While spending more than 3.6 billion a month (which will increase with their bellicose "surge") on the vicious occupation of Afghanistan, trillions on bailing out the banksters, this administration doesn't seem to have much left over in terms of education spending. Instead of discarding the failed NCLB laws of their extreme right wing predecessor and fully funding public education, President Obama and Secretary Duncan have decided to force feed their own abject failure of Renaissance 2010 to the rest of the country. Rather than investing public bailout funds with no strings attached, like what was done for AIG, Goldman Sachs, et al, Duncan's Orwellian-named "Race to the Top" funds are only available to states that implement reactionary policies that the extreme right wing has been clamoring about for years.
All of this for just a pittance, the President is merely offering the entire State of California just 700 million for the year. A drop in the bucket compared to his massive war and defense budgets. While any money would certainly help at this point, we should be taxing the rich instead, and absolutely not give into the "pound of flesh" funding demands "rac[ist] to the top" requires.
State Senator Gloria Romero, a former liberal, who just passed a bill (SB 592) handing public school property over to private corporations , is pushing a version of a new bill in Sacramento. SBX5 1 aka SB 1, which doesn't just give in to Duncan and Obama's demands, tantamount to blackmail, but adds Ben Austin and Marco Petruzzi's anti-democratic corporate charter-voucher trigger language. Here is what SB 1 would codify if passed.
- A regressive merit pay system to discourage hard working teachers
- A removal of the already ridiculously high cap on corporate charter-voucher schools displacing public schools
- A wholly undemocratic corporate charter-voucher trigger mechanism that would let corporations like Green Dot seize public schools with greater ease than they do now
The first two have been discussed at length, and with the exception of fake academics at right-wing think tanks including Cato, Hoover, and Hudson, have been thoroughly discredited.
The last one was snuck into SB 1 on December 3rd, as a favor to Senator Romero's right wing friends at the Parent Revolution , and to the appease the likes of the Gates, Broad, Walton, and Annenberg foundations.
Here's the anti-democratic corporate charter-voucher trigger language of the bill:
1116(b)(8)(B) of the federal Elementary and
Secondary Education Act (20 U.S.C. Sec. 6301 et seq.) ,
including those activities required in the regulations and guidelines
for the federal Race to the Top Fund, authorized under the federal
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-5),
and the guidelines for the federal School Improvement Grants,
authorized under the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act
(20 U.S.C. Sec. 6301 et seq.) .
(b) For any other school which, after one full school year, is
subject to corrective action pursuant to paragraph (7) of Section
1116(b) of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (20
U.S.C. Sec 6301 et seq.) and continues to fail to make adequate
yearly progress, and where at least one-half of the parents or legal
guardians of pupils attending the school, or a combination of at
least one-half of the parents or legal guardians of pupils attending
the school and the elementary or middle schools that normally
matriculate into a middle or high school, as applicable, sign a
petition requesting the local educational agency to implement one or
more of the five federally mandated alternative governance
arrangements pursuant to Section 1116(b)(8) of the federal Elementary
and Secondary Education Act (20 U.S.C. Sec. 6301 et seq.), the local
educational agency shall implement the option requested by the
parents unless, in a regularly scheduled public hearing, the local
educational agency makes a finding in writing why it cannot implement
the specific recommended option and instead designates in writing
which of the other federally mandated alternative governance
arrangements it will implement in the subsequent school year
consistent with requirements specified in federal regulations and
guidelines for schools subject to restructuring under Section 1116(b)
(8) of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (20 U.S.C.
Sec. 6301 et seq.). If the local educational agency indicates in
writing that it will implement in the upcoming school year a
different alternative governance arrangement than requested by the
parents, the local educational agency shall notify the Superintendent
and the state board that the alternative governance option selected
has substantial promise of enabling the school to make adequate
yearly progress as defined in the federally mandated state plan under
Section 1111(b)(2) of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education
Act (20 U.S.C. Sec. 6301 et seq.).
I'll get back this the topic soon, but it is imperative we fight back against this disgusting right-wing legislation. Contact your assembly person and tell them you oppose SB 1!
For those harboring illusions about State Senator Gloria Romero, her ideology, and her intentions. Long time immigrant rights activist Alvaro Maldonado, who led the fight against the racist Prop 187, had this to say about State Senator and Privatization Pontiff Gloria Romero:
I just saw her the other day! She use to be a left liberal, now she's just a plain capitalist liberal! Gloria Romero was an 1970's activist turned Democratic politician just like Fabian Nunez. I think, it should be a good lesson to all that those liberals who tie themselves to the Democratic party are almost without exception, turn into promoters for the capitalist system; be they co-opted, sold out, or just believe that there is no alternative (I generally I don't buy the argument on practicality claimed by the "progressive" Democrats... Their excuses generally hide their opportunism). The UFW traditional leadership (Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta, etc) gave us years of union and Democratic party opportunism in their stances on many an issue... but thats too long a story to get into on this comment page... it should suffice to be weary of "progressives" keeping close ties to the Democratic party.
 More on race to the abyss, er, top: Resisting the blackmail of "Race to the Top," three articles
 More on SB 592: Advocating Public Education Roundup 09W47 Part 2, Good News for Charter School Chains in California: Asset Stripping Gives Them Titles to Public School
 Ben Austin was a Republican Deputy Mayor, for those who don't remember.
 The Debate Over Differentiated Pay: The Devil is In the Details