Skip to Content

Obama Acts Like Reagan 1981, the Union-Buster

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Click the flash player to listen to or the mic to download an audio in MP3 format.

The president has signaled loudly and clearly that he and education secretary Arne Duncan have a “'final solution” for public education. Like Ronald Reagan, Obama is portraying the unions as a threat to the national welfare. “The fundamental logic of Obama’s so-called Race to the Top program, is to break the teaches unions.”

 
Obama Acts Like Reagan 1981, the Union-Buster
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
Obama is is going after the teachers unions with a hatchet – just like Reagan went after the air traffic controllers.”
President Obama’s endorsement of the firing of the entire faculty and staff of a Rhode Island public school is reminiscent of Ronald Reagan’s crushing of the air traffic controllers union, nearly three decades ago. Back then, President Reagan made an example of a union that had supported his presidential candidacy, firing its members and ultimately decertifying the union when it went on strike. The move sent a signal to the bosses in all sectors of the U.S. economy: the president – the U.S. government – is on management’s side, and unions are a considered a threat to the general economic welfare.
Last week, President Obama sent the same kind of signal to teachers unions, when he cited the Central Falls, Rhode Island, school shutdown as an example of the “accountability” he is demanding of poorly performing schools – which invariably means poor, non-white schools. Teachers union leaders appeared to be shocked by Obama’s language and tone – but they shouldn’t have been. The Rhode Island mass firing was not substantively different than the wholesale sacking of teachers and abrogation of their union contracts elsewhere in the country. The fundamental logic of Obama’s so-called Race to the Top program – a multi-billion dollar competition to show which states are most willing to fire teachers, shut down classrooms and replace them with charter schools – is to break the teachers union. If the teachers want to save their union, their dignity, their contracts, and the institution of public education, they will have to break with Obama. Because he is going after them with a hatchet – just like Reagan went after the air traffic controllers, despite their having supported his 1980 candidacy.
Obama takes Bush's No Child Left Behind scheme to its logical, blood on the floor conclusion.”
Obama's hatchet man and basketball buddy is Education Secretary Arne Duncan, who envisions waves of school closings, teacher firings and charter school openings for the next “five or six years.” That sounds like a kind of “final solution” for teachers unions – and for public education.
Obama's plans for America's classrooms are even more aggressive than George Bush's policies. Obama takes Bush's No Child Left Behind scheme to its logical, blood on the floor conclusion: corporate education without the encumbrances of organized teachers. Obama's anti-union vision is more ambitious than that of the old arch-reactionary, Ronald Reagan, who destroyed a union of only 13,000 members. The American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association have combined memberships of over 4 million. They have the capacity to fight back, to make this president back off. But, like so many others who drank the Obama Kool Aid, they are in denial, refusing to believe that they backed a union-buster who is making teachers the scapegoat for America's historical failure to serve the educational needs of all its children.
Private teacher training outfits are turning out young and hungry replacements for todays teachers, anticipating a huge turnover in public schools as Obama swings his hatchet. Teachers need to revolt against this administration while they still have a union to fight for them.
For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Glen Ford. On the web, go to www.BlackAgendaReport.com.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com. 

You are missing some Flash content that should appear here! Perhaps your browser cannot display it, or maybe it did not initialise correctly.

Share this

Comments

And on we go

It can't be put any plainer than that.  Currently, the Seattle Education Association has smelt the bacon burning to the degree that they're actually sponsoring a spring conference on the true agenda of ed reform, and I and a bunch of other activists in the local are running like maniacs trying to set the thing up and blow a hole in the local privatization effort with the fallout from the Ravitch turn around and much other literature found in places like this. 
But we don't have all the time in the world, and the shit is thick.

Rescind "No Child Left Behind"

NCLB is a crock of shit.  It's interesting that "conservatives" who banty about "local control" vouch for NCLB, when this fateful law does anything but engender local control. 
 
If the "one room school" houses so many accomplished Americans graduated from were subject to NCLB imagine the intellectual fruits that would have never been picked? 
 
Teachers by and large know how to teach, all they need is support from "management" and parents and, most definitely, room to be creative.  NCLB sucks all of the creativity out of the classroom IMO, it saddles teachers with the task of "teaching to the test."  How soon we forget history, .. Standardized tests have historically been tools to limit the achievement and progress of lower class whites, blacks and others.  They are culturally biased and barriers to entry.   This opinion comes from someone who has frankly always excelled at them.  But my teachers didn't use the Iowa Test of Basic Skills to marginalize my classmates, on the contrary they were used to select those ready for "acclerated classes" which, btw, were conducted in the SAME CLASSROOM.
 
NCLB is no longer a shield to guard against a poor education, it's a sword to kill public education and local control.  If it were rescinded it would perhaps take some wind out of the sails of a neo-con, neo-liberal death march against egalitarian education and the ushering in of an era of more venal, self-centered class consciousness.
 
