February 21, 2011

Education Votes

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Education Votes

WI / Wear Red on Tuesdays

Dear Iowa Peace and Justice Friends, below is a letter from NEA President Dennis and a list of WI Peace and Justice members.  It would be great to show your support by sending a card or a phone or email message to our colleagues.  They need our support.  Life is not good for them and my personal opinion is that the media is not presenting a fair picture.  Roberta Rosheim was in Madison on Saturday and said it was a calm but powerful gathering for bargaining rights.  CA is sending a plane load on Wed - Fri, Davenport had a presence this weekend, some of us eastern Iowans plan to go there on Friday.

How about promoting the wearing of red...easy to do!!!  every Tuesday!  Wear Red for Public Ed!

Below is a message from the communications team on the ground in Madison that we are sharing for your reference:

--This protest is about public sector employees retaining a voice in their profession and Wisconsin's future. The proposed legislation strips away worker rights and destroys the collaborative partnerships that have been established between labor and management in Wisconsin. It's not about pay and benefits, pensions and health care.

--What is happening right now in Wisconsin is historic. Tens of thousands of citizens - unprecedented numbers - are gathering and speaking out to show their support for the state's public servants. They want to voice support for the third grade teacher who stays late to help a student with math - for the nurses who work every day to care for patients - for the firefighters who keep us safe -- and for the snow plow drivers who plow streets through the night so their neighbors can get to work in the morning. These public workers are on the front-lines everyday to support us - and they should have a say in their profession.

--The people of Wisconsin are asking the Governor and legislature to hear them out - and work with them to find bipartisan solutions that will address Wisconsin's challenges. Silencing the voices of public sector employees by busting up their unions is not a going to help Wisconsin move forward - and it will only divide the people of this state.

Because we know everyone is looking for a way to lend their voice to our collective fights,  here are three things you can do right now: 

o Have members sign the petition on Education Votes website: http://www.educationvotes.nea.org/nationalpetition/ 

o Ask members to "Wear Red for Ed" to support public education beginning Tuesday, February 22nd , and every Tuesday this spring

o Email information about local or state solidarity actions to campaignhub@nea.org 

I encourage you to share this message with other Association leaders and members.
Again, this is a national fight for working people. We're leaders in this fight. Let's get this note out widely, take action together, support each other. We're going to win this fight.

In solidarity,
Dennis (NEA president)

February 19, 2011

A New American Workers Movement Has Begun

by Dan La Botz
Thousands of workers demonstrated at the state capital in Madison, Wisconsin on Feb. 15 and 16 to protest plans by that state's Republican Governor Scott Walker to take away the state workers' union rights. Walker cleverly attempted to divide the public workers by excluding police and firefighters from his anti-union law, and the media have worked to divide public employees against private sector workers. Yet, both firefighters and private sector workers showed up at the statehouse to join public workers of all sorts in what has been one of the largest workers demonstrations in the United States in decades. Only California has seen demonstrations as large as these in recent years.

Many demonstrators in Madison, taking a clue from the rebellions against authoritarian and anti-worker governments that are sweeping the Middle East, carried signs saying, "Let's negotiate like they do in Egypt." While the situation in Wisconsin is hardly comparable to the revolution in the Arab world, what we are witnessing is the beginning of a new American workers movement. Because this movement is so different than what many expected, it may take us by surprise.

February 18, 2011

Governor's Plan Reduces Preschool Access & Quality; Save Preschool Petition Launched

After the House majority party voted to end Iowa’s statewide preschool initiative earlier this year, Governor Branstad released a preschool plan this week that would end Iowa’s statewide initiative, reducing both access and quality. 
In an effort to continue Iowa’s statewide preschool initiative, a new Save Iowa Preschool petition has been launched at www.iowahouse.org/preschoolpetition and Iowans can also join the Save Iowa Preschool facebook page.

