Posts Tagged ‘ABC Wednesday’

There has been a tidal wave of teachers taking action in the the United States in 2018. Strikes in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Kentucky, North Carolina, and for the first time ever, in Arizona have made headlines. Educators in the Grand Canyon State, many of whom are Republicans, believe it’s time to raise taxes.

The actions are not limited to teacher salaries but for money for supplies and equipment, since 94% Of Public School Teachers Spend Own Money On Classroom Needs. This CNN article lays out the issue:

“Inadequate education funding has created the conditions that make teaching the daily struggle that has finally drawn teachers and families to the picket lines: unmanageable class sizes, inadequate resources, and facilities, cuts to essential medical and mental-health school services and more…

“To be sure, teacher salaries are also a significant concern: US teachers are paid 30% less on average than other college graduates, and in most states, the average teacher heading a family of four qualifies for several forms of government assistance… According to the Economic Policy Institute, US teachers’ wages have declined relative to those of other college-educated workers since the early 1990s, when they were at their most competitive — and when teacher attrition was much lower than it is today.”

Of course, strategies to discredit teacher strikes have been developed. The “manual” to smear the strikers include “teacher strikes hurt kids and low-income families,” even though students have often supported their teachers’ position

I found this 2014 article Why Aren’t All Teachers Covered By Social Security? I contacted an author of the original report who notes the data statewide are still accurate, though there are some states where charter schools are allowed to opt out that would then be enrolled in Social Security.

A new Rockefeller Institute report highlights equity gap in New York teacher Workforce. “It found no statewide teacher shortage in New York, but school districts with high poverty rates and minority student populations are more likely to face challenges in recruiting and retaining qualified teachers.”


Here’s something from 1855 in Binghamton, NY, a cellphone picture off a microfilm because the print function was not working. It’s a recruitment flyer to get more teachers, and indicates the skills necessary for the task.

Finally, here are some teacher-created, classroom-tested lesson plans using primary sources from the Library of Congress.

For ABC Wednesday

Somehow, it wasn’t until the past few months that I heard of journalist George Seldes. This brief biography serves as a emphatic primer.

“The story of George Seldes is the story of the Twentieth Century. He has written 21 books and is the archetype of the independent and crusading journalist. He was a witness to and occasional participant in some of the most important events of this century.”

His interview with Field Marshall Paul von Hindenburg, the supreme commander of the German Army during World War I was censored by the Allies. He reported from the Soviet Union for a year in 1922-23 until he was expelled “for not bowing to its censorship of the news.” He was also eventually bounced in Italy after reporting on the rise of Benito Mussolini. He witnessed the fascist dictatorship in Spain.

“Dissatisfied with censorship and the Right-wing bias of the American media,” Seldes and his wife Helen Larkin “started In Fact, the first publication in America solely devoted to press criticism. It was published from 1940 to 1950 and had a peak circulation of 176,000 before being Red-baited out of existence.”

From the Spartacus Educational bio: “One of the first articles published in the newsletter concerned the link between cigarette smoking and cancer. Seldes later explained that at the time, ‘The tobacco stories were suppressed by every major newspaper. For ten years we pounded on tobacco as being one of the only legal poisons you could buy in America.'”

I found his some of his observations, as noted in Wikiquotes, appropriate today. “Never grow weary of protesting. In this sensitive business of dealing with the public which depends on faith and good will, protest is a most effective weapon. Therefore protest.” – Lords of the Press (1938)

And from the same source: “The failure of a free press in most countries is usually blamed on the readers. Every nation gets the government—and the press—it deserves. This is too facile a remark. The people deserve better in most governments and press. Readers, in millions of cases, have no way of finding out whether their newspapers are fair or not, honest or distorted, truthful or colored….”

From the Wikipedia: “Having both staunch admirers and strong critics, Seldes influenced some younger journalists. He received an award for professional excellence from the Association for Education in Journalism in 1980 and a George Polk Award for his life’s work in 1981. Seldes also served on the board of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR).”

George Seldes was born in Alliance, New Jersey, on 16th November, 1890 and died at Windsor, Vermont, on 2nd July, 1995, aged 104.

For ABC Wednesday

Since I just hit my 13th anniversary of writing this here Ramblin’ with Roger blog thing, I’d thought I’d describe why I do it.

I’ve mentioned before that my friend Fred Hembeck had started a blog, that friend Rocco had tipped me off to same, and that I read everything Fred wrote, which meant going back about two years.

And Fred was prolific. He wrote every day, usually pieces a lot longer than I write currently. Then I would comment on his blog, and he would mention me therein. I gave him a couple ideas; for instance, I found a page of record album covers based on other album covers, which still exists.

So I thought, maybe I could do this myself. But what would I write ABOUT? I only had two topics that I KNEW I would have to cover. One was the Daughter, who was a little over a year old. I said to myself when she was born that I would write about her in a baby book that people give to parents of newborns, where you track when the child first crawls and walks and gets the first tooth.

There is incontrovertible evidence that I was TERRIBLE at this exercise. Instead, I would write about her every month, on the 26th. And I have, every month, although it’s often been as much about ME having a daughter after I’m five decades old.

The other topic was my appearances on the game show JEOPARDY. It was taped in September 1998 and was broadcast in November, and I was afraid the details were starting to fade.

