Sunday, October 4, 2009

Filmmaker Michael Moore invited to Education Rally

The American Federation of Teachers' union (AFT), concerned about proposed cutbacks in the state's education budget, has published an open letter inviting documentary filmmaker Michael Moore to their October 9th Demonstration for Education Rally in New Mexico.

The rally is scheduled ahead of a special session, which is aimed at stopping lawmakers from making additional cuts to the state's education budget.

Their invite to Moore follows Albuquerque Teacher's Union President Ellen Bernstein, who published an Op-Ed in Sunday's Albuquerque Journal.

Lawmakers, who are expected to be called back to Santa Fe this month to re-balance the budget, are currently negotiating with Governor Bill Richardson. He has said he wants school budgets exempted for across the board budget trimming measures.

But in recent weeks, some lawmakers like Sen. John Arthur Smith, have said even educations budgets will have to be cut to balance the state's estimated $433 budget deficit.

In her Journal op-ed, Bernstein wrote that that lawmakers already cut the dollar value of schoolchildren during the last session.
Now, we're angry because they are planning to do it again! We're asking them to make the right choices during tough times.
Bernstein also argued:
Lawmakers cut student funding last January in order to balance a $500 million deficit. Ironically, that made the problem worse. When they cut spending, they also reduced the amount of tax revenues flowing into the public treasury. Now, our state budget has another deficit of $433 million. What's the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.



Last week, Dr. Ellen Bernstein, an elementary school teacher and president of the ABQ Teachers Federation, emailed you an invitation to come to New Mexico on Oct. 9 and speak to the largest demonstration of support for public schools in New Mexico's brief history (became a state in 1912).

Purpose of rally, march and demonstration - persuade state lawmakers to:

  • Roll back tax cuts for the wealthiest New Mexicans (passed in 2003 for those earning $295K or more);
  • Close tax loopholes for big, out-of-state corporations (examples: Wal Mart, Target, Starbucks allowed to report profits earned in NM in other states and dodge paying their fair share of NM taxes on profits);
  • Use revenues to restore cuts made by our lawmakers to the value of school children (lawmakers cut student value by $60 each last January to cover $500 million deficit), higher education students and public services; and,
  • Prevent more cuts (lawmakers have another state budget deficit, this time $433 million, and they want to cut student value and public services AGAIN).

We haven't heard from you, yet. Hopefully, that's a sign you're trying to work Oct 9, Santa Fe, into your busy schedule.

New Mexicans love you, Michael !

You were in ABQ at the UNM Pit during 2000 presidential election between Gore and Bush. Thanks to your rally at the UNM Pit, New Mexico was the only state in Southwest to go for Gore. You did that !

We need your help again: Help educators, parents and students stop a second round of proposed cuts to the value of school children, university students and public services.

Please say YES. Please attend, speak-out at Oct. 9 Rally, March and Demonstration, Santa Fe, beginning at noon and going until 3:45 pm.

We'll meet-up at Santa Fe Rail Runner Depot, march 5 blocks to our state capitol, "The Roundhouse", then have speakers andsymbolic activities.

We're thinking of doing what you did in "Capitalism, A Love Story": wrapping the Roundhouse with yellow, crime-scene tape, and making a citizen's arrest, because the NM State Constitution says our lawmakers are required to fund public schools 'sufficiently'. By law, they are not allow to cut the value of school children, college and university student and public services.

Please respond either way. Thank you.

John Ingram
AFT New Mexico

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