Thursday, August 21, 2014

We want legalization for all!

LEGALIZATION FOR ALL!

Join us on Saturday, August 23 at the Salesian Family & Youth Center to demand LEGALIZATION FOR ALL! This event will feature speakers specialized in organizing to promote migrant rights and the struggle for equality for Central Americans and self determination in the Chicana/o struggle. Event is free. Food, music, will be available! Come out to this community forum to discover the ways YOU can become part of this movement!

RSVP here: Facebook Event



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SKrashen: Opposition to the common core

SKrashen: Opposition to the common coreSent to the Washington Post, August 20, 2014

The Post has reported that according to a recent PDK/Gallup poll, the "Common Core educational standards are losing support nationwide" (August 19). The poll asked those opposed to the Common Core why they were opposed, giving them several possible reasons.

The options did not include the reasons many educators oppose the Common Core: There is no need for a radical change in curriculum or testing. Substantial improvement will come only when we deal with the real problem: Poverty. When researchers control for the effect of poverty, American test scores are near the top of the world. Our unspectacular overall scores are because the US has the second highest level of child poverty among all 34 economically advanced countries (now over 23%, compared to high-scoring Finland’s 5.4%). 
Poverty means poor nutrition, inadequate health care, and lack of access to books, among other things. All of these negatively impact school performance.  Instead of protecting children from the effect of poverty, the common core is investing billions in an untested curriculum and massive testing, despite research showing that increasing testing does not increase  achievement.

Stephen Krashen
Professor Emeritus
University of Southern California


original article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/common-core-educational-standards-are-losing-support-nationwide-poll-shows/2014/08/19/67b1f20c-27cb-11e4-8593-da634b334390_story.html

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Monday, August 18, 2014

Robert D. Skeels guest appearance on MPC Presents The Blk Grrrl Show! 08-14-14

Be sure to watch the whole show, I speak truth to power from the 5:45 to 34:15 marks. Host Teka Lark Fleming had us discussing the recent LAUSD District 1 election. I mention 2014 LAUSD Special Election third place finisher Sherlett Hendy Newbill's brave defense of Dorsey High School from the privatizers, and the Honorable José Lara's Ethnic Studies resolution in ERUSD. We tackled a range of topics regarding neoliberal corporate edreform, and the resistance against it.

Her other guest, artist Lili Bernard, was so compelling, that I sat in the studio to watch her interview. I have high hopes that this show will continue to speak truth to power and educate the community.



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40th Anniversary of Lau v. Nichols Decision: A National Conference on the Rights of Linguistic Minorities

40th Anniversary of Lau v. Nichols Decision: A National Conference on the Rights of Linguistic Minorities

40th Anniversary of Lau v. Nichols Decision: A National Conference on the Rights of Linguistic Minorities

40th Anniversary of the Supreme Court Decision on Rights of Linguistic Minorities by Robert D. Skeels



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Sunday, August 17, 2014

K12NN Wire: Dan Chang’s dark money SuperPAC now switches to funding Marshall Tuck

First published on K12NN Wire on August 15, 2014


"We have our cake, and are eating it too." — Eli Broad

Dan Chang's SuperPAC, formed to support erstwhile LAUSD candidate Alex "ALEC" Johnson, is now funding a new astroturf group to get his fellow Broad Urban Residency alum, Marshall Tuck, elected to the California State Superintendent of Public Instruction seat. Using the wonderful astroturf name "Parents for Marshall Tuck", we can be sure that no authentic parents are running the Independent Expenditure (IE) funded by Chang's Great Public Schools Los Angeles PAC. The new astroturf group's twitter is https://twitter.com/parentsfortuck, you can access their website from there.

Corporatists Dan Chang and Marshall Tuck
Broad Urban Residency graduates Dan Chang and Marshall Tuck combined have zero hours experience teaching in a public school classroom."


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K12NN Wire: Alex Johnson, who ducked my interview and at least six candidate forums, asks why Dr. McKenna won't respond to the Deasy School Report?

First published on K12NN Wire on August 11, 2014


He has dodged multiple requests for policy positions, undoubtably because he is a hand puppet for the neoliberal corporate education reformers. — Robert D. Skeels

Neoliberal corporate education reform candidate for Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Alex Johnson holds a Juris Doctor, while I am merely a first year law student. That said, I've already learned that one doesn't respond to factual evidence with spurious rumors and outright lies. Johnson somehow never learned that lesson. To wit, in response to my carefully documented list of his recent donors, Johnson made the mendaciousness and shameless claim that the Reverend Jesse Jackson took money to endorse Dr. George McKenna.

Learning nothing from that experience, Johnson responded to the viral article calling him out on his Jackson lie by implying that Dr. McKenna refuses to go on record with his stances on issues:

Absurd on its face, Johnson's latest statement is problematic in several regards. First, Johnson is not really in a position to talk. I spent roughly ninety days calling, emailing, and tweeting to Johnson, pleading for an opportunity to interview him on his policy positions. The opening quote in this essay is the result of those efforts. Moreover, Johnson missed no less than six community forums during the primary election, including:

April 14, New Frontier Democratic Club
DWP Community Room
April 19, Committee For New South LA
West Adams Church
May 8, Black Parent Union
Betty Hill Senior Center
May 12, California Community of Elders, reparations United, council of Black Political Organizations and ACCE Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment
Vision Theatre
May 15, Dr. MLK Cultural Committee
Holly Park Center Gardena
May 19, South Los Angeles Area Neighborhood Council
Angeles Mesa Elementary School

The one forum I did see him at (USC), all he could manage to do is spout meaningless platitudes and parrot California Charter School Association talking points. He sounded vapid and vacuous, as do most school board candidates lacking pedagogical backgrounds; candidates who view LAUSD as a stepping stone to higher office.

Jamie Alter-Lynton's Deasy (LA) School Report
Jamie Alter-Lynton's blog byline should read "what Deasy wants you to think is really going on in LAUSD"

The second issue is that the link in Johnson's tweet is to the notorious Deasy School Report*, an anti-public education blog created by Jamie Alter-Lynton, a wealthy reactionary who sits as a board member on Superintendent John Deasy's LA Fund slush 501c3. Alter-Lynton, sibling of corrupt charter cheerleader Jonathan Alter, practices Breitbart style "journalism" — feeling that outlets like the LA Times and LA Daily News weren't planted in the the neoliberal corporate reform camp firmly enough. Her Ayn Rand leaning views on the public sector are second to her almost maniacal hatred of working class schoolteachers. One can really gauge Alter-Lynton by her letting go of both Alexander Russo and Hillel Aron. Neither of those writers would ever be accused of supporting public schools or saying anything positive about teachers, but they weren't willing to pursue the white whale with Alter-Lynton's Ahab-like vengeance.