Teacher unions might want to consider, from a strategic standpoint, emphasizing the historical traditions and benefits of local control and thus revamp the relationship between the Dept. of Education and localities around the country.  The "anti-federalism" sentiment around the country might be capitalized upon.  Didn't once upon a time the Rethugs wanted to abolish the Dept. of Ed., under Ronnie Raygun??  Unions, think strategically and outside the box.

Hi. It's really you. Also LNCB has military recruiting in it.

Yes, it's really you.  Hi.  I like your comment.

It's true. There's a steady drumbeat to "get rid of teachers"

for a myriad of pretend reasons, propaganda galore. Union member teachers.   I keep hearing people on the radio, in so-called progressive arenas, talk about "getting rid of teachers in under-performing schools" while demonizing tenure. Some are allegedly pro-union.
Long ago, I was a public school teacher in NYC, in the first teacher strikes (for the right to a union and for the first contract: 1961 and April 11, 1962 - my sign and photo were on p.1, NYDaily News, "Don't Burn Us Again,  Joan of Arc JHS 118M).  Very young.  Teachers took a written and oral test in social studies. (I failed the oral exam because I "dissed" textbooks, but had a high enough grade on written exam to pass) to get a NYC license in the public schools. I had 33 grad school credits in American Civilization (under GI Bill from dead WWII vet dad, and working as sec'y at NYU for free credits). I started teaching in Sept. 1960 at a salary just under $5,000. a year.  Yup. 
As a junior high school teacher,  I was observed regularly by administration and given a written report several times a year.  After 3 years, I got tenure.  I left after 5 to be an artist, and also left town.  Teachers are being scapegoated on the way to privatization.  Teachers have to fight back.  Some are.  update: general strike in Greece by public and private sector workers to fight cuts. Story on the home page of the Guardian online www.guardian.co.uk/ It is telling, of course, that the story begins with a report of small amount of violence.  But, they eventually get to the story.  It's a long discussion on why the US workers have not been as outspoken as in other places.

the delimma...

The dillema that those racist whites who run those Unions face is that they did nothing while Bush was implementing the seeds of privatization during his 8 years in office.If they were to oppose Obama,how do they fight off the cries of Racism that we know for sure would be coming from the deaf and blind Black community?They have painted themselves into a corner and only a Houdini can help them get out of it..It's ironic how both Republicans and Democrats can get the majority of the people to vote against their own best interests...Damn.......;And I can't even sell a glass of cool lemon aid in the desert when i own the only stand in the desert..

AFT/NEA not "leftie". When UFT began, there was a battle for

union.  There were two groups: the older group (I can't recall the name), a group of teachers led by an older guy, called "lefties" by the centrist UFT starters (United Federation of Teachers).  There was no right to collective bargaining for teachers in NYC in 1960.  The first battle, not very big, was who was going to represent teachers.  I voted in the first election, for the "other guy" - the one who was called "leftie" and who was not Al Shanker, a former math teacher, who was the winner, the first UFT president.  In 1960, the very word "leftie" still could put fear into teachers.   Teachers had to sign a loyalty oath in 1960 to work.  I signed one.  Later, I marvelled at those who didn't and the battles.  The NEA was so moderate and not union that they never joined with the national evolution of UFT, the AFT.  There are some "lefties" with offshoot groups of teachers now, but it needs someone more versed in the Now, such as Bashir Mchawi, "Education at the Crossroads" (WBAI, note: there's been a coup at WBAI.  I support www.takebackwbai.org ) to discuss it.

Obama ignores actual racial discrimination in state run schools

 
Obama's administration is carrying out a set of corporate-style school reforms, marketed during the Bush administration as No Child Left Behind: Shutting down state-run schools and pushing students into charter schools, reintroduction of merit pay, and the elimination of tenure, seniority and due process rights for teachers. NCLB never addressed systemic causes of malfunctioning schools, like watered-down curriculum tracks and the practice common in big city school districts of firing and replacing most teachers during their post-hire probationary period, resulting in a high concentration of new teachers and super-high teacher turnover rates in most schools where students of color are over-represented. These harmful practices have a disparate impact on black students. That's what I call systemic racial discrimination.
-Doug Mann, Minneapolis MN school board candidate

Why do you not use term "public schools"?

Am curious.

Rigt Wing propaganda in books

Texas approves radical right-wing history books
 
"For the next ten years, millions of students in Texas and across the country will read history textbooks suggesting that the actions of witch-hunt instigator Joseph McCarthy were justified. They will read about religious icon John Calvin instead of Thomas Jefferson. They will read a description of the US government that includes the words "constitutional republic" but not the word "democratic."
 
These are just a few of the changes an ultra right-wing Texas Education Board has tentatively approved for the state's history curriculum. There is one more stage for approval, but the board voted yes to the changes in a 10-5 vote. That's 10 Republicans voting yes and 5 Democrats voting no, making the chances for reevaluation almost negligible.
 
 
Texas buys so many of the country's textbooks that publishers tailor their books to match its standards as closely as possible. As a Washington Monthly article stated, "When it comes to textbooks, what happens in Texas, rarely stays in Texas."
 