February 17, 2011


There is  an all out assault on the collective bargaining rights of education employees, but think about this situation.  If it can happen in Wisconsin, it can happen in Iowa.  In fact, legislation has already been introduced that would drastically change our bargaining rights and require public employees to contribute no less than 30% toward health care costs.  This is all in addition to the proposals to gut pre-school and provide zero percent allowable growth.

Yesterday 30,000 people protested at the Capitol in Madison.  Check it out at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/41644074/ns/us_news-life/

Ladies and gentlemen, it will serve us well if we pay attention to this assault on collective bargaining rights.  Similar legislation has been introduced in Indiana, Ohio, and Tennessee that will drastically alter teachers and public employees rights to bargain collectively. 

Tonight’s Ed Schultz Show on MSNBC at 9 p.m. will originate from Madison.  His entire show last night was devoted to the issues in Wisconsin and the action being taken by your colleagues there.  Many public schools are closed because of the number of teachers who have called in sick to demonstrate at the state capitol in an attempt to stop the legislation proposed by their new governor.  NEA President Dennis Van Roekel will be on the Andrea Mitchell Show 2/17 on MSNBC at 1:30 to also talk about the situation.  Most of you will be in class at that time, but I’m sure it will be available for viewing on the internet later.

  Our collective bargaining bill has been in force since 1975 and is now taken for granted.  It will serve us all well to pay attention to what is going on in Wisconsin (in fact Wisconsin was the first state to pass a law to allow collective bargaining for public employees).  If legislation gutting collective bargaining rights of teachers in Wisconsin passes, be assured that similar legislation will be introduced and passed all around the country.  

Once again, collective bargaining allows us to bargain about salaries, insurance, leaves, transfer and recall rights, staff reduction procedures, vacations, holidays, and other terms of employment in Iowa.  Be aware of what’s happening.  If this crops up in Iowa, we will support and action.  For now, pay attention to the news.  We hope it’s not a glimpse into our future, but a wake up call to define the next election.

Written by Coy Marquardt, ECUU Director, edited by Nancy Porter

February 15, 2011

The fight to save preschool in Public Schools is mounting in Iowa

Read what the Republicans in Iowa are promoting and the direction they are pushing. The fight to save preschool in Public Schools is mounting. 2/15

Speaking on the Senate floor, Chelgren told legislators that the state’s universal preschool program amounted to “an indoctrination process by teachers.” Chelgren said, “Nazis, the Soviets, a whole variety of groups, a whole variety of countries, take their children because it’s not just up to age six they’re so malleable.” He was joined by other Republican Senators in arguing for the elimination of the state’s universal preschool program, which currently covers over 20,000 Iowa children.

Click here to listen to Senator Chelgren’s remarks and help us send a message that this type of rhetoric is unacceptable.

Earlier today, Governor Branstad joined the attack on preschool by releasing a proposal which would require all Iowa families to pay to enroll their children in the program. His proposal would require some households to pay thousands of dollars, undoubtedly reducing the number of families able to participate. Defending the cost, Branstad claimed a family of four, making $67,000 a year was “affluent” and could easily afford the program.

February 13, 2011

Rally to Support Wisconsin Workers and Stop Walker's Attacks

Scott Walker is trying to push through a bill that will strip workers of their rights to bargain and negotiate their working conditions. He's doing this under the guise as a "budget repair bill." He's even saying he'll use the National Guard to stop any protest. Contact your legislator and tell them to stop this bill. Now is the time to stand up people. Now is the time to make your voice heard before Walker takes your voice away!

Please join us at the Capitol in Madison on Tuesday and Wednesday from 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. to urge our legislators to vote NO on Walker's "Budget Repair Bill." Come as soon as you can during those times and invite everyone you know (dress warm). Walker's bill hurts our families, our schools, our public services and our economy. The vote is likely Thursday so the time to act is NOW. To learn more about how the bill hurts Wisconsin and our workers, see www.weac.org. If you can't be there, please call or email your legislators to vote NO!

Iowa Peace Rally

What: State Wide Peace Rally on Anniversary of US lead wars in the Middle East
Date: Sat. March 19
Time: Noon to 1 p.m.,
Place: Nollen Plaza, 3rd & Walnut , DM IA

...This rally is in recognition of nine,( yes 9!) years in Iraq. Join the cause.

