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teacher for life 
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Recent Comments

Re: “Education commissioner set to do town hall for LR takeover lobbyist

Arkansas State Teachers Association (ASTA) operates on member dues. ASTA does seek grants, like any other nonprofit, for projects and to put toward their teacher scholarship and grant program (open to members and nonmembers). The Walton Family Foundation is a huge contributor to traditional public schools in Arkansas. All of their grants are published for the public to view. The largest teacher union in America, National Education Association, which gets over $180 of the Arkansas Education Association member’s dues, got millions of dollars in grants from the Gates Foundation, but I don't see Max Brantley saying that the Arkansas Education Association is in the back pocket of the Gates Foundation. Why is that? Anyone can see for themselves what ASTA is really all about by going to their website and making an informed decision. Most teachers in Arkansas have actively chosen not to be a part of the union (AEA only has between 9,000 and 10,000 members out of the 40,000 to 50,000 who could join even though they have been around since 1879). ASTA is out there for those teachers who haven’t joined any organization to be able to join for a third of the cost of AEA dues. What is wrong with giving teachers options for a professional association? It has nothing to do with trying to "tear down" the Arkansas Education Association. My guess is that a very small percentage of the AEA members are switching to ASTA. However, ASTA now has thousands of members statewide. ASTA also gives over 25 $500 grants and scholarships to Arkansas teachers each year regardless of whether they are members or not. I personally know some AEA members who have gotten ASTA grants and still stayed members of the AEA. By the way, many science teachers are members of the Arkansas State Teachers Association. They get a $2 million liability insurance policy in their own name as well as guaranteed legal counsel at the onset of job actions. In fact, Arkansas State Teachers Association has partnered with the Arkansas Science Teachers Association and the other subject specific professional organizations to present the largest teaching conference in Arkansas called the Arkansas Curriculum Conference. ASTA encourages their members to join their subject specific organizations as well.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by teacher for life on 04/24/2015 at 12:21 AM

Re: “Waltons fund another education 'reform' lobby

Jake, you can look up ASTA testimony before committees in the legislature to clearly see that ASTA does not have a pre-set agenda as you say. ASTA gets the correct information about a bill to it's members and surveys it's members. Then ASTA takes the results of those surveys (no matter what they are) to the lawmakers. ASTA has been commended by law makers that this is a good approach, and it works. It would be nice to see the AEA and NEA use this approach instead of just talking about their pre-set agenda.

Posted by teacher for life on 03/15/2015 at 11:43 PM

Re: “Waltons fund another education 'reform' lobby

I agree with Sally that just because an organization is not a union does not mean that it is "anti" union. I may like Barack Obama. However, if someone asked me, "are you Barack Obama", I would reply with "no, I am not Barack Obama." However, that does not mean that I hate Barack Obama. It just means that I am not him. It is the same way with the Arkansas State Teachers Association. They are not a union, but that should not automatically mean that they hate the unions. This is America right, the home of free choices? ASTA is just giving all school employees a different and inexpensive alternative (only $15 per month) which focuses completely on helping education and giving teachers a choice of membership in which also gives them a $2 million legal liability policy in their own name among many other benefits such as getting their voice heard via surveys and members and non-members getting $500 grants and scholarships for things that their school districts can't or won't provide them. ASTA also sponsors Mathcounts which is a middle school math competition which has shown that it is helping students love math and do better in school. There are very many happy teachers and other school employees who would say that ASTA has helped them become better professionals and better educators and there are many teachers who would say that the AEA doesn't speak for them and that AEA is just a money hungry union as evidenced by the salaries of their leaders. $178 of the AEA dues goes directly to the NEA. I have many friends who are very happy with the AEA and NEA, but those same friends don't mind having another organization to turn to. Also, I just read where the Walton Family Foundation just gave Bentonville Schools $5,000 to bring in a great speaker to its back to school celebration. That doesn't sound like an organization which is trying to destroy education to me. ASTA is the largest independent, non-union association in the state and has went from 7 to 300 members in Bentonville in the last few years (not to mention other districts) because they have shown themselves to be focused on helping educators as well as administrators and support staff to help education become better. ASTA also provides quality professional development across the state at Co-ops and schools for free. I hope you will look at the ASTA website at www.astapro.org to see what they do.

