Saturday, March 21, 2015
Friday, March 20, 2015
I count myself among the lucky people to know this outstanding educator. My wife and I even attended one of her fundraisers for her students’ D.C. trip. Her essays on her various blogs are some of my favorite reads in that she conveys hope at such a critical time. Teachers like Martha Infante are the reason I spend much of my free time advocating for public education and in support of our local teachers. She is a gift to the community and to the profession as a whole, and she is not alone. I stand behind our public school teachers.
WHEN: Thursday, March 19, 2015 at 5 PM
WHERE: ICEF Vista Main Office. Monthly Board Meeting.
5120 W. Goldleaf Circle, Suite 350, Los Angeles, CA 90056
Media is invited to attend.
President, Friends of Stoner Avenue Elementary School
As you may or not be aware, a very important caravan is making its way up the "Pacific Region". It is called the Caravana 43 - there will be a mother and father of two of the missing students that were disappeared last September in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero, Mexico. There will also be 2 students from Ayotzinapa and a professor on this speaking tour.
The events, actions, etc. in LA are being called on under the banner of "Caravana 43 Los Angeles/Inland Empire" which is essentially a coalition of several community based organizations.
Two important public events happening this weekend are: this SATURDAY 3/21: 5pm-7:00pm at UTLA in the Auditorium, with a March following on Sunday from Placita Olvera at 12:30pm.
Thursday, March 19, 2015
"The shady nature of Alliance's real estate dealings, their dismal SAT scores and CSU remediation rates, and their refusal to educate every child are all compelling… [a]llowing these private entities to cherry pick students and avoid educating the most vulnerable and needy students is immoral. Taking a strong stand as a community against that kind of discrimination sends a strong message to these corporate schools that we demand equity for all our students." — Robert D. Skeels
The announcement that the nascent Alliance Educators United joined with United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) in order to empower their force of professional educators to advocate for their students is exciting news indeed. That this is occurring at Alliance Corporate Charters is noteworthy. We are witnessing authentic organizing in the belly of the beast — given how Alliance was formed by Republican venture capitalist Richard "Dick" Riordan and his cabal of profit-hungry businessmen as a means of trying to discredit public education. Alliance's top-down, business-rather-than-pedagogy informed methodologies have failed miserably. For example, in 2013: five of the seventy-five lowest SAT performers in LAUSD were Alliance schools. Add to their educational leadership vacuum administrators fixated on personal financial gain, rather than school community building, and you have Alliance's recipe for disaster. This is why they have had major teacher turn-over issues. Alliance's educators have been poorly treated, and they were fearful to advocate for their students against Alliance's business-banker management culture.
Unionized educators will go a long way towards addressing some of Alliance's more egregious practices.
There's another dimension to this story. In 2010 UTLA drafted their UTLA Proposed Charter School Policy document outlining a set of social justice principles that the union stated it "expects that all charter schools adhere to". These well reasoned expectations are very much like the demands put forth by the Honorable Jackie Goldberg founded Transparency, Equity, and Accountability in Charter Schools (TEAch) organization. Everyone should join TEACh, even families with children enrolled in privately managed charter schools.
Want to encourage both UTLA and Alliance Educators United to keep the UTLA Proposed Charter School Policy in mind for all their future organizing, and hope that they will transform many of those principles into concrete demands that Alliance begin to treat their students right. I'm including the UTLA Press Release, the UTLA Proposed Charter School Policy, and TEAch's mission statement below. I hope these serve to ignite a conversation about how we can force the lucrative charter school industry to finally place student need above corporate greed!
MARCH 14, 2015
Kim Turner, 213-305-9316
ALLIANCE CHARTER SCHOOL EDUCATORS ANNOUNCE FORMATION OF UNION
TEACHERS, COUNSELORS AT LA’S LARGEST CHARTER SCHOOL CHAIN SEEK A VOICE TO ADVOCATE FOR STUDENTS
Teachers and counselors at Alliance College-Ready Public Schools announced Friday that in order to achieve the highest quality learning environment for their students and working environment for themselves at their fast-growing charter school organization, they are organizing a union at their schools.
