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A kindergarten class.
Here's a totally disgusting contrast, highlighted by Sam Pizzigati:
In 2013, the trade journal Alpha revealed, the hedge fund industry’s top 25 earners collected $21.15 billion, a whopping 50 percent over their total the year before. [...]

But the real enormity of America’s annual hedge fund jackpots only comes into focus when we contrast these windfalls with the rewards that go to ordinary Americans. Kindergarten teachers, for instance.

The 157,800 teachers of America’s little people, the Bureau of Labor Statistics tells us, together make about $8.34 billion a year. Hedge fund America’s top four earners alone last year grabbed $10.4 billion.

What makes this especially disgusting is that all that money means hedge funders can buy a bigger say in American education than kindergarten (or third grade, or high school math) teachers:
Hedge fund billionaires are indeed investing colossal millions in charters, educational entities — often tied closely to for-profits — that take in public tax dollars but operate independently of local school board oversight.

Hedge fund manager cash has gone both to individual charter schools directly and into political war chests to support candidates who want to see charter networks expanded. Thanks to this cash, charters have become a major fact of American educational life, with a “market share” that rivals traditional public schools in many big cities.

Continue reading for more of the week's education and labor news.

A fair day's wage

  • The death toll from an explosion in a Turkish mine is nearing 300, and images of an aide to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan kicking a protester is not calming the outrage. Neither is Erdogan's claim that such explosions "are ordinary things," a claim he backed by citing much, much earlier events. Additionally:
    Just two weeks ago, the opposition Republican People’s party (CHP) tabled a motion in parliament calling on authorities to investigate work-related accidents in Soma’s mines.

    The motion cited three separate fires over a three-month stretch in 2012, as well as another accident in October last year, which left a total of two dead and 48 injured. It was defeated with votes from Mr. Erdogan’s ruling AKP.

  • In the interesting unions you probably didn't know existed category, the Arena Football Players Union has affiliated with the AFL-CIO.
  • Four ways you can seek back pay for an unpaid internship.
  • Less than one percent of New York's workplaces were inspected by OSHA last year.


  • The Rhode Island Senate passed a moratorium on using a standardized test as a high school graduation test, but the state House doesn't look likely to follow suit.
  • Low-wage workers in Los Angeles schools are pressing for a $15 minimum wage and improved services for students.
  • Leonie Haimson busts six charter school myths.
  • Brooklyn teachers protested a test meant only to evaluate teachers, not students, with a May Day boycott:
    After their press conference, the teachers proceeded into the building, where, according to Emily Giles, who teaches ninth- and 10th-grade science at IHSPH, they taught class as they would have any other day. Although 50 percent of the students had already been opted out of taking the test by their parents, Giles says administrators still attempted to give the test to a small handful—with little success.
  • Education activist Barbara Madeloni was elected president of the Massachusetts Teachers Association in an upset last weekend. This is the latest in a series of teachers union election wins by insurgent, outsider candidates. (Disclosure: My father was involved in Madeloni's campaign.)

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Sat May 17, 2014 at 10:55 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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