Tuesday, March 07, 2017
Saturday, February 25, 2017
First published on Schools Matter on February 20, 2017
“PLEASE don’t forward this email. simply state it in your own words.”—Yolie Flores Aguilar
This email was addressed to some 60 individuals, including myself, on February 4, 2017. While its authenticity is not absolutely certain, I have researched the email addresses in the email body and they all seem legitimate. The content is consistent with the language that these charter school executives use both in public and internal conversations.
Yolie Flores Aguilar was an employee of the infamous Gates Foundation (of ALEC and Discovery Institute donation fame) while she sat on the LAUSD Board. She brought a resolution to give away new schools built with taxpayer dollars to privately managed charter school corporations.
Here Flores colludes with several well paid charter executives to avoid public mention that her resolution (inappropriately named Public [sic] School Choice) was essentially a real estate bonanza for the lucrative charter school sector. Marco Petruzzi and Ben Austin of Green Dot/Parent Revolution, Judy Burton of Alliance, Mike Piscal of ICEF are the big names in this secret missive. The lot of them have been plagued by scandals, but most of them are still profiting mightily from the charter industry.
Flores is currently running for U.S. Congress. If she's capable of this sort of duplicity and malfeasance while on a school board, imagine her in another position of power to further serve her corporate masters. Arch-reactionary Betsy DeVos would love to have more neoliberal Democrats that support her school privatization agenda of charters-vouchers. DeVos already has corporatists like Corey Booker in her thrall, Yolie Flores would be no different.
The second document should help authenticate this email chain. It's an email from Dr. Danny Weil with Yolie Flores Aguilar's <email@example.com> email address in the to field. I recall she had a blog by the same name (i.e. "itsyolie"), and remember seeing emails from her from that address back in that era.
Monday, February 20, 2017
This video is brilliant. If we wait for fascists like Richard Spencer to herd us into concentration camps, then it's too late to punch them. I'm grateful that antifa and black bloc are doing the work to prevent these vile white supremacists and other assorted eugenists from growing.
Sunday, February 19, 2017
Saturday, February 18, 2017
First published on Schools Matter on December 13, 2016
“Monica Garcia believes in… choice… She expanded charter schools” — Michael R. Bloomberg and A. Jerrold Perenchio’s Coalition for School Reform
Extremist Betsy DeVos was a long time favorite of neoliberal corporate education reform oriented Liberals and reactionary organizations like Democrats for Education Reform, so it's surprising that there's a little bit of consternation coming from some Democrats over Trump's ED pick. On the other hand, right-wing extremists like Campbell Brown seemingly can't contain their joy over the arch-reactionary appointment. Ultimately DeVos's school privatization policies won't differ substantively from those of the doltish Arne Duncan or John King. She'll just get to our rulers' end goal of eliminating public education quicker than the Bush and Obama Administrations were able to.
Los Angeles has had its own Betsy DeVos for many years in the form of anti-public school politician Monica Garcia. Garcia is running for a third term, and her long record of expanding revenue streams and market share for the lucrative charter school industry is legendary. Here are some of DeVos and Garcia's connections and shared values:
Betsy DeVos financially supports, and was on the board of publisher (The 74) of the dubious "LA School Report", a high-profile blog that has provided non-stop favorable publicity and propaganda for Moníca García since its inception.
DeVos has made sizable contributions to organizations that in turn made campaign contributions to SuperPAC Independent Expenditures supporting García's elections. Follow the money to organization like the now defunct Coalition for School Reform, and Great Public Schools Los Angeles, and also the current CCSA run Parent Teacher Alliance dark money SuperPAC.
DeVos funds the organizations espousing racist "school choice" policies from which García derives many of her policy positions and talking points.
DeVos and García openly support religious, and religious affiliated organizations running charter chains. DeVos with the various Christian Identity and white supremacist organizations she's associated with, and García, whose long time relationship with The Pacifica Institute and the shadowy Gülen network are well documented.
