By Victor Skinner
ELGIN, Ill. – In a small church in Elgin, Illinois, just outside of Chicago, a group of radical activists have been plotting ways to “create a crisis” and sap more money from taxpayers to increase spending on public education.
In a new EAGnews exclusive video, political activists and Chicago Teachers Union officials discuss the possibility of a massive teachers strike, methods to increase education funding, and the partnership between the state’s teachers and the Occupy movement.
The meeting was organized by the group “Jobs with Justice” – a coalition of unions and other leftist organizations that advocate for all of Big Labor’s favorite policies, with a keen focus on opposing critical pension and education reforms.
“There is a lack of a perception of a crisis in Illinois,” Doug Donnan, a retired educator, told the group. “First of all you have got to get organized and unify yourselves. The second thing you got to do is take some power. And the only way I know how to do that is to organize a strike, legal or not!
“This whole state should be shut down by all the teachers!”
Chicago Teachers Union representative Sarah Hainds explained that the union has been developing its network with a variety of radical organizations.
“What we’re trying to do right now is enormous coalition building. In Chicago … we’re front and center with Occupy Chicago, we’re front and center with Jobs with Justice in Chicago,” Hainds said in the EAGnews video.
The CTU’s cozy relationship with the city’s Occupy crowd is a chilling thought. We can’t imagine public school teachers standing shoulder to shoulder with violent criminals – like the one who stabbed a police officer during the recent NATO summit.
The group in Elgin also discussed the latest Big Labor schemes to funnel funds from “the rich” to pay for lavish union benefits and pension plans.
A $1 financial transaction tax on contracts traded on Chicago’s derivative exchanges, for both buyers and sellers, “is going to generate some serious revenue,” said John Laesch, with Northern Illinois Jobs with Justice.
Jean Pierce, retired psychology professor from Northern Illinois University, presented other dim ideas on “raising revenue,” including a graduated income tax, eliminating certain college tuition tax credits for students, and “a state sales tax on services that tend to be used by wealthy individuals.”
“Those of you who are going to be helping us push for a graduated rate income tax, please do not call it a progressive income tax, that’s a dirty word, it’s liberal,” Pierce said. “Call it a graduated rate income tax.”
Most education reformers agree that the problems with public education have little to do with the amount of revenue schools receive, but rather what schools do with the money. In Illinois, millions in tax dollars each year are spent on unused sick day bonuses for unionized teachers, retirement incentives, “release time” for teachers to work for their union, and extra pay for everything from lunch room duty to taking tickets at the Friday football games.
And judging by the video, teachers unions and their supporters aren’t interested in slowing the gravy train.