Saturday, October 26, 2013

Help @NEAtoday Find The Drain On Funds For Education

Source: Bangor Daily News, Troy R. Bennett
"Maine parents struggling as cost of raising children rises while incomes stagnate"
As an educator I get regular communications from my union, the National Education Association, through their affiliate in Maine. The NEA's messaging often vilifies Republicans while turning a blind eye to the complicity of their favored party, the Democrats, in funding war after war and weapon after weapon -- while childhood poverty soars and college graduates stagger under a burdensome load of education-related debt.

NEA/MEA communications never acknowledge the central fact that for the past two budget cycles the Pentagon's share of the tax revenue Congress may allocate (the so-called discretionary budget, which does not include dedicated revenue streams of payroll taxes that fund Social Security and Medicare) has been 57%. That does include the NSA budget for spying on you, me and the heads of state of our alleged allies.

It does not include nuclear weapons research which is funded under the Dept. of Energy, or the Veterans' Administration; the actual share of the budget allocated to the military runs around 60%.
Source: PPH Maimuna Hassan, 17, now a Portland High senior, said she was pleased with her individual SAT scores, particularly since the test was difficult. “There were words on the vocabulary section I had never heard,” she said.
Gordon Chibroski/Staff Photographer
The Portland Press Herald, which is owned by the husband of Rep. Chellie Pingree of Maine, recently published an article on a study with the entirely unsupported claim that funding for public education in Maine had increased threefold over the last 40 years. I wrote to the journalist about this and he just gave me a link to the study, where the claim is also unsupported. (I give both authors an F on their papers, unless they choose to redo their work.) The article's focus: lack of academic progress as measured by SAT scores in an increasingly impoverished Maine.

This week the MEA sent me a link to an online letter writing tool where I could urge Maine's congressional delegation to increase funding for public education. Luckily, it was an editable text so I modified the letter to say what I really wanted to point out to Democrat Mike Michaud (my representative) and to my two senators, Republican Susan Collins and independent Angus King.
Source: Organizing Notes blog by Bruce Gagnon.
Depicted is the Zumwalt "stealth" destroyer  the first of which was launched yesterday in Bath, Maine. Designed to "sneak up" on China's coast, it cost between $4-7 billion -- no one knows for sure, because it is a "top secret" weapon.
In a nutshell, bring our war dollars home and use them to fund public education.

Dear Rep. Michaud, Sen. Collins & Sen. King: 
As a constituent and an educator, I urge you to end sequester level cuts to education in the final FY14 funding bill.

Defund the bloated Pentagon and its elaborate weapon systems and contractors, and redirect those funds to education. 
We should be investing in education, not cutting it year after year. A disproportionate share of the sequester cuts have impacted higher-poverty communities and students most in need, and additional harmful impacts are being felt in classrooms nationwide. 
Maine students are counting on you to reverse course from the austerity approach that slashed education across-the-board by 5 percent in fiscal 2013-the equivalent of cutting nearly all education programs and Head Start by roughly $3 billion. Federal education funding is at pre-2004 levels although our nation's schools now serve 6 million more students. 
Congress must reject a continuation of education cuts and demand additional revenue, including closing corporate tax loopholes and defunding the Pentagon and its contractors. 
NSA programs that keep every person in the US under surveillance are extremely costly and are destroying our constitutional rights. The money funneled through the Pentagon budget to the NSA is a particularly bad example of congressional spending priorities, and needs to stop immediately. 
Thank you for your attention to these matters. 
Lisa Savage

Here's where you can send a letter using the same tool. Make sure to edit it to fit your message, and check the box to send a copy to the NEA.

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