Senator Bernie Sanders stands against right-wing privatizers like Melvoin. Sanders endorses Padilla and Zimmer for LAUSD.
Sunday, May 14, 2017
Saturday, May 13, 2017
First published on Schools Matter on May 13, 2017
"Melvoin’s people are not ordinary constituents passing daily through LAUSD’s school house doors. These are an extremely rarefied set of LA’s ruling class, the managers and not the workers of this great city." — Sara Roos
Nick Melvoin is a right-of-center, neoliberal privatizer who is close to David F. Welch and many other anti-public-education billionaires. The list of contributors for his Los Angeles Unified School (LAUSD) Board run contains some of the most virulent reactionaries bent on destroying the public commmons, and making education an easy source of revenue for the various industries they profit from.
David F. Welch is the right-wing, extremist millionaire that started the vile Nonprofit Industrial Complex (#NPIC) "Students Matter" which initiated/funded the Vergara v. California and other anti-public-education lawsuits.
Fortunately, the California Court of Appeals didn't agree with the arch-reactionary trial judge in Vergara, overturned his wrongheaded holdings, and vacated his judgement: Another defeat in court for right-wing privatizer David F. Welch.
Former Teach for America, Melvoin has worked with other organizations like Teach Plus, and testified for Welch in the Vergara action. Testified, in bad faith, against the very public schools that he worked for. Laura Moser writes in Slate:
"Nick Melvoin taught at one of those high-poverty schools in Watts, Los Angeles—until he was laid off, two years in a row, a victim of LIFO. Melvoin, who is now a teacher organizer with Teach Plus and a recently declared candidate for the L.A. Unified school board, testified on behalf of the plaintiffs in Vergara and thinks that overturning the statutes contested in Vergara “would be a game changer. It’s necessary but not sufficient,” he said."
One has to ask if Melvoin was really put out by layoffs, why didn't he go to work at one of the charter corporations he is so concerned about increasing market share for? Instead of questioning a system that doesn't provide enough resources to keep public school teachers employed — hence last in, first out policies, Melvoin disingenuously held himself out as the "poster child" for a policy that he, and other Betsy DeVos acolytes, falsely frame as an issue of teacher longevity versus quality.
Melvoin's almost irrational hatred of public schools is best summed up by his desire to entirely supplant them with privately managed institutions, including charter schools. When news broke of decades of scandal by Celerity Charter Corporation and their corrupt founder, Vielka McFarlane, Melvoin wrote an Op-Ed providing political cover. McFarlane is best known for the incident where she and her administrators claimed Emmett Till deserved to die, in defense of her firing teachers over a social justice lesson plan. McFarlane's reputation for dishonesty and greed even earned her the ire of former LAUSD Superindendent Johh Deasy, an individual generally not known for taking issue with wealthy charter school executives. That Melvoin positioned himself as McFarlane's champion says much.
Melvoin would bring the entire Betsy DeVos agenda to Los Angeles. His penchant for segregation, privatization, and subsidizing the greed of the charter school industry is peerless.
Friday, May 05, 2017
Graphic Essay: Betsy DeVos' 'School Choice' Movement Isn't Social Justice. It's a Return to Segregation.
Charters and vouchers have always been intended to break public schools, and wrest education away from the public commons. "School choice," a phrase coined by segregationists, has always been about maintaining and exacerbating segregation by race and class.
Graphic Essay: Betsy DeVos' 'School Choice' Movement Isn't Social Justice. It's a Return to Segregation. by Adam Bessie and Erik Thurman is a powerful piece that makes complex concepts easy to understand. It's a excellent thing to share with non-academics regarding the scourge of school privatization via charters-vouchers. I've included a quote and a teaser from the piece below.
Tuesday, April 25, 2017
Network for Public Education (NPE) is helping to support California Senate Bill 808. The legislation, while it doesn't go far enough, is an important first step towards reeling in the outrageous excesses of the charter school sector. My letter to my State Senator appears below, as well as the call to action letter from NPE.
Senator de Leon:
I am a third year law student, studying hard so that I can become an attorney and defend families of children with disabilities against discrimination by the lucrative charter school industry. Prior to my studying law, I wrote for numerous publications about the essentially unregulated charter sector, exposing abuses, fraud, misrepresentation, and more importantly, discriminatory conduct towards the most vulnerable students.
Charters discriminate against English language learners, students with disciplinary histories, students with disabilities, and more. Meanwhile, their high-powered executives—many of whom are not even educators—pull down astronomical salaries and use their ability as unregulated 501c3s to award no bid contracts to their friends, relatives, or in the case of a current Los Angeles School Board member, to their own consulting firm. Since members of the taxpaying public don't elect charter school boards, there exists a system that puts public money into private hands with no mechanisms to ensure even a modicum of transparency or oversight.