The distinguished Dr. George McKenna owes nothing to Alex Johnson, the Deasy School Report, or Jamie Alter-Lynton. He is right not to respond to her constant badgering and attention seeking. The best thing we could all do is allow Alter-Lynton's me-too-reformer blog die a deserved death of obscurity by not visiting or linking to it.


* Properly "LA School Report," but most activists don't call it by that very misleading name.



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Appearing today on Dr. James Miller's The War Report on Public Education

Sunday, August 17, 2014 at 14:00 (2:00PM)
The War Report on Public Education
Host: Dr. James Miller
Guests: Karen Wolfe and Robert D. Skeels

We'll be discussing the results of the LAUSD Special Election held on August 12, 2014. Highly regarded professional educator Dr. George McKenna won despite being attacked and outspent by anti-public school billionaires and charter industry moguls.

The War Report on Public Education!



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Thursday, August 14, 2014

AALA: George McKenna, AALA-Supported Board Candidate, Wins Election!

Reprinted from AALA Update on August 18, 2014


Dr. George McKenna for LAUSDAALA extends congratulations to Dr. George McKenna on his election to become the Board of Education Member representing District 1. Dr. McKenna is filling the seat that has been vacant since the death of Marguerite LaMotte in December 2013. This marks the fifth AALA-endorsed candidate to win a seat on the LAUSD Board. Dr. McKenna joins fellow AALA- supported colleagues Bennett Kayser, Mónica Ratliff, Dr. Richard Vladovic and Steve Zimmer.

In an election that pitted a veteran educator against an inexperienced politician, with only eight percent of those eligible voting, it is noteworthy that the deep pockets/outside interests were again unsuccessful in their bid to control the outcome. This is, fortunately, becoming a trend in the LAUSD Board of Education races. So-called education reformers and charter school advocates from around the country have poured millions of dollars into these local campaigns in an effort to privatize the second largest school district in the country. It is a testament to the influence of local administrators, teachers, other employees and community groups that voters were not swayed by all of the glossy, negative campaign material distributed by Dr. McKenna’s opponent.

It is unfortunate that young, inexperienced political aspirants are being used to further the interests of corporate reformers. We have seen this in the last three Board elections, most notably, with the election of AALA-supported Mónica Ratliff and Steve Zimmer, who were both opposed by candidates who had little experience or knowledge, but lots of money from Independent Expenditure Campaigns. In this current election, George McKenna spent about one-fourth of the amount that his opponent expended, yet he was able to maintain nearly the same solid showing that was garnered in the primary. Let this be a lesson that the voters of Los Angeles will not succumb to the smear campaigning that is fueled by donations from those who do not live in the community, have no children in the schools and no vested interest in improving the lives of the students of LAUSD.

Dr. McKenna will immediately assume his position on the Board of Education, while at the same time begin a campaign for reelection in the spring. We look forward to working with him and know that he will be a voice for the students, parents and employees of the District. As we begin a new school year, we are pleased that Mrs. LaMotte’s seat at the Board table will now be filled. The new Local Control Funding Formula has brought additional revenue to the District, as well as more accountability. The expenditure of the new funds must be scrutinized and used for the children it is supposed to target. We must not only focus on their instruction, but also their safety and well-being. AALA continues to seek a reduction in administrators’ cumbersome workload, including the time-consuming teacher evaluation system currently in place. Stringent oversight of the Common Core Technology Project and the implementation of the MiSiS data system are needed as both initiatives move forward. We know that Dr. McKenna will hit the ground running. We welcome him back and look forward to working with him.



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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

RIP my dear friend Marguerite Poindexter LaMotte, we defended your students from profiteers!

RIP my dear friend Marguerite Poindexter LaMotte

I was crying during Congresswoman Maxine Waters' speech on Monday night. She was so right when she said that she and so many other people let the late, Honorable Marguerite Poindexter LaMotte down. LaMotte alone stood against the so-called Public School Choice (PSC) resolution and other vile privatization movidas. LaMotte alone took on poverty pimps Yolie Flores-Aguilar and Monica Garcia when they had to unmitigated gall to stand with that monster Maria Casillas and lie about UTLA. I always had LaMotte's back. I always sent her vital information to fight against the privatization pushers. Tonight we defended her legacy!

¡Marguerite Poindexter LaMotte, Presenté!



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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Alex Johnson told KNBC's Conan Nolan that he would conduct himself on the LAUSD Board the same way he ran his campaign. In other words…

Alex Johnson told KNBC's Conan Nolan that he would conduct himself on the LAUSD Board the same way he ran his campaign. In other words…

Alex Johnson told KNBC's Conan Nolan that he would conduct himself on the LAUSD Board the same way he ran his campaign

"Our community has never witnessed an outrageous smear campaign against a candidate such as the Alex Johnson Campaign is waging" (Congresswoman Maxine Waters)

"Johnson… is employing unconscionable smear tactics" (Larry Aubry, The Los Angeles Sentinel, 25 Jul 2014)

"nastiest smear campaign money can buy" (Betty Pleasant, CityWatch, 22 Jul 2014)

"suggests naivete about what it takes to significantly improve perpetually struggling schools" (Sandy Banks, LA Times, 25 Jul 2014)

"characterization also is misleading" (Howard Blume LA Times 3 Aug 2014)

"Alex Johnson… and the charter schools along with their billionaire puppet masters are really saying is we have to hurt the children to protect the children." (Celes King IV, CityWatch, 20 Dec 2013)

"scurrilous" (Jim Newton, LA Times, 27 Jul 2014)

"Alex Johnson… taken a page right of the Republican play book" (Earl Ofari Hutchinson, The Hutchinson Report News, 29 Jul 2014)

"There's a word to describe this type of dirty campaigning: SHAMEFUL!"  (Danny J. Bakewell, Jr., The Los Angeles Sentinel, 24 Jul 2014)

"Alex Johnson and some of his backers has distracted attention" (Howard Blume LA Times 3 Aug 2014)

"wildly out of context" (Jim Newton, LA Times, 27 Jul 2014)

"smear by the Johnson camp" (Dianne Lawrence, The Neighborhood News Online, 3 Aug 2014)

"constant stream of mendaciousness and shameless from Alex Johnson" (Robert D. Skeels, solidaridad, 10 Aug 2014)



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Sunday, August 10, 2014

Schools Matter: Vile opportunist Alex Johnson's shameless accusations of paid Rev. Jesse Jackson endorsements

First published on Schools Matter on August 10, 2014


I would say Marguerite is turning in her grave, but her family hasn't even had time to bury her before the very forces she fought against on the Board and political opportunists are seeking to harm the schools and children she fought so passionately to protect. — Celes King IV

Alex Johnson's latest lie libels Rev. Jesse Jackson, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, and Dr. George McKenna

Tuesday, August 12, 2014 there is a special election in Los Angeles. It is critical in that it is for the District 1 board seat on the nation's second largest school system, Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). As the runner up in the 2013 LAUSD District 2 election, I reached out multiple times to the Alex Johnson Campaign early on — only to be ignored. The idea of the plutocrat class (read Eli Broad et al) installing another one of their rubber-stamp policy makers is of grave concern. I wrote this about Johnson back in mid-April:

He has dodged multiple requests for policy positions, undoubtably because he is a hand puppet for the neoliberal corporate education reformers.