Educators maintain that having a respected voice in all decisions impacting teaching and learning is critical to ensuring a strong foundation of student-focused, teacher-led collaboration. “I believe that using the teacher’s voice in policymaking for our schools is the surest way to develop the best environment for our students and to create a legacy of greatness for the Alliance,” said history teacher Elana Goldbaum.
Alliance College-Ready Public Schools began operations in 2004 with the opening of Alliance Gertz-Ressler High School in the Pico-Union neighborhood. Today, with 550 teachers and counselors serving 11,000 students at 26 schools, it is the largest charter operator authorized by the Los Angeles Unified School District. The organization’s Board of Directors includes some of Los Angeles’s most active civic figures, including former mayor Richard Riordan and former ambassador and investment banker Frank Baxter.
“By giving teachers a voice in the decision making at Alliance, we can ensure that we are allocating resources appropriately and serving our kids in the best way possible,” said teacher Xochil Johansen of Stern Math and Science School. Added teacher Aaron Livingston, “Organizing the union will help the Alliance keep good teachers from leaving.”
Many Alliance educators note that retaining and recruiting talented staff is vital for student success and the well-being of the school community. Teachers at other schools agree. “Students deserve a sense of stability and safety in the relationships they build and they deserve educators who are invested in providing the best instruction,” said Bre Delgadillo, a teacher at Apple Academy Charter School in South L.A., who formed a union with her colleagues in 2014.
A letter signed by community leaders expressed support for teachers and called on Alliance to “listen to your teachers and to respect their fundamental right to organize a union […] without management influence or interference, and come to an agreement with Alliance teachers for a fair and neutral process to organize their union.” The letter was signed by leaders from the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), California Partnership, the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), and Strategic Actions for a Just Economy (SAJE).
“It’s this simple: Every school does better when teachers have a voice,” said UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl. “UTLA is proud that Alliance teachers are organizing to join with more than 35,000 educators—over 1,000 of whom teach at independent charter schools here in Los Angeles—to protect educational standards for students in our city.”
# # #
We are an organization of parents, teachers, school employees, taxpayers and community members who want to ensure that charter schools are Transparent, Equitable, and held Accountable for their practices, for the outcomes of the students they serve, and that they do no harm to students attending traditional public schools.
TEAch exists because charter schools have largely abandoned their original purposes:
1. To provide research and development for all public schools on best practices in order to ensure that ALL young people have access to a high quality education; and
2. To lead the way, by example, in transforming public school outcomes for ALL students through teacher-led schools, relieved of the hierarchy of central administration.
We support the original goals of charter public schools.
The current goals of some charter school operators are to greatly expand and capture as many taxpayer dollars as possible for their own schools, thereby removing funds available to traditional public schools. The almost ENTIRELY UNREGULATED CHARTER school system in Los Angeles currently receives at least $683 million (more than $1/2 billion!) per year in taxpayer funds, money that used to go to Los Angeles Unified School District students. Without Transparency, Equity, and Accountability, we know that many charters are not living up to their own goals as stated in their charter applications.
Taxpayer-funded charter co-location on traditional public school campuses is also causing great harm to students in traditional public schools by permanently overcrowding their campuses, and causing huge reductions in their funding. This has resulted in teacher layoffs and increased class sizes in LAUSD traditional public schools.
What We Want: TEAch seeks reasonable state and district regulation of public, taxpayer-funded charter schools to ensure Transparency, Equity, and Accountability.
Wednesday, March 18, 2015
First published on Schools Matter on March 17, 2015
"The Walton family, founder of Wal-mart, the worldwide retail giant, has donated millions of dollars to schools considered to be associated with the Gülen community." — Charter School Scandals
The largest chain of privately managed charter schools in the United States is that of those affiliated with the cultish Gülenist Movement. Proving that no scandal is too large for the combined financial and political power of the revenue hungry charter school industry, the Los Angeles based Magnolia branches of the Gülen Network have essentially committed the crime, but will not do the time. The Los Angeles Times outlines the scale of Magnolia's crimes:
"An audit performed last year for the district’s Office of the Inspector General found that Magnolia was $1.66 million in the red, owed $2.8 million to the schools it oversees and met the federal definition of insolvency. The Palms academy also was insolvent, the audit found."
