Friday, February 27, 2015

The Honorable Bennett Kayser's leadership on the Ethnic Studies requirement for LAUSD

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!

Re-elect Ethnic Studies Supporter Bennett Kayser to LAUSD Board of Education



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K12NN Wire: Fact checking LA Weekly on Kayser, Aspire, Rodriguez’s PUC, and Barr

First published on K12NN Wire on February 25, 2015


"It is not legally or morally acceptable that these so-called “schools of choice” that are concentrated in urban communities and supported with public funds, should be permitted to operate as segregated learning environments where students are more isolated by race, socioeconomic class, disability, and language than the public school district from which they were drawn." — COPAA (Charter Schools and Students with Disabilities p. 42)

Resist the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) putting profits before pupils!

That trashy porn and masseuse ad pennysaver known as the LA Weekly (more like Weakly) has long been a bastion of Ayn Rand Libertarianism. Their propensity to serve as a public relations arm for the Steve Poizner founded, deep pocketed California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) and its proxies is nothing new. However, today's vicious attack piece on the Honorable Bennett Kayser would be considered the lowest in bottom feeding even by a Pacific hagfish.

The piece is notable for being entirely devoid of facts. That didn't stop Dan "students must pledge love to capitalism" Chang of the Non-Profit Industrial Complex fundraising foundation (GPS:LA) from giving it love on Twitter though. What can we expect from a guy with a MBA and a license to malpractice reform from billionaire Eli Broad? So while I really wish LA Weakly would interview people besides wealthy CCSA executives and Steve Barr, I know Jill Stewart doesn't let factually complete articles run in her bird cage liner.

Let's take a look at a few of the more egregious errors in the piece.

Aspire: where civil rights are eschewed in the name of "high performance"

On opposition to renewing the charter for the Aspire corporate charter chain, LA Weakly reproduced profiteer Refugio "Ref" Rodriguez's words, "morally reprehensible". Truth about Apsire:

"But a look at area special education programs provides insight into the types of students served by Aspire. ¶ El Dorado's special ed program does not serve a single visual or hearing impaired student nor students with multiple disabilities, orthopedic or brain injuries, according to state reports. L.A. Unified's program serves many of these disabilities, requiring highly-specialized, costly care." (KPCC, April 16, 2014)

Unlike Rodriguez and his ilk, I make no money from education. So I'd be more inclined to state that Aspire's openly discriminating against Students with Disabilities (SWD), while their "CEO," James R. Willcox, stuffed a staggering $293,687.00 in his pocket a year (2012 Form 990, Part VII§A) was "morally reprehensible". That Kayser opposes this most vile form of ableism, is a mark of courage that profiteers like Rodriguez will never understand. To use the phrase "high performing charter" when discussing a school that enrolls no low incidence disability SWD is beyond the pale. Rodriguez, who is either immoral or amoral, depending on how generous one is, has zero credibility when talking about what is "morally reprehensible".

PUC: where "high achieving" means 50% failure

On PUC academic scores being, according to the Weakly, "well above the state average". In 2013 students from Rodriguez’s PUC Early College Academy for Leaders and Scholars (ECALS) took the California State University (CSU) entrance exams. Half (50%) of those taking the test FAILED to test proficient in either mathematics or English. The fifty percent that failed had to take remedial high school classes. How does that compare to the state average?

2013 CSU English
50% PUC ECALS Not Proficient in English
32% All California High Schools (i.e. the state average)
2013 CSU mathematics
50% PUC ECALS Not Proficient in mathematics
29% All California High Schools (i.e. the state average)

Please tell us again about how Refugio "Ref" Rodriguez's schools are "serving… minority and working-class kids." I'll admit this one thing, they've served his income quite well.

Steve Barr never heard of corporate support for charters?

Regarding Steve Barr's bizarre assertion that he started Green Dot Corporate Charters with his own money only, and his equally strange statement that they've never taken a dime from ideologically charged foundations. Perhaps next time LA Weakly interviews him they might want to ask if he really denies receiving start up funds from right-wing plutocrats Reed Hastings (Netflix) and Don Fisher (Gap). Moreover, they can remind him that Green Dot gets millions from foundations like the Walton Family Foundation every year (e.g. $0.5-Million in 2010). This is easily fact-checked, and there's no need for Barr to pretend he's never heard that Walmart is a corporation. For the record Steve Barr was getting paid by Green Dot some $198,855.00 in 2008 (2008 Form 990, Part VII§A).

Since I'm in law school, I'll do Barr a favor regarding his reckless accusations of libel towards the Honorable Bennett Kayser. Truth is always an affirmative defense to libel causes of action. Claiming the charter chain that made you rich has never taken a penny from the Walton Family Foundation, well, that's something else altogether.



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The Network for Public Education Endorses Bennett Kayser for LAUSD District 5

