrial Organizations, the 29 mine workers at Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch mine, killed one year ago, and the current attacks on public workers in New Jersey and beyond.

The interview runs 17 minutes but it’s worth every minute, especially when he talks about his hard working republican neighbor who is struggling to make ends meet but continues to support policies that are detrimental to himself and family.

“People don’t realize that by not belonging to the union, the only right they have on the job is the right to die. People don’t understand that the collective bargaining agreements and the right to organize protects them”

Hat tip goes to Monmouth County Green Party

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Filed under coal miners, Gov. Chris Christie, GRITtv, Industrial Union Council, labor unions, Laura Flanders, Manufacturing, Newark NJ, Ray Stever

What Are Teachers Worth?

I found this commentary from talk show host Laura Flanders interesting, it is posted over at the website Common Dreams.org and asks what is the worth of a teacher? According to a study published in the NY Times a ” stand out” kindergarten teacher is worth $320,000 a year.

It’s to bad that teachers here in NJ are being made out to be the evil scapegoats by Governor Christie and local governments, who see them only as the reason for the continually rising property tax rates in many the municipalities and a drain on resource rather than the true professionals that they are, who care for and nurture the minds of our children:
What are teachers really worth?

That’s the question, as the Senate puts off a vote on $10 billion for state and local governments to prevent teacher layoffs. Senate leadership wanted the bill to be deficit neutral—a line never applied to war funding, where no spending’s too great because we’re killing for peace. Estimates are that it costs $1 million per soldier per year to keep troops in Afghanistan. But enough of that.

Last week, David Leonhardt at the New York Times cited a study that showed that teachers can make a huge difference in the lives of children as early as kindergarten. The study found that a “standout” kindergarten teacher is probably worth $320,000 a year—that’s the value that good teachers can add to the life of their students. When researchers left standardized testing out of the equation, they found many more benefits added by teachers.

Of course, this study plays into the idea that every individual teacher’s responsible for the performance of the kids they teach, regardless of socioeconomic status, home life, class-size. Listen to Diane Ravitch on this program for more on that.

But it also brought to the front page of the Times the idea that our teachers, far from being laid off because of Senate politics, should be paid better and given more support.

If we can’t find $320,000 a year for kindergarten teachers, perhaps we can at least find a way to keep them from losing their jobs entirely. Scratch that. If we can’t find a way to pay living wages for kindergarten teachers, who are we ? And just where in our picture of “national security” do we place our kids?

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Filed under CommonDreams.org, Laura Flanders, NY Times, Teachers