One cringes thinking of all the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) public school libraries that could have been reopened with those millions "missing" from the privately managed Magnolia Gülen Charters.
Last time millions of dollars went "missing" from a huge Los Angeles charter chain was during the massive Inner City Education Fund (ICEF) scandal. Their former "CEO" Mike Piscal is still at large somewhere in the country. Steve Poizner's partner in the crime of establishing the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA), Caprice Young, was brought in as the spin-spokesperson for that staggering squandering of taxpayer money. Once more Young is brought in to provide cover for mind-boggling charter school impropriety, this time at Magnolia. Turns out Caprice Young has been working for Gülen's charter network all along documents the connections between Young and her new employer.
The intrepid Scott M. Folsom gathered all the news on this issue, and added his salient thoughts on the matter. I do differ with Folsom on one point—this has everything to with "Fethullah Gülen involvement", and anyone aware of the cult's well documented undue influence over LAUSD board members like Monica Garcia, knows how much power these malfeasants have.
The allegations against Magnolia are of Misuse of Public Funds. Plain and simple.
No amount of “great schoolage” and kids on waiting lists forgive this. Ultimately this is a matter of law enforcement - and the LAUSD Board – as public trustees and empowered with enforcing the charter law and protecting the public purse – have blinked/waffled/whatever.
I hate to be “zero intolerant” – but there are no waivers or mulligans for malfeasance.
The Man Behind the Curtain has nothing to do with the case: This has nothing to do with with the Fethullah Gülen involvement with Magnolia; to bring that up is a bit of misdirection.
Parental Choice does not give the right to parents to choose to send their kids to a bad school -- whether the school is bad because it does a crummy job of teaching students or managing the public’s funds. I consider Caprice Young a friend – but she has been brought in to save the day and impose order amidst fiscal chaos while framing and spinning and charming the story of the chaos as something less than egregious.
The biblical metaphor of pouring oil upon the waters comes to mind – but ask the folks on the Gulf Coast – or in Alaska: Oily waters are not necessarily a desirable outcome!
The Board in its role as charter authorizer and overseer moved to suspend the three charters. It may have dodged a public vote earlier – but it had authorized the superintendent to act in its behalf. That’s what superintendents and Boards of Ed do.
Then the Board of Ed went into closed session and changed their mind and/or had their minds changed.
The process of granting, suspending and reviewing charters is supposed to occur in Mr. Justice Brandeis’ “Disinfecting Sunshine”. Instead it happened behind closed doors in the guise of settling a lawsuit.
First published on K12NN Wire on March 18, 2015
Dr. Andrew Thomas:
Congratulations on your respectable election finish, and on noting on your website that out-of-town billionaires are financing the campaign of charter industry profiteer Refugio “Ref” Rodriguez against an incumbent endorsed by United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA). Your analysis ignores the fact that most UTLA teachers are also public school parents, live in our communities, and are our working class neighbors. Meanwhile profiteer Rodriguez’s reactionary billionaire backers, like Carrie Walton-Penner, Reed Hastings, Michael R. Bloomberg, and Eli Broad, have absolutely no connection or stake (other than financial) in our communities. Dr. Thomas, your hackneyed “parents as customers” rhetoric is shallow, groundless, and doesn’t assess the reasons why Rodriguez and his ilk are spending the obscene amounts of money they spend. You can stick with your vapid binary arguments that this is simply UTLA versus the charter industry, leaving everyone else out of the equation, or you could tell the truth and say this is the billionaires versus all the rest of us.
I have been an education activist in the 90026 area for roughly two decades. My burning question is, where have you been Dr. Thomas? I’ve never seen you at a Neighborhood Council Education Committee meeting, any anti-Prop 39 actions, the March 22 actions to save Public Education, the struggle to save CRES 14 from privatization, at a meeting of the Honorable Jackie Goldberg’s TEACh (Transparency, Equity, and Accountability for Charter Schools) coalition, or any other public school related struggle. While you may be involved at Marshall High School, you clearly have only become a “parent advocate” quite recently, and your agenda seems to be limited to those issues concerning white, upper middle class parents. If you are indeed interested in supporting public education, and increasing community and parent involvement, then I welcome you. If that is true, prove it by making a strong statement against the lucrative charter industry and their candidate Rodriguez. If you won’t endorse the incumbent, at the very least you should take a strong and principled stand against his neoliberal opponent, who faithfully serves the very billionaires you seemingly challenged when you asked on your website “Why are out-of-district billionaires... spending over a $1 million in this school board race?”