After months of his stonewalling, I received a pair of tweets from the official Alex Johnson Campaign account the weekend before the election. Here is the tweet of interest:

I don't know which is more revolting and repugnant: Alex Johnson's continued besmirching of Dr. George McKenna, or his vile statement that civil rights luminary and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, the Reverend Jesse Jackson, would take money to endorse. Either way, libel of this magnitude is breathtaking.

While I was focused on Johnson's ongoing smearing of Dr. McKenna, it was my fellow education activist Ingrid Villeda that astutely pointed out the implications of the latter issue. Moreover, in plumbing all new despicable depths, Johnson is attacking Congresswomen Maxine Waters, who sponsored a community celebration with both McKenna and Jackson.

The constant stream of mendaciousness and shameless from Alex Johnson's camp has been covered by numerous Los Angeles media outlets. Notably, even anti-public school hack Jim Newton of the Los Angeles Times took issue with with Johnson's lies calling out a "scurrilous piece of mail" sent by his supporters. Neoliberal corporate education reformers really have to be beyond the pale to earn a scolding from Newton.

I've written a number of exposés on Johnson over the past months, but I have an inkling that the last piece in this list is what really irked them into responding.

Given Johnson's aversion to truth, it's no wonder he reacted the way he did. Let's hope the the huge charter and plutocrat funding that both Johnson and his backer, Mark Ridley Thomas, have behind them doesn't fool the voters in LAUSD District 1. Johnson's vicious attacks on Jesse Jackson, Maxine Waters, and George McKenna are reprehensible!


UPDATE: it looks like the Johnson campaign is beginning to delete all of their vicious accusations. It's clear his ZERO integrity matches well with his ZERO background in education policy and pedagogy. H/T to the Daily News reporter for catching this.



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Friday, August 08, 2014

Join Congresswoman Karen Bass at a fundraiser for Dr. George McKenna for LAUSD

August 10, 2014 Dr. George McKenna Fundraiser (with Guest Congresswoman Karen Bass) by Robert D. Skeels



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This Thursday I'm a guest on MP Chronicle's The Blk Grrrl Show! Talking LAUSD elections

MP Chronicle's The Blk Grrrl Show!

Thursday, August 14, 2014 at 19:00 (7:00PM)
MP Chronicle's The Blk Grrrl Show!
Host: Teka-Lark Fleming
Guests: Lili Bernard and Robert D. Skeels

The Blk Grrrl Show talks to Robert D. Skeels about the future of public education. Are charters just trying to help or are they trying to break one of America's few universal supports and we'll talk about the results of the LAUSD D1 Election! We'll also being speaking to Lili Bernard about about Kara Walker's work 'A Subtlety’ when race and gender is the topic is the artist responsible to explain their work? And who are these artistic critiques for?



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K12NN Wire: Is there any billionaire, charter profiteer, poverty pimp, or right-wing ideologue that Alex Johnson won’t take money from?

First published on K12NN Wire on August 8, 2014


In calling for a special election, what Mark Ridley-Thomas, Alex Johnson, Rev. Tulloss, Corri Revere, and the charter schools along with their billionaire puppet masters are really saying is we have to hurt the children to protect the children.—Celes King IV

Poverty pimp Alex Johnson puts profits before pupilsWe've looked at some of Alex "ALEC" Johnson's funders during the primary election in The case against Alex Johnson. We looked at one of his prominent Independent Expenditures (IE) in Alex Johnson's corporate SuperPAC run by Eli Broad's Dan "students must pledge to capitalism" Chang. The latter article is even more important when we read that reactionary anti-public school operative Michelle Rhee and her right-wing funded "Students First" political organization donated dark money directly to Chang's SuperPAC for Johnson:

We've also collected together a compendium of articles about Johnson vicious smear campaign of lies against the distinguished Dr. George McKenna.

Here we will look at a few of his financial contributors in this round of fundraising.

This was the Caprice Young contribution. While she herself is extremely problematic, the fact that she's working for the right-wing Laura and John Arnold Foundation was even more tantalizing. Arnold was the hedge fund manager who walked away with billions during the Enron scandal. The reactionary couple use the money to forward their extremist policies of union busting, pension looting, and school privatization. The Arnolds were exposed by journalist David Sirota. Their foundation has made direct contributions to the Independent Expenditures (IE) supporting Johnson.

Megan Chernin works as the President/Chair of John Deasy's LA Fund 501c3 NPIC, and is a board member on the beleaguered LA's Promise EMO. That her and four other family members were each in for $1,100 contours the class issues of fundraising for LAUSD elections. There's also persistent rumors that she is a high-ranking Scientologist (OT7), which (if true) would explain why she's able to land Tom Cruise every year for her EMO's gala fundraiser.

People forget that Eli Broad got tens, perhaps hundreds, of millions of dollars in Troubled Asset Relief Funds (TARP) during the 2008 bank bailouts for his preferred stock in AIG. The exact figure is unknown since TARP accounting was kept secret from the public. Nevertheless, he's been able to use taxpayer money to fund his efforts to privatize and corporatize schools.

Paying herself a whopping $270K in taxpayer money a year, Vielka Macfarlane is the vile woman who, in collaboration with Ben Austin, made a failed attempt to pull the so-called "Parent Trigger" on McKinley Elementary School in order to increase her charter chain's market share. Moreover, she's the monster who fired teachers for reading a poem about the death of Emmett Till—she and her administrators claimed that Till deserved it. "We don't want to focus on how the history of the country has been checkered but on how do we dress for success..." — historical revisionist and Celerity CEO Vielka McFarlane on why she insists on hiding the history of Emmett Till's brutal murder at the hands of white supremacists.

