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Philadelphia students protest school closures with signs and tape over their mouths.
Nineteen protesters, including Philadelphia students and American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, were arrested in Philadelphia Thursday as they protested the city's school closings plan. The arrests came as the group tried to block members of the city's School Reform Commission from entering a meeting at which the commission approved a plan to close 23 public schools.

This is school "choice" in Philadelphia. Students have the choice of a substandard online school. They have the choice to leave their neighborhoods to go one of the city's notoriously corrupt charter schools. But now, for many, there's no choice to go to a public school in their neighborhoods.

Go below the fold for more on education, this week's McDonald's walkout, and how companies aren't hiring even for the job openings they have.

A fair day's wage

  • Companies have job openings. They just aren't hiring:
    The number of job openings has increased to levels not seen since the height of the financial crisis, but vacancies are staying unfilled much longer than they used to — an average of 23 business days today compared to a low of 15 in mid-2009, according to a new measure of Labor Department data by the economists Steven J. Davis, Jason Faberman and John Haltiwanger.
    People are being called back for six and seven interviews and a battery of tests unrelated to the jobs they're applying for—at cost not just to the applicants who have to keep going back for more but to the companies wasting their time on excessive interviewing.
  • More from Wednesday's walkout by student guest workers at Pennsylvania McDonald's restaurants, via Raging Chicken Press:
  • What's next in the Upper Big Branch criminal probe?
  • Amazon's labor relations under scrutiny in Germany.


  • So here's the irony when New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg does stuff like compare teachers unions to the NRA, claiming that the comparison is that they're both organizations where the leadership is far more militant than the members: In fact, the leadership of the United Federation of Teachers, New York City's teachers union, is being challenged in an upcoming election by these teachers who think the current leadership is being too accommodating to Bloomberg:
  • A great look at privatizing Wisconsin's public education system by diarist cheesehead77.
  • Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal's changes to teacher tenure and evaluations were about as punitive as you would expect from Jindal. But they were struck down by a judge.
  • Alabama Republicans used some typically sneaky maneuvers to push through a bill that's sort of a back door to vouchers. But a judge has granted a temporary restraining order because of the underhanded tactics.
  • And another win: All the big money that corporate education "reformers" poured into the Los Angeles school board race to defeat incumbent and former teacher Steve Zimmer, and Zimmer won anyway.

State and local

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Sat Mar 09, 2013 at 10:55 AM PST.

Also republished by DKos Pennsylvania and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I think it's time for a general strike (9+ / 0-)

    I wonder how successful all of the "job creators" would be without any workers for a day. No cashiers, hotel housekeepers or front desk people. No construction workers or teachers. No warehouse workers or taxi or bus drivers. I realize it's unlikely, but I think it's time for something drastic. Until they realize the value of our work, they will refuse to pay us for it.

    "Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts." Daniel Patrick Moynihan

    by atlliberal on Sat Mar 09, 2013 at 11:10:51 AM PST

  •  I have 25 years of experience in (13+ / 0-)

    Retail and wholesale sales and management. I went for a job interview last week where they were paying $7.50 an hour no matter how much experience you have.

    "Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts." Daniel Patrick Moynihan

    by atlliberal on Sat Mar 09, 2013 at 11:13:42 AM PST

    •  If the job didn't require experience... (0+ / 0-)

      ...why would an employer pay extra for it?

      Indeed, experience can actually be a negative for some jobs because more experienced employees are sometimes less willing to follow the prescribed processes because they "know better" (and, they often don't really "know better").

      It seems to me that most jobs in retail paying $7.50/hr would benefit from, maybe, one or two years of experience and additional experience is unlikely to be helpful.

      •  They were opening a new store (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        You would think they would need everything. Your attitude is very cynical. If you had a business would it not benefit you to have someone who can handle all of your customers with calmness and professionalism (no matter how difficult they are), be trusted to handle your money properly, knows your merchandise and can sell it without being pushy , and can display the merchandise in a way that increases sales or someone who has never done the job before and may or may not work out. Seems to me it would be worth an extra few dollars an hour to have someone on staff that can grow the business rather than  just a warm body who could care less about my business because the way I treat them shows I could care less about them.

        "Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts." Daniel Patrick Moynihan

        by atlliberal on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 05:03:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Some jobs only require... (0+ / 0-)

          ...warm bodies who can follow the procedures.

          Consider an assembly line -- no one wants a worker whose job is to put tab A in slot B to get "innovative" and put A into C instead.

          In retail, each company has a different style. Compare Walmart, Trader Joes, and Best Buy. What an excellent checker at one would do by nature would be completely outside the corporate culture and desired outcome at another. (TJs wants employees to "chat" with customers a bit to seem friendly, Walmart sees NO value and only cost in doing so, Best Buy sees value only to the extent that it gets the customer to buy the overpriced "extended warranty" et al). To take a low level employee that had a lot of experience at one of these companies and put them at the check-stand at another would likely require not only training them, but UNtraining their habits from the prior job.

          It sounds like you might have been a good candidate for a department manager (or higher) at the new store -- but it sounds like you were interviewing for a position that was NOT that and hence wouldn't require your skills. In such a case, it would be speculative, at best, for the company to pay for "experience" the job doesn't require. Presumably, if you were offered a job by a competitor that was closer to matching your skills, you would jump ship quickly in which case the extra wages would have just been throwing money away.

          Yes, it may sound cynical, but I think it's reality.

  •  Corbett is a menace to this state , he is doing (0+ / 0-)

    all he can to destroy it and privatize it. We have a running joke around here that soon he will outsource us all for if he can get a good deal on that. He probably has the state capitol up for sale.  

    Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

    by wishingwell on Sat Mar 09, 2013 at 11:42:29 AM PST

  •  Free speech in a cell. (4+ / 0-)

    There really was no need to arrest Ms. Weingarten or the students and teachers in Philadelphia.  Merely erect and escort them all to a chain link encased "free speech zone" conveniently located a few blocks away.

    Arresting them just makes everything look so needlessly messy when doing the dirty job of dismantling public education.

    "The highest patriotism is not a blind acceptance of official policy, but a love of one's country deep enough to call her to a higher plain." --George McGovern

    by Progressive Pride on Sat Mar 09, 2013 at 11:44:38 AM PST

  •  Fair days wage VS Education (0+ / 0-)

    One thing that is happening is education is that there is excessive standardization.  I am not talking about the common core standards, which is a good thing. I am talking about testing the insures every student learns the exact same thing.  I am talking about excessive supervision that insures every teacher is using the exact same techniques

    If a teacher is worth 40K+, then that teacher has to be able to select topics.  Teaching everything in the common core is just to much for students, if we want a deep understanding.  Teachers must teach the students they have, not some hypothetical group generated by administration.  Teachers must have the skills to teach relevant topic in a rigorous and accesible manner.

    If not they should not be teaching.  Even the AFT says that there bad teachers out there.  It is just that they think it is the administrators responsibility to fire those teachers during the probationary period.  It is easy enough to see if a teacher is managing the class and teaching to the kids or just passing the time.  The only problem is that these bad new teachers are who the administrators want, as it is likely they will leave after a years.  Effective teachers are dangerous as they are likely to stay too long and reach a high salary, at which point  they will have to trump up charges to get rid of them.

    Which is why we have so many tests and so much rigid and not at all rigorous curriculum.  If all the teachers are doing is playing with kids we can keep the low.

    But what are we going to do with all these uneducated kids who can support themselves?  Well we can provide jobs and demand that they overpay, or we can provide public assistance.  Either way works.  But we can also increase the number of educated workers who have the freedom to demand a fair wage for fair work.  

    Which is where the wage and education is kind of at odds.  I have had teachers from coal country that it is imposible to keep kids in school because everyone goes to the mine as soon as it is legal.  I had had teachers from Las Vegas tell me that it is hard to keep kids in school because of the money to be made in the hotels.  Of course now with the recession it may be different, and these unskilled workers may have trouble making ends meet.

    •  Teacher Effectiveness Isn't A Constant. (0+ / 0-)
      It is just that they think it is the administrators responsibility to fire those teachers during the probationary period.
      But this would assume that all teachers perform equally during their entire career doesn't it? Consider, for example, teachers who don't keep up as they get older (esp. in science fields), who get bored, jaded, grumpy, or fail to adapt to new cultural realities of their students. Shouldn't they be dismissed if they fail to meet the same standards probationary teachers must meet?
      •  experience (0+ / 0-)

        On my first real job we had a salesman that could barely walk. I wondered how he could deal with the electrical stuff that did not even exist when he started.  He certainly did not know all the stuff the younger guys did.  Yet he had his region and he drove sales for the company at phenomenal rates  Why?  Because he new the terrotory, knew how to listen, knew how to ask questions, and, in a nutshell, was a great salesman.

        Of course firing old people because they do not keep up and are old is a favorite sport for conservatives.  It is pretty easy to justify in all fields.  There were plenty of 50 year old professionals in the 90's who could not keep up with computers, and firm that did not value their experience did use that excuse to fire them and deny their pensions.

        But for teachers if one has been in front of a classroom every day for 20 years, this is not an issue.  The changing science is a myth. The physics taught in high school has not changed since 1902.  The biology taught in high school has not changed since 1970, and is pretty basic.  The chemistry has not changed in a even longer period.  Watch the older teachers in any school flawlessly move through activities that make student learn.  Look at the new teachers struggle to push even a single concept.  Look at the experienced teacher predicted where a student is having trouble.  Look at a new teacher struggling to understand why a student does not understand a simple concept.

  •  I'm so glad I'm not a worker. (0+ / 0-)

    At my age I couldn't take another war. I hope they show pictures of the boys when they come home.

  •  Day Laborer's Case (0+ / 0-)

    The linked article isn't very clear on what the ruling means.

    And, some other news sources are just completely wrong. For example, I found a couple that said that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals found that the portion of the law that prohibits interfering with traffic when soliciting day labor work or seeking day laborers was unconstitutional.

    Valle Del Sol v. Whiting did not find the relevant provisions of SB 1070 unconstitutional. It merely upheld a preliminary injunction barring enforcement because the lower court issuing the injunction "did not abuse its discretion in concluding that the plaintiffs were likely to succeed on the merits of their First Amendment challenge to the day labor provisions".

    When the underlying case is finally decided (and, surely, appealed) after full arguments, the provisions may still be upheld. Although, this ruling does suggest that in the unlikely event this same panel hears the appeal of the underlying case, it's likely they would rule in favor of the plaintiffs.

    Of course, Arizona can probably remedy this by simply passing a new law that prohibits individuals from interfering with traffic flow by contacting occupants of a car and/or prohibits occupants of a car from contacting other individuals in a way that interferes with traffic (obviously better wording would be needed - IANAL). Such restrictions would be content neutral and likely pass muster. Subsequent selective enforcement might get the replacement law in trouble, but if it was only selectively enforced where there was a pattern of complaints (i.e., likely day-in/day-out) I wouldn't imagine the law would have any problems and would catch all the cases they are trying to catch (and maybe a few others as well).

  •  Philadelphia's schools have been bad (0+ / 0-)

    for a long time. It also has many fewer students than it did just two decades ago.

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