Pay for education by cutting weapons spending

About 25 Teachers’ Salaries
Who we are:
25 Teachers’ Salaries is a not for profit organization in Davis and Sacramento.  However due to lack of support from teachers and especially CTA, this organization is now inactive.
What we want:
We want the federal government to make education a funding priority by reducing the $200 billion annually spent by the Department of Defense on weapons and providing the money saved to the states for education funding; specifically for the hiring of more teachers.   Do this for 10 years and then consider renewing.
How we want to do this:
By building a grassroots campaign leading state legislatures across the U.S. to pass resolutions asking Congress and the President to do support our bill, America’s Weapons Rebate to Education Act (AWREA) or any bill that would accomplish the same results.
The bare facts:
The average starting teacher’s salary is $42,000 in California (less in other states).
Military spending has grown 8.5% a year for a decade after 2001 to $685 billion, including over $200 billion for weapons.
The Department of Defense buys many bombs that cost $1 million each or more. Each $1 million bomb costs the equivalent of about 25 starting teachers’ annual salaries.
The Department of Defense financial statements have not been audited since 2001.  See under “Hundreds of billions” on http://25teacherssalaries.org/background-deux/military-spending/
In a nutshell, a tiny percentage of the annual Department of Defense weapons budget would be enough to enable the states to pay for over tens of thousands of K-12 teachers’ and other educators’ salaries including benefits for one year.
Our states cannot provide adequate money to school districts and higher education because they have budget crises.  Facing a multi year financial crisis due to reductions in state funding for public education, school districts are balancing their budgets mostly by cutting expenses, laying off thousands of teachers.  As class sizes go up the quality of the education goes down.  No real solution to the education funding crisis can come from the states.  The money has to come from where the money is – the federal budget.
President Obama’s Commission on Fiscal Reform, the Sustainable Defense Task Force, and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates have all recommended reductions in defense spending.  Doing so would free up billions of dollars for other national priorities including education.
Our solution – action by the state legislatures and lots of publicity
We have written proposed legislation to turn these basic priorities of the American people – that public education is important and must be funded regardless of what is going on with foreign wars – into political action.  Our plan is to get the state legislatures to help us to help them.  Legislatures are the most powerful voice, for the most part, in each state.  They have the ability to pass non binding resolutions asking for specific action by the Federal Government.  Combined with press conferences and coalitions involving unions, PTAs, and governors these combined voices could inform millions of people of the financial tradeoffs while pressuring Congress for real change.  Our proposed legislation is under the “Campaign Documents” tab on the “Proposed legislation” page.
Here is where you can take action, make your voice heard, and join the campaign all in one.  Best of all it will only take you a couple of minutes.
Sign up in the box at top left.  There are more in depth ways you can get involved too.
“Our principal enemy, al Quaeda, has no army, no air force and no navy.” (Sustainable Defense Task Force, June 2010)
25 Teachers’ Salaries news -
February, 2013
CTA Board of Directors disapproves resolutions from State Council to help teachers.
It’s been a while since this happened but it’s important since this was more or less the end of the active work of 25 Teachers’ Salaries. At the January, 2013 State Council meeting (the quarterly business meeting of the CTA’s leadership) 3 resolutions were presented; 2 of which directly called for CTA to assist 25 Teachers’ Salaries with its plan to get the Legislature to pass a resolution asking the Federal government to reduce weapons spending and increase education spending.
The State Council referred those resolutions to the CTA Board of Directors, which met on February 12-14, 2013, and had the opportunity to approve or disapprove the resolutions. Unfortunately the Board disapproved the 2 for helping this campaign and referred the 3rd to the CTA Executive Director for investigation (who did nothing with it). I wrote to CTA President Dean Vogel and asked what were the reasons given for disapproving the resolutions. Vogel ignored my first 3 emails and my phone call, and finally responded after I emailed again and this time cc’d his executive staff. All he said was:
Mark,
All the reasons given were pretty much everything I’ve said to you either on the phone or in person over the past few years. You have a good cause and it is worthy of pursuit. But CTA is not the appropriate vehicle for your effort.
Regards,
Dean
As I told him, this contradicts his actions the previous September, when he met with 25 Teachers’ Salaries in Davis at our request, which described specifically some actions we wanted CTA to take to assist our campaign. By meeting with us he implicitly suggested that CTA was and is the appropriate vehicle, as he put it, to do this, or at least that CTA might be willing to help. Vogel is in a position of power and has meetings all over California every week. He knows that a meeting request that describes a specific outcome, a specific request from CTA, is just that. We did not meet because we wanted to hear about his golf scores or what he thinks of education in Finland. Vogel misled us all by taking the meeting.
During the meeting he specifically suggested that we contact the CTA Peace and Social Justice Caucus and work with them, and within the CTA’s State Council. That is exactly what we did. The CTA Peace and Social Justice Caucus has a Northern California co chair and a Southern California co chair. We met with the Northern California co chair, Dan Reynolds, that November in Vacaville. Dan has a huge heart and has designed a course on free speech which he teaches at Mt. Diablo High School.
As a result of our meeting with Dan, we drafted 3 resolutions, known in CTA lingo as “new business items”. He presented them at State Council and as I have said those were all referred to the CTA Board of Directors.
