Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Teachers union supports protest from their Wall Street windows.

By Dean Kalahar

Since the United Federation of Teachers is working directly with the Occupy Wall Street protestors, I wonder if the OWS folks know that the UFT is located at 50 and 52 Broadway, which is in the heart of Wall Street? The AFT is not operating a store front; we are talking 20+ story buildings in the heart of NY’s financial district.

Either the hypocrisy from both the teachers union and Occupy Wall Street crowd is stunning or their ignorance is overwhelming. Let’s look deeper into the pockets of the self proclaimed “victims” in the crowd to see where “greed” really resides.

Mike Antonucci of the EIA reports an article from The New York Times, September 15, 2002.

At the start of this year, the union (AFT) paid $53.75 million for the
340,000-square-foot mostly occupied building at 50 Broadway, near Exchange
Place, and net leased the adjacent and recently empty 400,000-square-foot
building at 52 Broadway. The union will lease at 52 Broadway, where it also
secured a minority equity position in the building, for 32 years with two
20-year renewal options…

The union alone will relocate 400 employees. Based on incentives
currently being offered to employers that move jobs downtown, the union expects
to receive $3,500 per employee, or a total of $1.4 million.

Three affiliated union groups that have been tenants in the Midtown
South buildings -- the New York State United Teachers, a statewide teachers'
union; the New York State A.F.L.-C.I.O.; and the U.F.T. Welfare Fund -- will
also move to the two Broadway buildings, where they will be subletting space
from the union…

In all, the union is giving up the 310,000 square feet it owned in
Midtown South for 740,000 square feet in the downtown buildings, which will
undergo a $40 million renovation, beginning in February. The work will include
joining the buildings at certain floors and providing such long-sought amenities
as a 1,000-seat auditorium, a 20,000-square-foot conference center, high-tech
wiring and a cafeteria as well as on-site parking for 40 cars. There will also
be a separate entrance and lobby for the union and its members at 52 Broadway,
where most of the new amenities will be housed…

The terms of the lease also included some $20 million in free rent,
work allowance and improvements -- from building out the auditorium and garage
to upgrading the technology -- that the landlord will provide.

Leo Casey of Edwise writes:

UFT President Mulgrew has been at Zuccotti Park a number of times, speaking
to the assembly, and was joined by AFT President Weingarten on one occasion. Our
headquarters are a few blocks away from Zuccotti, and we have provided space for
meetings of different groups supporting OWS. We have also given over a major
section of our street level space to storage for OWS, for donations of materials
and supplies sent to them and for the stowing of personal belongings on the
morning when Bloomberg threatened to “cleanse” Zuccotti…

Oh, and last weekend, we sent forty sandwiches left from our conference
for charter school educators over to Zuccotti. I had not thought much of that
donation until Fox Business Network senior correspondent Charles Gasparino
called the UFT on Monday… Why, he demanded to know, was the UFT providing
sustenance to violent revolutionaries? Confronted with the results of
Gasparino’s crackerjack investigative reporting, I decided that it is time to
confess. Yes, I authorized that sandwich smuggling operation.

To further support the hypocrisy, the EIA also uncovered how the UFT is boosting the performance (profits) of Goldman Sachs’ commercial mortgage portfolio of pass-through certificates. The statement notes the positive performance of the underlying collateral pool most notably because:

The largest loan of the pool (10.1%) is secured by a 399,935 square
feet (SF) class B office property in the Financial District submarket
of Manhattan, NY. The property is 100% occupied by the United Federation
of Teachers (UFT) under a long-term lease which expires in August 2034.
UFT also holds 9.9% ownership interest in the building. The loan
is structured with a letter of credit (LOC) which can be drawn upon
to cover debt service shortfalls.

Up to now, the agenda of the Occupy Wall Street crowd has been hard to pin point. This means either the protestors are in fact a rag tag group of burned out malcontents, or they are being used as proxies of organized labor to do their dirty work. After all, if public labor unions spoke with honesty and clarity, it would expose the naked truth of their agenda, greed for power.

The union game of blaming “wall street greed” is beyond irony; it’s the audacity of contempt! Greed for wealth through the creation of capital is far different than greed for power used to seize the hard earned wealth and property of others.

