What This Is…
Issue #13- July 21, 2011 Several victories, What can I do?, and a few Walker lies.
Of course the biggest news this week is the huge win for Sen. Hansen on Tuesday. This keeps his district's Senate seat in Democratic hands and builds momentum for the August 9th recall elections. A margin of 2:1 showed the strong support voters have for Hansen's actions that support working families in Wisconsin. One election in the books, 8 more to go.
A smaller victory, but a very satisfying one for Madison teachers was the official announcement of an agreement between MTI and MMSD regarding teacher planning time. After the school district proposed new start and stop times for teachers, with accompanying loss of the use of Monday release time for planning, hundreds of teachers mobilized and spoke out at a school board meeting. The board listened and as a result a more satisfactory agreement was reached. This was even more of a victory for all parties given the current political climate. The disagreement over planning time could easily have escalated to a very unpleasant level, but this didn't happen. That seems to speak well for the near future as district employees and administration work to try and cooperate while being faced with huge cuts to funding from the state.
Of course Madison is just one of over 400 public school districts in Wisconsin that are faced with the challenges created by our governor. Many of these districts are facing huge challenges both financially and in terms of the support they have for their labor struggles. Once again, information is our greatest ally as we try to overcome the divisive politics the Republicans are using. Our other strength lies in the number of supporters and their passion for the cause. Just stop in at the Labor Temple, go canvassing or go to a rally and see the positive energy in the people there. We need to use all the "tools" we have to support our fellow workers across the state.
As an educator I'm used to struggling to make small gains. Progress for my students is rarely linear, and frequently seems to be inconsistent. However, my students and I show up every school day with the intent on learning and growing together. That's how I am approaching this political battle as well. There will be successes and failures, but in the long run we will emerge stronger and better equipped to succeed in the future.
But, what can I do?…
While we can certainly take a moment and savor our victories there is still a long road ahead of us. August 9th is the next big day coming up and the success of our efforts will be equal to the amount of effort we all put in to the campaign. What that effort looks like is entirely up to each individual. No one can do everything, but everyone can do something. Think about your strengths and look for ways to use them in the recall efforts. Just as we try and utilize a student's strengths to help them learn, we can use our own skills and expertise effectively to make a difference. Try something new and challenge yourself, you will find the effort rewarding. I know that I've found myself doing things I'd never dreamed I would do as a result of my strong reactions to Walker's policies.
Along with the continuing canvassing and phone banking we all need to continue to communicate the truth about Walker's policies. Sharing information with friends and family is very important. Think of it as though you are throwing a rock into a pool, the information you share is then shared by others and so forth. Eventually it will reach an undecided independent voter who will then (hopefully) make a more informed decision on election day. The power of hearing the truth from a trusted person can not be underestimated.
For those of us in education, summer is a time where we have more flexibility in scheduling. Use this time to find local businesses that support worker's rights. It's also a good time to research products and develop buying habits that will carry through to the school year. Funneling money into worker friendly businesses and products and helps all of us.
Political Action and Protest Opportunities…
"Arrested Development" fans will
recognize Lindsay in her "Neuter Fest"
garb. If you haven't seen the show,
you are missing some really funny
stuff. If the Bluth family can participate in social activism, so can all of us.
For both the August 9th and 16th elections there will be extra canvassing and phone banking leading up to voting day.
-Join MTI any and every Thursday at the Labor Temple for phone banking and also consider canvassing on Sundays. Phone bank opportunities are available every day of the week as well.
Let's work to keep the pressure on the Republican senators and support our Democrats who are under attack!
-August 9/General Election for the 6 Republican Senate Seats- There are requests out for volunteers to go to Waukesha and do exit polling there to help monitor the validity of the vote there.
With the joy of Hansen's victory comes the continuing frustration with the total disregard for the truth from the Walker administration. Every time I hear about one of the blatant lies and fabrications that are presented to the public I'm reminded of how important it is to keep people informed. If all a person's information comes from mainstream media, the image of the fight for worker's rights is greatly distorted.
Need a couple of examples of misleading information from recent days? Here are just a few to add to our already lengthy list:
Lies about the "tools" available to school districts.