I was sent this list of folks headlining Johnson's next two fundraisers. Aside from the fact that most are well heeled oligarchs, it's amazing how the executives of the lucrative charter school industry will go to any length to try and secure a board member who will keep the revenues flowing. The late Celes King IV's observation that "Not even before Marguerite’s body was cold, the California Charter School Association was busy lobbying for a special election" was sadly just a precursor to the astonishing greed the corporate charter school sector has shown throughout this election.

Allison Bajracharya California Charter Schools Association
Andrew Bogen Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher, firm that does pro-bono for much corporate edrefom
Judy Burton CEO of Alliance Charter Corporation
Danny / Zoe Corwin California Charter Schools Association / USC Rossier edreform
James Dwyer
Philip Farha
Glenn Gritzner Anti-public school activist with direct ties to school privatizer Fabian Núñez
Samantha Martinez
Marco Petruzzi CEO of Green Dot Charter Corporation
Ref Rodriguez Charter school developer with PUC Corporation
Rich and Rachel Rogers
Lindsay Sturman and Ben Paul
Ron Stone
Gene Straub
Irene Sumida Fenton Avenue Corporate Charter School
Ann Wexler
Caprice Young CORO, corporate reformer, former LAUSD Board member, currently with the Laura and John Arnold Foundation
Megan and Peter Chernin President/Chair of Deasy's LA Fund and also on LA's Promise board
Virginia and Austin Beutner Billionaire who ran for mayor, anti-public school activists
Carol and Frank Biondi
Rebecca and Troy Carter
Leah and Sam Fischer Financial supporters of the Gabriella Charter Corporation
Areva Martin Charter school industry

We need a board member who will represent everyone, not just the financial interests of the charter school sector and the ideology of the 1%. We need Dr. George McKenna!



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Schools Matter: Odds and Ends, first week of August 2014

First published on LA Schools Matter on August 05, 2014


The main difference between the Gates Foundation funded Common Core and Dr. Maria Montessori's method is this: Montessori did not create educational theories and then try them out on children. She did the opposite. — Jeffrey Katz

It's been a very busy summer. Here in Los Angeles we're faced with a Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) school board special election to replace my dear friend, the late Marguerite Poindexter LaMotte. I've been super busy working on the campaign to elect Dr. George McKenna, working on projects around the house, and preparing for my first semester of law school — which starts in a couple of weeks. The LAUSD race is critical, the billionaires have spent millions and brought in Michelle Rhee to support neoliberal corporate reform candidate Alex Johnson.

Feedback on SAS VAM piece

Got a great email from a reader on the Value-Added Modeling (VAM) is pseudoscience, but profitable pseudosciences persist piece. They asked to remain anonymous:

Dear Mr. Skeels,

I enjoyed your post on VAM and SAS. You might want to refute this bogus claim from SAS you quoted:

Another way to see this is that the most important factor of "current" test scores is prior tests scores and, once enough prior test scores are included in the model, the socioeconomic/demographic factors become relatively small or even non-significant, despite enormous sample sizes.

Bruce Baker does a good job of debunking this claim. I've found the same is true for [REDACTED] version of EVAAS.

ed®eformers confused as to why there aren't more teachers

Paul Bruno is a big neoliberal corporate reform cheerleader. In a post trying to scold the AFT for not supporting the reactionary edTPA test initiative, he ponders why teaching should be more, or less, professional than that of fields like medicine or law. He decries things that "complicate any efforts to reduce the profession's attractiveness or to throw up additional barriers to entry" without any sense of irony.

I let Mr. Bruno know what I saw as barriers to entry:

Last spring I had to decide between pursuing a teaching credential versus attending law school. For the former, the idea of having to complete nearly the same amount of coursework as a masters degree for a job that pays considerably less was still palatable, but Common Core and Vergara made the decision easy for me.

At least as an attorney I can go after corrupt charter school chains that discriminate against special needs students.

Corporate reformers dominating university discourse

When I found out that UCLA was hosting an event featuring poverty pimps from Green Dot Charter Corporation and their spinoff Nonprofit Industrial Complex (NPIC), Parent Revolution, I was appalled.

I'm so angry my Alma Mater is allowing these poverty pimps from Green Dot Corporation and their hideous pRev spin off do a ‪#‎NPIC‬ cheer-leading event. You too can use your degree to help privatize the remainder of the public school system at the behest of Eli Broad and Bill Gates. We can do better ‪#‎UCLA‬ https://www.facebook.com/UCLAYoungAlumni/posts/10152340023341288

I wrote on the page itself.

I'm a Life UCLA Alumni member (UCLA 2014), who has spent two decades documenting how many of these so-called nonprofits carry out the agenda of their funders. To wit, this event features two members of the school privatization project. Progressive minded Bruins might want to read this before attending the event: The Revolution Will Not Be Funded: Beyond the Non-Profit Industrial Complex

I have a prior commitment, so I won't be able to attend the event. If I could, I would pass out this FAQ on Parent Revolution, and the privately managed charter corporation they were spun off from—Green Dot.

Parent Revolution, Parent Trigger, and School Privatization FAQ by Robert D. Skeels



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Thursday, August 07, 2014

AALA: McKenna attacked by outside political interests and a smear campaign

Reprinted from AALA Update on July 28, 2014


Dr. George McKenna for LAUSDAs the race for the District 1 seat on the LAUSD Board of Education enters its final days, AALA-endorsed candidate Dr. George McKenna is continuing to garner more endorsements (Monica Ratliff, CSEA Chapter 500, California Title 1 Parent Union, LA School Police Association) while his opponent has resorted to a smear campaign. On the day that the Los Angeles Times printed another editorial supporting Dr. McKenna, in a show of desperation, the opposing side sent out a distorted letter misrepresenting Dr. McKenna's character and leadership. While the McKenna campaign has focused on his experience, strengths, leadership and knowledge, the opponent can only respond with attacks and negativity.

The Times also reported that a new political action committee has formed to influence the outcome of the election. It is called the Great Public Schools Los Angeles Political Action Committee and is headed by Dan Chang who was the executive director of LA Fund, the nonprofit created by Superintendent Deasy to support LAUSD, as well as an executive with Green Dot and L.A.'s Promise. Clearly, this is another attempt by outside interests and charter schools to get an even stronger foothold into the District.