Dear Robert D.,
NPE Board President, Diane Ravitch says, “Bennett Kayser has been a strong advocate for public education, for class size reduction, and for careful oversight of the LAUSD budget. As an experienced teacher, he understands the schools' needs.”
Network for Public Education endorses Bennet Kayser's re-election for LAUSD School Board District 5 and asks you to support him in any way you can -- voting for him, volunteering in the next five days or donating to his campaign.
Bennett Kayser is a champion for our students:
He says, "My top priority is to continue to grow the district and lower-class size so that teachers and students are provided with every opportunity to achieve."
  • Kayser understands the importance of early childhood education. He directed $34 million dollars to education of our earliest learners for the next four years.
  • Kayser supported the growth of the District’s Supper program expanding this service to an additional 80,000 students—many of whom would go home hungry without it.
Bennet Kayser says,  "We should not close schools because that is a clear sign to our students, teachers, communities that we have abandoned them. We must focus on improving schools, not closing them." He will vote to protect STUDENT PRIVACY and fight school closures.
HIs opponent is running a smear campaign against him. Corporate money and pro-privatization money is flowing into his opponent's race because of his support of charter schools.   Bennett needs a quick infusion of cash to help get him elected and protect PUBLIC EDUCATION. 
According to Martha Infante, teacher at Los Angeles Academy Middle School, “It is those who have been closest to the classroom who have the confidence of teachers, students, and parents. Only they seem to understand the negative impact of class sizes in the 40’s and 50’s on students learning. Only former teachers like Kayser realize the damage the misspending of iPad funds has had on public confidence."
Public education activist, Robert Skeels says, “Bennett Kayser has been a staunch advocate forStudents with Disabilities (SWD), as well as an important ally for programs serving the community, including Adult Education. His first term will be best remembered for his drafting and sponsoring the historic Ethnic Studies resolution, which makes research proven, culturally relevant curricula a requirement for graduation.”
Kayser has been both a public school teacher and an administrator. The first health teacher on the LAUSD Board, Kayser taught 7th Grade Science and Health at King and Irving Middle Schools and was Director of Information Technology for the Pasadena Unified School District. Later he worked with at-risk youth as the Technology Coordinator for LAUSD’s Independent Studies Program through the City of Angels School.
When NPE decided to endorse candidates we promised we would support candidates who support public education. We don't have the money to compete with the billionaires. But as Diane says, there is power in our numbers! We hope our support will persuade parents, students and teachers to get out and vote. This election will be a low turnout and your vote will really make a difference.
PLEASE vote for Kayser Bennet on March 3rd.
For more information or to volunteer check out Kayser Bennett's website.
or donate online here.

WE ARE MANY. THERE IS POWER IN OUR NUMBERS. TOGETHER WE WILL SAVE OUR SCHOOLS.

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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Shutting out the public's voice. Why does the LA Times only publish the charter industry's side?

Sent to the Los Angeles Times on February 26, 2015


Mr. Blume:

Your seemingly heavily biased piece today cites several who have made millions from the charter industry (e.g. Borden, Chang, and Austin), and even quotes right-wing millionaires like Hastings. No doubt giving them the only voices in the piece, and casting the simplistic accusation that this is an issue of teacher union versus charter industry "heroes" is the easiest way to win Karin Klein's go-ahead.

Would have been nice if you considered citing a single public school supporter in the community. Karen Wolfe, David Tokofsky, Dr. Cynthia Liu, Ellen Lubic, Sonja Luchini, Scott Folsom, and a host of others that believe in public schools, rather than privately managed charters, should be able to speak for the large part of the community that doesn't stand for either union interests or charter sector greed.

As the runner up in the 2013 election, and a widely cited essayist on education, I'm always available for thoughts on these things as well. However, I understand that my speaking truth to power makes me somewhat of a threat to the deep pocketed interests in the charter industry. That said, I think we should be asking the question: "why is it that Rodriguez can run for the LAUSD PUBLIC school board, but NO member of the PUBLIC can run for his PUC charter empire board?"

Robert D. Skeels
*********@ucla.edu

Shutting out the public's voice. Why does the LA Times only publish the charter industry's side?



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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

HOW INDEPENDENT IS CCSA’S “INDEPENDENT EXPENDITURE FOR RODRIGUEZ AND DID HIS STUDENTS FOOT THE BILL?


Contact: Dan Nyaradi
Cell: 541-480-4948
2/23/15

 
HOW INDEPENDENT IS CCSA’S “INDEPENDENT EXPENDITURE  FOR RODRIGUEZ AND DID HIS STUDENTS FOOT THE BILL?

Los Angeles – According to its website, membership in the California Charter School Association (CCSA) is five dollars ($5.00) per child per year. The Partnership to Uplift Communities (PUC) is a charter chain opened in 1999 by Dr. Ref Rodriguez.

In 2014 alone, PUC schools contributed over $21,000.00 to CCSA, with more anticipated in 2015 as two new PUC schools were opened. Assuming each PUC school joined CCSA in a timely manner, and that dues have been consistent and paid, PUC charter schools have given about $140,000.00 to CCSA over the years.

Are tax dollars meant for student learning flowing to the charter lobby group from PUC classrooms? Or, is the $20,000.00 per year paid to CCSA considered a tax-deductible contribution from Rodriguez similar to a business association or a 501c3?

Furthermore, Rodriguez currently sits on CCSA’s Board of Trustees according to PUC’s website (2/25/15).

So, again, one must ask, how independent is CCSA’s “Independent Expenditure” on Rodriguez?
 
PUC SchoolYear Opened2014Cumulative Dollars
    
PUC CALS2000$1530$19,335
PUC CALS HS2003$1165$12,400
PUC Early College2004$2200$16,895
PUC ES Community1999$0$600
PUC Community Middle
PUC ECALS
PUC Excel
PUC Inspire
PUC Lakeview
PUC Lakeview HS
PUC Milagro
PUC Nueva Esperanza
PUC Santa Rosa
PUC Triumph
PUC Triumph HS
1999
2011
2006
2014
2004
2010
2004
2009
2010
2007
2010
$1740
$2060
$1595
$0
$1765
$1560
$1440
$1730
$1065
$1730
$1460
 
$21,905
$4,805
$10,900
$600
$11,895
$4,545
$11,230
$6,475
$4,975
$9,970
$3,655
   Over $140,000.00

Sources: http://www.calcharters.org/services/membership/school.htmlthe California Department of Education http://dq.cde.ca.gov/dataquest/ and PUC’s websitehttp://www.pucschools.org/about/founders.php)
 
###
 
Paid for by Re-Elect Bennett Kayser for School Board 2015 – 419 North Larchmont Blvd., #37, Los Angeles, CA 90004 – ID #1361502 – Additional information is available at Ethics.lacity.org – Bennett2015.com – (323) 283-5574



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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Join the Honorable Jackie Goldberg at a meet and support the Honorable Bennett Kayser for LAUSD

I have Contracts II class, but I'll be sure to make another contribution. The Honorable Jackie Goldberg is who got me into law school in the first place.

