Top 10 questions
1) “But what solutions do you have for this pervasive corruption?”
I feel most people declare this in frustration, looking for a way to dismiss the films findings, so they don’t have to worry about it. The three minute answer is get involved. Find out when the board votes are and vote NO. Go on the school website and read the budget. Find out how much the spend per student and ad 15% because they don’t report it. Get your neighbor to watch WE HAVE YOUR KIDS so they get informed. Write about the findings of WHYK on social media and recommend the film. Information is power but organizing is more power. Virtually everything the state does is to frighten you and convince you you’re powerless. This film’s story proves the opposite. A few good eggs can save a school, and stop a $50,000,000 tax heist
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 got to be protected and obscured by living beings. Teachers 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. The quickest way to undermine the system is to apply “democracy”, appoint school governance by lottery. Then you know the rich won’t rule — as they do in school.
Driving this buck-thirsty army of corp. defenders are millions in lobbying fees, teachers salaries, democratic and republican voting blocs and fortune 500 companies and paid accolytes BUT they have to control every media outlet. A single person with a mission and a hit list, a calendar and a dream, can do extensive damage by promoting the public narrative, which people instantly recognize, it’s so rare. Human contact is worth 10 social media connections.
Vote in independent school boards and resist the CFO/COP superintendent. This is more easily done in larger cities.
An acquaintant blurted out, “Wayne, you’re absolutely right. But you can’t change it. You can never change it.” This friend had a special needs child who was recieving a $75,000 education free from public school. This educational welfare extends for years after most of us “graduate”. The parent’s not a bad person, but her vision is clouded by self-interest, her willingness to fight school corruption is zero. An attack on school corruption might end her freedom from her own child provided by the school. The school takes their offspring off their hands all week liberating each to increase their income and art life. I don’t think stopping economic corruption would end this subsidy, this comfortable relationship, but it drives their silence and complicity.
#1 Try to size up the power in the room. Who has it? Why? What do they do to earn it? Who pays them? How much is seniority? How much is financial coercion? How much gun coercion? You need to know who you’re fighting. If your enemy is your friend, you need to know before you cast a blow.
2) “I’m not speaking to the school board, they’ll retaliate against my kids.”
I heard this from four mothers. Many instinctually feel this, but just stay silent. The administrators when pushed are ruthless and rotten, but, I never saw them go after my kids. These bastards framed me, banned me from the school. Would they arrest or shoot me, I suppose. I was retaliated against regularly, after my community activism became effective and affected a conduit of wealth. Angela Davis writes, “The number one category of political prisoner in the U.S. is the community activist who’s effective organizing and is framed by the police.” Though I’m a tall white male, that’s what I experienced. Framed and did nothing wrong. I confess being utterly stupefied and unable to understand what was happening to me because I’m a privileged white male. But your privilege is as nothing to the elite. As nothing to the elite unions. But — I’m unaware of any retaliation against my kids, though my wife removed two of three — distressed at the 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.