Pechthalt, Joshua

Michelle Rhee, Once More, Fast and Loose with the Truth

By Joshua Pechthalt

"When will the Teflon wear off?" is a question many have asked about Michelle Rhee, self-proclaimed public school advocate, but in practice, tip of the spear for the school privatization industry.

According to the L.A. Times last month, Rhee's claim that her children attend public school proved "misleading" at best. This is consistent with her challenged relationship with telling the truth in general. Overseeing a staff of 120 on a lavish budget funded by anti-public education billionaires and their foundations, Rhee talks like a progressive but walks like a disciple of Ayn Rand and free market competition.

Tax Initiative Compromise A Victory for Grassroots and California's Future

By Joshua Pechthalt
California Federation of Teachers

As has been reported by the news media, one week ago the Millionaires Tax Coalition came to a negotiated agreement with Governor Brown, Senate President Pro-tem Steinberg, Speaker Pérez, and their allies by setting aside our separate ballot measures and joining forces on a new initiative to raise needed revenue for California public education and social services.

This agreement represents a major victory for the thousands of Californians who have risen up over recent months to demand that the wealthiest Californians start paying their fair share, that low and middle-income families still reeling from the Great Recession be spared undue burdens, and that our state raise sufficient, reliable revenue to restore cuts to education and vital services.

Restoring California: Tax The Rich to Fund Public Education And Services

By Joshua Pechthalt
California Federation of Teachers

The California Federation of Teachers and its coalition partners Courage Campaign and California Calls have a simple proposal for the state’s voters:  restore tax rates on people with incomes over one million dollars per year so that the rich pay their fair share to rebuild our schools and services.  In November 2012 voters will have the opportunity to decide if this is a good idea.  If current polling numbers hold up, chances are “The Millionaires’ Tax to Restore Funding for Education and Essential Services Act of 2012,” or simply “The Millionaires’ Tax,” will pass.

California Has One Option Left to Stop The Bleeding

By: Rick Jacobs, Joshua Pechthalt and Anthony Thigpenn

When we think of California, we imagine the state that allowed the three of us to be who we are, a state that gave us the California Dream. For years now, that dream has been quickly slipping away and now it's in danger of being lost forever.

California is not in crisis; crises are sudden and acute. California is in a chronic, grinding decline and it's providing a window into America's tomorrow.  Here we have the richest and poorest, the most diverse population, high technology centers which lead the globe. And yet, here with 38 million people - 20% of the United States - we cannot find a path to leave the bounty that invigorated us for the next generation.

Educators Call for Fair Share of Taxes on the 1%

By Joshua Pechthalt
California Federation of Teachers

A University of Southern California (USC)/Los Angeles Times poll showed the greater majorities of Californians support increasing income taxes on the top 1 percent of earners. The idea resonates with all geographic areas of the state, age groups, ethnicities and political persuasions because the 99% understands what has been happening.

The top 1 percent of California's income earners has doubled its share of all income earned by individuals in the state, but pays a lower tax rate than before. Yet, when Congress extended Bush's tax cuts for the rich in December 2010, it handed California's wealthiest 1 percent a $9 billion tax windfall - equal to half this year's state budget deficit. It's time to rethink taxes.

Diastat Bill Needs a Gubernatorial Veto

By Joshua Pechthalt and Pat Christie, RN

What do you do with legislation that proposes to meet a real need, but diverts attention from the real solution, and stampedes legislators to vote for it in a cloud of emotional manipulation of the issue?

You ask the governor to veto it.

This is what should happen with Senate Bill 161, which allows administration of a prescription dose of valium by a non-medical K-12 school employee volunteer to students with seizure disorders. The drug, Diastat, must be injected rectally in a child experiencing a seizure lasting longer than their usual seizure activity. This assumes the volunteer knows the student’s typical seizure pattern, and can determine this is different.

Taxing The Richest 1% An Additional 1% Could Mean $2.5 billion For Education, Services

By Josh Pechthalt
California Federation of Teachers

The California Federation of Teachers (CFT) recently released new polling results showing 78% of voters support increasing income taxes on the top 1% of Californians by 1%.  Such a tax would return the richest Californians close to the rate they paid in the mid-1990s, when Pete Wilson was Governor.  CFT is calling for the progressive tax to be part of a package to resolve California’s budget crisis.