Special Guest-Hon. Jackie Goldberg meet and support Kayser February 25 Invite by Robert D. Skeels



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Friday, February 20, 2015

Associated Administrators of Los Angeles LAUSD Endorsements 2015

[Bennett Kayser] is often a thoughtful voice on the Board and has been a strong supporter of programs for immigrant children, children with disabilities and children of color. — Associated Administrators of Los Angeles (AALA)

Associated Administrators of Los Angeles From the February 23, 2015 issue of Update

As the March 3 primary election rapidly approaches, we urge AALA members to exercise their right to vote. Pollsters are predicting that the voter turnout will be unusually low, even though there are critical positions that need to be filled. Four seats on the LAUSD Board of Education are open for election—Districts 1, 3, 5, 7—and several candidates are on the ballot. District 1 is the only race in which the incumbent is running unopposed, Dr. George McKenna. The other three races are hotly contested in an election that will virtually determine the future direction of the Board. Once the election has been held, the winners will join the other Board Members in selecting the next Superintendent, balancing the budget and making decisions about the iPad program, new testing procedures and teacher evaluations, all while facing declining student enrollment as charter school numbers increase.

In the contest for Board District 3, AALA has endorsed former teacher and principal Scott Schmerelson (www.Scott4lausd.com), who is running against the incumbent and four other challengers. Scott, who is also Executive Director of ACSA Region XVI and has been endorsed by CSEA, identifies three priorities should he win the election: class sizes, school bond funds and fair wages. Reducing class sizes is his top priority. He experienced the need for this first hand while teaching Spanish last fall at Cleveland High School. His classes had between 42 and 45 students, reducing his ability to interact with the students and even to move about the classroom. Scott has taken the position that school bond funds should be used as intended—for construction and infrastructure upgrades. He opposes the use of bond money for the iPad program, saying, “The from textbook money and since LAUSD is the largest district in the state, we need to go to Sacramento and get the law The money for changed so we can use that money to purchase devices that hold textbooks.”

Current Board Member Bennett Kayser (www.Bennett2015.com) has received AALA’s support in his bid for reelection in District 5. This race has become particularly nasty, with the Charter School Association’s political action committee (PAC) distributing numerous flyers that attack not just Bennett’s politics, but his integrity, ethics and even his health. During his years on the Board of Education, Bennett, a former teacher, has been a dedicated, strong advocate for administrators and teachers and opposed to increasing the number of charter schools. He is often a thoughtful voice on the Board and has been a strong supporter of programs for immigrant children, children with disabilities and children of color. In addition to AALA, he has earned the support of all of the District’s major unions, including UTLA, SEIU and CSEA.

AALA endorses Board President Dr. Richard Vladovic (www.Vladovic4schoolboard.com) in his reelection bid in District 7. His priorities include proper distribution of money to schools that need it most, a MiSiS system that works, a teacher evaluation system that’s fair and a better use of best practices districtwide. Dr. Vladovic has spent his entire career in public education, beginning as a teacher and moving through the ranks to principal and superintendent. He has received the endorsement of the Los Angeles Times, Daily News, Daily Breeze, numerous elected officials, including Mayor Garcetti, and the majority of the labor unions, except UTLA. Dr. Vladovic fought to end the year round calendar and supported the maintenance of health benefits for all employees.



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Robert D. Skeels, 2013 LAUSD District 2 Runner Up, Opposes Charter Amendments 1 and 2

VISIT SAVE OUR CITY ELECTIONS TODAY

These charter amendments would all but entirely consolidate power into the hands of plutocrats and corporations. Community based candidates would essentially be shut out of elections for good. Our school board would be reduced to a committee for large foundations, serving the whims of deep pocketed special interests (read privatizers).

Robert D. Skeels, runner up in the 2013 Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education election for District 2, had the following commentary on Los Angeles City Charter Amendments 1 and 2:

"These charter amendments would all but entirely consolidate power into the hands of plutocrats and corporations. Community based candidates would essentially be shut out of elections for good. Our school board would be reduced to a committee for large foundations, serving the whims of deep pocketed special interests (read privatizers)."

VISIT SAVE OUR CITY ELECTIONS TODAY



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4LAKIDS (Scott M. Folsom's) LAUSD ENDORSEMENTS 2015

●●4LAKIDS ENDORSEMENTS:

Board District 1: GEORGE McKENNA
Board District 3: SCOTT SCHMERELSON
Board District 5: BENNETT KAYSER
Board District 7: RICHARD VLADOVIC

EXPLAINER: Three incumbents are endorsed here even though to would be hard to grade the performance of the board of education over the past few years above a low “C”. This may be “social promotion”: there is plenty of room for improvement. However one must apply the “What have you done for me lately?” test – and eventually, recently, tardily and with-much drama the board rose-up-and-removed Superintendent Deasy. Kayser was Deasy’s greatest critic – and as such may have not been as effective at other things as he could’ve been. McKenna has been the board less than a year. And speaking for the genre: It’s great to see a truly talented old dog learn some new tricks! Valdovic was one of the last to come around and sometimes his leadership of the board was been absent-or-ineffectual – but his experience trumps that of his opponents. Galatzan’s obstreperousness is the biggest catalyst for an “Anyone but Tamar Campaign” …but “anyone” isn’t on the ballot and Scott S. is the strongest one there. The challenge ahead for the Board of Education of the City of Los Angeles is to hire the next superintendent and all the other things in the article above. The voter’s job is to put together 4/7th’s – a potentially deciding majority - of the team to do that.

But mostly the voter’s job is to vote.



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Monday, February 16, 2015

More Scott Folsom on the disreputable tactics of the California Charter Schools Association

“…the distribution of disability types within independent Los Angeles charter schools is skewed; for students with disabilities requiring extensive special education services, the likelihood they will be enrolled in independent charter schools is one-fourth that of traditional public schools.” — COPAA

We all read Scott Folsom of @4LAKids vivid account of California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) and Refugio "Ref" Rodriguez's latest vicious campaign against Students with Disabilities (SWD) and their champion on the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Board, the Honorable Bennett Kayser, in absolute horror. In his weekly newsletter summary, he added the following thoughts.


THE SCHOOL BOARD ELECTION: Later on in this issue I will make endorsements, to be taken with a grain of salt – or salt-substitute, if you are on that diet.