Say "NO" to Branstad's Zero School Budget Growth!

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad has proposed a two-year freeze on school budget growth. Large cuts to staff, increases in property taxes, and fewer educational opportunities for kids will result. 

Join the cause on facebook today

  1. We believe that the school allowable growth formula should be set at 4% for next year.
  2. We believe corporate tax cuts should not come at the expense of our students.
  3. We believe education is our state's first priority!

February 6, 2011


Write them a personal letter of the great things going on.

Have you ever thought, "If my representatives in Congress spent just one day in my shoes, they would understand better what they can do to help America’s students – and where federal laws and regulations hamper rather than help?”


February 4, 2011

Children Defense Fund--2 Million More Children

Dear Friends,

The Children's Defense Fund has just released its most current statistics concerning our children. Iowa is ranked 31st on its expenditures in education. Currently there is a suggestion from our Governor and House that 0% allowable growth will cover the next two years. Our children need more support, not less. Please look at the chart "Children in the States Factsheets". You should get angry, too!

Nancy Porter,
NEA Peace & Justice Chair


February 3, 2011

All out for the Sat. Feb. 5, 1 pm, UN Plaza (7th and Market) San Francisco International Day of Protest in solidarity with the people of Egypt and Tunisia. U.S. Hands off North Africa!

Yesterday and today, Feb. 1 and 2 the failing Mubarak dictatorship has gone on the offensive – sending hundreds of plainclothes cops pretending to be ordinary citizens in support of the regime to attack protesters.

Military leaders are calling for an end to protests.

This is very likely a prelude to a much bigger, organized attack, with indiscriminate shooting and mass arrests.
There is probably going to be a mass demonstration in Egypt on Friday after prayers, although the regime may try to break the back of the movement before then. But the Egyptian people have come too far to give up passively – which increases the likelihood that the regime will try to launch a massacre.


LabourStart Report

"Workers are angry" - reports from the front line in Cairo
Mexico: 4 years on and still no justice for Santiago Rafael Cruz
Trade unionists and the net: survey results


February 1, 2011

Plan to Ban Teacher-Student Texting Worries Educators

By Courtney Cutright, The Roanoke Times, Va. (MCT)

Janette Espelage's school-issued cellphone started ringing before her feet hit the floor Monday morning, with a text message from a student asking about the schedule for semester exams.

By the time she arrived to work at Roanoke's Forest Park Academy, she had sent and received more than two dozen texts. Espelage, a student support specialist, said she easily exchanges at least a hundred text messages a day with teenagers from the city's alternative program for overage students.


Afghanistan hits home

The following article was written by Marvin Modder, the husband of newly enrolled P & J member, Mary Modder from Kenosha, Wisconsin. Her husband, Marvin Modder, is a retired teacher and the son of Christian Missionaries, who went to school in India. He recently went back for his class reunion, where they paid tribute to one of his classmates killed in Afghanistan last summer. It gives a different but badly needed slant to this horrible we are waging in that distant land.

Tom Wolfe
P&J Midwest Director

Indiana Teacher's Association Alert


Tuesday, February 8

South Atrium, Indiana Statehouse
Downtown Indianapolis
5:00 - 6:00 p.m. (EDT)

Arrive early to find parking and go through Statehouse security.
This is our chance to let Indiana's elected leaders know that a strong public education system is vital to the future of our children and our state!

All Feb. 8 ISTA Lobbying activities have been moved from morning to afternoon to accommodate the Rally. A legislative briefing will be held from 1:30 - 2:30 p.m. in the South Atrium followed by lobbying with individual legislators.

Please join us for lobbying, but if you cannot, PACK YOUR CAR with family, colleagues and other supporters of public education and come to the 5 p.m. RALLY! THIS IS OUR CHANCE TO MAKE OUR PRESENCE KNOWN! The Rally will conclude by 6:00 p.m.
Wear bright colors!