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Issue 2

I was sabotaged! Thank you very much

The morning before Election Day I eagerly go to my computer to post my newest and last blog regarding the fight against SB 5. Computer is working fine, I do some last-minute polishing of a piece I have been working on for several days and then press the button to post it to my blog—NOTHING!

I access my internet home page and the Columbus Dispatch but then it slows to a crawl and then a stop. I cannot access my blog and then I suddenly have no internet connection. Strangely, when I check my modem connection it shows 5 green bars but then there is an orange circle over it. I call my internet provider and am told they can’t send a technician for 3 days. Curiously, I find I can get back on the internet an hour before the polls close on Election Day.

Did someone deliberately block my internet connection? The internet technician came out today, three days after the event, and tested all necessary items. Bright green bars flashed across the screen. He tells me there is no problem with my internet or modem. In fact, very strong signals are coming my way. I ask him about the possibility of sabotage and he politely repeats that there is nothing wrong with my internet connections. He explains that many things can be done to create interference—even someone from China could have created the problem. Somehow I doubt that anyone in China could give a rat’s ass about Ohio politics, my writings and my blog.

Am I frustrated? Yes! Am I angry? No. I am not angry and in fact I have many things to be thankful for. So, I am taking this time to extend my thanks to the malicious culprit who tried to silence me:

  • ·         Thank you for giving me the opportunity to run several scans on my computer. Everything checked out OK with no viruses so I guess my firewall is working.
  • ·         Thank you for giving me the opportunity to reboot my computer and internet several times. I needed the extra exercise of crawling under my desk. I also found a few extra pens while I was down there.
  • ·         Thank you for the opportunity to talk with the lovely tech support people in India. I enjoy the challenge of interpreting their dialect mixed in with the background noise of a hundred other tech support people.
  • ·         Thank you for the extra glass of wine at the end of that day.
  • ·         Thank you for freeing up my time and allowing me to take advantage of a beautiful Indian Summer day and go for an impromptu drive through the back roads with my husband. It was a lovely day.
  • ·         Thank you for confirming that people are reading my blog. The events are too coincidental for make me to think it was anything else but objections to my blog. In addition, there is also the time you or your friends reported my blog to the Facebook people as being “abusive”. I must have made my points well.
  • ·         Thank you for including me in the list of those who were censored. That list includes: George Orwell’s 1984; Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer;  Adolph Huxley’s Brave New World; Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales; Joseph Heller’s Catch 22; J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye; Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass; John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men; Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter; and many, many more. That is a pretty impressive list and I feel honored to join it.
  • ·         Thank you for showing your true, sadistic colors.

Although this was done anonymously, I know who you are. Your politics are different from mine so you are leaning to the right of the scale. You are obviously a fan of Gov. Kasich and feel he can do no wrong or you would not have found my words so offensive. You are a bully and a control freak; otherwise you would not stoop so low. You would, instead, wait until my blog is posted and then engage in debate under the comments section.

Unlike many other blogs found on the web, I have tried to maintain a sense of decorum and professionalism. I have not resorted to profanity or name calling which is found in many others. There is nothing “abusive” in my content other than a different point of view than your own. True followers of Notes from the Pond know that I encourage healthy debates and discussions. That has been one of my points during the SB 5 campaign—people deserve the right to come together to discuss the problems and work them out together. It is only through open minds and honest discussions can we find the answers to the many problems our state and nation are facing.

We need to be able to come together as one family around the table to look at our many needs and then find a workable solution that benefits everybody. This will never happen as long as there are some people so interested in their own self-serving needs that they feel they must stoop so low as to change the words of a grandmother as in Grandma Quinn or to try to silence a lowly blogger.

Finally, thank you, my friend, for opening my eyes.

The People of Ohio Speak Up for the Middle Class

 

The people of Ohio stood up and said to Gov. Kasich and the Republican controlled legislature in a loud and clear voice, “We are mad as hell and we aren’t going to take it anymore!” The referendum on SB 5 was defeated across party lines by 61% to 39%.