Furthermore, my alma mater, UCLA, has conducted several studies demonstrating that charter schools exacerbate segregation, and fuel the so-called "school to prison pipeline." A perusal of the studies compiled by UCLA's The Civil Rights Project / Proyecto Derechos Civiles would cause any reasonable person to realize that decades of letting the revenue-stream-driven charter school industry "regulate" itself has resulted in an abject situation.
Therefore, I'm asking you to please support SB 808. This bill would give California’s democratically elected, local school boards the final say when it comes to the approval of charter school petitions. The present system takes away community control, forcing districts to navigate reduced budgets and high legal costs for schools over which they have no authority.
Schools that receive public dollars must be responsible to the public. Thank you.
Dear Robert D,
NPE and NPE Action have long been concerned about charter schools in California. You can read our NPE reports about them here.
Now there is a chance to make a small improvement. On April 26th, SB 808 comes up for a hearing before the Senate Education Committee.
This bill would give California’s democratically elected, local school boards the final say when it comes to the approval of charter school petitions. Under current laws, charter petitioners can appeal to state and county boards of education, thereby taking away community control, forcing districts to navigate reduced budgets and high legal costs for schools over which they have no authority. Meanwhile, charter schools often receive blank checks, in the form of pro-bono legal work, funded by the billionaire-backed lobbying group, The California Charter Schools Association (CCSA). We need to level the playing field, so that all schools which receive public funding are responsible and accountable in the same ways.
Here is what we need you to do.
1. Send an email to your Senator. We make it very easy- just click here.
2. Call the members of the Senate Education Committee and ask them to vote YES on SB 808.
• Benjamin Allen, Chair (Santa Monica) 916-651-4026
• Scott Wilk, Vice Chair (Santa Clarita) 916-651-4021
• Cathleen Galgiani (Stockton) 916-651-4005
• Connie M. Leyva (Chino) 916-651-4020
• Tony Mendoza (Artesia) 916-651-4032
• Richard Pan (Sacramento) 916-651-4006
• Andy Vidak (Hanford) 916-651-4014
Let them know that the taxpayers of California deserve local, democratically elected and accountable officials overseeing how their children are educated and tax dollars are spent. Let them know that you are tired of charter school scandals. California's children and taxpayers deserve better.
Thank you for all that you do.
Executive Director of NPE Action
Tuesday, March 07, 2017
Saturday, February 25, 2017
First published on Schools Matter on February 20, 2017
“PLEASE don’t forward this email. simply state it in your own words.”—Yolie Flores Aguilar
This email was addressed to some 60 individuals, including myself, on February 4, 2017. While its authenticity is not absolutely certain, I have researched the email addresses in the email body and they all seem legitimate. The content is consistent with the language that these charter school executives use both in public and internal conversations.
Yolie Flores Aguilar was an employee of the infamous Gates Foundation (of ALEC and Discovery Institute donation fame) while she sat on the LAUSD Board. She brought a resolution to give away new schools built with taxpayer dollars to privately managed charter school corporations.
Here Flores colludes with several well paid charter executives to avoid public mention that her resolution (inappropriately named Public [sic] School Choice) was essentially a real estate bonanza for the lucrative charter school sector. Marco Petruzzi and Ben Austin of Green Dot/Parent Revolution, Judy Burton of Alliance, Mike Piscal of ICEF are the big names in this secret missive. The lot of them have been plagued by scandals, but most of them are still profiting mightily from the charter industry.
Flores is currently running for U.S. Congress. If she's capable of this sort of duplicity and malfeasance while on a school board, imagine her in another position of power to further serve her corporate masters. Arch-reactionary Betsy DeVos would love to have more neoliberal Democrats that support her school privatization agenda of charters-vouchers. DeVos already has corporatists like Corey Booker in her thrall, Yolie Flores would be no different.
The second document should help authenticate this email chain. It's an email from Dr. Danny Weil with Yolie Flores Aguilar's <firstname.lastname@example.org> email address in the to field. I recall she had a blog by the same name (i.e. "itsyolie"), and remember seeing emails from her from that address back in that era.
Monday, February 20, 2017
This video is brilliant. If we wait for fascists like Richard Spencer to herd us into concentration camps, then it's too late to punch them. I'm grateful that antifa and black bloc are doing the work to prevent these vile white supremacists and other assorted eugenists from growing.
