Several hundred public schools remained closed this Monday, either because of spring break, or because many teachers decided to leave and their districts allowed them to participate in the mobilization.
Published: Tuesday 03 April 2018 | 09:36:27 AM
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
WASHINGTON, April 3. Tens of thousands of teachers in Kentucky and Oklahoma came together yesterday in their state capitals to demand more funding for education, salary and pension improvements.
According to USA Today, 120 public schools in the first of those territories remained closed on Monday, either because of spring break, because many teachers decided to leave or because their districts allowed them to participate in the mobilization.
“Stop the war on public education!” and “Enough is enough,” the Kentucky teachers shouted outside the state capitol in Frankfort, where they protested against a change to their pension system and cuts to education funding.
Teachers oppose a bill passed by the state legislature last Thursday and demand that Governor Matt Bevin veto it.
If the Republican politician signs the legislation, it will phase out defined benefit teacher pensions and replace them with hybrid retirement plans that combine the characteristics of a traditional pension with the 401(k) accounts used in the private sector.
In addition, retired teachers in Kentucky do not receive Social Security benefits, so any freezing of their pensions affects their total retirement income.
State teachers also demand the necessary funding for the public school system.
“Today we notify you that if you don’t pass a budget that protects Kentucky’s public services, provides adequate funding for schools, then we will vote to remove them from office,” Stephanie Winkler, president of the Kentucky Education Association, told the crowd.
According to ABC News, members of other public employee unions, including those representing firefighters, police, plumbers and pipe fitters, joined the teachers in a show of solidarity.
In Oklahoma, meanwhile, protesters demanded a higher wage increase for teachers and support staff and an increase in funding for education, which plummeted 28 percent in the last decade, according to the state teachers’ union.
The Oklahoma protest comes despite Republican Gov. Mary Fallin signed a law last Thursday that gives educators – currently at $45,000 a year – an average wage increase of $6,100.
Even with that increase, Oklahoma’s teachers would earn below the national average for public school teachers, which is $58,950 a year, and only surpasses those in Mississippi and South Dakota.
“Finance education”, “They are starving our schools” and “Mourning for public schools”, was read on the posters carried by those attending the protest.
By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive for the daily POR ESTO! of Merida, Mexico.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann.
Objectively, the credibility of the US government, with either party at the forefront, has always been in question because its foreign policy pronouncements on peace, freedom, democracy and human rights systematically contradict or contrast with its actions.
These days, the Associated Press (AP), a U.S. news agency, lamented in a commentary by its journalists that the conflictive and misleading daily statements of its President, Donald Trump, and the most important members of its team of senior advisors fuel new doubts about the credibility of the White House.
“Some Republican congressmen even wonder if they have a partner in the president of the nation with whom to negotiate in good faith and how much the president’s word is worth.
An AP paper says the former assistant Republican leader in Congress has told the agency that negotiating with White House officials has become impossible for Republicans, given the president’s propensity to undermine the public and private guarantees of his own team. White House officials have been seen in the unusual position of urging legislators to downplay some of the President’s statements.
“Recently, in one of his usual morning tweets, Trump threatened to veto a massive budget bill after the White House itself had assured legislators that the president would sign it.
The White House officials privately insisted, according to the AP journalist, that the president was venting his feelings after hearing reports that the agreement presented a defeat of several of his priorities.
Although, after hours of uncertainty, Trump signed the legislation into law, this situation disturbed some Republicans. “The lack of control over Trump’s outbursts is a concern on both sides of the House,” said a Republican Congressman from Pennsylvania who has sometimes been critical of the leader. “The disorder, chaos, instability, uncertainty and excessive statements are not the virtues of conservatives,” he said.
Members of both parties have expressed concern that the President seems oblivious to the way in which, by assuming certain positions and then relinquishing them without modesty, he undermines his own influence and agenda.
Trump’s hesitancy with the budget bill was just one in a series of recent incidents that put the credibility of the White House’s words in the spotlight. Earlier this month, during a private fundraising event, Trump boasted of inventing trade data in a conversation with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
In recent days, Trump and his team have strongly denied the possible dismissal of General Herbert R. McMaster as National Security Advisor, as well as likely changes in the legal team dealing with Trump’s role in the special prosecutor’s investigation into alleged Russian interference in the presidential election and constitute an obstruction of justice. Beyond public statements, John Kelly, the White House chief of staff, had privately assured his staff that there would be no restructuring.
But by the end of the week, McMaster had been separated and the legal team seemed to be looking for his replacement.
Trump’s problems with the truth are not new, the AP commentary says, often altering the facts, from the number of people who came to his inauguration to the scope of the tax reform he signed last year. And just as he did in boasting of his lie to Trudeau, the president rarely seems ashamed to repeat claims that have proven to be false. Polls show that Americans do not believe Trump is truthful, and in a recent poll conducted by Quinnipiac, 57% of respondents said the president is dishonest. The leader’s supporters say he was elected despite similar polls during his campaign.
Such a bias often puts his advisors in the uncomfortable position of issuing strong public statements that the President immediately denies. Spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders repeatedly denied reports of McMaster’s departure in the days leading up to Trump’s announcement that he had a new National Security Advisor.
Peter Wehner, who worked in the governments of President Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush said, “Trump has no one to blame but himself. He doesn’t even know his own position.
April 2, 2018.
Posted: Monday 02 April 2018 | 10:34:06 PM
By Juana Carrasco Martin
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
A recent issue of Time magazine, one of the most important American publications, has a very special cover: five teenagers – students at Parkland High School, where 17 of their classmates were shot dead by another young man who was also a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School – look straight ahead with a word that crosses not only that cover, but also the claim of a majority of the concerned population: Enough, a term that can also be translated as Enough is Enough.
Among the young people are Emma Gonzalez, David Hogg and Cameron Kasky, who have become spokespersons and advocates for control over guns in private hands in the United States. They are activists against armed violence, which is almost an epidemic in the northern nation, and they demand measures from their legislators to make the country’s schools and streets safe.
However, their demand does not have many receptive ears in the political class, where many of its members are tied to the National Rifle Association that thrives on this business. But the young people persist. A month after the shooting, many U.S. schools held 17 minutes of silence in honor of the 17 massacred in Parkland. A march went through Washington, the nation’s capital, with sibling marches in cities and towns across the country. They called for a change in the permissive and enabling rules and laws for these irrational crimes. It was the largest demonstration ever held in the United States for this purpose.
A recent AP-NORC survey emphasizes that national support for arms control is currently at its highest level in five years. About seven out of 10 adults favor stronger laws on the issue, representing 69 percent of respondents, The Hill said.
So, what does the president do? He calls for states in the Union to hand over weapons to teachers and school employees to answer Fire! with Fire!, a simple lesson in insanity….