Top 10 questions

1) “But what solutions do you have for the corruption?” 

I read this as a device to discount the findings of my film.  If I can’t give provide a three three minute solution — there’s no point in illuminating the internal financial plundering that’s caused of the education crisis.  It’s hopeless so my film’s useless.

It’s unfair my pioneering effort at popular understanding through create a visual vocabulary of the state school pipelines of wealth transference to the elite (insurance, unions, banks, wall street)  should come with a utopian solutions too.  But — there are answers and I’ve got suggestions.  

Each pipeline of cash is made of concrete laws and policies and staffed with armed defenders, some systems being shored up for as long as 100 years.  Like cement and rebar conduits they’re protected by unions,Wall Street, Insurance giants and banking giants and their acolytes, politicians, teachers and contractors.  Any approach at restricting or rerouting this wealth must holistically include all the major players at once; teachers (voting blocs),  Union boards, and state superintendents and purchased politicians.  The quickest way to undermine the system is to apply “democracy”, appoint all public figures by lottery.  Then you know the rich won’t rule — unless they control the lottery.

Driving this buck-thirsty army of defenders are billions in lobbying, salaries, democratic and republican voting blocs and fortune 500 companies and their employees.   Keeping track of the list requires research.  Changing one will not affect the others, it will agitate their brother profiteers.  Work on politicians and their teachers union allies will sue & strike and malign & vote those politicians out.  While the politicians may be protecting  your kids and their education, the Unions and media will paint them as dangerous to  kids.  (read Alan Ng’s review).  Kids are used as the human shield by educators and capitalists.

Vote in independent school boards and the superintendents will restrict the boards to protect their financial control and through them, the elites.  All four on the ground profiteers: Teachers, superintendents, politicians, contractors would have to be, restricted, regulated anew, simultaneously.  Otherwise you poke a hole to relieve tax pressure and corruption or improve educational control and other ed. profiteers plug it by marginalizing, criminalizing, and smearing, banning, physically attacking you.  Steve and my poor hand-drawn signs were regularly vandalized by wealthy Union toadies.  What honest parent would think of vandalizing the union sign?  Criminal vandalism is illustrative  of the hostility of the defenders of the wealth pipeline.  Whoever hopes to regulate has to have — perhaps no one does — understanding and power.

M friend blurted out, “Wayne, you’re absolutely right.  But you can’t change it.  You can never change it.”  Hope springs eternal.  If you bought 10 copies of my film for 10 friends and on and on, if instead of festivals silently blackballing it, public television promoted it, if every citizen knew what I know….voting power could prevail.  But locally the media profiteer, the papers, were excellent defenders of the faith..,

2) “I’m not speaking to the school board, they’ll retaliate against my kids.”

I heard this from four mothers at different times in my battle.  I could tell most mothers instinctually felt this.  The administrators when pushed are ruthless and rotten, but, I never saw them go after my kids.   These bastards banned from the school (framed by the lying superintendent).   I was retaliated against regularly, especially after my community activism became effective and affected a conduit of wealth.  Still, I’m unaware of any retaliation against my kids, though my wife removed two of three s— concerned about the POSIBILITY and also distressed by low quality of instruction.

Most people are so horribly conditioned from public school toward unwavering obedience to authority that they will not pursue their own interests, their economics and educational interests,  without explicit threats to their children’s lives.  The trains and police provided that palpable threat and parents and kids spoke and voted and acted against the administration.  But even those were almost always oblique.  Voting with anonymity.  Students doing a poll and having it published outside the commercial press.

I saw no evidence kids were actually targeted.  Though, Jack, writer of the student poll told me the superintendent was very cross with him.  He also wrote a comparative critical review of Saugerties vs Chatham board.  Then the superintendent put jack in the token spot, student rep, on the school board.  He was silenced.   Even stopped communicating with me.

3) “Teachers are underpaid. You’re not saying teachers are overpaid are you?”

This is dogma, propaganda internalized by citizens by constant media repetition.  Fifty four percent of teachers according to a PDK (was Gallop) Poll make over $100,000.    54% after less than 15 years of work take home well over the median American paycheck.  In Chatham that figure is likely averaging $105,000.  $105,000 is two to three times what average Chatham residents make.   The pay package breaks down $82 in pay and $23K benefits. 

The average NY teachers gets at $18,000 a year full family coverage insurance plan.  Nine percent of your school dollar goes directly to Wall Street in their name so retired teachers.  The one example I know of, a 30 year retiree gets $80,000 a year for not working.  Now they vote and serve on the board.

American Teachers very well paid.  Their jobs are almost unaccountable, in NY, you can’t fire them.  It costs hundreds of thousands and takes years to fire even dangerous teachers.  The incompetent and dangerous ones are marginalized, fully paid, to “Rubber Rooms” at the school.

Teachers provide millioss a year to politicians in lobbying, VOTECOPE.  Their voting bloc has hegemony over school boards, ie, budgets, bonds and school closings.  Teachers and staff are highly paid to give a fraudulent patina of “ electoral democracy” to an oligarchy. 

If their salaries weren’t jacked up 3 - 4% a year despite the weak economy, their poor performance,  total lack of accountability; if it were adjusted like the private sector, they’d make half what they’re pulling down.  They don’t adjust for anything, it’s up, up, and away.