I need to rant a bit about the disreputable tactics of the California Charter Schools Association's political action committee CCSA Advocates’ locally sponsored independent expenditure committee: Parent Teacher Alliance.

(There are three degrees of separation – but they are attached.) Take a look at this: CCSA SPONSORED "PARENT TEACHER ADVOCATES" HITS NEW LOW IN ANTI-KAYSER TV SPOT | http://tl.gd/n_1skkv90 It is true that the CCSA never called Mr. Kayser a racist, but as Steve Lopez wrote: They implied it. Their TV ad last week doesn’t say that Kayser is a pro-pederast/”bad teacher” lover – or that’s he’s responsible for everything Dr. Deasy ever did-or-didn’t do. They don’t say he is given to dropping and breaking coffee cups as a metaphor for something a little darker …or something they don’t want to talk about like his Parkinson’s disease – but they imply it. They don’t claim to be The PTA, but they have the same initials.

On or before March 3rd please vote your heart, or your conscience or your professional affiliation. Don’t copy my homework, do your own! If the only reason you read this blog is to find out where I stand so you can vote the other way – more power to you! Just vote – let’s break the single digits on Election Day!

¡Onward/Adelante! - smf



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Los Angeles activist Muffy Sunde on CCSA's vile ableist attacks on SWD and Bennett Kayser

“low incidence disabilities enrolled at LAUSD charters are significantly under-represented” — Office of the Independent Monitor

California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) and 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

Long-time Los Angeles activist Muffy Sunde is a prominent member of Radical Women. She offered the following 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:


One main point here is that charter schools are mostly specifically exempted from the federal requirements to provide access to education to all regardless of disability--and they are campaigning that all schools should be able to roll back that, because they envision a school system like New Orleans, which are all publicly funded private schools and/or military academies where profits are great but still non profit. My belief is that, with the support of the Obama administration, their target now is special education.  

Their campaign is disgusting and pandering--and I suggest that folks who are close to Kayser urge him to issue a really direct response, defending access for the physically and otherwise disabled, advocating MORE, not less resources for the most needy, and then condemning this attack.  Just urging the bad guys to "say it to my face" is really nada.

Something like "I stand for  ......., what do you stand for"....besides belittling the disabled that is"  My, admittedly limited, knowledge of Kayser, is that he won't do that, but it is worth a try.  Does he demand that the rich (like, you know, Steve Soboroff and Eli Broad) pay more in taxes to fund quality public schools? That would be a campaign that could develop some momentum.

In solidarity,

Muffy



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Friday, February 13, 2015

Board Member Galatzan says Let Them Eat iPads!

Street Theater and Rally Against Tamar "Antoinette" Galatzan

Board Member Galatzan says Let Them Eat iPads!

Board Member Galatzan says Let Them Eat iPads! by Robert D. Skeels



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Tell @CALCharters that ableism is discrimination, a violation of civil rights!

Shame on Refugio &quote;Ref&quote; Rodriguez and California Charter Schools Association

Ref Rodriguez’s California Charter School Association (CCSA) backers have created a vicious attack campaign centered around the Honorable Bennett Kayser’s Parkinson’s disease, questioning his ability to continue serving the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). Why? Because Kayser champions the rights of Students with Disabilities (SWD). What is CCSA’s record on SWD? The Office of the Independent Monitor finds that “SWD are disproportionately under-enrolled at charter schools”, and that “low incidence disabilities enrolled at LAUSD charters are significantly under-represented”. In other words, there’s a clear connection between the way Rodriguez and the CCSA attack candidates with disabilities, and the way the they treat children with disabilities. That’s unacceptable.

Shame on Refugio “Ref” Rodriguez and California Charter Schools Association



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Mike Klonsky's SmallTalk Blog: Eli Broad is bored with giving prizes. Moving on to new top-down strategies.

Mike Klonsky's SmallTalk Blog: Eli Broad is bored with giving prizes. Moving on t...: "No more prizes", says billionaire Eli Broad.  If your school district is hoping for a Broad Prize to carry it over the hump, ...

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Robert D. Skeels on Refugio "Ref" Rodriguez's hostile opposition to Ethnic Studies in LAUSD

"Bennett Kayser of Board District 5 authored the historic LAUSD Ethnic Studies Resolution!" — the Honorable José Lara

Revenue minded Refugio &quote;Ref&quote; Rodriguez opposes ethnic studies in favor of more test preparation

The more we learn of Refugio "Ref" Rodriguez, the more we realize that he's far worse than just another charter profiteer. Whether discussing his schools using money for advertising instead of classrooms; the astonishing 50% remediation rate of his so-called college-ready graduates; he and his backers' vile ableism and mocking of people with disabilities; or even his cowardly act of pretending he had no connections to the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) after they were called out on their reprehensible, scurrilous attacks on the Honorable Bennett Kayser, we're faced with the possibility that Rodriguez's compass is stuck somewhere between immoral and amoral.

Rodriguez's latest transgression? His outrageous attacks on the historic Ethnic Studies resolution just passed by the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). His diatribe against ethnic studies occurred during the LA32 Neighborhood Council forum. While Rodriguez has long dabbled in respectability politics, and seems to wear self colonization with pride (e.g. name change), the idea that a supposed "educator" of color would seemingly support a white supremacist stance against ethnic studies is disheartening and disappointing to say the least. I left the following commentary after a post in the Deasy (LA) School Report blog that contained Rodriguez's rant against Ethnic Studies.

The Los Angeles community has struggled mightily for years to win an Ethnic Studies requirement. This is especially important after bigots Tom Horne and John Huppenthal shut down Ethnic Studies in Arizona, and Marshall Tuck shuttered those selfsame programs locally at Partnership for Los Angeles Schools (PLAS). Our students have a right to study about their own languages, cultures, and histories! For Refugio "Ref" Rodriguez and Andrew Thomas to mock, and even belittle the importance of the historic Ethnic Studies resolution championed by Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Board Members Bennett Kayser, Steve Zimmer, and Dr. George McKenna speaks volumes about their politics and values. Rodriguez and Thomas' anti-ethnic studies statements above find them dangerously close to advocating the same book banning and cultural sterilization programs implemented in other states that should never be acceptable in California (or anywhere for that matter).