3 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by teacher for life on 08/01/2012 at 10:25 AM

Re: “Lincoln gets tough

Here is a four minute video also giving the fallacies of this type of "23% tax" ad that Blanche Lincoln put out. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jfEjcnS-244
The video also gives a FactCheck.org quote from April 2010 which says that this type of adverstising is not true. The quote is from http://www.factcheck.org/2010/04/another-f…
"But this ad is quite misleading because it fails to mention that the FairTax proposal would also repeal the federal income tax entirely and do away with the Internal Revenue Service. It would also eliminate gift, estate, capital gains, alternative minimum, Social Security, Medicare and self-employment taxes. But anyone viewing the DCCC’s ad could easily conclude that Burns favored slapping a 23 percent sales tax on top of all existing taxes, which is not true."
I never explain the fair tax as a 23% inclusive tax because that is confusing. However, the Fair Tax advocates are not trying to be deceptive. I went to www.fairtax.org and read the details on why they call it that and it cleared it up for me. So, as a mathemetician, I prefer to say that it is a 30% sales tax at the register on all new items and give all the other reasons why the 30% sales tax will easily replace all federal taxes currently levied on the American People, and I readily cite reasons why the 2005 Advisory panel saying that it would have to be a 34% sales tax is incorrect. However, I also don't mind saying that even a 34% national sales tax as long as it follows the rules outlined at www.fairtax.org will be much better than what we have now. The pre-bate, everyone paying taxes and only citizens getting the pre-bate, us keeping all of our paychecks to be able to spend more money, products prices being exported cheaper because no more embedded taxes, and our prices being more competitive with foreign goods are all great reasons to support the Fair Tax and contact Blanche Lincoln to let her know that she had better get on board with this idea and quit letting the Democratic National Commitee run her campaign, or she get left behind. I hope she wises up.

Posted by flow211 on 09/08/2010 at 11:00 PM

Re: “Lincoln gets tough

Thank you, blue stockings, for the website. I actually read everything on there. make sure you read the "correction" from Boortz under the "But the Fair Tax will lower Prices" section. It actually proves my point for why the figure will be a 30% tax at the register and why the price will go down around 22%. If you read the website given by Blue Stockings, then you will get a real good understanding of both sides of the Fair Tax, but you need to read the links in the website because they make it sound like the "correction" proves their point, but when you go to it, it doesn't. The higher percentage of tax at the register from opponents of change does not take into consideration the amount of embedded taxes that will no longer be present in products. The factcheck website also shows agreement among scholars that the Fair Tax would grow the economy. They also use quotes such as "probably". By the way, blue stockings, I hope you don't teach math if you feel like the website you gave backs up Blanche Lincoln's view. Read all the article including the corrections on the bottom and the American's For Fair Taxation rebuttal letter, and then you will be able to make an informed decision on the Fair Tax Act. I feel that this website http://www.factcheck.org/taxes/unspinning_…
informs everyone pretty well. Another thing that I don’t agree with is that they tout the “bipartisan President’s Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform,” as giving the gospel truth; however, it is from the government therefore it should be read with skepticism just like everything else. They do a great job at giving the Fair Tax Act's point of view to counteract it if you read all of the article.

Posted by flow211 on 09/08/2010 at 12:04 AM

Re: “Lincoln gets tough

I used to think Blanche Lincoln had an open mind and was not just out for getting elected. Oh well. After the ad I just saw on 40/29 at 10:17 on September 6th, she has proved me wrong. I had emailed her and Mark Pryor many times explaining to them the logicality of the Fair Tax. They both emailed me back saying that they would look into it if it ever got out of committee. Now, Blanche Lincoln is trying to make John Boozman look bad for supporting it. The Blanche Lincoln ad says that it would “replace current taxes with a 23% national tax on everything we buy." Yes, it would be 30% tax taken at the register (on new goods only though—items can only be taxed once thus yard sales, antiques, flea markets, re-sale shops, etc would not be taxed at all); however, these are some other things that everyone here needs to understand about the Fair Tax: 1) citizens would get a pre-bate on all necessities up to the poverty level (family of 4 would get over $500 per month to pay the 30% taxes on necessities), 2) illegal aliens and the underground economy pays federal taxes just like the rest of us (there would be no more tax evasion under the Fair Tax than there is now and it would be easier for the IRS to find these people out), 3) rich people would pay 30% taxes on their new yachts, fancy cars, etc, 4) experts say that it will increase the economy by 8% in just the first year, 5) we wouldn’t have to pay FICA, Medicare, or Social Security taxes and neither would our employers so prices of all products will go down by the 20% imbedded taxes that we already pay, so we will not be paying much more for the products than we do now except we will be able to keep all of our money and thus have more money to spend. Those are just a few things. Blanche Lincoln attacking this just shows me that she doesn't care about what is good for America. It shows me that she just cares about getting elected. The Fair Tax is not a Democrat or Republican piece of legislation, but yet Blanche Lincoln has attacked John Boozman for supporting it. I hope everyone will see through any ad that talks about a “23% federal tax” and check out the entire truth at www.fairtax.org. I have read everything on the website and tons of stuff that politicians and other people say against the Fair Tax, and it just shows me that they and you don’t understand what it is and what it will do. I am a mathematician, and it is very sound legislation and is good for America. Blanche Lincoln is only hurting her chances of getting the votes of Arkansans who do their own research and think for themselves. You can email me at goodsmellflowers@hotmail.com, and I will be happy to give you a one page summary of everything on the Fair Tax website from a Mathematician’s perspective.

Posted by flow211 on 09/06/2010 at 11:47 PM


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