Friday, February 17, 2017
The LAUSD is an Early Education, K-12 through Adult Education Division District. Resources and services must be provided accordingly. — Associated Administrators of Los Angeles (AALA)
From the February 6, 2017 issue of Update
In January, the PAC Steering Committee invited the thirteen candidates for Board Districts 2, 4, and 6 to interviews. All came, with the exception of three. Candidates received AALA’s core values in advance, which may be accessed HERE. Interviews were 30 minutes in length and with the exception of the two incumbents
Monica Garcia and Steve Zimmer, all candidates were asked the same six questions on the following topics: background information and policies; role of Board Members; AALA’s core values; administrator's roles and workload; political base, fundraising, and campaign; final comments and questions.
The committee believes its recommended candidates are true advocates for public schools, are against privatization, and will ensure that all students are provided access and equity to a quality education. Following lively discussion, the PAC Council voted to endorse the following candidates:
- Board District 2—Lisa Alva
- Board District 4—Steve Zimmer
- Board District 6—Imelda Padilla
- L.A. City Council Seat 7—Mónica Ratliff
The Council also voted to donate $1,100 (the maximum allowed by law) to the candidates for the Board of Education and $750 to Mónica Ratliff. These funds come from AALA’s PAC account, which is separate from AALA’s operating budget. AALA members can choose whether to direct a portion of their AALA dues to the PAC.
Schools Matter: I can't think of anyone as profoundly ignorant, or as uniquely unqualified to be appointed Secretary of Education as Betsy…
First published on Schools Matter on February 07, 2017
I can't think of anyone as profoundly ignorant, or as uniquely unqualified to be appointed Secretary of Education as Betsy…
…oh, wait, never-mind.
Let's not forget that neoliberal school privatization is a bipartisan project. Both parties fail education.
A natural progression of neoliberalism
- Rod Paige
- Margaret Spellings
- Arne Duncan
- John King
- Betsy DeVos
Not opposing the neoliberal corporate education reform agenda when Democrats were in charge is what led to the DeVos disaster. Not unlike how the Hillary Rodham Clinton camp's "Elevating Pied Piper Candidates" led to the Trump fiasco.
Wednesday, January 18, 2017
Monday, January 16, 2017
- Weds, January 18th: Students United Against Hate, United for the Communities LA Students Deserve
Event- MacArthur Park 4:30pm
(PDF Flyer attached below) We want a safe space for students by students as we challenge Trump, his politics, his followers, the systems of oppression that have allowed him to exist, and the damage that he wants to do to us.
There will be music, art, spoken word and a panel discussion. Our students are AWESOME. Please come to MacArthur Park on Wednesday after school if you are available!! We know that UTLA Chapter Chairs have Area Meetings that afternoon.
Saturday, January 14, 2017
The Network for Public Education Action is proud to endorse two candidates for the Los Angeles Board of Education District 2 primary election—Lisa Alva and Carl Petersen.
First published on Schools Matter on December 20, 2016
“I stand behind the charter school… movement, because parents do deserve greater choice” — Hillary Rodham Clinton
With both mainstream presidential candidates publicly stating they believed in the white supremacist notion of school choice, it wasn’t hard to see the Trump nomination of someone as extreme as Betsy DeVos as being possible. How these abject, failed policies play out in reality is instructive.
First published on Schools Matter on October 06, 2016
“As a close protege of Dr. Martin Seligman, Angela Duckworth serves as Seligman’s point person in moving his brand of paternalistic corporate psychology and character control into schools that teach the children of the poor.” — Professor James Horn
When modern day eugenicist Angela Duckworth isn't transforming Martin Seligman's torture techniques into "character development" policies for children of the poor, she's headlining events held by the nation's most reactionary, right-wing extremists.
What will the perseverance paramour be preaching to her DeVos, Bradley, Broad, Walton, Fisher, Gates, and Bloomberg partisans? Well, GRIT of course! What else do folks that otherwise engage in victim blaming talk about? You're poor because you don't try hard enough and give up too easily!
Nothing says hard work and perseverance like a handsome inheritance—just ask the Walton fortune heirs, who are both key sponsors of the summit and top ExcelinEd Donors. They're gritty, and so is Duckworth.
