Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Scam of Education Reform/Privatization (Fighting Over the Scraps-Economy) Piece Work 19th Century Days  (Before Workers' Rights) Returning Fast

It's nice being thought of by your wealthy owners as the stoopids of America, isn't it?

And that's all of US, folks.

Not "murdering" folks, but "stoopiding" folks. Although it's a lot like murdering a country.

It's been a long-term plan.

And the final days' scenario is emerging. (Ask Betsy DeVos, who chairs the American Federation for Children, is a major Republican benefactor and also is a sister of Erik Prince, founder of Blackwater/XE/Academi (getting the inside joke yet?).)

It's almost enlightening to realize that your education system was delivered into the hands of non-educators over 30 years ago. And then realizing that these very same non-educators' bosses hired publicists/lobbyists to convince US that they had failed so badly that we needed to hire their brothers-in-arms to fix (own) US.

Jesus, please remember this.

In Name Only

What is Democrats for Education Reform?

Democrats for Education Reform (DFER) is an education privatization group started by hedge fund managers who wanted to influence Democrats' education policies just as the Wal-Mart family had influenced Republicans'. In the words of one of DFER's founders, in order to get Democrats to emulate Republicans on education, it would have to be an "inside job," and they needed a group that would be named Democrats for Education Reform.

Charles and David Koch

In 2012, DFER became the face of the most anti-public education and anti-union referendums in California's history. DFER helped promote ALEC-like legislation to make it harder for labor unions to advocate for working Californians. DFER's California was part of the face for a joint campaign that also ran tens of millions of dollars in television ads against Proposition 30, which raised taxes on millionaires to fund California schools. The right-wing campaign against Proposition 30 and for Proposition 32 raised tens of millions of dollars from the Koch brothers' network.

Rex Sinquefield

The apparently defunct DFER group in Missouri has two ties to right-wing financier Rex Sinquefield, the president of the Show-Me Institute and a member of the right-wing State Policy Network. Rodney Hubbard, the former president of DFER-Missouri, was fined by the Missouri Ethics Commission for concealing campaign contributions, including several large contributions from Sinquefield. DFER-Missouri's Web page uses the same Google Analytics code as several organizations founded by Sinquefield, including the Children's Education Alliance of Missouri, the Missouri Council for a Better Economy, Pelopidas and United for Missouri’s Future, and several expired domains related to Sinquefield’s Show-Me Institute.

Rupert Murdoch

Rupert Murdoch, owner of FOX News and numerous right-wing newspapers across the globe, was revealed to have donated $1 million to Education Reform Now, the 501(c)(3) arm of DFER.

Walton Family Foundation

Even though DFER co-founder Whitney Tilson once said, "Because the moment we take any Wal-Mart money — that's anti-union, etcetera, etcetera," DFER has accepted $5,739,600 from the Walton Family Foundation since 2010.

American Federation for Children

In 2010, when the American Federation for Children was praising Scott Walker's regressive education agenda, DFER donated $25,000 to the right-wing voucher group. The American Federation for Children is run by Betsy DeVos, a major Republican benefactor and the sister of Erik Prince, founder of Blackwater.

The American Federation for Children exists to promote vouchers, which subsidize education at private schools — including schools that teach creationism and non-scientific nonsense.

But Wait, There's More!

Cease and desist from the Democratic Party of Los Angeles:  The Democratic Party of Los Angeles demanded that DFER stop using the word "Democrats" in its organization, arguing that it appeared to violate California elections law and the bylaws of the Los Angeles County Democratic Party.

California Democratic Party issues resolution condemning DFER:  The California Democratic Party handily passed a resolution at its 2013 convention condemning DFER and its billionaire-funded education agenda.

DFER-related 501(c)(3) spends big in ad against Chicago Teachers Union:  Education Reform Now, the 501(c)(3) arm of DFER, ran a high-profile advertisement against the Chicago Teachers Union in the run-up to the CTU strike in 2012.


@DFER_News worked with Kochs in 2012 to push ALEC-like propositions and undermine public education

What kind of "Democrats" take FOX News $$? Rupert Murdoch gave $1 million to @DFER_News

What kind of ''Democrats'' take FOX News $$? Rupert Murdoch gave $1 million to @DFER_News

Hey @DFER_News:  Are you with the Kochs and Waltons or with the kids and teachers?

The uneducated will never be able to perform the jobs of the future.

