Teaching to the Test: It’s the American Way Now

by Bill Purdin on December 2, 2011

Coming soon…

The Union of the 99% is the answer

by admin on November 4, 2011

Unions were started to gain power for workers. They needed that power because of abuse of labor by “management.” In the early days it was overcoming low, low pay and long, long hours. The rising power of unions in the 1800s blunted the abuse and raised the standard of living for workers. Clearly the rise of union power and the rise of the middle class in America were correctly linked as cause and effect. The unions protected the individual. Put another way, individuals joined the group and became stronger. Today it is still the same old battle: individuals seeking a better life against the powerful who seek to amass wealth. Survival vs. greed. The parties are the same only larger. The “individual” is now those who must work and “management” is now those who do not need to work. When you no longer have to work you forget what work actually is. Hard to believe, I know, but it is true. When you can say “I want a building put there,” and it happens, you don’t even think about all of the people it took to get it done. When you can make a rich, luxurious living moving decimal points around, you have no conception of what it’s like to move a heavy wheel barrow around all day. When an entire class of people in a society is isolated from actual labor, and spends all day within itself, and all of its spare time within itself,  and when this class of people controls everything: education, commerce, government, and the military-industrial complex as well, it is a very, very dangerous situation. Welcome to America in the 21st century. Almost 12 years into the new century and things are getting worse every day. We have gone backwards one hundred years or more.

But there is a way out: Unions.

The power of aggregation is still very potent. Because, behind the shifting decimal points there are carpenters, welders, drivers, machine operators, teachers, plasterers, roofers, assembly line workers, steel workers, office workers, and workers of every kind. This includes white collar workers and middle managers. All of these working people know full well that, just like the workers in 1870, they are working harder and harder, and coping with more and more unreasonable demands from on-high; people they never even see. They know they are making less and less while their children’s futures grow dimmer and dimmer. They see that other ubër-class living in a gilded age of $400,000 cars, $20 million bonuses, salaries of tens of thousands a day (or even an hour), with vast golden parachutes all set, regardless of actual effectiveness, while the workering people are making, if they are lucky, $200 a day, with no real job security at all. They see the rich getting healthier and wealthier while they cannot even afford a physical examination, let alone a home of their own. The working people see the terrible imbalance, the shocking inequality. This knowledge is universal among all working people: they know, they feel it, they live it. But what to do? If you speak up, you’re fired. But if all the workers speak up, things will change fast.

The one percent who seem so strong are actually weak. And worried, too. They should be. If the Unions get it together by reorganizing from the bottom up and reassume the mantle of protection and strength in numbers, the current redistribution of wealth from the poor to the rich can be reversed and it can be done fairly as well.

At their heart unions care about society and about families. They care about open education and intelligent national security. They care about democracy and fair elections. They care about a free and independent media industry. They care about true justice. They also know that these values are the opposite of the values of the ruling elite. The two sides of the battle use the exact same words, but words are cheap. When labor rules there is peace and spreading prosperity. When capital rules there is war and wealth accumulation in the hands of an ever smaller group. Today the top 300 wealthiest people in America hold more wealth than the next 150 million people. But think about it: 150,000,000 vs. 300. They cry “class warfare,” at the first sign of workers questioning. But remember, what better definition of class warfare is there than the fact that 300 people in America now have more wealth than the next 150 million people? The warfare has been going on for decades and working people are clearly losing the war.

The Occupy America movement is the beginning. Keep watching. The unions are getting involved. The media can’t figure it out. There have been failed efforts to forcefully dislodge the protest movement and it just grew stronger. The power elite say that are unwashed and unfocused and yet the protests grow still more. Working people know what the Occupy Movement is. If you worry about money in today’s America, you know. Whether you wear work boots or wingtips, if you worry about money, about making ends meet, you are a worker. When America’s workers unite, even for one day, it will cause a shock and awe that no cruise missile and phalanx of tanks ever caused. When the workers of America unite it will send a shockwave that no richter scale can measure.

When the working people of America unite it will save our country. And it could all happen in just one day of solidarity. Really.

The Children of the Web

April 21, 2011

They seem to be alive, but it’s more complicated than that. They seem to be human, but these are not your grandfather’s children, that’s for sure. They have grown up plugged in. They have grown up accessing an information network so vast that if you take everything everyone who ever lived ever knew up to [...]

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A Harvard Commencement Speech

April 19, 2011

Thank you, Mr. Provost, members of the faculty, distinguished visitors and seniors of this year’s graduating class! It is always an honor to be asked to be the keynote Commencement speaker here at Harvard, and as in the past, I will attempt to be worthy of your invitation and your trust. As I have stated [...]

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Teacher Evaluations and True Teaching

February 17, 2011

Nam et ipsa scientia potestas est. ”Knowledge is power.” – Francis Bacon That quote is one of those things that the wrong people really understand. And, here is one more: Much of the social history of the Western world over the past three decades has involved replacing what worked with what sounded good. – Thomas Sowell [...]

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Sample Questionnaire for Teachers

February 2, 2011

You can also actually take this survey online in total anonymity by clicking here. Passwords: Teachers Only. Password is case sensitive and don’t forget the space between the words. (1) What do you think of the school district’s instructional program as articulated by the administration? Confusing, badly explained Unnecessary Neutral Interesting Very good, well explained Other [...]

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Reculturing the Schools: A call to action for the nation’s teachers and parents

January 27, 2011

CONTENTS: Introductory Thoughts | Re-Culturing | The Industrial Model | The Artisanal Model | 
The Confrontation| The Ghost in the Machine: Natural Evaluation | A Call to Action 1 INTRODUCTORY THOUGHTS “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” — Albert Einstein The question is “Are you better [...]

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Teaching My Daughter to Drive

January 22, 2011

She is a tough minded person. A determined person. And, she is very petite, so, to begin with, we HAD to figure out a system by which she could actually operate the car. If the car seat isn’t hydrolic, forget about it. My classic Volvo 240 DL was out for a number of reasons: manual [...]

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January 20, 2011

Difference from a live one to a dead one Is easy to see in poetry Because it just happened. Because it just happened. Right in front of you. I saw poems die all the time once. They were rhyming along Swaggering with dusty rhythm And then they stopped moving. And then they stopped moving. And [...]

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What President Obama Should Say…

January 2, 2011

During the campaign I tried to tell him. Countless times I wrote an email on his website that asked for ideas and I was sure that he would read it. I was also sure, once, that I was going to win the Publisher’s Clearing House Contest. I knew I would win. I filled out every [...]

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