First published on Schools Matter on September 23, 2016
“People need to understand that there’s tons of money in nonprofits.” — Brett Bymaster
Gates Foundation rag EdSource and irrepressible education writer Peter Greene recently announced another resounding defeat in court for the anti-public education outfit Students Matter. The trial court ruled against David F. Welch's corporate reform group in Doe vs. Antioch. Welch's other action, the wrongheaded Vergara suit, recently ended with the Supreme Court of California's refusal to hear his group's appeal. I had some observations reproduced here.
Once more right-wing extremist David F. Welch costs the people of California untold sums of money with his reactionary group’s wrongheaded causes of action. One wonders how many school libraries could have been stocked with the resources squandered defending against these bad faith lawsuits brought by his group.
As a Juris Doctor candidate myself, I suppose I can consider Marcellus McRae, Joshua S. Lipshutz, and Theodore Boutrous of corporate firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher as somewhat instructive. They have demonstrated repeatedly how NOT to read statutes, how to present evidence that is neither logically nor legally relevant, and how to make bad faith arguments without conscience. I will take their lessons on how not to conduct myself as an attorney to heart.
Seems like they need refreshers in issue spotting and ethics. Having just scored a 124 on the MPRE myself, perhaps I could help them with the latter.
Tuesday, November 29, 2016
LAUSD District 2 is still held by one of the staunchest enemies of public education this side of Betsy DeVos.
It’s likely the only way to stop Monica Gülenist Garcia is to run enough candidates to divide up her district.
There is an Asian Pacific American (APA) candidate who taught school alongside one of my law school classmates. She worked with several prominent UTLA activists back in the day, and says she was one of the founding members of Coalition for Educational Justice (CEJ). She went on to become an attorney representing students with disabilities. For the most part, she holds the same values as CEJ and similar minded groups like SLASD.
She needs more help with the signature gathering to get on the ballot. My wife and I gave her several volunteer hours this week, and we made a campaign contribution. We believe she would be an excellent candidate for this district.
Please consider volunteering to help her with the signature gathering process.
Schools Los Angeles Students Deserve (SLASD) General Assembly
Every month students, parents, and teachers of #StudentsDeserve gather to discuss and plan for the future of educational justice inside and outside our schools in Los Angeles. Considering the political state we are in, now more than ever we know that our grassroots work is important and necessary. For that reason, we invite YOU (students, parents, and teachers) to our General Assembly THIS THURSDAY. Come hear about the work that students and parents are building!
Bring a fellow parent and/or student to our General Assembly to learn about the fight for the Schools Los Angeles Students Deserve. Join us! Details in flyer attached below.
If you have any questions please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday, August 29, 2016
First published on Schools Matter on August 25, 2016
“Hillary Clinton, who, for me, is a neoliberal disaster…” — Professor Cornel West
Is your candidate progressive or reactionary on education issues? One measure is to compare their views to those of the notoriously right-wing JBS. Here we look at some critical issues facing students, families, and our public schools.
First published on K-12 Wire on August 26, 2016
“Fraud is a feature of deregulation, not a bug. When no one is looking, some people steal. Not everyone steals, but many do. That is why Ohio, Florida, Michigan, and California are scamming taxpayers.” — Professor Diane Ravitch
The vile poverty pimps and privatization pushers of the lucrative charter school industry were infuriated when John Oliver had the temerity to speak truth to their power. Given their fortunes at stake, the charter sector has launched an unprecedented attack on the truth teller. The Network For Public Education has begun a letter writing campaign to counter that of the well funded efforts by the school privatizers to silence Oliver and other public school supporters. Not one to use boilerplate text, I composed my own thank you note, reproduced here.
Dear Mr. Oliver:
I've spent the past two decades of my life researching and writing about the lucrative charter school industry. For many of those early years I, and a few others, were subjected to scorn and abuse for our audacity to speak truth to power.
My motivation has always been to defend those with the most to lose because of the charter project's existence—students with disabilities (SWD), students with disciplinary issues, low-performing students, and so on. All these students are discriminated against because they threaten charter school revenues.