In other words, students in Rhode Island and Texas could be reading about the Judeo-Christian influences of the nation's Founding Fathers at the same time. But they won't be reading about the rationale for a separation of church and state. That's gone, too."
 
http://rawstory.com/2010/03/texas-approves-radical-rightwing-history-boo...
 


Where is the NEA on this?  Where is the national outcry?  Afraid to pick a fight? Exhibit A of what's wrong with so-called education in America. More dumbing down of America.

 

Barack Obama's Admiration of Ronald Reagan

How Precious is the Precious Barack Hussein Obama?
Let's count the ways:
Barack Obama explained his admiration of Ronald Reagan in an interview when running for the presidency. Here is what Obama the Precious said about his Hero---Ronald Wilson Reagan:
“I don't want to present myself as some sort of singular figure.  I think part of what's different are the times.  I do think that for example the 1980 was different.  I think Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon did not and in a way that Bill Clinton did not.  He put us on a fundamentally different path because the country was ready for it.  I think they felt like with all the excesses of the 1960s and 1970s and government had grown and grown but there wasn't much sense of accountability in terms of how it was operating.  I think people, he just tapped into what people were already feeling, which was we want clarity we want optimism, we want a return to that sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing.” ---Barack H. Obama, 2008
Thus, Obama states that he admired the human rights violating Ronald  Reagan because of the b.s. that there was full of excess in both the 1960s and 1970s, in which government grew too big and of course had lacked accountability.
Robert Parry wrote on January 19, 2008, in an article “Obama's Dubious Praise for Reagan,” that war crimes were committed and not held to “account.” Robert Parry wrote that:
“On the domestic side, Reagan oversaw the dismantling of regulatory structures that restrained the excesses of Wall Street investment banks, the energy industry and other economic powerhouses. Many of today’s problems – from the mortgage meltdown to the nation’s wasteful energy policies – can be traced to Reagan’s contempt for that type of accountability….Reagan’s clandestine dealings with Iran and Iraq remain shrouded in secrecy and deception to this day. Also suppressed has been the full story of how Reagan tolerated drug traffickers who operated under the cover of his favorite covert operations (Nicaragua and Afghanistan)….. Even more troubling, Reagan aided and abetted mass slaughters in Central America, including acts of genocide in Guatemala, but neither he nor any of his senior advisers faced any meaningful accountability for their actions…. Yet, even as the world community has sought to punish war crimes in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, no substantive discussion has occurred in the United States about facing up to Reagan’s horrendous record of the 1980s….Rather than a debate about Reagan as a war criminal, the former President, who died in 2004, has been showered with honors as a conservative icon. His name was attached to Washington National Airport as well as to scores of other government buildings around the country…. As part of this rosy view of the Reagan years, the U.S. news media rarely acknowledges the barbarities of the 1980s in Central America. When the topic does come up, it is usually a one-day story about how these little countries bravely are facing up to their violent pasts….. Though Reagan portrayed the bloody conflicts as a necessary front in the Cold War, the Central American violence was always more about entrenched ruling elites determined to retain their privileges against impoverished peasants, including descendants of the region’s Maya Indians, seeking social, political and economic reforms…. The worst of the Guatemalan violence – like the bloodletting in El Salvador and Nicaragua – came after the election of Reagan in November 1980…. Once in office, Reagan chipped away at an arms embargo imposed on Guatemala by Carter who was offended by its ghastly human rights record. A fundamental part of Reagan’s strategy was to silence criticism of the atrocities whether the accusations were coming from the news media, human rights groups or the U.S. intelligence community…. If Obama really wanted to be a different kind of politician, he might instead stand for the truth, even when it is politically difficult and unpopular. He might acknowledge that while Reagan did put the United States on a “fundamentally different path,” it was not a path that led to either accountability or to justice.”
Read the entire article @:
http://www.consortiumnews.com/2008/011908.html 

Obama is the Biggest Fraud Ever!!!

Barack Obama is not only a Fraud but he is a very, very dangerous man because so many people are still duped by him and go along with his lies and deceit. I am afraid that he might be close to a Fascist President with his suggestions that anyone arrested have their DNA samples taken and put into a national registry database. His loathing of teachers is also quite despicable. Like Bush before him, Obama has no proof that the teachers in Rhode Island were not doing their best or that the students did not do its best either. I believe that Obama at this point is pushing America into a corporate Fascist state at a very rapid speed and that he is also paving the way for the GOP Nazis to come into power in the next few election cycles. Obama is a FAILED PRESIDENT already and many of his actions are beyond perverse and despicable.
Just hope you are not arrested and have to give your DNA samples to the authorities. Eighteen States have this policy and Obama wants to expand it. And you don't think that microchipping might be next? Say Hello to the Fascist States of America and oh how that Obama is continuing the Bush policies and then some....He already let John Yoo---the Torture Lawyer for Bush/Cheney go off scot free and that he--Yoo is now free to write all the books and articles he desires.....
Obama who never wrote a peer reviewed law school journal article is also and obviously lacking in the realm of international law, by letting the likes of Jay Bybee and John Yoo to get off from their war crimes.
 
 



Clicky Web Analytics
Dr. Radut | ba_radio