For years, Los Angeles has been ground zero in an intense debate about how to improve our nation’s education system. What’s less known is who is shaping that debate. Many of the biggest contributors to the so-called “school choice” movement — code words for privatizing our public education system — are billionaires who don’t live in Southern California, but have gained significant influence in local school politics. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s recent contribution of $1 million to a political action committee created to influence next week’s LAUSD school board elections is only the most recent example of the billionaire blitzkrieg.
For more than a decade, however, one of the biggest of the billionaire interlopers has been the Walton family, heirs to the Walmart fortune, who have poured millions into a privatization-oriented, ideological campaign to make L.A. a laboratory for their ideas about treating schools like for-profit businesses,
For the thousands of international students and researchers who come to U.S. universities each year, the academy is seen as a beacon of opportunity, where the people who work the hardest and [have] the best ideas rise to the top.
[To] a union representing more than 6,000 postdoctoral scholars (also known as “postdocs”) at the University of California, this promise means something – the majority of our members are immigrants working in the U.S. on guest worker visas, and they are here because they have worked for years to reach the forefront of biology, physics, engineering and other fields. They have already earned PhDs, and come to UC to perform cutting-edge research – think breakthrough cancer therapies, new models for the origin of the universe, stem cell research and more.
Imagine their surprise when after arriving at UC, they are told that although the contract the union negotiated states that health care coverage is available to all postdocs,
The following infographic first appeared with frugaldad.com‘s “College Isn’t Cheap” post and is republished with permission.
As President Obama prepares to nominate his current Chief of Staff, Jack Lew, to the Treasury Secretary position, attention to Lew’s record and loopy signature is at an all-time high. Now, vigilant labor journalist Josh Eidelson has unearthed information on Lew’s pivotal role in busting the NYU grad student union.
The NYU graduate student union, which enjoyed official status from 2000 to 2005, was the only graduate student union to ever exist as a private university. Functioning as a case study for the political swings of the NLRB as well as a number of graduate student and adjunct professor organizing drives, the NYU Graduate Student Union (GSOC) has persevered as an informal organizing group regardless of official recognition.
The GSOC enjoyed support from within NYU and outside of it, and they didn’t lose their official bargaining status without a fight. Eidelson reports for Salon:
While graduate student teachers and researchers are unionized at many public universities,
A few years ago, I was pulled over by the police. I’d reported my car stolen some months earlier and they’d never taken that report out of the system after I’d gotten it back. It was a minor error on their part, but it resulted in a fairly scary moment.
I pulled into a parking lot and noticed a police car behind me, lights on. The officer told me to put my hands out of the car, and open the car from the outside, like on television. When I got out, his gun was pointed at me, and I was handcuffed and placed in the backseat of his car. A few minutes later, he brought me my three-year-old son.
My son, understandably, was terrified, and though the officers cleared up the mistake in a few minutes and bought him a toy (a miniature police car) at the toy store we were going to,