Sunday, February 19, 2017
Saturday, February 18, 2017
First published on Schools Matter on December 13, 2016
“Monica Garcia believes in… choice… She expanded charter schools” — Michael R. Bloomberg and A. Jerrold Perenchio’s Coalition for School Reform
Extremist Betsy DeVos was a long time favorite of neoliberal corporate education reform oriented Liberals and reactionary organizations like Democrats for Education Reform, so it's surprising that there's a little bit of consternation coming from some Democrats over Trump's ED pick. On the other hand, right-wing extremists like Campbell Brown seemingly can't contain their joy over the arch-reactionary appointment. Ultimately DeVos's school privatization policies won't differ substantively from those of the doltish Arne Duncan or John King. She'll just get to our rulers' end goal of eliminating public education quicker than the Bush and Obama Administrations were able to.
Los Angeles has had its own Betsy DeVos for many years in the form of anti-public school politician Monica Garcia. Garcia is running for a third term, and her long record of expanding revenue streams and market share for the lucrative charter school industry is legendary. Here are some of DeVos and Garcia's connections and shared values:
Betsy DeVos financially supports, and was on the board of publisher (The 74) of the dubious "LA School Report", a high-profile blog that has provided non-stop favorable publicity and propaganda for Moníca García since its inception.
DeVos has made sizable contributions to organizations that in turn made campaign contributions to SuperPAC Independent Expenditures supporting García's elections. Follow the money to organization like the now defunct Coalition for School Reform, and Great Public Schools Los Angeles, and also the current CCSA run Parent Teacher Alliance dark money SuperPAC.
DeVos funds the organizations espousing racist "school choice" policies from which García derives many of her policy positions and talking points.
DeVos and García openly support religious, and religious affiliated organizations running charter chains. DeVos with the various Christian Identity and white supremacist organizations she's associated with, and García, whose long time relationship with The Pacifica Institute and the shadowy Gülen network are well documented.
Friday, February 17, 2017
The LAUSD is an Early Education, K-12 through Adult Education Division District. Resources and services must be provided accordingly. — Associated Administrators of Los Angeles (AALA)
From the February 6, 2017 issue of Update
In January, the PAC Steering Committee invited the thirteen candidates for Board Districts 2, 4, and 6 to interviews. All came, with the exception of three. Candidates received AALA’s core values in advance, which may be accessed HERE. Interviews were 30 minutes in length and with the exception of the two incumbents
Monica Garcia and Steve Zimmer, all candidates were asked the same six questions on the following topics: background information and policies; role of Board Members; AALA’s core values; administrator's roles and workload; political base, fundraising, and campaign; final comments and questions.
The committee believes its recommended candidates are true advocates for public schools, are against privatization, and will ensure that all students are provided access and equity to a quality education. Following lively discussion, the PAC Council voted to endorse the following candidates:
- Board District 2—Lisa Alva
- Board District 4—Steve Zimmer
- Board District 6—Imelda Padilla
- L.A. City Council Seat 7—Mónica Ratliff
The Council also voted to donate $1,100 (the maximum allowed by law) to the candidates for the Board of Education and $750 to Mónica Ratliff. These funds come from AALA’s PAC account, which is separate from AALA’s operating budget. AALA members can choose whether to direct a portion of their AALA dues to the PAC.
Schools Matter: I can't think of anyone as profoundly ignorant, or as uniquely unqualified to be appointed Secretary of Education as Betsy…
First published on Schools Matter on February 07, 2017
I can't think of anyone as profoundly ignorant, or as uniquely unqualified to be appointed Secretary of Education as Betsy…
…oh, wait, never-mind.
Let's not forget that neoliberal school privatization is a bipartisan project. Both parties fail education.
A natural progression of neoliberalism
- Rod Paige
- Margaret Spellings
- Arne Duncan
- John King
- Betsy DeVos
Not opposing the neoliberal corporate education reform agenda when Democrats were in charge is what led to the DeVos disaster. Not unlike how the Hillary Rodham Clinton camp's "Elevating Pied Piper Candidates" led to the Trump fiasco.
Wednesday, January 18, 2017
Monday, January 16, 2017
- Weds, January 18th: Students United Against Hate, United for the Communities LA Students Deserve
Event- MacArthur Park 4:30pm
(PDF Flyer attached below) We want a safe space for students by students as we challenge Trump, his politics, his followers, the systems of oppression that have allowed him to exist, and the damage that he wants to do to us.
There will be music, art, spoken word and a panel discussion. Our students are AWESOME. Please come to MacArthur Park on Wednesday after school if you are available!! We know that UTLA Chapter Chairs have Area Meetings that afternoon.