At the end of the day if you sincerely support public education, you should be asking why is it that a well-heeled charter industry executive can run for our public school board, but no member of the public can ever run for the board of his charter school empire? That question strikes at the heart of what it means to support public schools and democracy in general.
I challenge you to take a principled stand.
“Washing one’s hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral.” — Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed
Tuesday, March 17, 2015
Monday, March 16, 2015
Schools Los Angeles Students Deserve (SLASD) General Assembly
Thursday, March 19, 2015
St. Marks Lutheran Church
3651 South Vermont Ave,
Los Angeles, CA 90007
(2 blocks north of the Expo line's Vermont station)
Following an invigorating Parent Institute this past Saturday, parents are full of ideas for how to move our work into the next stages!
Students have ideas for on-going political education efforts at their campuses, especially around the Black Lives Matter movement and issues, and how to launch the social media campaign through a cross-school online video.
Our campaign at the School Board is moving forward too, as meetings continue with School Board Members to develop a resolution for the changes students deserve to see in their schools.
Please join us to put all this into action.
Schools Matter: Eli Broad funded United Way Greater Los Angeles now also serving CCSA's political arm
First published on Schools Matter on March 14, 2015
"By what logic does United Way engage in an activity that is shunned by all the other charities?" — Professor Ralph E. Shaffer
United Way Greater Los Angeles' (UWGLA) role as a tax deductible lobbying and public relations firm for plutocrats like Eli Broad, Bill Gates, Carrie Walton Penner, and Casey Wasserman is expanding. They are now apparently functioning as adjunct to the deep pocketed California Charter School Association (CCSA). To wit, compare this email from the "non-partisan charity" UWGLA to that of the CCSA trade association's 501c4 wing, CCSA Advocates:
Notice any similarities?
In a discussion with several other social justice activists, we were trying to decide why UWGLA's well paid political consultants didn't have the good sense to at least change the precise order of the candidates that they and their fellow special interest group, the CCSA, feature on their propaganda pieces. UWGLA could argue, unconvincingly, that they put the names in the same order as candidates received votes in the primary election. However, it's far more likely that they used CCSA's billionaire backed candidates' existing information and then tacked on the other candidate information on as a grudging afterthought.
The first clue that UWGLA has absolutely no respect for the candidates outside of the CCSA privatization pushers like Galatzan and Rodriguez? They misspelled the Honorable Bennett Kayser's name as "BENNET KAYSER" in every occurrence of both the image and text of the communication they sent out. This is the seated school board member, and UWGLA has a mind-blowing multi-million dollar budget, but they get everything else correct except the school board member's name? Moreover, notice how all of the head shots are proportional, but they use the old political trick of making one candidate look abnormal by using a disproportional photo crop. A nasty little Fox News style play probably drawn up by CCSA's arch-reactionary political director Carlos Marquez.
We frequently look to UWGLA's plutocrat funding sources and the neoliberal pay-to-advocate paradigm that UWGLA and other members of the Non-Profit Industrial Complex (NPIC) operate under. Nothing is more telling of UWGLA's complete allegiance to the neoliberal corporate education reform agenda than this 2013 photo of privatizer Monica Garcia, the disgraced John Deasy, millionaire Casey Wasserman, billionaire Eli Broad, and UWGLA's Elise Buik. What we typically don't look at is the staff members UWGLA employs to promulgate their donors' agenda.
UWGLA's current Education Program Officer is Elmer G. Roldan. Prior to his UWGLA stint, Roldan worked for the Camino Nuevo Corporate Charter Chain—known for its unelected board of bankers, finance capitalists, and hedge fund managers. Before cashing in on the charter industry, Roldan worked for former Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) board member Monica Garcia, who has ties to the shadowy Gülenist cult. He also worked for the anti-public education NPIC Community Coalition. It's a safe bet that Roldan's whole two years of community college prepared him to deal with the broad range of topics on education policy and pedagogy.
