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 him to address the fact that teachers are being asked everyday to do more with less. Because of the heavy reliance on high stakes testing as the sole indicator of success,instruction is influenced by the test. Teachers are also tasked with addressing physical, social and emotional needs. We need to be free and unencumbered to do their job of TEACHING, not parenting. Even though he has done so in the past, President Obama needs to remind some parents that some of the work must be done at home. Check your child's folder, do homework, stay attuned to their needs. I am the teacher at school, but you are the teacher at home.

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Sanita Irvin
JFT
GRETNA, LA

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

I need it explained to me in very simple terms how it is ethically and morally right that those making hundreds of thousands to billions are paying the same taxes that I pay or less on my meager $43K a year (gross). How can Mitt Romney with his over $300K in speakers fees last year pays about 14.7% taxes? Why is everyone scared to eliminate the tax loopholes that only the top 1% are able to use? How is it ethically and morally right to always cut funding for education and pass legislation that contains unfunded mandates? I really need it clearly and simply explained to me so that maybe I can understand.

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Anna Marie Garrett
Hillsborough CTA
Tampa, FL

I have a union job, and so I have not been badly battered by this economy - yet in my family, everyone else has. My parents lost retirement savings in the Lehman Brothers collapse, and each of my siblings has lost a job, a home, or a significant portion of their income. I want to hear the President talk about what he will do for housing to shore up the middle class, and what he will do to create more good jobs. I want to see healthcare access and quality continue to improve - while the Affordable Care Act did not go far enough, it must be vigorously defended. And for our long-term security, we must act to slow climate change.

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Janey Skinner
AFT 2121
Richmond, CA

Our schools have had many cuts in personnel and programs. Students no long have support and assistance from guidance counselors, social workers or psychologists. Many schools do not have functioning libraries because librarians have been eliminated. Important programs such as enrichment programs, sports, targeted instruction, full time art and music and targeted instruction programs have all been reduced or eliminated. I would like to hear that President Obama is restoring full funding to public schools that are in such desperate need.

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Dr. Kara Popiel
YFT 860
Irvington, NY

My pension and health care benefits are not enough to meet the high cost of living since I'm a cancer survivor and had to retire early after 27 years of teaching.What will you do to help all teachers including those of us who have retired already,to meet increasing costs of health care and living expenses?

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Joanie Shires
Retired
San Antonio, TX

I want to hear President Obama address the nation wide assault on union workers, particularly teachers and women. It appears that all the bad fiscal decisions made by politicians and legislators will be solved on the backs of union workers, teachers, nurses, and the middle class. I want all legislators, state and federal, to be held accountable to the bills they pass. In other words, you "reform" my pension which will take me over 34 years of service to receive 75% of my salary because I am costing the state toooooooo much money, then you need to reform your own!!!!! Burris can take Obama's Senate seat and receive a pension? Are u kidding me?

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Therese Schuld
Chicago, IL

Property values declined and banks are making it impossible for people who have continued to pay their mortgages to refinance at the new lower rates. This is generally unfair to those of us who are still scraping by! What legislation is forth coming to address this inequity?

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Daniel Schiessl
Chicago Teachers Union
Chicago, IL

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

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

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 want to hear words of respect, encouragement and gratitude for our nation's teachers. I also want to hear a plan for placing fully certified, experienced teachers in our most challenging schools as opposed to young people right out of college. I want to hear plans for helping teachers obtain autonomy as professionals so they will be free to do their very best without micromanagement. And I want to hear about plans to end teaching by testing. Also, it would be nice to hear an announcement of an EDUCATOR for Secretary of Education. And let's reduce poverty for our children. It's time to learn from Finland!

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Linda Johnson
NEA Retired
Long Beach, CA

Despite working multiple part-time teaching jobs for ten years, my wife and I were unable to pay down our student loans. Interest accrued. We now owe twice what we borrowed. I'm now full-time at a state school but she's still insecure in her work life. I've suffered years of pay freezes and benefit reductions. This debt is a huge drag on our lives. Please propose student loan debt forgiveness or, maybe, just cancellation of accrued student loan interest as national stimulus. Please also explain how public sector employees exchange career mobility for modest wages, benefits and job security. We are not the problem. We are the solution.

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Timothy O'Neill
MSCF
Rochester, MN

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

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

In this economy, and with the continuing attacks on unions and education, I've seen my pay and benefits cut and my job threatened while my workload increases. I've been instructed to focus on narrow test prep. I've been forced, by state and federal laws and regulations, to implement programs that will not help students but will rather hurt them, all in the name of "fixing" education. I'd like to hear President Obama say that he's firing Arne Duncan and replacing him with Diane Ravitch. I'd like to hear him voice support for unions and public (not charter) schools, and to press state governments to do so. But I'm not holding my breath.

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Eric Ceresa
EDFT (Local 698)
Grosse Pointe Farms, MI

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

Please, please talk about Wall Street's greed and the continued widening economic inequality in this country. This is not class warfare; this is the wealthy one percent continuing to demonstrate their Anti-American anti-Christian spirit for the less fortunate fellow Americans. We should all ask not what our country can give us in tax breaks, but what we can give to our country in taxes so as to make our country whole again. We need to demonstrate our compassion for our fellow citizens in this once great country so we can be a great country once again.

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Clara Haignere
TAUP
Lawrenceville, NJ

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

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

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

Tell us his plan on how he is going to dismantel the greed and end the corruption of Wall Street. The time for talk is over and serious action needs to happen now.

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Daniel Fernandez
Corinth, TX

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

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

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

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