There is only one LAUSD District 5 candidate whose track record on Ethnic Studies sets the gold standard: the Honorable Bennett Kayser!

Re-elect Ethnic Studies Supporter Bennett Kayser to LAUSD Board of Education



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[Ableist] CCSA sponsored "Parent Teacher Advocates" hits new low in anti-Kayser TV spot

By Scott Folsom · @4LAKids

Feb 12, 2015 :: A few minutes ago at appx. 7:40pm the California Charter Schools Association's political action committee CCSA Advocates’ locally sponsored independent expenditure committee, Parent Teacher Alliance ran a campaign ad on MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell show that hit a new low.

Asking the question "Who is Bennett Kayser?" it showed a slow motion image of a coffee cup being dropped (In case you don't know it: Kayser suffers from Parkinson's and often trembles and appears clumsy) until it falls and breaks - while recounting horror stories about how Kayser voted to fire teachers and yet retained child abusers - in essence holding Kayser responsible for the failings of the economy, pedophiles, and CCSA's fair-haired-boy: Superintendent Deasy.

Lest we forget, the answer to the 'who is?" question is that Kayser was Deasy's - and the CCSA's - most vocal critic. But no good deed goes unpunished.

THE CCSA bogus "PTA" endorses Ref Rodriguez against Kayser - and Tamar Galatzan and Richard Vladovic in their campaigns. CCSA formerly endorsed George McKenna in his reelection bid ...but he has repudiated their support ...one would hope Galatzan and Vladovic will do the same. And Rodriguez also.

Today is Abraham Lincoln's Birthday - ...and 4LAKids guesses that the CCSA is attempting to fool enough of the people enough of the time, .At least until election day on March 2nd!

The appropriate quote here is from Joesph Welch to Joe McCarthy.: "You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?"



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Tamar Galatzan Stop Failed Experiments TV Spot

LAUSD School Board member Tamar Galatzan was the chief backer of the school district's disastrous iPad program that the L.A. Times called a mess from the beginning to end. Tell Tamar Galatzan to stop the failed experiments and stand up for our kids.

Be sure to check out Corporate education reform privatizer Tamar Galatzan's greatest neoliberal hits at LAUSD



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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Who is the California Charter Schools Association?

Who is the California Charter Schools Association?

Who is the California Charter Schools Association? Founded by nativist Steve Poizner. Revenues of over $2.23-Million. Walmart fortune heir Carrie Walton Penner on their Board of Directors. Director Jed Wallace stuffing his pockets with over $.335-Million in "compensation." With those dark secrets and massive revenues to protect, it's no wonder they are attacking sitting school board members.


NOTES

CCSA founding by Poizner

Moyers on Carrie Walton-Penner

Form 990 see http://www.guidestar.org/ (cf. revenues and salaries)

CCSA Board http://www.calcharters.org/

That's all four facts stated in the image and caption above. Here are two examples of attacks by CCSA on LAUSD's Honorable Bennett Kayser.

L.A. school board election politics equal gutter politics

[Ableist] CCSA sponsored "Parent Teacher Advocates" hits new low in anti-Kayser TV spot



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Schools Matter: Karin Klein and Los Angeles Times still supplying snake oil

First published on Schools Matter on February 09, 2015


"With the long-held popular notion that "private" schooling is better than "public" education, along with the conservative media assault on public education, parents were easily enticed to hitch their children onto the charter school bandwagon."—Professor Antonia Darder

Tamar Galatzan and John Deasy discussing Eli Broad's latest plans to profit from the privatization of of public education title=

The Los Angeles Times published their Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education endorsements for the March 3, 2015 primary election. I had the following to say:

You have to love the tenuous justifications behind those Los Angeles Times ‪#‎LAUSD‬ endorsements—particularly their repetition of the phrase "evidence based." Problem is that none of the policies that they and their endorsed candidates support are evidence based. Herein lies Karin Klein and company's most egregious fault, namely conflating policy papers with actual research. I recall two years ago during my LA Times LAUSD BOE interview when she said that VAM was research proven and I challenged her to produce a single juried (peer reviewed) paper demonstrating it was. All she could do is glare at me. What passes for research in neoliberal corporate reform circles is not recognized as such in academia. Since Klein and her ilk are little more than stenographers for the plutocrat class, I suppose it doesn't make much sense for me to get too riled up about this.

Tamar Galatzan and John Deasy discussing Eli Broad's latest plans to profit from the privatization of of public education title=



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Monday, February 09, 2015

Principled Latino leadership stands with Bennet Kayser against CCSA's scurrilousness

"The idea [Ethnic Studies], brought forward by Board of Education members Bennett Kayser, George McKenna and Steve Zimmer, is aimed at narrowing the academic gap between minority students and their white and Asian peers by pushing students to achieve through the exploration of different perspectives in literature, history and social justice. More than 90 languages are spoken in the district." — Stephen Ceasar, Los Angeles Times.

Principled Latino leadership stands with Bennet Kayser against CCSA's scurrilousness

So impressed with the Honorable Councilman Gil Cedillo's statements in support of the Honorable Bennett Kayser this past weekend [1]. Cedillo, at an event that also featured fellow Kayser supporter the Honorable Henry Gonzalez—Mayor of Southgate, went on record saying "First we fought for immigration reform, then drivers licenses, then the Dream Act, and Bennett Kayser has been with us every step of the way." Mayor Gonzalez took a swipe at the Steve Poizner founded California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) and the revenue minded Refugio "Ref" Rodriguez camp when he said "Racist attacks are by those who have nothing else to offer."