Until recently (namely when they were exposed for their role in UWGLA's massive public deception campaign) Roldan worked alongside Ryan Smith and Jason Mandell. Before joining UWGLA, Smith worked for the notorious Green Dot Corporate Charter Chain and the so-called Partnership for Los Angeles Schools (PLAS) with Marshall Tuck (whose wife, Mae Tuck, also works at UWGLA). After the UWGLA astroturf incident, Smith went to work for the reactionary EdTrust. Mandell worked with fellow poverty pimp Yolie Flores at the The Gates Foundation funded Communities for Teaching Excellence. Mandell now works for the California Charter Schools Association, although that was sort of his function when his paychecks read UWGLA as well.
The candidate forums run by UWGLA mentioned in the mailer were addressed in Statement on Gates and Broad Foundation funded United Way Greater Los Angeles running LAUSD forums. Candidates opposing the CCSA funded ones had myriad complaints about the heavy handed manner in which the UWGLA treated them durring the forums. LAUSD District 3 candidate Carl J. Petersen submitted the following account. His complaints have been corroborated by other District 3 candidates, who wished to remain anonymous.
The first thing that hit me upon entering the venue was Ms. Galatzan had set up a table in the courtyard with her election paraphernalia, including yard signs. This clearly broke the rules which stated that only one piece of literature could be distributed and this would be at a table that the United Way would set up for all of the participants. Elizabeth Badger and I both immediately complained to the person in charge (I believe that his name was Elmer), who confirmed that Ms. Galatzan had broken the rules and promised that it would be taken care of. When the signs remained up I filed another complaint and was again assured that the signs would be taken down. Once on stage, the moderator announced a rule that each candidate was allowed one sign in the courtyard. The fact that this was a rule change was not conveyed to the audience.
The next inconsistency with the rules occurred during the debate itself. After a round that did not go well for Ms. Galatzan (I believe the subject was iPads), the moderator decided to break format and allowed Ms. Galatzan to go out of turn to defend herself. The moderator felt that this was fair because we had all attacked the incumbent.
To me, the strangest part of the night happened when I went to collect my unused literature. I had provided 200 flyers to be distributed at the appointed table, but the actual turnout was much less. I think the estimated attendance was 100 people. My flyers must have been in great demand because none were left and the volunteers said that they had not seen them. I wish I knew when in the evening they had been removed.
I think that it is telling that the United Way was the only candidate forum that Ms. Galatzan attended during the entire campaign. She skipped the second debate, a meet and greet at the Northridge West Neighborhood Council and a final Q&A at the Encino Neighborhood Council. I would like to know what assurances the United Way provided her that made her feel their event was a safe one for her.
Eli Broad and Carrie Walton Penner will stop at nothing to turn the entire public education system over to the private sector, where corruption and greed rule supreme. UWGLA's ability to remain a tax exempt organization is testament to how much power and influence the Broad/Gates/Walton Triumvirate have.
Some of United Way of Greater Los Angeles and United Way Worldwide's other "education" related activities:
- Statement on Gates and Broad Foundation funded United Way Greater Los Angeles running LAUSD forums
- K12NN: United Way's Corporate NPIC Astroturf was thick in front of LAUSD last Tuesday
- United Way' Elise Buik's Myopic One Percent Policies
- Occupy United Way! Group founded and manifesto published
- United Way to market Scholastic's Reading Oasis (NASDAQ-SCHL)
* Emperor Broad is quoted in the New York Times
First published on K12NN Wire on March 14, 2015
Sent to the Los Angeles Times on March 14, 2015
Re: Teachers at Alliance charter group push to form union http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-alliance-charter-story.html
The author here calls the Alliance's corporate chain a "high-performing charter group". I'm curious if that inaccurate designation came directly from either Alliance's or the California Charter Schools Association's marketing departments?
Despite claiming that their schools produce top college prospects, Alliance College "Ready" Schools boast 6 of the 80 lowest SAT performers in Los Angeles County, and 5 of the 75 lowest in LAUSD. (Source: "California Schools Guide." Lowest Average SAT Scores in Los Angeles County. Los Angeles Times, 01 Jan. 2013. Web. 19 Sept. 2013.). Those numbers have not significantly changed in two years.
