We get a lot of comments and emails on the foppish millionaire from Benedict Canyon, school privatization pusher and poverty pimp Ben Austin. Here are a few of interest, demonstrating how much of a pariah he is in our communities:
An underdog with an array of billionaires, checkbooks at the ready, to fund its every move, and with the avid support of the president of the U.S., the governor of California, and so on? That really is an interesting new definition of "underdog."
This is a good piece, though there's one erroneous notion behind it: the assumption that Rose and Austin actually believe in the principles they extol. Both are paid spokesmen, mouthpieces, flacks. They extol whatever principles they're paid to extol. On that basis I even disagree with my co-blogger Robert Skeels here: "...[Skeels] believes that Austin is only pretending to show concern for students at underperforming schools, and that his primary concern is promoting the "privatization" of public schools. "
I would restate that: Austin's primary concern is promoting whatever he's paid to promote, and pretending to show concern for whatever he's paid to pretend to show concern for.
Michele Levin Said...
Ben Austin sat and talked. The air grew thin in the parent center as he went on and on about what “they” weren’t about. He apologized for his inflammatory remarks about Emerson. He said that any parent in his group who supported a separation of class and race was not welcome. I paraphrase. He was indignant at the thought. How offensive.
He could not tell me why Emerson was a failing school.
He could tell me that he would not stop his takeover attempts.
He would not answer a direct question.
Nayla gave me her card.
I graduated from Emerson in 1976. I teach there now. I look out of the tall Neutra window and see the light filtering in and the leaves of the elm tree outside. I think of Ralph Waldo Emerson. I think of my students. We shall not not be moved.
Ben Austin's conivery doesn't surprize me. When he and I attended law school at Georgetown, he used tricks to inflate his grades. He got a doctor's not stating that he had a learning disability so that he would have longer to complete his exams. for one exam, he wrote in the voice of a black woman because the prof was a black woman teaching a class on race and gender issues.
It sickens me the type of raw sewage and the degree of ignorance that anthony spews from the sewer he calls a mouth. Austin is NOT a hero. As a former member of the SBE he had a chance to implement true reform and his only claim to fame is a move in which he has come to pull the emotional strings of the parents he has come to use as his puppets. Krinski must be truly evil or truly stupid to state what he has mentioned here for they reak of Kumbaya ignorance of the reality of education. Thank Goodness that Austin is out of SBE and he cannot do any more harm. He is a beast who will stop at nothing to destroy what little is left of education.
He has lied about what charter schools are expected and, lo and behold, Crecendo, a charter school was found to be cheating. Austin's Green Dot has an API much lower than that of McKinley, yet he claims to reform Mckinley? give me a break. The truth is that he attempted to preempt the reform plans that have been at the school for the past three years before they come to fruition. Of course, once QEIA proves to be a successful reform method the need for charter schools will be less.
THe truth is that Austin lied to the parents and used such lunatics in the media as Fernando Espuelas to push his evil antichild agenda. Once his lies were pointed out by the committed teachers of the school he proceeded to attempt to destroy the integrity of the most dedicated teachers at the school. How perverse! His flunkies the "parent" revolution, many of whom are paid to pose as parents in the schools they attempt to hijack, performed illegal activities such as threatening parents with deportation unless they sign the procharter waiver. Lying to parents claiming it was for beautification and painting the school, harrassing students. Yet, they shamefully come back and raise false testimony accusing the staff of doing exactly what they, PR, did! How shameful! Austin needs not be revered- he needs to be tried for libel and for treason!!!
By the way, the true reason why education is failing is not the teachers. It is that we have too many people without teaching credentials in positions of power. What the hell was Austin, who has no teaching credential doing as part of SBE? As long as jerks as Romero, Schwarzzeneger, Villaraigoza, Austin, Waltons, Gates, Rhee and Broad decide to leave education to the real educators, schools will continue to fail.
Consider this analogy, I know some neurology, but I am not a neurologist. What would happen if I were to be telling a brain surgeon how to operate on a prefrontal cortex? The patient would most likely die! Here we have hundreds of wealthy businessmen who have no teaching experience telling teachers how to do their job and pushing policies that run coutner to good teaching strategies. When their policies fail due to their ignorance, this fools are quick to blame the teacher. THey need to shut up and let teachers do their jobs.
@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.
Exactly why Ben Austin would not tell us WHY Emerson is a failing school. If test scores are only a part of the equation (as he said), then what makes us a failure?
The attack on our school is an attack on our kids and families. Our demographics shouldn't be in 90024. But hey, that can't be the issue because then you'd be a bigot, right? So label us a failure that doesn't do right by our students.
Parents have more opportunities to participate in our school governance and budget processes than most of the Charters and private schools I've seen. And there is no pay to play. We are grassroots, not astroturf. Caroline's stats say it all.