Bennett Kayser's longstanding record on supporting civil rights, communities of color, and immigrant rights is unassailable. That's why every time I challenge the CCSA and Rodriguez's supporters to back their reprehensible claims on their mailer with citations, references, evidence, or any credible substance, they produce nothing. The claims are malicious and reckless fabrications, intended to protect the revenues streams pouring into the lucrative charter school industry. One look at the CCSA's President/CEO Jed Wallace's annual compensation package of over $335,600.00 [2] should make it clear just whose interests Rodriguez and his charter school allies support. I'm sure it's all about a "kids first agenda," not the $.3-million salaries and lavish galas at the Disney Concert Hall with Elise Buik and Eli Broad that fuels those in the charter school sector.

The Honorable José Lara, Vice President of El Rancho Unified School District Board of Education, has spoken truth to the CCSA's power on these issues. First he called out Rodriguez on Twitter: "Shame on @DrRefRodriguez for Race baiting in #LAUSD school board Race!!! We need leadership not hate." Lara has also has been very forthcoming about Kayser's latest achievement: "Bennett Kayser of Board District 5 authored the historic LAUSD Ethnic Studies Resolution!"

One thing I know for absolute certain, because I worked on the Ethnic Studies campaign myself, is that neither charter king Ref Rodriguez, nor the CCSA's Carlos Marquez lent any support to our important struggle. Not so much as a personal endorsement for the research proven policy of providing culturally relevant curricula from those two. Perhaps if there was a resolution pushing respectability politics 101, or self colonization studies, we'd see those CCSA mailer creators jumping on board.

Kayser's leadership has provided a beacon of hope to those that want schools to be run by the community. Moreover, his principled support for Students with Disabilities (SWD) has made him unpopular with the charter school industry, which eschews SWD at every opportunity in order to protect their bottom lines. This is a widely, and carefully documented fact [4]. Combine that with the vile ableist slurs the CCSA and Rodriguez's proxies have been aiming at Kayser, a man with disabilities himself, and one gets the impression that the charter school industry's long record of open discrimination against SWD and their rank ableism are structural oppressions that will never change until the charter sector is abolished.

It is somewhat ironic that this Rodriguez, who made his fortunes in the charter school industry, can run for the public school board, but no members of the public can run for charter school boards, like those of his PUC empire. Sounds just the way the one percent likes it.

I support the Honorable Bennett Kayser for LAUSD School Board.


NOTES

[1] Disclosure: Cedillo and I are both UCLA alumni, and I am currently attending the same social justice law school he graduated from.

[2] 2012 Form 990 Part VII §A.

[3] Disclosure: Lara and I are both UCLA alumni, founding members of the Southern California Immigration Coalition (SCIC), and members of the Association of Raza Educators (ARE).

[4] (cf. "SWD are disproportionately under-enrolled at charter schools", and that "low incidence disablities enrolled at LAUSD charters are significantly under-represented")

Office of the Independent Monitor. Pilot Study of Charter Schools’ Compliance with the Modified Consent Decree and the LAUSD Special Education Policies and Procedures., Los Angeles: Modified Consent Decree., 2009.

Principled Latino leadership stands with Bennet Kayser against CCSA's scurrilousness

Principled Latino leadership stands with Bennet Kayser against CCSA's scurrilousness

Principled Latino leadership stands with Bennet Kayser against CCSA's scurrilousness

Principled Latino leadership stands with Bennet Kayser against CCSA's scurrilousness



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Schools Matter: Student leader Hannah Nguyen speaks truth to Teach for America power in the New York Times

First published on Schools Matter on February 07, 2015


"Teacher turnover really destabilizes a learning environment. So having a model that perpetuates that inequity in and of itself was also very confusing for me." — Hannah Nguyen

Hannah Nguyen, a University of Southern California junior and aspiring teacher who opposes the Teach for America program. Credit Monica Almeida/The New York Times

Wendy Kopp's profitable neoliberal project has been having difficulty recruiting. Their corporate spin doesn't want to give any credit the social justice resistance to their project, but even the New York Times knew better. My comments on the piece:

I proudly participated in Students United for Public Education (SUPE)'s #ResistTFA movement at UCLA last spring before I graduated. Meeting educator Hannah Nguyen of SUPE National, when she was creating Teach for America (TFA) awareness at all Los Angeles universities, was an honor. Her ability to speak truth to power and privilege is peerless. I would start a #ResistTFA at my current school, but since it's a social justice law school, none of us would ever consider joining TFA in the first place.

Among its myriad failings, shortcomings, and the abject damage it has done to low income communities, TFA can count two accomplishments. First, it amassed a fortune for Wendy Kopp. Second, it provided the plutocrat class with yet another vector to undermine the remains of the public commons.

Professor Mike Klonsky's thoughts on this are worth reading as well. I'm so happy to see Ms. Nguyen beginning to get the credit she deserves for all her hard work. All I can say is that the Schools Matter staff have known her since back in the day.

Right to left, Hannah Nguyen, Robert D. Skeels, and Dr. Stephen Krashen
Right to left, Hannah Nguyen, Robert D. Skeels, and Dr. Stephen Krashen. August 25, 2013 at University of Southern California.

Photo at top of post: Credit Monica Almeida/The New York Times



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K12NN Wire: United Way Greater Los Angeles creates ad campaign for their biased LAUSD candidate forums

First published on K12NN Wire on February 7, 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 creates ad campaign for their biased LAUSD candidate forums

United Way Greater Los Angeles creates ad campaign for their biased LAUSD candidate forums

United Way Greater Los Angeles creates ad campaign for their biased LAUSD candidate forums

Some of United Way Greater Los Angeles and United Way Worldwide's other "education" related activities:

* Mr. Broad is quoted in the New York Times



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Schools Matter: United Way to market Scholastic's Reading Oasis (NASDAQ-SCHL)

First published on Schools Matter on February 06, 2015


"By what logic does United Way engage in an activity that is shunned by all the other charities?" — Professor Ralph E. Shaffer

If anyone is interested, I can forward them the press release email for this. United Way is essentially marketing Scholastic Corporation products through their "Club Connect Reading Oasis" project (www.unitedwayclubconnect.org). Scholastic (NASDAQ: SCHL) was noticeably excited by the announcement, and they claim they generate approximately $2 billion in annual revenues. I wonder if United Way Greater Los Angeles' Elise Buik will invite President and CEO of Scholastic, Dick Robinson, to join her at her next "education" round-table with Eli Broad, Casey Wasserman, and the discredited John Deasy?