And it's not an accident that there are so many more uneducated citizens today.

Robert Reich, teacher/spokesman for the people, breaks it down into little chunks for US stoopids.

Readers outside of the US should read on also as the same program is going international.

The Share-the-Scraps Economy

By Robert Reich, Robert Reich's Blog

03 February 15

ow would you like to live in an economy where robots do everything that can be predictably programmed in advance, and almost all profits go to the robots’ owners?

Meanwhile, human beings do the work that’s unpredictable – odd jobs, on-call projects, fetching and fixing, driving and delivering, tiny tasks needed at any and all hours – and patch together barely enough to live on.

Brace yourself. This is the economy we’re now barreling toward.

They’re Uber drivers, Instacart shoppers, and Airbnb hosts. They include Taskrabbit jobbers, Upcounsel’s on-demand attorneys, and Healthtap’s on-line doctors.

They’re Mechanical Turks.

The euphemism is the “share” economy. A more accurate term would be the “share-the-scraps” economy.

New software technologies are allowing almost any job to be divided up into discrete tasks that can be parceled out to workers when they’re needed, with pay determined by demand for that particular job at that particular moment.

Customers and workers are matched online. Workers are rated on quality and reliability.

The big money goes to the corporations that own the software. The scraps go to the on-demand workers.

Consider Amazon’s “Mechanical Turk.” Amazon calls it “a marketplace for work that requires human intelligence.”

In reality, it’s an Internet job board offering minimal pay for mindlessly-boring bite-sized chores. Computers can’t do them because they require some minimal judgment, so human beings do them for peanuts — say, writing a product description, for $3; or choosing the best of several photographs, for 30 cents; or deciphering handwriting, for 50 cents.

Amazon takes a healthy cut of every transaction.

This is the logical culmination of a process that began thirty years ago when corporations began turning over full-time jobs to temporary workers, independent contractors, free-lancers, and consultants.

It was a way to shift risks and uncertainties onto the workers – work that might entail more hours than planned for, or was more stressful than expected.

And a way to circumvent labor laws that set minimal standards for wages, hours, and working conditions. And that enabled employees to join together to bargain for better pay and benefits.

The new on-demand work shifts risks entirely onto workers, and eliminates minimal standards completely.

In effect, on-demand work is a reversion to the piece work of the nineteenth century – when workers had no power and no legal rights, took all the risks, and worked all hours for almost nothing.

Uber drivers use their own cars, take out their own insurance, work as many hours as they want or can – and pay Uber a fat percent. Worker safety? Social Security? Uber says it’s not the employer so it’s not responsible.

Amazon’s "Mechanical Turks" work for pennies, literally. Minimum wage? Time-and-a half for overtime? Amazon says it just connects buyers and sellers so it’s not responsible.

Defenders of on-demand work emphasize its flexibility. Workers can put in whatever time they want, work around their schedules, fill in the downtime in their calendars.

“People are monetizing their own downtime,” Arun Sundararajan, a professor at New York University’s business school, told the New York Times.

But this argument confuses “downtime” with the time people normally reserve for the rest of their lives.

There are still only twenty-four hours in a day. When “downtime” is turned into work time, and that work time is unpredictable and low-paid, what happens to personal relationships? Family? One’s own health?

Other proponents of on-demand work point to studies, such as one recently commissioned by Uber, showing Uber’s on-demand workers to be “happy.”

But how many of them would be happier with a good-paying job offering regular hours?

An opportunity to make some extra bucks can seem mighty attractive in an economy whose median wage has been stagnant for thirty years and almost all of whose economic gains have been going to the top.

That doesn’t make the opportunity a great deal. It only shows how bad a deal most working people have otherwise been getting.

Defenders also point out that as on-demand work continues to grow, on-demand workers are joining together in guild-like groups to buy insurance and other benefits.

But, notably, they aren’t using their bargaining power to get a larger share of the income they pull in, or steadier hours. That would be a union – something that Uber, Amazon, and other on-demand companies don’t want.

Some economists laud on-demand work as a means of utilizing people more efficiently.

But the biggest economic challenge we face isn’t using people more efficiently. It’s allocating work and the gains from work more decently.

On this measure, the share-the-scraps economy is hurtling us backwards.

So keep voting for those good-ole-boy (or upper-class) Republicans!

And your work life will only worsen.

(Not that there aren't plenty of neolib Dims also working hard for the US economy's continuing exiguity (impoverishment).)

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