The fight over Issue 2, which would have stripped collective bargaining rights from many hard-working middle class people, proved to be a battle ground for rights and dignity for the Ohio workers. It was a battle that was far more than just Republicans versus Democrats, or union versus non-union, or even the haves versus the have-nots; it was a battle for the right to be heard. Ohioans and the American people in general are fair, intelligent and reasonable when treated with respect and given the opportunity to participate in problem solving sessions.

Gov. Kasich’s bus finds a roadblock

When Gov. Kasich rode into office a year ago he came with an arrogant attitude that said it is my way or the highway. He literally told a gathering of reporters and lobbyists that if you aren’t on his bus he is going to run you over. What he didn’t consider is—if you get enough people surrounding the bus then it isn’t going anywhere. Some tried to get on his bus but found the doors closed and others began looking for another mode of transportation. Now the people have found their own bus and are driving it straight toward Kasich and his buddies.

At his concession speech Gov. Kasich said he will take some time to listen but then defiantly announced that local governments should not expect a state bailout. People don’t want bailouts. They want to work. They want the opportunity to bring management and workers to the table to discuss among themselves their problems and work out a solution benefitting all. It is called negotiating and compromise.

Ohioans won’t tolerate disrespect

Former Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland noted how state workers took 20 furlough days and pay freezes to help him balance the budget. “The impression that was given to the public was that public employees aren’t willing to participate. I think they have been and will continue to be,” Strickland said. “But they are not going to take disrespect, and they aren’t going to tolerate name-calling. If this administration understands that, then I think there could be the ability to work together.”

Bill Leibensperger, vice president of the Ohio Education Association said, “There has always been room to talk. That’s what collective bargaining is about. You bring adults around a table to talk about serious issues.

Support crosses party lines

These issues were important to more than just the people directly affected by SB 5. We Are Ohio, the organization behind voting no on Issue 2, raised $30 million, four times that of the Republican Building a Better Ohio. In addition, more people voted against Issue 2—about 2.1 million—than voted Kasich into office in 2010—1.89 million. In a Quinnipiac Poll two weeks before the election, 32% of Republicans were opposed to SB 5.

Vice President Joe Biden issued a statement saying, “By standing with teachers and firefighters and cops, Ohio has sent a loud and clear message that will be heard all across the country: The middle class will no longer be trampled on.”

Grandma Quinn—“We showed him!”

But Grandma Quinn, the great-grandmother who unwilling became the face of the campaign, said it best when she said, “That showed (Kasich). We showed him.” Short, sweet, and to the point. I like that Grandma Quinn.

Yes, Ohio’s voice regarding treatment of the middle class was clear last night and loud enough to be heard across the nation, “We are mad as hell and we aren’t going to take it anymore!”

 

http://www.toledoblade.com/Politics/2011/11/08/Issue-2.html

http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2011/11/08/1-issue-2-election.html

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/11/07/1033957/-Occupy-a-Voting-Booth,-Vote-No-on-Issue-2,-and-Defeat-John-Kasich

Governor Kasich, we want a new bus driver

 

The Battle over Issue 2 Continues

The showdown over Issue 2 (formerly SB 5) will take place in a few days and the financial security and rights of many of those who are the backbone of our society are at stake. At the beginning of Kasich’s term he declared that if the people of Ohio weren’t on his bus then the bus would run over them. W-e-l-l-l-l-l, not so fast my friend.

How Issue 2 affects teachers

This bill affects state workers, teachers, nurses, police, and firefighters. It is a union busting bill disguised as a tool to balance the budget; but, what it really does is it tramples on the rights and working conditions of many people and sets them back decades. I have never been a union person myself nor have I been loyal to any particular political party and don’t believe in voting a straight ticket. So why am I so passionate to see this legislation defeated?