CSEA Chapter 500 recently endorsed Dr. McKenna and its president, Linda Perez, sent an appeal to her members and leaders of other organizations saying:

...I must also tell you that I was Dr. McKenna's secretary for a couple of years and I got to know him very well! In my humble opinion, Dr. McKenna is the only candidate worth fighting for

...Dr. McKenna is a man of integrity, honesty, passion for our students and fairness for LAUSD employees, particularly CSEA Classified Professionals. I know! I was there with him, 5 days a week. I witnessed closely his dedication and love for his profession. I saw how students from decades reached out to him to thank him for "forcing" them to become professional and honest citizens. Now I'm reaching out to you to ask you to please support Dr. McKenna so he can continue supporting our students and staff, not only in District 1 but across the District, because his contributions to the Board of Education will not only affect District 1 but the entire LAUSD.

Dr. McKenna is clearly the most qualified candidate; one on whom we can depend to make independent decisions that are in the best interests of students and employees of the District. He is not interested in furthering his political career, just continuing to pursue his passion for children and public education. If you live in District 1, it is incumbent upon you to vote. If you do not, please support the campaign by participating in the next fundraising event on July 27, 2014 (see flyer: http://www.aala.us/docs/2014/07/July-27- Fundraiser.pdf), or joining with CSEA to walk the precincts on July 26 and August 2 (see flyer: http://www.aala.us/docs/2014/07/CSEA-McKenna.pdf).



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Monday, August 04, 2014

Charter Corporation CWC Mar Vista doled out 8 out of school suspensions last year—they serve Kindergarten and 1st Grade!

Citizens of the World Charter School Corporation

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Friday, August 01, 2014

Upcoming radio show appearances

Most of you know that I'm a frequent guest on KPFK's Politics or Pedagogy with John Cromshow. This month I'm happy to announce I'll be a guest on some additional radio shows.

Sunday, August 3, 2014 at 14:00 (2:00PM)
The War Report on Public Education
Host: Dr. James Miller
Guests: Doug Martin and Robert D. Skeels

I'll be discussing the LAUSD Special Election being held on August 12, 2014 in which highly regarded professional educator Dr. George McKenna has been pitted against a complete neophyte named Alex Johnson, whose only "qualification" is that he's backed by anti-public school billionaires and charter industry moguls.

The War Report on Public Education!

Thursday, August 14, 2014 at 19:00 (7:00PM)
MP Chronicle's The Blk Grrrl Show!
Host: Teka-Lark Fleming
Guests: Lili Bernard and Robert D. Skeels

The Blk Grrrl Show talks to Robert Skeels about the future of public education. Are charters just trying to help or are they trying to break one of America's few universal supports and we'll talk about the results of the LAUSD D1 Election! We'll also being speaking to Lili Bernard about about Kara Walker's work 'A Subtlety’ when race and gender is the topic is the artist responsible to explain their work? And who are these artistic critiques for?

MP Chronicle's The Blk Grrrl Show!

MP Chronicle's The Blk Grrrl Show!



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Thursday, July 31, 2014

K12NN Wire: The case against Alex Johnson

First published on K12NN Wire on July 25, 2014


Poverty pimp Alex Johnson puts profits before pupils The original draft of this essay was written in mid-June, 2014. The figures cited in the piece are indicative of the Form-460 information available at that time. I will be writing another piece which discusses the currently fundraising figures soon. Given the despicable smear job the Johnson campaign has run against the distinguished Dr. McKenna, expediency dictated publishing this without the benefit of updates.

Ridley-Thomas has plenty of money left over from his $800,000 campaign war chest that was filled with donations from special interests like Monsanto, oil companies, liquor stores, big developers and Eli Broad. His father raised the money for the 26-year old, so surely Sebastian will fork over as much as he can for a campaign for his daddy's education deputy and fellow Morehouse alum, Johnson. — Celes King IV

Johnson is the billionaire's and California Charter Schools Association's (CCSA) Candidate

Alex Johnson was the frontrunner of the three anti-public education candidates the neoliberal corporate reformers ran in the primary election. Despite raising more money than anyone else in a crowded field, he finished a distant second to the community favorite, and experienced educator, Dr. George McKenna. Johnson raised a staggering quarter of a million dollars on his own, and did something even more amazing than that. Of the $244,426 raised from hundreds of donors, NOT A SINGLE ONE OF THEM WAS FROM A SCHOOLTEACHER! Lots of unsavory characters though, here's a few:

http://ethics.lacity.org

  • Anti-public school plutocrat Eli Broad was all in for the max contribution
  • Republican Frank E. Baxter, a charter industry magnate, invested max amount
  • Jeanette Parker, a charter school profiteer gave maximum, as did her husband a Beverly Hills based developer
  • Chick-fil-A, who supported Prop-8, donated to the Alex Johnson Campaign, a slap in the face to our LGBT students
  • Kevin De Leon for Senate 2014 gave $1,100 — indicating that Monica Garcia's school privatization orbit supports Johnson
  • The Meruelo Group, which milked LAUSD for millions of dollars in the past, invested max contribution
  • Right-wing real estate developer Rick J. Caruso chipped in

The list goes on and on. It's like a rogues gallery of plutocrats, developers, charter chain tycoons, and others looking for more parasitic business relations with the district.

The CCSA goes big with an IE for Johnson

Johnson is so closely tied to the lucrative charter school industry that the CCSA started a new 501C3 "nonprofit" and a SuperPAC to support him. Dubbing themselves the "L.A. Parents, Teachers & Students for Great Public Schools, sponsored by CA Charter Schools Association Advocates Committee, supporting Alex Johnson for L.A. School Board 2014" they and a few others raised an ADDITIONAL $80,781 as an Independent Expenditure.

http://ethics.lacity.org

Let's put this into context. The CCSA themselves sank more into Johnson than most of the candidates raised in total. In fact, the aggregate of contributions for the three UTLA endorsed candidates was less than the CCSA's funding of Johnson alone. Nothing sums up Johnson's deep ties to the charter sector than this tweet by an ICEF consultant: which boldly states "Charters are our business & will be his." They're a business alright. Johnson, like the author of the tweet, quite simply puts profits before pupils.

Johnson called out in the LA Sentinel and CityWatch for ties to wealthy special interests

While Larry Aubry is a mixed bag politically, he captured the dynamics of this school board race perfectly in an Op-Ed entitled LAUSD District 1 Election and Big Money Politics. Here's an excerpt:

Reflective of the difference between opposing sides is the amount of money already raised by Alex Johnson, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas' candidate, and George Mc Kenna a grassroots candidate. Johnson raised $113,000 in the first reporting period, many contributing $1100, the maximum allowed- and he will get a lot more from political action committees (PAC) and IEs (Independent Expenditures) that have no limit on the amount they contribute to a campaign. This was predictable given the Supervisor's ties to big money in Los Angeles and beyond. McKenna raised half that amount.

