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In OtherWords: May 9, 2018

It's teacher appreciation week. Here's what educators and other struggling workers have in common.

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Did you know it’s Teacher Appreciation Week? All across the country, teachers have been walking out and striking in support of better wages for themselves and better conditions for the students they serve, as Negin Owliaei explained for OtherWords a few weeks back.

In many states, they’re making traction. But, as tax attorney Bob Lord reports this week, the GOP’s big federal tax overhaul last year could make it a lot harder politically for state lawmakers to pass even modest tax increases to fund schools.

Meanwhile, adjunct professor Nicole Braun points out that adjuncts are also striking in many places across the country. Not only do they have lots in common with other teachers, she explains, but they also share many of the same hardships as out-of-work factory workers.

Unions have been behind much of this organizing, so it’s no surprise unions have been under sustained assault by big companies and politicians that want to break them. That’s why we don’t just need more unions, Michael Taillard explains this week — we also need more employers, so workers have better choices.

Also this week, we shine a light on rural America. Lena Moffitt reports on the fossil-fueled corruption of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, while Ben Lilliston says that this year’s Farm Bill does a lot more for big ag than small farmers and rural communities.

Finally, Jill Richardson shares some bright news on mental health. And, amid explosive new revelations in the investigation of President Trump’s personal attorney, Khalil Bendib imagines Trump as the victim of a “witch hunt.”

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Khalil Bendib / OtherWords.org

  1. Congress Made It Harder to Give Teachers Raises / Bob Lord
    Under the new GOP tax law, states that pay teachers a living wage subsidize states that pay them poorly.
  2. Adjuncts of the World, Unite! / Nicole Braun
    I used to live in Flint and now I teach. Today’s adjunct professors have loads in common with yesterday’s factory workers.
  3. Raising the Flag on Ryan Zinke’s Corruption / Lena Moffitt
    The man charged with protecting our public lands is handing them over to fossil fuel companies.
  4. Unions and Small Businesses Need Each Other / Michael Taillard
    If big employers had more competition, they’d have to pay their workers better.
  5. A Farm Bill Lost in Never-Never Land / Ben Lilliston
    Congress seems to believe that what’s good for global agribusiness is automatically good for the rest of rural America.
  6. With Help, Things Can Get Better / Jill Richardson
    Trying to function with mental illness can be as bad as working through the flu. More people need access to treatment.
  7. Witch Hunt / Khalil Bendib
    “The whole truth”? What kind of question is that?
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Peter Certo is the editorial manager of the Institute for Policy Studies and the editor of OtherWords.org.