AFT - American Federation of Teachers

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General: How you have been affected in this economy and what you want to hear from President Obama during his State of the Union address?

Comments: 192

I want the President to come out very strongly in favor of unions and pensions. Both have been integral to the creation of the middle class, and I want to hear my President say that he believes in both and that he will fight to the finish for both. Making a decent living is something every American should be able to strive for, and after working a lifetime paying into a pension system, Americans should be able to count on getting back the money they were guaranteed.

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Esther Allman
Frankfort, IL

Although President Obama helped the lower middle class with tax cuts, he compromised with funding cuts on health care for public schools. That hurt me as a St. Louis Public School Nurse. It hurts the poor children that rarely see Dr.s. I paid more out of pocket the last few years than ever for necessary equipment like printers and ink cartridges for health reports being sent home to the parents and for supplies. A sick child doesn't learn well. A dead child can't learn.

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Jane Humphreys
MNEA
St. Louis, MO

The effect of President Obama's national education policy has been devastating to public education. As a former Central Falls, RI teacher, I am appalled that the federal government has reached its hand into local school districts via the "Race to the Top" initiative. Central Falls HS has been decimated. Arne Duncan and President Obama personally commented on how pleased they were that the 89 teachers in the district were fired, without ever having stepped foot into the poorest town in the smallest state. Obama's push for corporate charter schools is equally corrupt. Pushing for corporate control of local education funds (via RTTT) is wrong.

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Anne McLaughlin
Cranston Teachers Alliance
Providence, RI

Teachers are being treated like the Whipping Boy for this downturn in the economy. If you segregate the data, city school districts and low-income districts fail often. However, suburban school districts and affluent disctrict are thriving. Can we please consider community reform before we beat up well meaning teachers. The teachers did not take down the economy, but we continue to crush them. Please take care of our educators and start going after the 1 percent.

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Vincent Pennisi
Massapequa Federation of Teachers
Lindenhurst, NY

The elderly, disabled, poor, and middle class(99%) are NOT the people that caused this recession, but we are the first made to pay by having anything and everything taken away from us! It is past time for the rich(1%) to be brought to justice and made to pay restitution to the 99%, and start paying their fair share NO EXCEPTIONS! Subsidies should only be for startups and small companies to get them up and going, NOT for companies already making billions, that is NONSENSE! We should go after all these offshore investments too! Do any politicians have any common sense of fairness????

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Nancy Wrensch
Jefferson, WI

Help us save our unions and give teachers power to change policy without fear of losing jobs. The assault on education has reached an unbelievable level of corruption and wickedness. We will be forced to keep the status quo or risk being unemployed. Our education system is failing so let's get the politicians and business men out of the way and let people who know how to educate do the job. You are where you are because someone taught you. Let us teach again. This is a class war we won't tolerate and can't afford to loose. Help us keep our jobs and protect our future...the children.

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Diane Fernandez
Corinth, TX

President Obama, Will u please help the teachers! I am so tired of coming to work and our superiors reminding us that we have 30 mil dollars to cut from the budget! The principals make the teachers feel like they are unwanted and easily to be replaced by cheaper workers! This is commonly happening in Tx because the education budget is running dry! Our republican governor, Rick perry is not using the rainy day fund or any money that the federal government is offering! The educators are getting the brunt of this because there are not a lot of degrees job options being offered! Therefore we feel stuck. Will please help bring back jobs to USA?

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Mokeita White
NEA
Dallas, TX

I would like the president to confront Republican's failure to provide infrastructure funding by refusing to pass the Jobs Bill. Yet, they say the President chooses the environment over jobs in negating the XL Pipeline. They're duplicitous in their message, and they need to be called out.

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Donna Ferrier-Johnson
Garland, TX

I want to hear that President Obama is going to support unions and the people's rights to organize. I want to hear that he understands how truly difficult a teacher's day is and that we need support to do our jobs properly, not criticism. I also want to hear that schools should be about learning, not testing, and that multiple measures of achievement must be used to measure progress, not one single test.

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kirsten ostrofsky
AFT
east northport, NY

Jail for the criminals in banking who ruined our economy. WPA Style Jobs Program reconstructing our infra structure to get the young out of poverty. A progressive tax code to make the 1% pay what they owe this country for their riches. Audit the military/industrial/congressional complex, end the war economy, create a Department of PEACE, and put the tax money into supporting education, a single payer health system, providing FOOD for the nearly 30% Americans who go hungry every night. Jail all of the war criminals who lied us into the war in Iraq and were involved in torture. Restoration of habeus corpus. End the rape of the environment.

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William Mc Guire
San Francisco, CA

My teacher retirement pension fund has gone down as higher payments, $40.00 a month, are taken out of my account. The Social Security payment has also been reduced for me and my husband. How are you going to support retired people and their medical coverage?

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silvia manzano
san antonio, TX

-Point out the simple facts that the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy DID NOT create jobs; that $10 trillion of the $14 trillion deficit is due to the borrow and spend republiCON Presidents Reagan, Bush and Bush and GOP Congresses. -That we have seen 22 consecutive months of private sector job growth under his leadership, in spite of unprecedented republiCON obstruction. -Highlight the SUCCESSES of the Auto industry loan (it wasn't a bailout) and of the Affordable Care Act. These are just a few. Thank you so much for the opportunity for average Americans to voice our opinions. Enjoy the rest of the day!