The late civil rights activist Celes King IV also blasted both Johnson and his patron, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, in a piece entitled Playing Politics with the Kids, Ridley-Thomas and Rev. Tulloss Show Their True Colors. King does a steller job of naming the names of some of the most pernicious poverty pimps and privatization pushers in town:

A special election hurts the kids of District 1. In calling for a special election, what Mark Ridley-Thomas, Alex Johnson, Rev. Tulloss, Corri Revere, and the charter schools along with their billionaire puppet masters are really saying is we have to hurt the children to protect the children.

Johnson endorsed by company unionist Courtni Pugh

I typically don't care for the phrase "labor aristocracy," especially as employed by Maoists and Stalinists, but in Courtni Pugh's case it's hard for me to argue any other description could be more appropriate. Taking Andy Stern's penchant for company unionism to another level, Pugh is what corporate executives dream of for union leadership. Her "kids first" agenda includes pushing for schools managed by private corporations, deprofessionalization of educators, and advocating for children to eat expired processed foods in unsanitary conditions. Hardly a working class campaign. Nothing convicts Pugh and SEIU 99 more than the fact that with the sole exception of Steve Zimmer's run for a second term, that they endorsed the identical candidates as Philip Anschutz, Reed Hastings, and Eli Broad's Coalition for School Reform (CSR) endorsed.

Johnson, the favorite of the anti-public education Nonprofit Industrial Complex (NPIC)

I've already published on this, but the work bears repeating here. First, from an April 15 post:

Regarding the Alex Johnson Campaign an ally sent me the following (I'm keeping them anonymous for now):

Curious why no one is mentioning how the same brigade that was pushing for an election is now pushing for Alex Johnson - their Facebook page has even morphed from demanding an election to exclusively covering the Johnson campaign: https://www.facebook.com/EmpowerDistrict1

Bear in mind that it was the usual NPIC suspects who pushed for the Special Election: Urban League, Inner City Struggle, United Way Greater Los Angeles, and Parent Revolution. Given what I've already uncovered about Johnson, It's no wonder that he's their candidate of choice, while Hayes is their backup candidate. Parent Revolution was an early backer of Hayes, but has since shifted to the frontrunner, Johnson.

From my LA Progressive piece in April:

Alex Johnson is the worst of bunch. He is an unscrupulous opportunist who only views LAUSD as a political stepping stone. He has been getting $1,100 a shot contributions from charter school moguls, real estate developers, and right-wing bankers. According to his 460 filing, of the 195 contributions for $113,051 to his campaign, not one comes from a teacher, principal, librarian, or social worker. One would think if he really cared about students and education, that he'd have a working relationship with the professionals that work with the community's children. He has dodged multiple requests for policy positions, undoubtably because he is a hand puppet for the neoliberal corporate education reformers. Former LAUSD District 5 candidate, the distinguished Dr. John Fernandez, had this to say about him:

This does not surprise me at all Robert. At a recent candidate's forum at UTLA, I submitted a question commenting that District 1 has been historically represented by an African American but that the students in District 1 now comprise 70% Mexican/Latino student population. I asked what were the three main issues affecting Mexican/Latino students in District 1? All Mr. Alex Johnson could say was they needed resources. Mr. Johnson could have stated that Mexican/Latino students need a culturally relevant and responsive education, they need bilingual cross cultural education, teachers must be trained to teach Mexican/Latino students, textbooks must used to highlight the achievements and contributions of Mexican/Latino students, Mexican/Latino students must be provided with high tech vocational training and teachers must provide English language strategies--all the very things that African American students need.

Alex Johnson would be a disaster for students our district that are poor, immigrant, working class, or having special needs. He would be a windfall to special interests, privatizers, and developers. We must resist him and his neoliberal agenda at all costs.

I am supporting Dr. George McKenna in the runoff election for the District 1 LAUSD Board of Education Seat.



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At elect Dr. George McKenna central to volunteer on a Wednesday night

At elect Dr. George McKenna central to volunteer on a Wednesday night

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Reactionary Marshall Tuck killed Ethnic Studies, but progressives like ERUSD's Jose Lara made them standards!

Let's stop right-wing bigot Marshall Tuck from capturing the SSPI seat

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@ THE CHALK FACE: Alex Johnson’s corporate SuperPAC run by Eli Broad’s Dan “students must pledge to capitalism” Chang

First published on @ THE CHALK FACE on July 29, 2014


"Financed by conservative billionaire philanthropists like Bill Gates and Eli Broad, charters willingly carry out the indoctrination their benefactors seek." — Professor Ralph E. Shaffer

Poverty pimp Alex Johnson puts profits before pupilsCorporate candidate Alex Johnson and his backer Mark Ridley-Thomas have already raised incredible amounts of money in their attempt to seize a seat on the Los Angeles Unified School (LAUSD) on behalf of the school privatization project. The charter school industry trade group, California Charter Schools Association (CCSA), has raised huge sums on his behalf in the form of an Independent Expenditure (IE) as well. All of this to try to overwhelm the community candidate of choice, the highly regarded lifelong educator Dr. George McKenna.

Notably missing from this LAUSD special election is the notorious neoliberal corporate education reform SuperPAC — the Coalition for Education Reform (CSR). Founded and funded by right wing billionaires, anti-government ideologues, and charter school sector profiteers, the CSR has provided unparalleled support to anti-public school LAUSD candidates for years. Manipulated by former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, candidates including Tamar Galatsan, Antonio Sanchez, Monica Garcia, Yolie Flores, Kate Anderson, and other privatizers have all counted on a flood of CSR money over the years. Philip Anschutz, Rupert Murdoch, Michael Bloomberg, Frank Baxter, Eli Broad, Jerry Perenchio, and many other reactionary right-wing ideologues have funded the CSR over its existence.

In the absence of the CSR to pump even more funds into non-educator Johnson's campaign, corporate reformer Dan Chang has conjured yet another SuperPAC: the Great Public Schools Los Angeles Political Action Committee. Chang might not be a household name, but he has been a longtime operative on behalf of the ALEC/Gates/Broad/Walton agenda to destroy public education. A graduate of Eli Broad's Urban Residency, his previous positions includes stints with the struggling Green Dot Charter School Corporation, the lackluster Education Management Organization (EMO) LA's Promise, and recently with John Deasy's 501c3, the LA Fund — an organization best known for serving LAUSD students expired processed foods in unsanitary conditions.

