AFT - American Federation of Teachers

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General: How you have been affected in this economy and what you want to hear from President Obama during his State of the Union address?

Comments: 192

Teachers are being treated like the Whipping Boy for this downturn in the economy. If you segregate the data, city school districts and low-income districts fail often. However, suburban school districts and affluent disctrict are thriving. Can we please consider community reform before we beat up well meaning teachers. The teachers did not take down the economy, but we continue to crush them. Please take care of our educators and start going after the 1 percent.

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Vincent Pennisi
Massapequa Federation of Teachers
Lindenhurst, NY

After years of reckless spending at both the federal and state levels, the politicians are looking for scapegoats. States such as Ohio, Wisconsin, and Illinois are trying to blame public employees for our financial problems. The public employees had nothing to do with causing this mess. I have taught for 32 years and have always paid my fair share towards my pension. Now the politicians want to take away our collective bargaining rights and blame us for the state's financial woes. The Washington politicians want to balance the budget on the backs of seniors. The President needs to stick up for the middle class and seniors on January 24th

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Renee King
Shorewood, IL

There is more to what needs to be said by President Obama than what the AFT insists its members focus on. These are issues that don't get a lot of "air-time" or media attention, but they loom over our heads like an approaching, dark storm. We ignore them, to focus inanely, and myopically, on things like "jobs" and "unemployment" at our risk. In the long run, they bode far more peril to our lives than the topics that the AFT would love us to jawbone endlessly about. They are: 1) Peak Oil - We are running, inexorably,out of petroleum, without which civilization grinds to a halt. 2) Overpopulation - The earth is finite - get used to it.

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James Close
Public Employees Federation
Mechanicville, NY

With the advent of globalization and the offshoring policies of previous administrations, we've created a structural job deficit. Those jobs will not return. Besides innovators/Entrepreneurs who may (but mostly will not) need large work forces, I see no other way of filling the hole but with WPA-level infrastucture projects. And of course, it'll cost trillions in tax dollars. Better than wasting it on tax-cuts for billionaires and Afghanistan. In a paragraph what is the Obama Jobs Plan? It's time to get extreme in your decisionmaking

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Joe Zeinner
Austin
Austin, TX

-Point out the simple facts that the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy DID NOT create jobs; that $10 trillion of the $14 trillion deficit is due to the borrow and spend republiCON Presidents Reagan, Bush and Bush and GOP Congresses. -That we have seen 22 consecutive months of private sector job growth under his leadership, in spite of unprecedented republiCON obstruction. -Highlight the SUCCESSES of the Auto industry loan (it wasn't a bailout) and of the Affordable Care Act. These are just a few. Thank you so much for the opportunity for average Americans to voice our opinions. Enjoy the rest of the day!

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Paul Ladniak
Woodridge, IL

Personally, I have witnessed the shrinking of my purchasing power with the dollar. Others are much worse off through being either unemployed or underemployed. President Obama can greatly assist in rebuilding the economy by getting rid of the massive amount of regulation(s) that he has tied around business since coming into office.

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Karl Reger
AFT
Marlborough, MA

As a recently retired art teacher, I am upset about the continued budget cuts to public services in state and local governments. The education budget cuts mean teachers of the arts are being laid off. I want President Obama to focus on job creation with federal money to rebuild infrastructure, help fund state governments' budget shortfalls, and to increase the taxes of the 1% who have benefitted from the services of the government and can afford to pay more to help our country and the middle income and poor people of the US.

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Paul Wortman
UFT
New York, NY

I want the President to come out very strongly in favor of unions and pensions. Both have been integral to the creation of the middle class, and I want to hear my President say that he believes in both and that he will fight to the finish for both. Making a decent living is something every American should be able to strive for, and after working a lifetime paying into a pension system, Americans should be able to count on getting back the money they were guaranteed.

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Esther Allman
Frankfort, IL

The effect of President Obama's national education policy has been devastating to public education. As a former Central Falls, RI teacher, I am appalled that the federal government has reached its hand into local school districts via the "Race to the Top" initiative. Central Falls HS has been decimated. Arne Duncan and President Obama personally commented on how pleased they were that the 89 teachers in the district were fired, without ever having stepped foot into the poorest town in the smallest state. Obama's push for corporate charter schools is equally corrupt. Pushing for corporate control of local education funds (via RTTT) is wrong.

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Anne McLaughlin
Cranston Teachers Alliance
Providence, RI

I would like him to fess-up that he has done a totally inadequate job running this once great country for the past 3 years & that he is stepping down as President; also that since Joe Biden is inadequate to assume the presidency that the Speaker of the House will be sworn-in the next day.

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Alan Kent
Highlands County EA
Sebring, FL

I want the President to reaffirm his commitment to advocate for the passage of the Employee Free Choice Act that would make it easier for workers to have a say as to whether they want to join a union. The erosion of the middle class has paralleled the decline in Union density. This trend needs to be reversed. As the President himself said when he signed the Lilly Ledbetter law: "I do not view the labor movement as part of the problem. To me, it's part of the solution. You cannot have a strong middle class without a strong labor movement." (Jan. 30, 2009)

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Win Heimer
AFT 4200R
West Hartford, CT

I would like to hear the President say he will hold the banks accountable for the damage they did to the US economy through their predatory lending practices.

