Wednesday, September 02, 2009

On Parent Revolution (née LAPU) Pretending to Distance Themselves from Green Dot

Support Parents and UTLA against Green Dot's corporate charter cash cowsLos Angeles Parents Union's (LAPU aka Parent (Counter)Revolution) Gabe Rose and Ben Austin have been hard at work trying to obfuscate the connection between their Astroturf organization and their parent corporation Green Dot. This is understandable considering the political pressures that have begun mounting since some of their secrets have been revealed and their nefarious connections to certain LAUSD board members, the Mayor, and other officials are now public knowledge. At the August 25, 2009 LAUSD Board meeting when Ms. Garcia and Ms. Flores Aguilar's adamantly denied their corporate charter choice resolution had anything to do with charters, until Mr. Zimmer and Ms. Martinez tried to add some toothless amendments, then all Garcia and Flores Aguilar could say repeatedly was "How will that effect charters? Will that effect charters? Counsel, would that restrict charters?" As vapid, vacuous, and disingenuous those rogue board members appeared, so does LAPU when it tries to deny its direct relation ship with Green Dot.

Here's an example via Gabe Rose posting on the LAPU message board for the hostile take over of Emerson Middle School [1]:

I don't believe Green Dot has interest in coming into the Emerson community... Parent Revolution works with a number of the highest quality charter operators in LA... Just wanted to help this dialogue remain productive--doesn't make a ton of sense for it to center entirely about Green Dot.

To Gabe Rose's credit, Parent (Counter)Revolution does now represent several corporate charter organizations. Fresh out of college, Mr. Rose probably has had little exposure to Barr, Petruzzi, and Austin's insatiable greed and ruthlessness. Also in Mr. Rose's defense is the fact that he might not be aware of the origins of LAPU/Parent (Counter)Revolution.

To educate ourselves on the origins of LAPU, let's look no further than a Green Dot white paper entitled "Green Dot Public Schools & Los Angeles Parents Union" [2] since it is more authoritative than anything I could write:

Recognizing the need for parents to organize and work collectively to demand high-quality education, Green Dot formed the Los Angeles Parents Union (LAPU)

There you have it, Green Dot's own admission they founded LAPU. For those still maintaining Parent Revolution is a wholly different organization see: "Parent Revolution was started by a coalition of organizations, led by the Los Angeles Parents Union (LAPU)." [3]

I've been accused of hyperbole when discussing Green Dot's despicable plans to privatize as many schools as possible. Well, here's another interesting quote from the document introduced above:

Green Dot’s initial strategic plan called for opening 100 charter high schools like Ánimo in neighborhoods across Los Angeles

100 schools! Maybe, just maybe, I wasn't exaggerating, huh? That's what happens when you get a group of right wing ideologues from the DLC/DFER and shower them with millions of dollars from real estate tycoons from Los Angeles and convicted predatory monopolists from Redmond. Given the nature of the Corporate School Choice Resolution, Green Dot may well end up with many more than 100 schools. As I've written before:

I think an important point to make about Flores-Aguilar's plan is that there's really only one organization with massive outside funding and a bevy of professional grant writers to present seemingly the best plans on paper in order to garner a lion's share of the 50 schools. While everyone is saying other organizations like UTLA or community groups can submit plans, how do they compete against organizations funded by the likes of Eli Broad, The Gates Foundation, The Waltons, or the LA Chamber of Commerce? Why should parents, teachers, and communities have to compete with businessmen to teach children in the first place?

We'll be handing over facilities paid for by taxpayers to unaccountable private non-profits. If LAUSD seems obtuse and unresponsive, try calling Green Dot, Alliance, or Brightstar about anything. They're corporations for goodness sakes. Their top executives aren't educators, they're businessmen. At least with traditional public schools, there's a sense of community and people are allowed on campuses. These CMOs treat public property as, well, their corporate property.

Another major problem with Barr, Duncan, and Gingrich's model is the loss of community schools. This is addressed by those familiar with the aftermath of Arne Duncan's dismantling of public schools in CPS. Barr's CMO admission typically involve lotteries, steep requirements, and other bars of entry to assure inflated APIs are typically an anathema to local children being able to attend. Since these 50 new schools were supposed to be for overflow of existing neighborhood schools, we can see where that's going. For more on how the Barr/Duncan/Gingrich model destroys community schools see: Arne Duncan and the Chicago Success Story: Myth or Reality?

Despite the huge amount of damning evidence it contains, the Green Dot document, "Green Dot Public Schools & Los Angeles Parents Union" is still available from right wing think tank AISR.

The document dates from when Ryan Smith was the head of LAPU (now Parent Revolution). Ryan Smith left Green Dot to work for Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's Partnership for Los Angeles Schools with fellow former Green Dot executive Marshal Tuck. Yes, Green Dot is that politically connected and flush with Eli Broad's cash that it was able to position two former executives as Director of Family and Community Engagement and Chief Executive Officer respectively in the Mayor's project -- and no Howard Blume wont be writing about that anytime soon.

The document also comes from the same period when Steve Barr was still the CEO of Green Dot, before he was replaced by even more ruthless Marco Petruzzi. More on that soon.



For privatization cheerleaders, you could also try emailing and tell Ben your his biggest fan, just like the fawning sycophants from Inner City Sellout, er, I mean Struggle told Ms. Yolie Flores Aguilar at the July 14, 2009 Board meeting.



gabe said...

Hahaha- I especially enjoy the suggestion that I have not had sufficient exposure to Ben's "insatiable greed and ruthlessness." I work with the guy every day- you, on the other hand, have never met him, and continually refuse to do so. Yet without ever spending one minute in the same room as him, you somehow have a magical window into his soul that allows you to determine that he is some greedy white man trying to get rich, rather than someone who cares deeply about improving education, but has different ideas from you about how to do it.

C'mon man. I know you're smarter than this.

Anonymous said...

@Gabe, unfortunately, I have met Ben. The description of Ben as, in your words, 'a greedy white trying to get rich,' is not far from the truth. Interesting how after working with the guy 'everyday' you would describe your dad, I mean your boss, in that manner. Truth is Gabe, your not very good at what you do--running corporate take-overs is a lot harder than playing politics at UCLA--after spending large sums of money on PR, what have you got to show for it? Oh yeah, a secure job.