Due to Dean Vogel’s duplicity and lack of interest in helping TEACHERS, all 3 new business items were actually dead on arrival. Vogel apparently spoke up AGAINST these items which we had worked so hard to bring to the Board, at his suggestion. This is in stark contrast to the support from former CTA President David Sanchez, who signed a letter to the leaders of the California legislature which had been authorized by State Council in early 2011. That is available on our site under http://25teacherssalaries.org/news-and-highlights/2011-2/cta-letter-to-ca-legislature/.
Here is the proposed text and the rationale, as presented at State Council in January 2013, of the 3 new business items.CTA State Council NBI’s 2013 January
New Priorities letter NBI
NBI:  That CTA sign on to the letter at http://newprioritiesnetwork.org/national-sign-on-letter/ recommending that Congress cut Pentagon spending by $500 billion over the next 10 years, and send a copy of this letter to Congressional leaders, California’s delegation, and the New Priorities Network no later than February 11.
Rationale:  March 1st is Congress’ “fiscal cliff” deadline. Many military experts say we could cut as much as $1.5 trillion over the next decade without compromising national security.
Pentagon spending comprises more than half of the current discretionary budget. Without more cuts to Pentagon spending, even very deep cuts to all other discretionary funding will fall short of alleviating deficit spending and rising the debt.
Thirty organizations, including the Courage Campaign, the New Priorities Network, Democracy for America, and US Labor Against the War have signed this letter. With more money available Congress could better fund education and other domestic programs.
25 Teachers’ Salaries Local School Boards Resolutions
NBI:  That CTA distribute to local chapters the resolution at http://25teacherssalaries.org/wp-content/uploads/Generic-school-board-resolution-April-2012.doc and encourage their advocacy of its adoption at their local school boards.
Rationale:  California’s six million students deserve well funded schools. Since 2007 we have seen significant cuts to education while Pentagon spending continues to grow. America’s Weapons Rebate to Education Act seeks to reallocate 3% of the Pentagon budget to education.
At the April 2011 meeting state council passed an NBI resulting in the CTA president writing a letter to the state legislature in support of AWREA and encouraging its passage. We still have the opportunity to direct our national priorities away from Pentagon spending and into education. Our locals can work with their school boards to adopt resolutions supporting the AWREA.
25 Teachers’ Salaries Find Legislative Sponsors
NBI:  That CTA work with the group 25 Teachers’ Salaries to help find a sponsor in the Assembly and in the Senate for a joint resolution in support of America’s Weapons Rebate to Education Act.
Rationale
At the April 2011 meeting state council passed an NBI resulting in the CTA president writing a letter to the state legislature in support of America’s Weapons Rebate to Education Act and encouraging its passage. This bill would reallocate 3% of the Pentagon budget to education. We still have the opportunity to direct our national priorities away from Pentagon spending and into education. By working to find a legislator to sponsor a joint resolution in the Assembly and the Senate we can move this forward.
(End of text of the new business items. Remember that our bill was originally estimated to cut the Pentagon weapons budget by 3%, not the overall Pentagon budget, and since then we rewrote it so that the amount of money to be raised by reducing the weapons budget is the amount required to enable the states to restore state support for education to the 2005 – 06 level.)
    Earlier news
April, 2012
25 Teachers’ Salaries will be at UC Davis Picnic Day.  Come by and say hi, sign our petition and pick up a flyer
January 26, 2012
Don’t Let the Pentagon Off the Hook. Secretary of Defense Panetta is trying to backtrack on Congress’ deal to reduce Pentagon spending by $1 trillion in the next ten years.  Take Action on this today!
December, 2011
25 Teachers’ Salaries plans nationwide survey of education facts and figures
October 27, 2011
We talk to the Woodland Board of Trustees about our campaign.
October 20, 2011
We talk to the Clark County (Nevada) Board of Trustees about our campaign.
September 27, 2011
We talked to the Board of Education of the San Juan Unified School District in Carmichael about our campaign.
September 6 and 20, 2011
We talk to the Sacramento County Board of Education about our campaign.
August 23, 2011
25 Teachers’ Salaries campaign announces California Teachers Association support . . . .
Press Release August 23, 2011
CTA letter to California legislature
July, 2011
America’s Weapons Rebate to Education Act, our bill, revised
July, 2011
Our Joint Resolution for the California Legislature revised
June 15, 2011
Konocti school board adopts resolution supporting . . . .
May 25, 2011
Jefferson Elementary school board adopts resolution supporting . . .
April 16, 2011
240 people sign petition at Picnic Day
Link
April 12, 2011
25 Teachers’ Salaries endorses Measure A
March 19, 2011
NATO fires 112 Tomahawk cruise missiles at Libya, costing $168 million that could have gone to schools
Spring, 2011
Dozens of Davis teachers and hundreds of other Davisites sign petition
Link
December 9, 2010
25 Teachers’ Salaries talks to Vacaville school board
November 15, 2010
Department of Defense Independent Auditor expresses no opinion on the DOD Financial Statements for FY 2009 and FY 2010
October 24, 2010
Sacramento Area Peace Action endorses 25 Teachers’ Salaries campaign
July, 2010
American Federation of Teachers adopts resolution against war in Afghanistan

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