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David Curry
UUP local 2190
Plattsburgh, NY

Re: Education: The answer is not an even heavier reliance on value-added assessment and student test scores tied to teacher evaluation. The research findings indicate test scores should not be used for major stakes teacher evaluation. Period! The Danielson Frameworks combined with a professional portfolio, peer and subject area supervision, mentoring programs, student achievement and a heavy dose of monitored self-assessment would be a better route to go. Too much reliance, too, on more charter schools where the track record is not all that favorable as the small minority which are success stories are heavily supported by business/foundations

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Charles Kochheiser
Webster, NY
Gansevoort, NY

President Obama should've kept all his promises before being elected. What happened aftermath? I have friend who lost their jobs, houses and other equities. Yes because of the lack of leadership and decision making. Obama should stop spending money on sending troops overseas. What are our benefits from these actions?

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Aziz Elmrini
Astoria, NY

President Obama, Will u please help the teachers! I am so tired of coming to work and our superiors reminding us that we have 30 mil dollars to cut from the budget! The principals make the teachers feel like they are unwanted and easily to be replaced by cheaper workers! This is commonly happening in Tx because the education budget is running dry! Our republican governor, Rick perry is not using the rainy day fund or any money that the federal government is offering! The educators are getting the brunt of this because there are not a lot of degrees job options being offered! Therefore we feel stuck. Will please help bring back jobs to USA?

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Mokeita White
NEA
Dallas, TX

He should defend the right of workers to organize. He should take steps to require states to fund schools.

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John Latimer
02260
Arlington, TX

I want to hear President Obama address the nation wide assault on union workers, particularly teachers and women. It appears that all the bad fiscal decisions made by politicians and legislators will be solved on the backs of union workers, teachers, nurses, and the middle class. I want all legislators, state and federal, to be held accountable to the bills they pass. In other words, you "reform" my pension which will take me over 34 years of service to receive 75% of my salary because I am costing the state toooooooo much money, then you need to reform your own!!!!! Burris can take Obama's Senate seat and receive a pension? Are u kidding me?

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Therese Schuld
Chicago, IL

I want to hear how he is going to assure those of us in the service fields like teaching, nursing, and law enforcement from continuing to be the scapegoat for what ails the economy. I want to know how he will assure my profession's livelihood in an era where states are "stealing" the funds needed to provide adequate care. We all strive to provide excellence of service and yet we are continuing to be seen as "easy money" to patch struggling state budget problems that were not of our making.

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Dawn Heeren
ABCFT
Whittier, CA

I'd love it if the President would point out that the continuance of programs for the middle and lower classes (i.e. Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid) is a false choice. It was the corporatist plan all along to starve the government for money by implementing the Bush tax cuts and getting involved in two wars. By starving the government for revenue, they can now turn around and state that we can't pay for these programs and need to eliminate or drastically reduce them. The solution is simple. Raise the taxes on the rich back to what they were before, which was already an historic low, and you'll solve the problem.

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John Goodman
Texas AFT
San Antonio, TX

I would like the President of the United States address the issues that the 99% represent. Since the banks and wall street were bailed out, now these very institutions should be returning the favor to the government through taxes as pay back for the assistance they received. Instead of applying the cutbacks on the middle class, the wealthy should be coming to the assistance of the government in the debt crisis. When it comes the field of education, superintendents, principals and assistant principals should be held responsible for the safety and discipline of the students in the school. Each individual teacher can only do so much.

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Claire Scesney-Lundahl
UFT
NY, NY

I would like the president to confront Republican's failure to provide infrastructure funding by refusing to pass the Jobs Bill. Yet, they say the President chooses the environment over jobs in negating the XL Pipeline. They're duplicitous in their message, and they need to be called out.

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Donna Ferrier-Johnson
Garland, TX

Jail for the criminals in banking who ruined our economy. WPA Style Jobs Program reconstructing our infra structure to get the young out of poverty. A progressive tax code to make the 1% pay what they owe this country for their riches. Audit the military/industrial/congressional complex, end the war economy, create a Department of PEACE, and put the tax money into supporting education, a single payer health system, providing FOOD for the nearly 30% Americans who go hungry every night. Jail all of the war criminals who lied us into the war in Iraq and were involved in torture. Restoration of habeus corpus. End the rape of the environment.

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William Mc Guire
San Francisco, CA

I have a union job, and so I have not been badly battered by this economy - yet in my family, everyone else has. My parents lost retirement savings in the Lehman Brothers collapse, and each of my siblings has lost a job, a home, or a significant portion of their income. I want to hear the President talk about what he will do for housing to shore up the middle class, and what he will do to create more good jobs. I want to see healthcare access and quality continue to improve - while the Affordable Care Act did not go far enough, it must be vigorously defended. And for our long-term security, we must act to slow climate change.

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Janey Skinner
AFT 2121
Richmond, CA

The AFT general statement is excellent. To it I add affordable health care for all and not the privatization of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid; that President Obama will end the war in Afghanistan. It's time The Carlyle Group, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, Raytheon, etc. concentrate their profit making investments on life saving manufactures. Ask us to push Congress for laws that protect workers' pensions. Give our troops their GI bill for education and health. Forgive student loan debt. Tout the necessity of public education, libraries, housing, transportation, spaces, and a productive civil service

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Patricia Hollingsworth
1521
Los Angeles, CA

After 9 years, I am leaving teaching. Principals have used the budget cuts against teachers. Their bullying has gone from bad to worse. "Do exactly what I say, or you'll be included in the next round of layoffs," is the message. Pettiness abounds. All creativity has been eradicated from the classroom. Teachers who dare to be different are targeted for harrassment - to drive them to resignation; to thoroughly kill their spirit - the joy for learning that once drove their desire to teach. I graduated magna cum laude; I am a published author; I am a favorite teacher among students. Indeed, I shall miss my students, but that is all.

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TROY SHERROD
ALLIANCE-AFT (DALLAS)
DALLAS, TX

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