Rouge Forum Update

Dear Friends,

A two week road trip throughout California can tempt one to conclude that Thoreau’s comment, “What news? How much more important to learn that which is never old?” might be right.

But, in that two week period, UAW executives negotiated what may stand as the worst sellout of wages and health benefits in the history of US labor, agreeing to multiple-tier wage systems, a shell game for health benefits, an end to in plant restrictions like unlimited overtime. Should this package stand, it will surely influence education contracts, soon.

In Michigan, the state legislature shutdown state government, mainly because legislators want to eradicate a model health insurance plan administered, mostly, by the Michigan Education Association, probably the best educator health care plan in the US.

While Alan Greenspan admitted, “Iraq is largely about oil,” the dollar collapsed against, among other things, the Canadian loonie, making Rouge founder Wayne Ross a Cassandra of finance.

NEA executives did a weird dance of not opposing NCLB, while trying hard to appear to oppose NCLB, and key NEA locals began to pressure the union to stand for NCLB abolition. At the same time, AFT fought hard to retain NCLB, but to defeat merit pay, rather like the ethics of concentration camp guards.

Democrats and Republicans remained united as a class, for war and NCLB.

National resistance to the empire’s wars, and its school regimentation, remain bogged down, mainly by fear (in the k12 world) and opportunism (in academia).

Japanese teachers (1500 of them) joined to reject the re-militarization of their nation and schools, protesting against a new national pledge, while Denver students marched out of classes, refusing to chant religious portions of the US pledge.

Bulgarian teachers initiated and maintained a massive strike for pay and better working conditions.

A student at the University of Florida coined a new US phrase: Don’t Taze Me Bro!
while spectators, looked on and did nothing.

Seymour Hersh suggested that Americans learn nothing from history, paralleling Chalmers Johnson’s belief that Americans know no history and so cannot connect history and contemporary reality.

Scott Ritter warned, again, of a US attack on Iran

All this and more is linked on the Rouge Forum No Blood for Oil Page.

With CalCare, activist NEA locals, parents, and students, the Rouge Forum is launching a major effort to overcome NCLB’s atmosphere of fear in schools, and its high-stakes exams, with direct action boycotts. We would like to meet with all those who are interested in helping out. Our California tour demonstrated that direct action is possible, and necessary. We will have a full report on the California tour soon.

Here is Jonathan Kozol writing about his anti-NCLB fast.

The Rouge Forum will have a big presence at the upcoming National Conference for the Social Studies Conference in San Diego, November 28 to December 1 this year. Plan to come on the phantasmagoric Rouge Forum tour of the city, the day before the conference begins.

Please plan to join us at the Rouge Forum Conference in Louisville, KY, March 14, 15, and 16.

Thanks to Adam, Gina, Amber, Tommie, Bob, Susan H and O, Betty M., Hoffie, Candace, Sherry, Sharon A., Bill Blank, Greg and Katie, Carol Panetta and Bob, Lyn Stinson, Perry, Wayne, MThomas, Kevin, Peter M, Dave Hill, Glenn Rikowski, Beau, Erin, all those who welcomed us on our road trip and Wanda J.

All the best, r

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