Privatization pusher Dan Chang is a Broadyte

Chang's connections to fellow Ayn Rand acolytes has paid dividends for the already asymmetrical fundraising of the Alex Johnson Campaign. In only a few days Chang's corporate SuperPAC managed to raise nearly $100,000. With the big money to be made in the lucrative charter industry through no-bid contracts and sweetheart deals with their unelected boards of directors, charter schools are a favorite investment vehicle of the one percent, who consider these political donations prudent investments.

Like many born into privilege and having studied business rather than the humanities, Chang has difficulty acknowledging that right-wing heroes Howard Roark and John Galt are in fact fictional characters. His obsession with so-called free markets and social darwinism is so unshakable, that he was the central figure in perhaps one of the more shameful episodes of the Green Dot Charter School Corporation's dubious history.

Shortly after the hostile take over of Alain Leroy Locke High School by the privately managed Green Dot corporate charter chain, an important ideological battle played out over astonishing language in the Locke "charter" document itself. The language was discovered by Ralph E. Shaffer, Professor Emeritus of History, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. The charter required for students in history and social studies to "demonstrate an understanding of American history, government, economics and a belief in the values of democracy and capitalism." [emphasis mine]. Here is a copy of the orignal charter.

Green Dot Public [sic] Schools' original Alain Leroy Locke Charter High School petition by Robert D. Skeels

Standing up to Green Dot Corporation's indoctrination of students that clearly violated the US Constitution's First Amendment, Shaffer was right to say Green Dot "can't require students to believe in any ideology. Even requiring a belief in democracy violates students' right to believe in whatever political system they wish." Dr. Shaffer took the issue to Green Dot Corporation and to LAUSD, which, as the authorizing body for the charter, had nominal "oversight" in the issue. Rather than admit to indoctrinating students with the ideology of their backers, Green Dot, and namely Dan Chang — their Vice President of New School Development — dug in. They desperately tried to hold on to their ability to subject young minds to the propaganda of their top funders (e.g. the Walton Family Foundation, the Gates Foundation, and the Broad Foundation). This letter from Chang shows breathtaking corporate arrogance.

Green Dot Public [sic] Schools' Daniel Chang's smug letter defending their capitalism indoctrination clause... by Robert D. Skeels

Chang's patronizing statement that "Mr. Shaffer may have interpreted a few words of our petition out of context" is stunning in both its arrogance and its ignorance. Only in Eli Broad's version of reality is non-educator with a MBA somehow better equipped to understand a civics rubric than a lifelong educator with a PhD in history. Shaffer, author of several books, and hundreds of published articles and Op-Eds, is infinitely more qualified to "interpret" a rubric than Chang, whose ignorance of the "California state content standards [sic]" is clear in his haughty letter. To be sure, "California's social studies guidelines do not even mention capitalism" whether on require that students demonstrate a belief in its "value." In the end, much to their chagrin, Chang and his corporate charter chain employer were forced to remove the highly offensive requirement from their charter. It's likely that Chang had to bury himself in Rand's The Fountainhead, or The Virtue of Selfishness to salve his wounded pride after having to write this last letter

Amendment Request for the Alain LeRoy Locke Charter High School charter petition - Green Dot Public [sic] S... by Robert D. Skeels

Being able to raise money for fellow neoliberal corporate reformer Johnson is the sort of thing Chang thrives on. While he himself is not a member of the one percent, he is a loyal servant to the power and privilege of the plutocrat class. The dirty money raised to push the Alex Johnson Campaign has been used to try and besmirch community candidate Dr. McKenna. Chang's lack of respect for students, as demonstrated in his letters above, is no different that that of his wealthy backers. Trying to force an unqualified Alex Johnson on a community in desperate need of authentic leadership by a lifelong educator is one more example of how the plutocrat class pushing corporate education reform will stop at nothing to achieve their aims.



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Schools Matter: Value-Added Modeling (VAM) is pseudoscience, but profitable pseudosciences persist

First published on Schools Matter on July 26, 2014


"While value-added models are intended estimate teacher effects on student achievement growth, they fail to do so in any accurate or precise way. — Professor Bruce Baker"

Back in early April I penned a piece for K12NN on The American Statistical Association's (ASA) paper on Value Added Methodologies [1]. In it I asserted that the "document provides strong support to those who oppose this wrongheaded use of statistics to make high stakes decisions effecting the lives of students, educators, and our school communities." This week I noticed a trackback to a reprint of the article. What caught my eye was the title, which seemingly was entirely out of keeping with the spirit of the ASA's stance: Advocating for a robust value-added implementation.

I read through the VAM cheerleading piece and was gobsmacked by the deliberate manipulation of the ASA document's tenor and tone. This VAM apologetic read less like a legitimate blog posting and more like a corporate press release. Without doing much more research, I typed the following comments:

This quotation from the ASA document sums up the entire issue best: "The majority of the variation in test scores is attributable to factors outside of the teacher’s control". To, as the author above has, try and frame ASA's position as supportive of VAM phrenology takes mendaciousness to breathtaking heights. Rather than considering students as empty receptacles for "knowledge" deposited by a method that can be "measured," perhaps we can start talking about students as agents in their own pedagogical experiences—something that doesn't exist in the current regime of the profitable testing-industrial-complex.

The author's response displayed the same blatant avoidance of issues as the original piece. In fact, it stated some of the long discredited claims of the VAM camp, including Professor Bruce Baker's favorite trope about how "more sophisticated" VAMs address the issues people have with VAMs.

Thanks for your comment. The ASA statement seems to discuss primary drivers of student test scores, not student growth. It is well known that there is a strong relationship between students’ achievement (or test scores) and their socioeconomic/demographic background. However, there is typically little or no relationship between students’ growth and their socioeconomic/demographic background.

Another way to see this is that the most important factor of “current” test scores is prior tests scores and, once enough prior test scores are included in the model, the socioeconomic/demographic factors become relatively small or even non-significant, despite enormous sample sizes.

That said and to your concern about considering students in the context of their own experiences, more sophisticated value-added/growth models, like EVAAS, can follow the progress of individual students over time, so that each student serves as his or her own control.

Aside from being patently wrong, the whole thing smacked of being boilerplate text written in the bowels of a corporate public relations department. That's when I decided to look into this dubious Jennifer Facciolini was and who she wrote for. I should have done that in the first place.