In a nutshell, OWS is an organized plan to define a false villain and create class warfare among America’s electorate so the President and Democrats can win in 2012 and continue feeding the voracious public sector unions their due.

The ends justify the means for the unions and they will stop at nothing to retain their power. Let’s hope the proxy protestors are not pushed into violence. If they are, I’m sure we will hear how horrified the UFT is as they watch the riots from their cushy digs on Broadway.

Shameful is the only word that comes to mind.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Back to school: What's on the agenda?

By Dean Kalahar

It is assumed that public schools focus on a simple philosophy, teach kids how to read, write, and add. But data shows chronic academic deficiencies among students. Parents, aware of the systemic ills in public education, think their child’s school is great and that problems happen “someplace else.” This creates a paradox, if the three R’s are supposed to be the guiding principles, is it possible that something else is driving the public school syllabus?

Colleges of Education, the National Education Association, textbook, and curriculum developers embrace a therapeutic ideology broadly called Identity politics. They believe injustice and victimization of members in certain social groups, who have been marginalized by others, are entitled to special treatment. Public schools act as the surrogate host transmitting this view to unsuspecting students who are not immune from its influence.

Traditional principles for learning the basics based on accountability, opportunity, and responsibility, have been replaced with developing a “social consciousness.” Let’s look at what some call education and others indoctrination.

One tenet is Political correctness, or not offending certain gender, racial, cultural, sexual, or religious classes. The county has used an American History textbook that was reviewed as “a propaganda tract.” Its revisionist history and emphasis on the oppression of minorities, women and the poor taught white guilt instead of American Exceptionalism. Competition and valedictorians have been replaced with speech codes and participation awards.

Moral relativism/equivalency, dictates there is no moral truth -natural rights or wrongs- and all value systems are equal so judgments are evil. The county’s 9/11 curriculum says to “challenge them to find the commonalities,” between the 9/11 terrorists and Norway’s recent killer. The IB mission statement suspends reason by stating that students should “understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.”

Social Justice promotes equal outcomes because oppression has caused some people to have more than others. Florida school administers are evaluated on being “advocates for equity and social justice.” The NEA “opposes any immigration policy,” promotes reparations, and believes “efforts to legislate English as the official language ... must be challenged.” Universities write “Mathematics for social justice” curriculum.

Multiculturalism promotes “group-differentiated rights,” where special treatment is required under the ethos of diversity and tolerance. Florida teacher preparation programs demand that teachers believe in “diversity,” and practice “tolerance” before being certified. The schools support “Embracing our Differences,” a campaign that glorifies discriminating in order to end discrimination?

Sexism, Sex Education and family planning promote sexual orientation and gender identification. A Florida Celebrate Freedom Week lesson asks kids to “Write a new Declaration of Sentiments from another view point; e.g., gay rights.” The National Youth Risk Behavior Survey, given –sometimes wrongly- in our schools is a morally questionable set of sexually explicit questions asked to children as young as 11. The NEA wants “the right to reproductive freedom,” “school-based family planning clinics,” and “rehabilitation for the assailant, and the protection of privacy” in sexual assault cases.

Bullying now means a focus on harassment against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. LGBT groups, who influence campus life, promote universal acceptance using the anti-bullying message as a soft form of hate crime legislation on children. The school board has thirteen pages of procedures on bullying.

Globalism and Environmentalism: the NEA says “Allegiance to a nation is the biggest stumbling block to the creation of international government.” The local AICE curriculum is a socialist proxy for “global citizenship,” “schools as global enterprises,” “tolerant democracies,” “marginalized communities,” “optimum population,” and “greater fairness.” The Florida American History exit exam will focus on international justice, US imperialism and domestic terrorism. Sustainability and global warming is religion.

Lastly, gifted education has been co-opted by misusing Multiple Intelligence Theory to define everyone as gifted. This has created a false sense of self esteem and superiority that glorifies egos at the cost to those truly needing services.

If Identity politics is what parents expect, then there is reason to celebrate the success of creating socially conscious kids who can’t read, write, or add. If parents were unaware of the school agenda, then it may be time to inoculate your children from a disease that just might be rotting our schools from within.