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Paul Ladniak
Woodridge, IL

As a retired teacher from Texas now living in KY, and working a job which pays into Social Security, I am very upset that when I am ready to retire a second time, my Social Security benefits will be subject to an "offset" due to my having served the state of Texas for over 22 years. I have also suffered because my pension has NEVER gone up since my retirement...no COLAS for TRS members...and the high cost of electricity, food, medicine, etc. really takes a chunk out of my money. I know we need to cut back...but why do I have to "cut back" and not the millionaires and billionaires? Social Security is not an "entitlement"...we earned it.

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Kathryn Vauthrin
Louisville , KY

He should defend the right of workers to organize. He should take steps to require states to fund schools.

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John Latimer
02260
Arlington, TX

The AFT general statement is excellent. To it I add affordable health care for all and not the privatization of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid; that President Obama will end the war in Afghanistan. It's time The Carlyle Group, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, Raytheon, etc. concentrate their profit making investments on life saving manufactures. Ask us to push Congress for laws that protect workers' pensions. Give our troops their GI bill for education and health. Forgive student loan debt. Tout the necessity of public education, libraries, housing, transportation, spaces, and a productive civil service

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Patricia Hollingsworth
1521
Los Angeles, CA

I would like to hear the President say he will hold the banks accountable for the damage they did to the US economy through their predatory lending practices.

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David Curry
UUP local 2190
Plattsburgh, NY

Personally, I have witnessed the shrinking of my purchasing power with the dollar. Others are much worse off through being either unemployed or underemployed. President Obama can greatly assist in rebuilding the economy by getting rid of the massive amount of regulation(s) that he has tied around business since coming into office.

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Karl Reger
AFT
Marlborough, MA

I want to hear how he is going to assure those of us in the service fields like teaching, nursing, and law enforcement from continuing to be the scapegoat for what ails the economy. I want to know how he will assure my profession's livelihood in an era where states are "stealing" the funds needed to provide adequate care. We all strive to provide excellence of service and yet we are continuing to be seen as "easy money" to patch struggling state budget problems that were not of our making.

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Dawn Heeren
ABCFT
Whittier, CA

With the advent of globalization and the offshoring policies of previous administrations, we've created a structural job deficit. Those jobs will not return. Besides innovators/Entrepreneurs who may (but mostly will not) need large work forces, I see no other way of filling the hole but with WPA-level infrastucture projects. And of course, it'll cost trillions in tax dollars. Better than wasting it on tax-cuts for billionaires and Afghanistan. In a paragraph what is the Obama Jobs Plan? It's time to get extreme in your decisionmaking

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Joe Zeinner
Austin
Austin, TX

I've had to assist financially several family members and my partner because they have been laid off and their unemployment benefits have been cut. I've also taken in my cousin because if not, he would have been homeless. Many of my friends have had to move in with their friends or family members. Americans need steady jobs that pay a decent salary, because the standard of living is high and the wages are low. The Middle Class has been shafted and always carries the burden. It's unjust for Americans who have worked their entire life, paid taxes, and now can't benefit from unemployment or food stamps. It's unfair, and un-American.

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Jacqueline Carrero
Hollywood, FL

There is more to what needs to be said by President Obama than what the AFT insists its members focus on. These are issues that don't get a lot of "air-time" or media attention, but they loom over our heads like an approaching, dark storm. We ignore them, to focus inanely, and myopically, on things like "jobs" and "unemployment" at our risk. In the long run, they bode far more peril to our lives than the topics that the AFT would love us to jawbone endlessly about. They are: 1) Peak Oil - We are running, inexorably,out of petroleum, without which civilization grinds to a halt. 2) Overpopulation - The earth is finite - get used to it.

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James Close
Public Employees Federation
Mechanicville, NY

President Obama should've kept all his promises before being elected. What happened aftermath? I have friend who lost their jobs, houses and other equities. Yes because of the lack of leadership and decision making. Obama should stop spending money on sending troops overseas. What are our benefits from these actions?

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Aziz Elmrini
Astoria, NY

I want the President to reaffirm his commitment to advocate for the passage of the Employee Free Choice Act that would make it easier for workers to have a say as to whether they want to join a union. The erosion of the middle class has paralleled the decline in Union density. This trend needs to be reversed. As the President himself said when he signed the Lilly Ledbetter law: "I do not view the labor movement as part of the problem. To me, it's part of the solution. You cannot have a strong middle class without a strong labor movement." (Jan. 30, 2009)

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Win Heimer
AFT 4200R
West Hartford, CT

I would like the President of the United States address the issues that the 99% represent. Since the banks and wall street were bailed out, now these very institutions should be returning the favor to the government through taxes as pay back for the assistance they received. Instead of applying the cutbacks on the middle class, the wealthy should be coming to the assistance of the government in the debt crisis. When it comes the field of education, superintendents, principals and assistant principals should be held responsible for the safety and discipline of the students in the school. Each individual teacher can only do so much.

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Claire Scesney-Lundahl
UFT
NY, NY

As a recently retired art teacher, I am upset about the continued budget cuts to public services in state and local governments. The education budget cuts mean teachers of the arts are being laid off. I want President Obama to focus on job creation with federal money to rebuild infrastructure, help fund state governments' budget shortfalls, and to increase the taxes of the 1% who have benefitted from the services of the government and can afford to pay more to help our country and the middle income and poor people of the US.

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Paul Wortman
UFT
New York, NY

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