As of 2012, Statistical Analysis System (SAS) Institute Inc., is one of the largest privately owned software companies in the world with revenue $3.02 billion USD (2013). They are the developers of the wildly inaccurate, but highly profitable Education Value-Added Assessment System, (AKA SAS EVAAS) — a VAM implementation used in many districts. Money chasing SAS is all about big fish government contracts, to wit an excerpt from a recent Businessweek piece:

SAS Institute Inc. won a $6,479,583.96 federal contract from the Defense Information Systems Agency, Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, for Statistical Analysis System software licenses and support renewal.

When a huge firm like SAS pulling down big dollar defense contracts makes the education "market" their priority, you can believe that they won't let things like facts and evidence discrediting VAM get in the way of them selling and supporting their EVAAS phrenology kit to any and all districts infected by the neoliberal corporate reform virus.

Hiring several white, well educated former-teachers like Nadja Young and Jennifer Facciolini to shill for your product is a smart public relations investment for the VAM behemoth. Given that they were teachers in the south, the chances are that they are making a great deal more money at SAS by simply selling out their former profession to corporate interests. Whether the boilerplate prose in their gushing blog posts is written by them or not isn't all that important. What's important is the appearance that professional teachers actually might think that phrenology and VAM are legitimate sciences. I can only hope that that the prose in these mindless corporate posts isn't written by these former teachers. Students should never be exposed to such nonsensical drivel. A selection of some of their titles should serve to numb the mind of any sentient being:

  • Data-driven education books make great holiday gifts for educators. Yes, really.
  • "March madness" of student course enrollment gets assist from value-added assessment
  • Beyond value-added: Teachers need diagnostic data to improve their practice
  • Student growth measures can be the bridge to new assessments

I'll spare readers further torment. As the preponderance of evidence against VAM pseudoscience like the watershed ASA paper grows, expect profit hungry firms like SAS to keep doubling down on the duplicity and deception. Having an army of former teachers shilling for your defective product is a small expense compared to losing those highly profitable contracts with districts.


NOTES

[1] In its various permutations we've seen the "M" in VAM stand for Modeling, Measures, Methodologies, and others. The only honest word for last member of the acronym would be "Mendaciousness," since phrenology by any other name is…



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Schools Matter: Open letter to Ellie Herman, or how Green Dot's Marco Petruzzi's special education policies hurt everyone including their own administrators

First published on Schools Matter on July 12, 2014


"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

Marco Petruzzi takes pride in Green Dot Charter Corporation's discrimination against special needs students
Wall Street privatization darling Marco Petruzzi (above) led a beleaguered Green Dot through charges of racism, embezzlement, poor performance, and even cheating. He has claimed that his lucrative charter chain doesn't receive money from rich guys, meanwhile foundations give them millions. He has gone beyond denying that Green Dot discriminates against special needs students, he takes pride in it.

July 11, 2014

Ms. Herman:

I occasionally read your posts with skepticism. Typically, even when you seem to almost reach the correct conclusion about an education topic, you find a way to ignore your own evidence. In the end nearly all your pieces cheerlead for the lucrative charter industry, and provide cover for the biggest enemies of public education.

My interest was piqued today with a piece you wrote on a Green Dot Corporate Charter principal stepping down from one of the schools they seized from the public system. Here is the passage that caught my eye:

Nat was taken aback to find that 18% of the students were in Special Ed. "We thought they were overidentified. Turns out they were underidentified." When I ask why there were so many kids with special needs, he's not sure. Part of it, he thinks, is that the number of kids in foster care may be a factor, because foster kids are often moved from school to school, not staying long enough for their issues to be identified. "It's just conjecture, but kids in foster care, they're often in foster care because their parents were on drugs or couldn't take care of them, well, are you more likely to be unable to take care of a kid with special needs and behavior problems?"

For years those of us engaged in social justice activism have criticized the corporate charter chains—Green Dot Corporation has always been a particularly egregious example—for under-identifying special needs children. I've spent years advocating for families struggling for Special Education (SPED) equity, working closely with the former chairperson of the LAUSD SPED Community Advisory Committee. Marco Petruzzi, the erstwhile hedge fund manager running Green Dot Corporation, has gone as far as to attack those of us that have brought up this issue. He has called us liars (among other things), and gone on to say that Green Dot's SPED percentage are low because LAUSD somehow over-identifies SPED. The mendacious corporate executive stated that the entities' outside of Green Dot "over identifying" SPED children is—this will be hard to comprehend for any reasonable person—is a "civil rights" issue. That's right, the wealthy CEO of Green Dot is on record saying just that. Here's one instance of Petruzzi's convoluted corporate thoughts on the matter [1]:

our track record serving kids speaks for itself for those who want to look at the real numbers, but is a very technical issue and this is not the forum for it. For example, the special Ed issue is fraught with misunderstanding and manipulation of data. LAUSD has high numbers because it over identifies African American and Latino boys relative to many other urban Districts, a civil rights issue, not something to be proud. It also has high numbers because it doesn't serve kids well and thus exits them from special Ed in the typologies of special Ed that can be addressed. It serves special Ed kids in over restrictive environments. Anyway, I realize we will never agree with certain folks, particularly those employed by the current system and that view us as a job threat.

Ms. Herman, I appreciate your post as it bears testament to what many of us have always said about Green Dot and other corporate charter chains. Public schools also under-identify SPED as well, but unlike the well heeled executive quoted above, nobody boasts about underserving them. Petruzzi seemingly makes it a point of pride that Green Dot SPED IEPs are significantly lower than that of public schools. Green Dot has a long record of avoiding obligations to SPED students [2]. Moreover Petruzzi has a long record making outrageous statements, like when he told the families of Animo Justice that Green Dot Corporation doesn't get any money from "rich guy[s]". [3] Must have been all those years he worked for Mitt Romney's sister company, Bain & Company, Inc.

I agree with you and Mr. Pickering on the SPED issue. Since Green Dot Corporation, like all corporate charters, is about bottom lines rather than education, that will never change. Ironically Petruzzi is right to frame the issue in terms of students' civil rights, but he and his fellow six-figure profiteers are the ones violating them.

Advocating Public Education and Social Justice

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

"Problem posing education does not and cannot serve the interests of the oppressor" — Paulo Freire

_____
[1] http://venice.patch.com/groups/schools/p/space-for-a-new-building-at-walgrove-elementary-likel839b5a4cd8
[2] http://www.scribd.com/doc/100558792/Green-Dot-SPED-Binder
[3] http://rdsathene.blogspot.com/2010/04/advocating-public-education-roundup.html the video in which Petruzzi claims Green Dot gets no outside funding is here: http://youtu.be/kbtUUBS3eO0 the transcribed quote is "We have no money. We're a nonprofit. We don't have a rich guy that gives us extra."



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