McKinley Elementary school has a very diverse population of teachers. Many of the teachers grew up in Compton. There are Hispanic, African American, white and Asian teachers. All of the teachers are fully credentialed by the state of California. It is a fairly young and very energetic staff. The teachers voluntarily participate in professional development with UCI Math and Science Project. Many teachers seek and pay for workshops to learn new strategies to help their students. The staff, as a whole, is currently working on becoming National Board Certified (this is a very difficult process and only fifty percent of teachers that apply are certified). Most of the teachers have masters degrees. There are teachers with masters in science, linguistics and education. There are several teachers who have a B-CLAD. The test scores have been rising and continue to rise. This year has been very difficult on the morale of the hardworking staff and the parents that support them. Parent Revolution has actively campaigned against this school and the teachers that work there. The teachers and parents at McKinley do not have the political and media connections to defend this assault. This is an emotionally violent attack on a school and is pitting parents against parents. I can’t imagine that the type of behavior exhibited by this organization (Parent Revolution) would be tolerated in a wealthy suburban community. All parents need to have a voice in their child’s education. The way this was done . . . no one will really every know what McKinley parents want. Some parents weren’t contacted at all. Some believed they were signing a document to help beautify the school or improve the school (not supplant the principal and staff). There are parents that want the charter school and everything that was promised with that charter school. We will never know.
Robert, I was really shocked when I looked up the statistics for Warner Ave. Elementary after seeing Ben Austin praise it as a school worth emulating, and I think its statistics deserve more of a spotlight, as they are so very revealing about Green Dot's ideals. Here I am comparing to LAUSD's statistics.
Warner Ave. 5%
LAUSD 73.2%... Read More
Warner Ave. 2.4%
Warner Ave. 6.2%
Warner Ave. 2.1%
Warner Ave. 73.6%
Warner Ave. 18.3%
i’m a parent of two kids who attend/ed Emerson, and live two blocks from the school. The “Parent Revolution” employee who came to my door with a petition to have it turned into a charter school was a young, white man with light brown hair.
excellent article. spot on.
i particularly liked Caroline’s telling statistics and Lichen’s “The rich already have their “choice” of private schools–any further privatization just means that most students are caught up in bad, test-oriented schools, run like prisons , where the teachers get paid pennies, there is no pta or school board, or any other system answerable to democracy.”
Thanks, Robert the public needs to see this tallywhacker for what he really is. A chainsaw for schools.
I hope people will call and write their senators and congress people. Like Duncan, who never taught a blade of grass or Sharpton, who dropped out of Brooklyn Collge, or Gates wh dropped out of university, these men somehow know something about education teachers and students don’t. How could this be?
And the dung like Schwartzenegger who appoints these scurillous bums does so to shore up the charter school race to the slop.
Austin is as inauthetnic as the tests he promotes for students and without going into ad hominems, you make the case well as to why these baseless sycophants, who roam around schools in penny loafers are suffering from what can be only called MCD. Mad Curriculum Disease.
The oligarchs will not come out of their mothballed closets to talk to the public abut their privatization plans for LA schools and California — the plutocrats like philanthro-pirates, Gates, Walton, et. al. so they send out their rhetorical boyish looking prevaricators who wine and dine the corporate press with noble lies and pious frauds.
These people not only are vicious bodyguards for the denuding of education, their gun slinging rhetoric is anti-child, anti-teacher and anti-community.
Best to put them on Megan’s List as serial child molestors and not allow them to get within one hundred feet from a school or anywhere kids play.
In a decent society we wou ld perp walk these malignants to San Quentin but now that it is up for sale along with our schools and Austin and friends are bought, this seems unlikely.
Jerry Brown will have a ruthless educational landscape to dodge when he makes his bid for Governor but since he supports charter schools he should feel quite at home with Austin.
Robert D. Skeels said...
I've dedicated my life to providing those you condesendingly refer to as "poor parents" with the tools necessary for self determination and emancipation.
Here's some fun facts for you Anthony
According to the LA Time's mapping project
Ben Austin's neighborhood is 87.5% white and the median household income is $169,282.
Robert D. Skeels' neighborhood is 4.5% white and the median household income is $26,787
You should look up your neighborhood stats and post them here too Mr. Krinsky. I know West LA isn't as affluent as Benedict Canyon, but still.
According to Trulia
Ben Austin's house cost $1,210,000 (1.2 million dollars)
Robert D. Skeels' house cost $194,000 (a little less than Ben makes a year)
Did I mention Ben's neighborhood is 87.5% white?
Unlike Ben Austin and Gloria Romero, who get lavishly paid for increasing corporate charter-voucher school market share, all my work for Coalition of Educational Justice, Community for CRES14, and other organizations is strictly voluntary.
¡La lucha sigue!
Loved this part, "In other words, when he gets up in front of the school board and talks about "our schools," and "our kids, our communities, and our collective futures"  he's using a very rhetorical our."
We are trying to deal with these folks at Mark Twain MS in Venice/Mar Vista. The "Parent Revolution" claims it is not "targeting" our school, but if you check out the web site, you'll see that is a myth. Now that the parents and teachers are speaking, up, Ben Austin is getting a little irritated. This school is not "good enough" for kids of his other Green Dot buddies, and the revolution is on. They've collected over 1,000 signatures, but have admittedly never been to the school, met the teachers, or kids, yet send their reps out to all neighboring schools to explain what makes the place unacceptable for their kids. Too brown, too black? We're not sure, but we will defend our wonderfully diverse students and dedicated teachers as we confront this so called revolution.