Moreover, Alliance routinely produces "graduates" with astronomical remediation rates. Take their Gertz-Ressler campus' figures for 2008-2012. The California State University (CSU) makes remediation data available (Source: www.asd.calstate.edu) for all schools sending them students.
* 2008 Alliance's CSU proficiency 7% in math and 13% in English.
* 2009 Alliance's CSU proficiency 29% in math and 29% in English.
* 2010 Alliance's CSU proficiency 29% in math and 17% in English.
* 2011 Alliance's CSU proficiency 50% in math and 33% in English.
* 2012 Alliance's CSU proficiency 57% in math and 50% in English.
Alliance has made their "CEO" Judy Burton insanely wealthy though. In 2013, aside from the $139K+ she was making from CalSTRS and CalPERS, she was skimming another $315K+ in taxpayer money through her corporate charter pyramid scheme. (Source: California Pensions Database and Alliance 2010 Form 990 Part VII§A).
Robert D. Skeels
Friday, March 06, 2015
Monday, March 02, 2015
Ravitch reader offers best response to CCSA and Ref Rodriguez's attacks on Bennett Kayser's disability
“SWD [Students with Disabilities] are disproportionately under-enrolled at charter schools” — Office of the Independent Monitor
"LG" is a frequent commenter on the distinguished Dr. Diane Ravitch's site. Here LG offers the best response I've read to date on California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) and Refugio "Ref" Rodriguez's vile campaign against Students with Disabilities (SWD) and their champion on the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Board, the Honorable Bennett Kayser:
“When criticizing a person who happens to have a debilitating medical issue, I would think opponents would have more class than to blur the lines by presenting ANYTHING that could be construed as discriminatory and hateful. Defending this is akin to saying, “Well, I didn’t mean to insult your condition–I was merely trying to insult you in order to preserve your dignity. YOU were the one who misconstrued my meaning.” Sorry, you watch your Ps and Qs when you are refuting actions–you don’t imply physical impairment in the process. That’s personal…but by all means, defend this heinous act as “creative and clever.”
On a stick.”
The Association of Raza Educators has their annual conference next Saturday on March 7. It will take place in San Diego. Below is the graphic. The keynote speakers will be Dr. Melina Abdullah of the Ethnic Studies Now Coalition and Black Lives Matter L.A., and also Jesse Hagopian a Seattle public school teacher. I will also be speaking at the event, and I hope you can join us! Click here for more information.
Billionaires behind California Charter Schools Association’s (CCSA) near record spending to defeat LAUSD's advocate for Students with Disabilities
Sunday, March 01, 2015
Los Angeles Unified School District
- Seat 1 The Honorable Dr. George McKenna
- Dr. George McKenna: Experienced, courageous, and principled. Not cowed by billionaires with fringe ideologies and their profiteer puppets at the CCSA.
- Seat 3 Scott Schmerelson
- Endorsed by AALA, CSEA, and more.
- Soft endorsement: Ankur Patel. I initially gave Patel a sole endorsement because he had wonderful critiques of neoliberalism and charters on his website, but they all disappeared. People started telling me he equivocated on school privatization via charters at forums.
- Soft endorsement: Carl J. Petersen. I admire Petersen's energy and tenaciousness, but his knowledge on pedagogy and policy is of concern. When I met him, I asked if he had read Ravitch, Dewey, or Freire. He said no, and I said at least read Ravitch. Being a board member takes more just being a parent—Tamar Galatzan's glaring incompetence proves just that.
- Seat 5 The Honorable Bennett Kayser
- Bennett Kayser: The board member who insists that the charter industry be obligated to educate every child instead of ones that don't cut into their revenues! Also, a strong supporter of Ethnic Studies, Adult Education, Early Education, and more.
- Seat 7 no endorsement
- Soft endorsement: Dr. Richard Vladovic. I've taken umbrage with some of Vladovic's decisions in the past, but I think his witnessing some of the things that Deasy and the CCSA have done may have made him more aware of his complicity in the neoliberal project.
Community College Board of Trustees
- Seat 1 Francesca Vega
- Seat 3 Sydney Kamlager
- Seat 5 Scott Svonkin
- Seat 7 Mike Fong
- District 10 Grace Yoo
City of Los Angeles Measures 1 and 2
- Measure 1 NO!