Today our voices are no longer alone, ignored, or silenced. The recent NAACP announcement, and your brilliant segment are testament to that. I understand that the charter industry has been launching vile attacks against you for exposing their insatiable greed. Please know that people of good conscience stand behind you. The neoliberal corporate education reform project backing the charter industry puts profits before pupils, and that's unacceptable.
It's time to end the horrifically failed charter school project, and turn our attentions to public schools.
Thank you for your courage.
Robert D. Skeels
Juris Doctor Candidate
Schools Matter: Perhaps Bill and Melinda Gates need their folly expressed in a more familiar format to understand it?
First published on Schools Matter on August 16, 2016
“Philanthropy is not progressive and never has been.” — Tiffany Lethabo King and Ewuare Osayande
Seems Bill and Melinda Gates have great difficulty learning from their myriad mistakes. Our Professor Stephen Krashen is frequently reminding them and their fellow neoliberal corporate education reformers of what the real problem is. While the convicted predatory monopolist has no degree, Melinda Gates actually attended and graduated college, so one would think the two of them could sort these issues out. Despite this, the Gates Foundation duo are demanding yet more data, as if that doubling down on their poorly-thought-out ideas will work.
Since they're both computer science types, the problem may just be that they need to see their folly expressed in code. To that end, I've written a short program illustrating what the two Gates Foundation plutocrats do.
If I were more cynical, given their behavior in the face of overwhelming evidence discrediting their ideas and ideology, I think that their constant calls for more data are an attempt to rationalize their conduct, rather than actually trying to help anyone.
Monday, August 15, 2016
First published on Schools Matter on August 12, 2016
“CCSS assume an American population embodied with a similar history of freedom and cultural ‘neutrality’ or ‘universality’” — Donald H. Smith, Ph.D.
The Atlantic has a surprisingly candid piece entitled “A Public-School Paradox” about the hypocrisy of the establishment elite in Washington not sending their own spawn to public schools. This has been exacerbated by the fact that the most vociferous neoliberal corporate education reform proponents — like Barack Obama, Arne Duncan, and Hillary Rodham Clinton — are all private school parents. Disconnected and disinvested from the public commons, they advocate for horrific, racist, classist “reforms” that only serve to widen the gap between working class families and themselves. Especially disturbing is this trio of Democratic politicians’ full-throated support of the white supremacist Common Core State Standards (CCSS), a curriculum from which their own scion were spared.
My brief comments in reaction to the piece follow.
Sidwell Friends School is the polar opposite of the horrific KIPP dungeons Obama advocates for other POC kids. My editor at Schools Matter — Dr. Jim Horn — has been publishing chapters from his book on KIPP, but I have a paper copy I’ll read once the MPRE is over. It was Horn that coined the phrase “cultural sterilization” to describe the no excuses model inflicted on students. I can’t think of a better way to frame it, nor anything more removed from the experience of establishment elitists that advocate it for “other” peoples’ children.
First published on Schools Matter on July 09, 2016
“There is not a speck, not a sliced-thin scintilla of evidence to suggest that Clinton will do anything except continue straight down the same road that Bush and Obama took us. And there’s no telling what Trump will do about education, but it’s a safe bet that it will be huge, it will be business oriented, and that it will involve blustery hair-brained ignorance.” — Peter Greene
It's a tough time to be a public education advocate. The fervor over the 2016 election has partisans lashing out with an unprecedented amount of vitriol towards anyone questioning the education policies of mainstream candidates. Worst of the bunch are the supporters of presumed Democratic Party nominee, Hillary Rodham Clinton. Here's an example of the angry denials from one of Clinton's most ardent supporters:
It is also total bullshit that you keep insisting that HRC is pushing charters and ed reform. That is TOTAL BULLSHIT.
Astonishingly, this was written by a teacher member of the Badass Teachers Association (BATs). Never mind that Clinton has deep ties the Walton Family Foundation, ignore her intwinement with Center for American Progress (CAP), her association with the Broads, and all the other obvious red flags indicating that Clinton will double down on Obama's policies. Clinton is on record as completely supporting privately managed charter schools, so-called "school choice," and for that matter, the entire neoliberal corporate education reform platform. Total "BS"? Here's a screen capture right off of Clinton's campaign website, where she lauds ESSA and its support of "high-quality public [sic] charter schools":
Unequivocal. Clinton has never changed her stance on privately managed charter schools, and that's why the National Association of Public [sic] Charter Schools (NAPCS) features the following on their website. A pro-charter pull-quote by Clinton appears alongside similar ones by Bill Gates, Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Arne Duncan. Clinton's mild criticisms of some charter schools a few months back were to placate certain constituencies, nothing more.
