Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Speaking truth to Camino Nuevo Charter Academy Revisionists

I appreciate that PND has done some beneficial things in the Westlake area. However, charter-voucher schools are anathema to both democratic processes and social justice. I don’t care how dedicated individual teachers or even individual board members are, school privatization is still school privatization. Unelected boards are still unelected boards. Lack of community control is still lack of community control. — Robert D. Skeels

Ana Ponce, CEO of the burgeoning Corporate Charter Voucher empire CNCA
The Eastsider LA recently published a piece which discusses the apologetics by the vile school privatization princess, Yolie Flores, for handing CRES #14 over to a corporate charter operator instead of to those that would have run it as a public school. Not surprisingly, CNCA supporters and charter-voucher industry employees basked in their chance to gloat over another public school being privatized. Understood. However, those self-same neoliberal cheerleaders began to engage in some revisionist history regarding CNCA and how the school was handed over. That type of mendaciousness doesn't go without response. So here's the truth to speak to their power.

I'm amused watching CCSA and CNCA employees debate community members here. While I have article deadlines preventing me from dismantling the corporate Yolie Flores' mendacious explanations for handing our public school over to a private operator, I will get around to that some day in the future. We do have a great deal of documented information about CNCS and CNCHS though, all of which casts the pro-CNCA hype and misinformation above in a different light. First, let's look at their exaggerated claims of academics:

Crafty Camino Nuevo Charter Charlatans

Camino Nuevo Staff Admonishing Echo Park Community to "Fact Check?"

One person here stated "Some charter schools don't address the needs of the communities where they teach. But Camino Nuevo isn't one of these." In addition, others have suggested that CNCA and CNCHS have a mechanism for effective community input, although no such mechanism exists. They have Site Based Councils that include parents, but these councils have no actual decision making power — CNCA's charter says they "provide suggestions and recommendations". Indeed, all real decision making for CNCA, like all corporate charters, lies in the hands of their Board of Directors. CNCA's board is UNELECTED by the public and composed exclusively of investment management executives, high powered lawyers, and other wealthy business types. Not one of them is an actual educator, and none of them have been teachers or principals in a K-12 setting. Furthermore, not one of them lives in Echo Park or Historic Filipinotown.

One of the great ironies of CNCA's rhetoric lies in its claims that they teach their students to be "agents of social justice." Meanwhile, the Chairman of CNCA's Board, is a Senior VP of Capital Research Company and a portfolio manager for The Capital Group Companies. This brazen contradiction is discussed at length:

'Social justice hedge fund managers' and 'social justice investment bankers' at Camino Nuevo?

Last time I checked, the lords of finance capital were not big advocates of social justice. If anything they are anathema to it.

CCSA and CNCA supporters have also maintained that community members advocating for public school plan over the corporate charter CNCA somehow don't represent a a majority of the community and have deported themselves in a less than desirable manner.

First, this ignores the fact that our community chose the public school plan by a more than two to one margin.

CNCA supporters can't claim that they didn't have ample opportunities to vote. Not only did they wage a well financed and lengthy campaign to sway the vote, including bringing in the plutocrat funded CCSA proxy, Families That Can, but they also bussed in busloads of people who were likely not from the attendance boundary. For a photograph of one of those busses, and an account of the events at the advisory votes, please see:

Banana Republic PSC Elections Camino Nuevo Corporate Charter Style

More lies, misinformation, and propaganda from wealthy Camino Nuevo Executives


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