Saturday, February 26, 2011

Voters chose public school Echo Park Community plan over CNCA corporate charter school by more than 2 to 1 margin!

Tell LAUSD we want the LD4 and Echo Park Community Partners Design Team Plan

Let's give credit to Echo Park Moms (& Dads) for Education, Other Local Parents, the LD4 & Echo Park Community Design Team Partners, UTLA/PEAC activists, CEJ and other public education activists. We need to keep the momentum going, as Mónica Garcia y Yolie Flores are really close to Ana Ponce, and after the horrible Gratts ES/Para Los Niños incident last year, we can't take the advisory vote for granted. If you haven't signed a paper petition, check out the online petition.

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/EchoParkMomsforEducation/

We're having an event on Monday night at Pizza Bueno in Echo Parque. Details will be posted here soon in this space.

Pizza Bueno
Monday, Februrary 28, 2011 2:30-5:30PM
2100 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026-3125

Here's more information on the public school plan

  • Nuestra escuela tendrá un programa de estudio visionario. El aprendizaje será basado en proyectos y será multidisciplinario, integrando los artes y promoviendo conocimiento y respeto por el medio ambiente.Los estudiantes pensarán críticamente, investigarán y explorarán la historia local, y tendrán experiencias valiosas por medio de nuestra colaboración con miembros de la comunidad y los recursos de Echo Park.
  • Our school will have a visionary curriculum It will be project-based and multidisciplinary, integrating the arts and promoting knowledge and respect for the environment. Students will think critically, research and explore local history, and gain valuable experiences through our collaboration with Echo Park community members and resources.
  • Nuestra escuela será para TODOS los estudiantes.Es una escuela inclusiva que recibe a todos los estudiantes, no importa el nivel de ayuda que necesitan.Les damos la bienvenida a todos.Estudiantes con necesidades especiales trabajarán juntos con estudiantes en el programa general en un medio ambiente que promueve respeto por nuestras diferencias y que da valor a como se destaca cada estudiante.
  • Our school will serve ALL students It is a fully inclusive neighborhood school that welcomes all students, regardless of their level of need. Students with special needs will work together with general ed peers in a school culture that promotes respect for all differences and that values each individual's strengths.
  • Nuestra escuela será democrática.Como una escuela pública, tendremos un Concilio Escolar (School Site Council) compuesto de maestros, padres, y administradores.Este grupo tiene el poder de hacer decisiones sobre asuntos como el presupuesto de la escuela y el currículo. Padres y maestros realmente tienen una voz en la formación del futuro de la escuela.En escuelas Chárter, como Camino Nuevo, esa voz es solamente consultivo; las escuelas son manejadas por una mesa directiva privada.
  • Our school will be democratic As a public school, we will have a School Site Council composed of teachers, parents and administrators. This body has decision-making power over things like the school budget and curriculum. Parents and teachers have a real voice in shaping the school's future. In charter schools, that voice is advisory only; they are run by private boards.
  • Tendremos un programa de lenguaje dual que servirá a una población diversa.Estudiantes que hablan español, inglés, otagalo (o cualquier otra idioma) tendrán la oportunidad de establecer la capacidad de leer y escribir en más de un idioma.
  • We will have a dual language program that serves a diverse population of learners Students who come from Spanish, English, or Tagalog speaking backgrounds (or any other language) will have the opportunity to build academic literacy in more than one language.
  • Este plan fue escrito por maestros.Es apoyado por un movimiento de padres y miembros de la comunidad de Echo Park que creen en la visión y el propósito de esta escuela.

In the end this debate (as do all the PSC choices) comes down to who should control our resources: the community or an unelected board of a charter corporation. Once we hand the public over to the private, we abdicate control. Our community deserves better than that. We should be able to control our own destiny, and not rely on, in the words of Paulo Freire, "the false generosity of paternalism."



Tell LAUSD we want the LD4 and Echo Park Community Partners Design Team Plan

Share/Bookmark

Something Wicked This Way Comes -- Whitney Tilson in Los Angeles

DFER are reactionary agents of neoliberalsim and school privatization
Gabe Rose, Deputy Director Parent Revolution aka McKinley Parents for Change
Predatory hedge fund manager and white supremacist Whitney "we need a lot more well-off, well-educated white folks" Tilson, is bringing his Plutocrats for Education Elimination... er, I mean Democrats for Education Reform road show to Los Angeles this Monday. Tilson, who made his fortunes using daddy and mummy's money in the honorable work of shorting against housing derivatives and managing hedge funds for other billionaires, is a self-styled education reformer. His ill earned fortune funds several right wing school privatization ventures including DFER, KIPP, and TFA. Tilson despises working people, our communities, and our input (aka democracy). He hasn't met a problem that a rich white guy like himself couldn't solve since he thinks he's smarter than everyone else.

I would organize a protest, but we have an event that same night for the LD4 + Echo Park Community Partners Design Team Plan. The good news is that we've won the advisory vote, but still have lots of work to do.

