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Illinois Green Party Declares Solidarity With Striking Chicago Teachers

The Illinois Green Party released the following statement after the declaration that the Chicago Teachers Union strike would begin September 10:

We stand with the Chicago Teachers Union. Months ago we declared our unity with them, and today we reaffirm that unity.

The battle the teachers of the Chicago Public Schools are fighting is not one of their choosing. It is one which has been foisted on them by politicians who have been bankrolled by, and who therefore represent the interests of, the 1%.

Rahm Emanuel’s war against the Chicago Teachers Union is not simply about wages or benefits. It is about the future of public education in Chicago and beyond. President Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, with their “Race to the Top” initiative, are seeking to destroy the influence of the teachers unions, to reroute public dollars to private interests, and to undermine the core fabric of public education in America. Still, the Democratic Party is convinced that so long as President Obama says some nice things about teachers and emphasizes how evil the Republicans are, teachers will sit down, shut up, and continue to vote Democratic.

The Chicago Teachers Union is leading the way for teachers everywhere by saying that they will not sit down and shut up. Teachers are highly educated professionals, who care deeply about the well-being of their students. They are also highly politically aware, and they know that they are being mistreated by Democrats and Republicans alike. At one point the Democrats may have been their friends, but now they know that the Democrats are just corporate sellouts like the Republicans.

Many of them are also learning that the Green Party is different. We take no corporate contributions. Our presidential candidate, Jill Stein, is a staunch defender of public sector workers. Our platform calls for restoring workers’ rights which the Democrats have refused to restore, like repealing the Taft-Hartley Act. Not just teachers but other unionized workers are seeing how the Democrats do not have their backs, but the Greens do.

The Illinois Green Party reiterates its call for an elected school board in Chicago, accountable to the citizenry, not accountable to Rahm Emanuel and his corporate backers. Outside of Chicago, we call for hundreds of citizens to stand up and defend their public schools by running for the elected school board seats which exist everywhere else in Illinois, on a platform of protecting public education from corporate encroachment, and respecting the hard-working teachers all across our state.

We also call for more teachers throughout Illinois to stand up and speak out against the entrenched Democratic leadership. Embrace the Green Party as your party, as the party of working people, as the party of the 99%, as the party who joins you in caring about the future of our children.

Teachers, we are in solidarity with you.

Illinois Green Party: www.ilgp.org
Chicago Teachers Union: www.ctunet.com

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UK Young Greens Membership Sees Spike After Lib Dems Back Student Fee Hikes

From Ekklesia:

Membership of the Young Greens increased by 10 per cent in just one weekend after Parliament voted to treble the cap on university fees in England to £9,000 per year.

The organisation, which is the youth wing of the Green Party of England and Wales, says that students and young people are abandoning their traditional support for the Liberal Democrats.

Students have expressed anger over the decision of 28 Liberal Decmocrat MPs, including the party’s leaders, to back the fee hike in a Commons vote last Thursday (9 December). Prior to this year’s general election, every Liberal Democrat MP pledged to vote against increase in fees.

On Friday, the day after the vote, the Green Party offered free membership for a limited period to students of any age and to people under 30. A similar offer was made by Plaid Cymru.

The Young Greens say there was a 10 per cent increase at the weekend, with 40-50 people joining in an hour at the busiest periods. Over 400 young people have joined the Greens since the vote in the Commons.

Responding to the recent education cuts, Caroline Lucas, Leader of the Green Party and MP for Brighton Pavilion, said “The huge hikes in tuition fees, together with the scrapping of Educational Maintenance Allowance and proposed cuts in college funding, amount to nothing less than a government assault on our young people – and an attack on the principles of universal education.”

She also countered the government’s claims that rises in tuition fees are the only way to fund the gap left by the 80 per cent cut to the teaching grant given to universities.

“There are alternatives,” insisted Lucas, “For example, a business education tax levied on the top four per cent of UK companies would require business to pay its fair share for the substantial benefits it receives from higher education. Tragically, such alternatives haven’t even been looked at. Instead we have this ill-considered policy rushed through in the face of huge public opposition.”

Meanwhile, Adam Pogonowski, a Young Green councillor in Cambridge, said, “This is a shocking and depressing vote against universal free education. The Green Party is the only party who believes in fair and free education for all. I urge all voters to vote for a party who will not break such fundamental promises with such flagrant disregard for those who elected them, in the local elections next May.”

The Young Greens have also responded to the reports that the police have used excessive force in the recent tuition fee protests by launching a petition that calls on the Metropolitan Police Authority to ban the practice of ‘kettling’- confining groups of protestors in small spaces and refusing to allow them to move, often for hours at a time.

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Media Coverage of Bronx Greens Education Protest

From the NY Daily News:

If magazine exec Cathie Black can become schools chancellor without experience in education, why can’t a group of education experts run a publishing empire?

Green Party members put that theory to the test yesterday by dusting off their résumés and trying to apply for Black’s former gig as chairwoman of Hearst Magazines.

“I’m absolutely unqualified to run a public company, which is exactly what Cathie Black is to run the New York City public school system,” quipped Gloria Mattera, who has two graduate degrees in education and a son in the public school system.

The five job candidates vented about Black’s appointment by Mayor Bloomberg, and one of the protesters, Tom Siracuse, was armed with the “Guide to Successful Publishing” to show his eagerness to learn.

The group didn’t get far.

The candidates waltzed through the glass doors to Hearst headquarters and were greeted in the lobby by the deputy director of corporate security, Ted Lotti. He took their résumés and sent them a way.

