“Corporations are People, Teachers are Not. Fix That!”

by Ellen McClennan, posted on Sunday, May 20th, 2012 at 7:29 pm

A five-year-old girl sitting in a wagon held a sign that read, “How can this be my fault? Tax the 1%”

Her mother, Dr. Annette DeAngelis-Marshall, who came to the teachers’ rally in Naperville this past Thursday, May 17th, was pulling her. Dr. DeAngelis-Marshall is a special education teacher consultant and advocate who came to the rally as a citizen, taxpayer, and teacher to demand attention from politicians enacting pension changes for Illinois teachers.

“I’ve tried to speak to Darlene Senger but she doesn’t listen to me.” DeAngelis-Marshall said.

Senger is on Governor Pat Quinn’s task force charged with the job of changing the teachers’ pension system. Frustration with Senger was echoed by dozens of other people attending the rally. Approximately two hundred people were there. While most were teachers, some were union workers, college students, Occupiers, retired teachers, and just plain parents. All were taxpayers with a stake in good public schools.

“Pensions are deferred compensation, not taxpayer handouts,” read one sign.

“Be fair, treat me like Sears and Boeing,” read another.

“Senger is a Civic Committee puppet,” yet another

And, “Corporations are people, teachers are not. Fix That!”

Demand excellent public schools,” read one making a reference to the lofty sounding special interest group Stand for Children. Public teachers target this group because it pushes for breaking teacher unions and for turning public schools into for-profit organizations supported by tax dollars.

Those organizing the rally were Joni Lindgren and Jane Bruggeman with Educators United for Strong Public Schools and John Laesch and Mary Shesgreen with Northern Illinois Jobs with Justice.

“We are here for teachers,” said Laesch, “where ever there is injustice to workers we will work for change.”

The two groups have a solution to the funding crisis for the Illinois pension system. They are asking Illinois politicians to enact a Speculation Tax, sometimes referred to as the ‘robin hood’ tax, on trades from the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the Chicago Board of Options Exchange. A $1.00 tax on each trade would bring in $6,000,000,000 yearly. It would be quick and easy to enact if politicians had the intestinal fortitude to stand up to the financial institutions that fund their campaigns.

The National Nurses United made the same case to national politicians at their rally Friday, May 18 at the Daley Center in Chicago.

All three of these organizations state that banking and financial institutions brought down the economy and are now making record profits while being given massive subsidies and tax loopholes that drain and starve public services

Roger Sanders, retired Assistant Superintendent of Oswego Schools and life long educator, stated that the Chicago Mercantile Exchange would receive about $1 billion in tax subsidies over the next ten years.

Another solution to pension funding is a graduated income tax. Because Illinois is one of the few states that have a ‘flat tax,’ our tax system falls more heavily on the middle class and poor. A graduated tax similar to that in Iowa would lower taxes for 54% of Illinoisans and would bring in approximately $6,300,000,000 more revenue. The downside is that it would require a constitutional amendment and would be a lengthy process.

Speakers at Thursday’s rally were Marie Owens, retired third grade teacher from Naperville                                schools, Joni Lindgren, retired grade school teacher from West Aurora School District, Glen Brown, retired high school teacher and current teacher at Benedictine University, Jane Bruggeman, retired Naperville grade school teacher, Dr. Vincint Gaddis, history professor at Benedictine University, and Roger Sanders.

Lindgren spoke about the forces that drain the public school system of resources and good teachers. She mentioned the Civic Committee and Stand for Children. Later in conversation she mentioned the American Legislative Exchange Council, better known as ALEC, as also involved with attacking our public schools.

“…Of the corporations, by the corporations, and for the corporations…are cannibalizing our economy, our public schools and defining our futures,” she emphasized in her talk.

Sanders emphasized we in Illinois need to see our Governor “get off the corporate welfare wagon.” We need the General Assembly to take a critical look at the state’s tax structure. Both the Governor and the General Assembly need to “get real about spending priorities.” The culture of corruption and collusion that exists in Illinois politics must be changed. And we as taxpayers in Illinois need to “say enough is enough.”

He added,                        “The demeaning of teachers must stop.”

Dr. Gaddis added we must stand up for our values now more than ever before. “Do we value a society that privatizes our economy, our schools? Our values,” he said, “are about human beings. Peace not war. Life not death. Give not take. Honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work.”

All emphasized we must all stand up now, be counted, and demand politicians take our agendas into account.

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One Response to ““Corporations are People, Teachers are Not. Fix That!””

  1. [...] themselves Educators United for Strong Schools. Along with Northern Illinois Jobs with Justice, they had a rally Thursday afternoon from 4:00 to 6:00 in Naperville, IL at the Free Speech Pavilion which was attended by [...]

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