United Way to market Scholastic's Reading Oasis (NASDAQ-SCHL)

United Way Greater Los Angeles is the best  public relations firm that Eli Broad has ever hired
Left to right: Monica Garcia, the disgraced John Deasy, Casey Wasserman, billionaire Eli Broad, and Elise Buik. Five of the greatest enemies to public education in Los Angeles under the aegis of the United Way Greater Los Angeles.

The above Scholastic deal was struck in conjunction with United Way Worldwide. Not all United Way organizations are active participants in the neoliberal corporate education reform project. On the other hand, some of them serve as a tax deductible public relations and lobbying firms for the Broad/Gates/Walton Triumvirate. The most egregious offender is United Way Greater Los Angeles (UWGLA). Some of UWGLA's other "education" related activities:



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Friday, February 06, 2015

Patch: Ref Rodriguez and PUC's abject 50% CSU proficiency

First published on Echo Park Patch on February 4, 2015


PUC's 50% CSU proficiency. These are Ref Rodriguez's best results with cherry picked students and extra funding?

PUC's 50% CSU proficiency. These are Ref Rodriguez's best results with cherry picked students and extra funding?

Rather than running for school board Ref Rodriguez and his corporate charter cronies should be more focused on their own schools, which despite their marketing claims of “college ready”, are doing far worse than LAUSD public schools as a whole. For example, in 2013 students from Rodriguez’s Early College Academy for Leaders and Scholars (ECALS) took the California State University (CSU) entrance exams. Half of those taking the test FAILED to test proficient in either mathematics or English. That fifty percent that failed had to take remedial high school classes. If that’s the best that so-called “high performing” chains like PUC can do, then we need to revisit this whole handing public money over to private entities. Fifty percent remediation rates isn’t about “lifting kids out of poverty”, it’s taking advantage of students so that charter executives can grow their bank accounts.



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Bennett Kayser for LAUSD 2015 campaign kick-off events

Re-elect Ethnic Studies Supporter Bennett Kayser to LAUSD Board of Education

Re-elect Ethnic Studies Supporter Bennett Kayser to LAUSD Board of Education



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Ultimately Coro is far more shadowy and cultish than even the Gülen charter school network

""Their real contribution is that they defuse political anger and dole out as aid or benevolence what people ought to have by right. They alter the public psyche. They turn people into dependent victims and blunt the edges of political resistance. NGOs [NPIC] form a sort of buffer between the government and public. Between Empire and its subjects. They have become the arbitrators, the interpreters, the facilitators. In the long run, NGOs are accountable to their funders, not to the people they work among." — Arundhati Roy

Caprice Young, Coro Fellow and school privatizer

Recently I wrote a piece on neoliberal corporate education reform operative Caprice Young. It discussed an exchange I had where I informed California Badass Teacher Association (BATs) members of some of Young's activities since she left ICEF: "…after she [Caprice Young] left ICEF she was doing consulting and working with her fellow right-wing CORO alum, Bill Jackson, at the disgusting "Great Schools" #NPIC". I then needed to add Jackson's name to the list of Coro operatives known to be working to eliminate public education in Los Angeles. I maintained a running list in a footnote of a 2011 Schools Matter piece, but realized that was becoming too unwieldy. Therefore, I've begun this new list. It's of Coro acolytes that have inflicted considerable damage on Los Angeles schools. It isn't intended to be a list of all known Coro operatives. When I get time I'll try to fill in backgrounds and details on those listed here.

Coro operatives menacing Los Angeles schools

Yolie Flores-Aguilar
Wesley George Farrow
Jordan Henry
Bill Jackson
Ricardo Mireles
Alex Padilla
Gabe Rose
Ryan Smith
Caprice Young
Currently Magnolia division of the Gülen Charter school fiefdom

What is Coro?

Information on Coro is hard to come by. Activists rarely get Coro operatives to talk about their organization, and when they do, there's nothing said of substance. During my last quarter at UCLA I reached out to them as a prospective fellow. They encouraged me to apply, but wouldn't provide any details without applying and committing first. I suppose that's like not learning about Xenu until one achieves OTIII (perhaps John Deasy's friend Megan Chernin can confirm that). You can't learn much about them by reading their literature either. The philosophically threadbare propaganda of neoliberalism is typically littered with vapid and vacuous prose, and Coro's explanation of who they are and what they do is no different. To wit:

Coro contributes a group of trained individuals whose personal skills and civic involvement promote broader civic engagement and expand the social capital of the community. By developing a network of local and regional organizations willing to create internship and project opportunities for program participants, Coro creates a safe space in which diverse organizations and leaders enter into dialogue with program participants and with each other.

That's sixty-five words of prose with no meaning whatsoever, putting it right along with "no excuses," or "work hard and be nice." Professor Noam Chomsky addresses these types of phrases best:

It doesn't mean anything... That's the whole point of good propaganda. You want to create a slogan that nobody's going to be against, and everybody's going to be for. Nobody knows what it means, because it doesn't mean anything. Its crucial value is that it diverts your attention from a question that does mean something: Do you support our policy? [1]


NOTES
[1] Chomsky, Noam. Media Control: The Spectacular Achievements of Propaganda, Second Edition. New York: Seven Stories Press., 1991. pp. 25-26.



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K12NN Wire: Ref Rodriguez doesn't get to claim he's never heard of California Charter Schools Association

First published on K12NN Wire on February 2, 2015


"There's never a short supply of People of Color willing to tokenize themselves, and prosper, at the expense of marginalized millions." — Professor Khaled A. Beydoun, Critical Race Theorist

The Deasy (LA) School Report blog posted an entry in which Ref Rodriguez tries to distance himself from California Charter Schools Association's widely condemned campaign literature. His equivocating quotes deserved a response. Here is an edited version of my commentary on that post.