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Milwaukee Green Party Protests Mayor Take Over of School Board

Madison – The Milwaukee Green Party will hold a press conference at 11:00am to announce their opposition to Mayoral Takeover on Wednesday, December 16, 2009 at the capitol. The press conference is to begin at 11:00 am on the steps facing State Street and is scheduled to coincide with the Special Session and introduction of legislative bills concerned with education reform in the city of Milwaukee.

Date: Tuesday, December 16, 2009
Time: 11:00 am
Place: State Capitol, State Street steps

Mayoral control of the public school system as opposed to elected and accountable school board management of the public school system in Milwaukee, or any other school system whether Chicago, New York, Cleveland, Baltimore, Los Angeles or in any other school district in the state of Wisconsin or states abroad for that matter, infringes on shared governance and subverts democracy. It robs the citizens of the right to their vote for their representatives and to participate meaningfully in decision-making regarding education at the primary, middle, and secondary levels of our PK-12 public education system. The public school system and an elected and representative school board, as originally conceived by Horace Mann, the first superintendent of the public schools of the state of Massachusetts, was intended to reflect the community standards for access, equity and excellence in education. Drawing on the human resources of the community, the administration of the public school system, the staff, teachers, students and the public school edifice itself, were intentionally positioned with the express intent to enfranchise local citizens, to empower parents, friends of the school, and to cultivate civic leaders. It was not, as is the case with Mayoral control, to disenfranchise those same peoples from the community where their children attend the school.
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Jeremy Cloward Supports Universal Education

At a time when the Democratic Party is abandoning even the promise of universal health care, California is seeing the emergence of a congressional candidate who is still willing to promote a truly progressive agenda, including universal education. The proposal, which would extend free public education from day care through graduate school, is explained by Green Party candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives Jeremy Cloward in a recent interview with Irregular Times. In that interview, Cloward states:

We think that one of the practical concerns that people have would be universal day care. Most of us do have or will have children at some point in our lives. It is essential that they are cared for in a way that we feel good about. Most of us, the reason we have kids in day care is that we’re at work, so while most of us already have day care centers at school, most of us pay for it.

What we propose is taxing corporate profits, over six trillion dollars in 2007, tax it at one percent, and from that one percent, we would generate six billion dollars. You need roughly 85,000 dollars for every each of our 60,000 to 70,000 elementary school to middle school kids. So, this is a practical program that we think many people would respond to, as well as, as you mentioned, universal education, which we think should be the highest aim of any society.

Jeremy Cloward is facing a primary election date very soon, on September 1st. Only if one candidate fails to get more than 50 percent of the vote can Cloward progress to the general election date on November 3rd. Please, visit Jeremy Cloward’s campaign site and give him your support.

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Wisconsin: Todd Price Defeated But Not Done

Professor Todd Price was defeated in the state wide primary today in his run for Superintendent of Public Instruction. Five candidates were on the ballot, and in a low turn out race statewide Deputy Superintendent Tony Evers and Virtual Schools advocate Rosa Fernandez emerged as the top two vote getters. Official totals are still forthcoming, but Wisconsin Green Party member Todd Price and Republican activist Van Mobley were neck and neck for third and forth place.

I spoke with Price on the phone tonight in Racine and although he was disappointed with the results his passion for the campaign and for Education in Wisconsin were high. “We still need to repeal the No Child Left Behind law, we still need to address the inequities in the school funding formula, and we need to ensure that our schools are safe places regardless of sexual orientation, religious background or anything else… I guarantee you that we are going to be looking at these same issues four years from now.”

Does that mean that he is considering running again in four years? “Absolutely.”

Price said that he learned more in these six weeks than he has in years of political work, and he thanked Pete Karas first and foremost for coordinating the campaign during this time, noting that Price’s wife gave birth to their second child in late December and he is a full time tenured professor at National Louis University. “I am more than gracious and thankful for the efforts of the Green Party in general – the lit drops, the facebook work, the fundraising and calls made… Green values are my values, and this was an easy campaign to embrace…a thrilling race to run.”

“My hope is to build the Green Party, we need a second party. Democrats are going to try to save No Child Left Behind, they aren’t going to touch the school funding formula…” Price added. “The votes cast…were against the DPI (Department of Public Instruction), not for anything. People are frustrated with our state bureaucracy. We need people to step up and run on principles, on Green values – these values are ascendant. We need to bring in folks that are capable and interested and passionate about education to run for school boards…”

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Racine Post: Todd Price Is A “Radical”

The Racine Post in Wisconsin states that Todd Price is the true progressive voice in the race for Wisconsin State Superintendent of Schools:

Todd Price

The Kenosha native and resident, one of five candidates for state superintendent of schools, actually believes public education can benefit the state’s future. He supports spending more money on public schools, rethinking how we approach education and paying teachers more to draw in more qualified applicants.

He also doesn’t believe Democrats or Republicans have shown they’re up to the task. He blames both parties for supporting a school funding formula that’s shifted tax burden from businesses to homeowners, and allowed Wisconsin’s schools to slip in national rankings in recent years.

In short, and cliché as its become, Price is running to bring real change to Wisconsin’s schools. Real change, he said, starts with changing the way the state pays for schools.

Todd Price is one of five candidates in next week’s primary in Wisconsin for Superintendent of Schools. He appeared Thursday evening in a debate with the other four candidates and shined. Tony Evers, currently the Deputy Superintendent, is the front-runner having been given the endorsement of the teacher’s Union and the School Administrators’ organization. Van Mobley, the self proclaimed “conservative” in the race, read awkwardly from cards at the debate and gave short & shallow responses. Rose Fernandez of the Wisconsin Coalition of Virtual School Families could compete with Mobley for those “conservative” votes. The fifth candidate is Lowell Holtz, Superintendent of Beloit Schools.

The complete Racine Post article which is well worth the read is below the fold:
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