I started writing in my Blogger blog on May 2, 2005, and I have written every day, at least once a day. In the early days, it was tough because Blogger didn't let me schedule posts. I remember writing at a library in Lake Placid during a break in a work conference.

I was inspired by what the late Steve Gerber, comic book writer of Howard the Duck, Man-Thing, the Defenders, and other Marvel comics I loved, posted about writing in April 2005, essentially saying, “Writers write.”

Oh, the duck. At FantaCo, I was editing something called X-Men Chronicles. I had extra pages to fill, and so Smilin’ Ed artiste Raoul Vezina and I pieced together a story about the rodent buying a case of a popular comic book. I appeared as a duck because… well, I don’t know.

Around that time, Raoul drew the duck for my friend Lynne. In 2010, when I was getting my own URL, Lynne’s husband Dan, who recognized me from the caricature when he met me on the street back in 1985, scanned the drawing, and I have used it ever since, on the Ramblin’ with Roger blog, Twitter, and Facebook.

For ABC Wednesday

Having experienced it occasionally myself, I know that being poor is expensive. But poverty is not the result of a lack of character. Although one might think so: ‘They used to be servants.’ Minimum wage-hating restaurateur rants about his “greedy” employees.

Cash bail reform has gotten some traction because communities understand that bail is not about justice or safety, but wealth and poverty. “Right now, a person charged with a crime can either pay bail and live free until they stand trial or, if they cannot afford it, be jailed until their trial date. Folks with money pay bail while poor folks get jail. And those in jail are far more likely to take pleas deals instead watching the rest of their lives (and finances) fall apart while they wait for a trial.”

Some neighborhoods are now being targeted with new predatory loan offerings, a lawsuit argues. This is the story of that lawsuit, and of the rent-to-own universe in general.

The student loan sharks who prey on veterans and single moms have a friend in Trump’s education secretary, millionaire Betsy DeVos.

It can be a terrible spiral: Oregon woman evicted from senior housing for $328 in late rent freezes to death in parking garage.

The current Federal Communications Commission chair, Ajit Pai, has threatened to cut the Lifeline program, which helps 12.5 million low-income people access internet or phone service.

The regime is considering drug testing plan for food stamp recipients, which has always cost more to administer than the intended savings.

National Public Radio discussed Virginia Eubanks’ book Automating Inequality: How High-Tech Tools Profile, Police, and Punish the Poor.

Kathy Sheehan, who was re-elected mayor of Albany in November 2017, spoke at my church on March 4 about her equality agenda, including the City of Albany Poverty Reduction Initiative (CAPRI) program. Here is the New York State anti-poverty initiative.

Who Do Tax Breaks Benefit? Take a guess. The Weekly Sift guy understands: My taxes are half what I’d pay if I just made wages.

I’ve seen numerous GoFundMe campaigns after people went through extended disaster that have damaged homes, serious illness or injury not covered by insurance. A decade ago, there was a Harvard study that showed that 43,000 Americans were dying each year because they had no health insurance. And we may be heading back in that direction.

As bad as it is in the United States, it’s far worse in developing nations. On the March 21 Daily Show with Trevor Noah Matt Damon and Gary White from water.org discussed how easier access to water transformed people’s lives with the gift of time.

This a global phenomenon: If this goes on… The 1% will own two thirds of the world by 2030, based on the House of Commons Library’s published research projecting the post-2008 growth of inequality.

For ABC Wednesday

I’m pretty much on the record that “being optimistic” and I are at an arm’s length relationship.

This past Friday, I was feeling particularly satisfied at work, as I got five reference questions and two or three blog posts done. I was really enjoying the eclectic music I was playing, which included Al Green, Willie Nelson, Joss Stone, Ella Fitzgerald, Iggy Pop, and Glen Campbell, all of whom have April birthday, plus latter Johnny Cash. What a rush.

So naturally, the ride home was EXTREMELY annoying. This woman was on her cell phone, screaming at her off- and on-again boyfriend “Rodney.” Not only did I hear her, ten rows away, the whole damn bus heard her imaginatively vulgar, eight-minute rant that I wished I had recorded, it was so memorably obscene. Well, everyone heard it except, apparently, the bus driver, who drove on obliviously.

Isn’t it always the way? When I’m feeling good, something has to come along and ruin it? But just as I was looking at this as a bummer of an event, harshing my mellow, I discovered something else. There was this odd camaraderie among the passengers, at least the ones within my line of vision.

And we analyzed aloud, since she couldn’t hear us over the sound of her own voice, the nature of her relationship with Rodney. She kept saying – no exaggeration, at least a dozen times – that she didn’t care about him. But that were the case, why not just hang up on the jerk?

About four stops after she got off, some guy comes on the bus and announces, to no one in particular, that passengers on a bus represent a “microcosm of society.” Several of us laughed and said, “You have no idea!”

Earlier that day, I happened to run into a woman I’d met in a bookstore, a friend of a friend. I told her that I needed to write something for my blog by Tuesday, that usually I’ve written SOMETHING long before then. But she said she was optimistic that I would get it done.

Initially, I was going to write about things that make me feel optimistic, such as the healing, and persistent, power of kindness or how Great Britain is now a Fox News-free zone or how more women are running for office in the United States.

But I was optimistic that I could get to 300 words without describing those sentiments at great length. And I did.

For ABC Wednesday

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