The well-heeled Refugio "Ref" Rodriguez's PUC Corporation Charter Schools have been dues paying members of the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) since their founding. In fact, CCSA lists 14 of Rodriguez's lucrative PUC schools as CCSA members. Moreover, Rodriguez is close friends with nearly all of the CCSA's board members, including their Secretary, Ana Ponce of the CNCA Corporate charter chain. So when Rodriguez talks about "the sponsors" of the reprehensible mailer attacking the Honorable Bennett Kayser, he isn't talking about some third party organization doing an Independent Expenditure (IE) that he has no relationship with. Instead Rodriguez is talking about an organization that he is a long standing member of, that his corporate charter chain pays dues to, and that is comprised of his business colleagues and close friends.

Rodriguez's weakly worded "criticism" of his trade association's repugnant and reprehensible mailer is nothing more than crocodile tears. How dishonest is it of him to pretend like he has no ties to the CCSA? His inaction in this regard amounts to a tacit endorsement of CCSA's mailer.

The only good faith means by which Ref Rodriguez could disassociate himself with his CCSA's IE is by following the example of the Honorable Dr. George McKenna. Namely, McKenna's principled and unequivocal condemnation of the mailer and the CCSA's SuperPAC, the demand that they withdraw their endorsement, and the demand that his name not be used in any more CCSA/Rodriguez campaign materials. Only then can Rodriguez claim that he opposes the deplorable and dishonest messaging his colleagues are mailing out to voters.

Ref Rodriguez doesn’t get to claim he’s never heard of California Charter Schools Association

About California Charter Schools Association (CCSA)

Some background information on CCSA, the trade industry organization Rodriguez' schools belong to.

  • The California Charter Schools Association was founded by bigoted nativist Steve Poizner. Poizner is on record as saying he wanted to "resurrect Prop 187", and a quick perusal of his campaign materials from his failed gubernatorial bid reveals a platform not unlike that of the Minutemen or the Klan. Poizner served on the CCSA Board of Directors for many years, if I recall correctly, right up until he ran for governor.
  • The UCLA Project for Civil Rights has found that charter schools have revived Jim Crow style segregation. Los Angeles charter schools are particularly egregious in this regard.
  • The LAUSD Office of Independent Monitor (OIM) has found repeatedly that students with disabilities are "significantly underrepresented" at Los Angeles charter schools.
  • CCSA's Board Vice Chair is Carrie Walton Penner (her late father, John Walton holds an "In Memoriam" seat). These, of course, are the Waltons of Walmart infamy, an oppressive enterprise whose record on race issues is spotty at best.


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Thursday, February 05, 2015

Millionaire extremist David F. Welch's reactionary lawsuit hurts kids, educators, and sticks CA taxpayers with his bills!

Millionaire extremist David F. Welch's reactionary lawsuit hurts kids, educators, and sticks CA taxpayers with his bills!

For more on anti-public-education extremist David F. Welch, see Capital & Main's David Welch: The Man Behind Vergara v. California. For updates on the appeal, and information from experts like Professors Linda Darling-Hammond and Jesse Rothstein refuting the groundless premises of Vergara, see CTA's site.

Reactionary millionaire David F. Welch's vile move hurt kids, educators and taxpayers by Robert D. Skeels



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Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Read NPE's Full Statement on NCLB Reauthorization Draft

The Network for Public Education


Dear Robert D.,
Yesterday was the deadline for public comment on the NCLB reauthorization draft bill Sen. Lamar Alexander, Chair of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released on January 13, 2015, leaving only 20 days for public comment. 
In that short time, NPE developed a letter writing campaign to ask the HELP Committee to #EndAnnualTesting as part of their reauthorization efforts. Over 2,300 of our allies answered our call, and sent letters to Congress. 
We thank you for taking action!
The NPE Board of Directors also drafted and sent a statement to the HELP Committee, offering their comments on the full draft.

Background

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) was passed in 1965 specifically to send federal aid to poor students. This law contained no reference to testing. Over the years, programs such as Title II and aid for homeless students have been added, again to support low-income students.
NCLB distorted the purpose of ESEA by creating federal mandates for
testing that affected every public school. These mandates are depleting resources and have a negative impact on the very students and schools ESEA was designed to help.
The current draft of the "Every Child Ready for College or Career Act of 2015" offers a choice between annual testing and grade span testing, and given that choice, we prefer the latter.
But our strong view as an organization is that ESEA should be restored to
its original intent: to send federal aid to schools and districts that have
large numbers of children who live in poverty. There should be no federal
mandates for annual testing of every student. This is a state function, not a federal function.
In addition, the authorization levels in this draft bill are inadequate to ensure that disadvantaged students are provided an education that provides them with an equitable chance to learn.  

Statement Summary

  • We support option 1 to eliminate mandated annual testing, and we urge the Senate to remove high stakes attached to standardized tests, encourage flexibility in designing assessments, and provide the right of parents to opt their children out of standardized testing.
  • Restore reducing class size as option that states and districts can use with their Title II funds, which is a research-based reform that also works to lower teacher attrition.
  • Eliminate the use of federal funds for merit pay, which has consistently failed to improve student outcomes.
  • Add to the reporting requirements of districts, states and the federal government so they must report trends in average class size data, as well as the disparity in class size between high and low poverty schools.
  • Strengthen the language around student data privacy and limit federally mandated data collection of individual students.
  • Oppose the diversion of resources to private and charter sc hools through portability of Title I funds and expansion of federal funding to charters.
  • Require maintenance of effort, so that states and districts cannot cut back on their own support for schools while replacing their funding with federal dollars.
  • We strongly urge the Senate to increase overall funding for Title I, Title II, and Title X for homeless students, especially as more than 50% of the children in our public schools are now officially classified as low income for the first time in at least fifty years.
NPE will continue to follow the NCLB reauthorization process, and we will send regular updates via newsletters and on our website, as well as on social media. 
If you don't already follow us on Facebook or Twitter, please take a moment to do so now.

WE ARE MANY. THERE IS POWER IN OUR NUMBERS. TOGETHER WE WILL SAVE OUR SCHOOLS.



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