- Measure 2 NO!
We may as well call these measures what they are: a cost saving movida so that Eli Broad, Philip Anschutz, and Rupert Murdoch won't have to spend as much money on future school board elections. Vote no on these reactionary, anti-democratic measures.
Saturday, February 28, 2015
Deplorable California Charter Schools Association still using Dr. George McKenna's name and likeness some 27 days after he demanded they stop!
“I reject the statements, accusations and positions promoted by this group as it relates to Board Member Kayser, whom I strongly support for re-election.”—Honorable Dr. George McKenna
The above screen shot was captured on February 28, 2015.
Following California Charter Schools Association's (CCSA) initial round of vile attacks on the Honorable Bennett Kayser, the principled Dr. George McKenna demanded that CCSA's endorsement of him be withdrawn and that his name and likeness not be used in any subsequent campaign material. McKenna had never requested the revenue hungry trade industry's endorsement in the first place. McKenna demanded the CCSA stop trying to associate him with their sordid and scurrilous campaigning at least as early as February 1, 2015, meaning an entire month has elapsed. Yet the CCSA is still capitalizing on using McKenna's name, not just without his authorization, but in reckless and wanton defiance of his express wishes.
“I reject the statements, accusations and positions promoted by this group as it relates to Board Member Kayser, whom I strongly support for re-election.”—Honorable Dr. George McKenna
I spoke to a high-level McKenna official earlier this week who said they've made numerous attempts to get CCSA to stop its unauthorized use of McKenna's name and likeness, but all their requests have been ignored. I was told that they have even tried to reach out to the baleful Political Director for the CCSA Advocates SuperPAC, Carlos Marquez, but CCSA knows they're only accountable to the ideologically charged billionaires funding them.
It's not too hard to imagine an organization that was founded by bigoted nativist Steve Poizner would tokenize board members of color for their execrable political aims, but this goes beyond the bounds of even the dirtiest of campaigning. CCSA's insatiable greed, coupled with their entire lack of ethics, is revolting. Anyone who remembers the vile and vicious lies they told about McKenna last year understands. Los Angeles school board member Steve Zimmer wrote the following:
Then, last summer CCSA came after Dr. George McKenna with a vengeance. With lies, filth and distortion they tried to mar the career of one of the most beloved educators ever to teach and lead schools in South Los Angeles. The effort failed and McKenna won handily. We thought we had seen the worst.
Maybe if the CCSA would spend less time mocking the Honorable Bennett Kayser's disabilities and more time helping Students with Disabilities, they'd have a shred of credibility. Of course that would mean putting pupils before profits, the antithesis of CCSA's raison d'être.
Charter industry profiteer Ref Rodriguez is a card carrying member of the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA).
Friday, February 27, 2015
First published on Disqus on February 26, 2015
The Honorable Bennett Kayser both helped draft, and he sponsored the Historic LAUSD Ethnic Studies requirement. By far the most progressive education reform in our district in recent memory, it serves as a valuable counter to the greed based "reforms" of the charter industry. Here is an excerpt from a refereed journal article I wrote that will be published this April in Regeneración:
"The Ethnic Studies struggles are significant for several reasons. The first of which is that little or no assistance came from NPIC, proving that effective, community based organizing does not require foundation money, or “professionalized, businesslike” (Incite! 95) organizers. Moreover, Ethnic Studies are the antithesis of the neoliberal ideals, particularly the subtle white supremacism underlying CCSS, which was crafted from E. D. Hirsch, Jr.’s “core knowledge” concepts. Lastly Ethnic Studies opens the door for exposure to Critical Pedagogy, Critical Race Studies, and other scholarship that will provide students with the tools to directly confront neoliberalism, the socio-economic structures that coined it, and the rulers of our class society that have imposed it." (Skeels, 2015).
I heard that other guy, the one backed by the right-wing billionaires, strongly criticized ethnic studies. I suppose it's easy to self-colonize, and play respectability politics when your oppressors pay you enough.
There is only one LAUSD District 5 candidate whose track record on Ethnic Studies sets the gold standard: the Honorable Bennett Kayser!