This is the same former Walmart board member who stood before the National Educators Association (NEA) Convention and had no qualms about boasting about her support for the lucrative charter school sector. The same Goldman Sachs confidant who is the favorite of the far-right Democrats for Education Reform (DFER). In sum, corporatist Jeffries of the arch-reactionary (DFER) is on record saying that Hillary Rodham Clinton is their choice to carry on their projects of privatization pushing and poverty pimping. He also states that it is because she is fully on board with their notions of "school choice" and she fully supports charter schools. Some in the BATs forum have ruthlessly attacked me, assailed my character, and called me a liar for saying as much, but to hear it out of the mouth a the hedge fund group's representative makes it a little bit harder to deny. Hillary Rodham Clinton is DFER's candidate.
The attacks on me, in any forum that I speak truth to power on education issues, are relentless. Here's something that I posted on my facebook page a bit back after an encounter with a particularly rabid Clinton supporter.
So red baiting is still a thing. I was on a teachers' message board talking about Oaxaca, Naomi Klein, neoliberalism, and privatization, and was essentially told by a right-of-center HillBot to shut up and pack my bags for North Korea.
It's like Dr. Khury Petersen-Smith writes in his powerful essay "I won't be shamed into voting for Clinton":
It was another example of a proven fact about liberalism — Democrats and their media cheerleaders save their deepest contempt not for right wingers, but for those who challenge them from the left.
Lastly I wanted to address the dissembling about public versus private charter schools, since it has been a common form of deception employed by high-profile politicians and the billionaires that pull their strings. Clinton is an attorney, so she doesn't have the option of saying she doesn't know the legal standing of charter schools. I'm including my boilerplate prose on how charter schools are not public, since the more places this appears, the more likely this information will be disseminated:
As a Juris Doctor candidate whose specialty is education law in the era of neoliberalism, allow me to present the legal arguments on how privately managed charter schools are not at all “public.”
Generally charter schools are not public schools. This has been long established by both existing case law and public policy. The Washington State Supreme Court (2015) held that charter schools are not “common schools” because they are governed by appointed rather than elected boards. The 9th Circuit US Court of Appeals (2010) ruled that charter schools are not “public actors.” The California Court of Appeals (2007) ruled that charter schools are not “public agents.” Additionally, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) joined scores of other government agencies in unequivocally determining that charters are, in NLRB’s words, “private entities.”
By definition if a charter school is operated by a for-profit company, or by a 501c3 non-profit corporation (e.g. Harlem Success Academy), then it is not a public school. The United States Census Bureau frames this latter issue best:
“A few “public charter schools” are run by public universities and municipalities. However, most charter schools are run by private nonprofit organizations and are therefore classified as private.” (US Census Bureau. (2011). “Public Education Finances: 2009 (GO9-ASPEF)”. Washington, DC: US Government Printing O ce. Print. vi).
Because these lucrative charter schools are not public, and therefore not subject to even a modicum of public oversight, they are able violate the constitutional rights of their students. The decision in Scott B. v. Board of Trustees of Orange County High School of the Arts saw scholar Rosa K. Hirji, Esq. write for the American Bar Association:
“The structures that allow charter schools to exist are marked by the absence of protections that are traditionally guaranteed by public education, protections that only become apparent and necessary when families and students begin to face a denial of what they were initially promised to be their right.”
The distinguished Professor Preston C. Green III of University of Connecticut has written extensively on this subject. One of his recent papers examines "how charter schools have used their public characteristics to qualify for public funding under state constitutional law, while highlighting their private characteristics to exempt themselves from other laws that apply to public schools." This private-in-every-aspect except for when siphoning funds away from authentic public schools is a defining feature of charter schools.