I first became aware of the issues when it was SB 5.  I objected to the bill for many reasons but as a former teacher I am offended that the  bill severally hinders teachers’ abilities to work effectively in the classroom by:

  • ·         ending work rules as a topic of collective bargaining, such as length of school day, building assignments, class size, etc.
  • ·         eliminating the ability to strike
  • ·         allowing a school board to implement its own last offer in order to end a bargaining impasse
  • ·         allowing a school board to terminate, modify or renegotiate the collective bargaining agreement if it faces significant fiscal problems
  • ·         a shift to merit-based pay
  • ·         the end of tenure

The bill includes many other offensive issues but these are the ones specifically targeting teachers. In addition, during the debates over SB 5 in the spring it was reported that Kasich proposed giving teachers bonuses of $50 for every student who shows more than a year’s worth of improvement based on existing state measurements. Translated that means that teachers will receive $50 for every student achieving a certain score on state achievement tests. This merely opens Pandora’s Box for teaching solely to the test and cheating and manipulating test scores (remember the latest scandal in Atlanta where teachers and administrators did just that?).

Jennifer Walker, an English teacher at Youngstown’s East High and the 2009 Teacher of the Year, said teachers at inner-city schools should not be rewarded based on the same metric applied to suburban teachers. “We are teachers whose students live in poverty, who hear gunshots on their streets at night,” Walker said. “I feel like teachers are a scapegoat. Schools are not to blame for the problem, we just mirror society’s problems.”

A school system cannot be compared to a corporation

As I said in Teachers Get No Respect, March 26, 2011, a school system cannot be compared to a corporation. There is no product to sell or manufacture except education. A profit and loss statement cannot be produced on this commodity because it is so nebulous. As a teacher, one of the most frustrating aspects of the job for me was that I never knew whether or not I was reaching my students. They might pass my tests but did they really learn the material and, more importantly, were they learning to open their minds and think for themselves? There were no measuring devices for immediate gratification.

Sometimes one had to wait for years before finding an answer. As an example, I once had a student in my class who I thought was under-performing. I called on her frequently in class, not to embarrass her but to delve into her mind. I knew she was smart enough to  handle the material. We were often at odds because she resented my attention. One day she burst out in class, called me a name that rhymes with witch, and stormed out of the classroom. I was shocked but never gave up on her.

Several years later I had quit teaching and one day I heard a knock on the door. There stood that student. She said she had to come to me and apologize and thank me for believing in her. She had had an adventurous life since graduating from high school including living on a kibbutz in Israel; however, she went on with her education and continued to learn and expand her universe. Yes! That is the confirmation I needed to know that I had gotten through to her even though you would never know it when she was in my class. She said I was the only one who had ever believed in her and challenged her and she didn’t know how to respond. Would she have passed mandatory state tests at the time? No one knows. But, the important fact to me is that I had been successful in planting the seed to learn. Nothing can ever top the feeling of knowing I had finally reached her—not even Kasich’s $50.

That, dear friends, is something that will never show up on a test and cannot be measured. That experience is priceless. Most teachers aren’t concerned with merit pay they just want to do the job they love without restrictions and endless regulations and testing. They are there to guide, counsel, and gently open the minds of young people. Their greatest reward is to see their students go on to live fruitful and meaningful lives.

Respect the teachers

The teachers have been strangely quiet on the debates over Issue 2. That is probably because school began in the fall when the political machinery was gearing up. They were more interested in getting a good beginning to the school year than fighting over their own personal and political concerns. That is as it should be, it is called dedication to the profession. We, the public, expect no less from the ones to whom we entrust our precious children.

That is why I am appointing myself as the spokesperson for the teachers in the fight over Issue 2. They have important business to attend to in the classroom. I have completed my time in the classroom and have also served as a lobbyist for the arts in education and am now lobbying for your support for the teachers. Show your respect for the job they do. Don’t take away their few rights they fought so long and hard for. Give them the freedom and security to do their jobs without encumbering them with countless tests, paperwork, overcrowded classes, extended school days, loss of tenure, and more.

Vote NO on Issue 2. Show the teachers the respect they deserve.