If anyone else is interested in protesting these reactionary agents of neoliberalism and school privatization, here's the details:

DFER School Privateers Planning Session
Monday, February 28, 2011, 6:30-8:30PM
Frederick Douglass High School
3202 W. Adams Blvd., Los Angeles, CA  90018

Despite all his wealth and Ivy League education, Tilson is somewhat of a dullard, and his writing is reminiscent of a disinterested third grade charter school dropout. His recent attempt to rebut an essay by Dr. Diane Ravitch was embarrassing to say the least. My comments on Tilson's screed were so well received in social justice circles that the South Bronx School Blog reproduced my comments from the HuffPost. Here they are:

But, let's give credit where credit is due. The blogger, rdsathene of the Solidaridad blog put Whitney's writing so eloquently in perspective;

I suppose the best part of watching a predatory hedge fund manager try to rebut the most celebrated education historian in our nation is that we are witness to how the right wing's obsession with Ayn Rand's ideas (competition, rewards, etc.) are pervasive in all their discourse.

I've never seen a less cogent, flailing, amateurish essay. I was trying to count the straw men and non sequiturs, but ran out of patience. It's funny that finance capitalist­s like this talk about top college graduates. If the above screed is indicative of their lack of critical thinking skills, it's no wonder they cleave to standardiz­ed tests so much.

Beautiful. Well said.

I was flattered that my humble prose would be considered beautiful.

Who else will be at this neoliberal privatization-fest? Of course, DFER's incorrigible Gloria Romero, who created the corporate charter trigger law and SB 592, which hands public school property over to private corporations. Corri Tate Ravere, associated with the Families That Can thugs, as well as ICEF (where's the money Mike Piscal?), and the CCSA. Caprice Young also of the ICEF money-pit and that notorious charter-voucher market share increasing industry group CCSA. Tara Roth McConaghy, formerly of corporate front group GOOD, which has a love affair with snake-oil salesman extraordinaire, Steve Barr. Lastly, Crook and Liar Ben Austin's lieutenant, Gabe Rose (aka Compton parent and founder of McKinley Parents for Change).

With such a ghastly assortment of public school and teacher haters in one place, let's hope it doesn't attract their ideological equivalents, the teabaggers.

Share/Bookmark

Friday, February 25, 2011

Are Value Added Methods (VAM) the new Flat Earth? How long do discredited theories linger?

[The University of Colorado at Boulder study] drives a proverbial stake through the heart of the VAM pseudo-science, that like its cousin phrenology, should have passed off the scene long ago. — Robert D. Skeels (LAUSD District 2 Board Candidate)

Stand up to Arne Duncan's corporate charter privatization scheme!
For some time I've been researching in order to write a lengthy academic piece regarding how discredited the LA Times' VAM (and VAM in general) is amongst anyone knowledgeable about pedagogy and testing methodologies. In the meantime, the watershed study by the School of Education, University of Colorado at Boulder came out and saved me the trouble. The definitive university study doesn't just refute the specious Times' data and conclusions utterly, it drives a proverbial stake through the heart of the VAM pseudo-science, that like its cousin phrenology, should have passed off the scene long ago.

Initially some familiar with Russ Stanton's favorite school privatization hit-men, wanted to excuse them from their wanton recklessness and mendaciousness that ruined many lives and reputations. For me, there was no such deviation from principles. Here are my thoughts that were published when the news that the LA Times' grand VAM deception was first exposed as the sham it is:

I have a choice between believing distinguished university professors and researchers, confirming what nearly all the credible experts were saying about VAM, versus yellow journalists and amateur statisticians Jason Felch and Jason Song?

It's bad enough that the Gates Foundation paid for all the VAM pseudo-science hype, but I recently learned that Gates also supports the Discovery Institute to the tune of millions. They believe humans rode dinosaurs, which is about as scientifically correct as VAM.

A close friend recently giggled when I said during a discussion on my piece On Anschutz, Villaraigosa, LAUSD Privatization Candidates, and Riding Dinosaurs which further exposed the Gates Foundation's funding of the Discovery Institute:

I have no problems with religion, I'm a person with strong spiritual beliefs myself. However, when you start talking like the Flinstones is a documentary, you've lost me.

So rather than spend an inordinate amount of time writing about VAM, which should also go the way of the dinosaur, let me provide some reading material and some masterful quotes.

First, teacher and author Larry Ferlazzo has collected some excellent resources regarding VAM The Best Posts About The LA Times Article On "Value-Added" Teacher Ratings.

Most important are these documents from the National Education Policy Center (NEPC):


The "Conclusion" section of the last document cited has probably the best assessment of both the Times' original work, and their futile defense of it.

The Times has not been simply reporting on teacher evaluations or ratings. It has been creating them and publicizing them. This unusual position confers upon the Times a profound obligation to ensure that any ratings it publishes are both valid and reliable. It is incumbent on the paper‟s reporters and editors to cautiously report on the effort‟s weaknesses.

Moreover, this ethical obligation is amplified when the Times is presented with a critique of the social science work that the paper had commissioned and used. Yet inexplicably the story about the critique was assigned to the same reporter who wrote and has repeatedly defended the original story, and this assignment was apparently made by the same editor who worked on the original story. The result, not surprisingly, was an attempt to mislead readers and whitewash the critique.

As the two NEPC fact sheets document, this is not a matter of experts merely disagreeing. This is a matter of mistakes in judgment and in fact. We call upon the Times to stop trying to defend the indefensible, pull down its invalid teacher ratings, and set about the difficult business of getting its story right.

Stanton's community hating and teacher loathing publication still tries to defend the indefensible. Following one of their tepid apologies of their neo-phrenology, the distinguished Dr. Mike Rose of the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies posted a cogent comment that speaks to the heart of this issue:

I grew up with The Times, know and admire people on the paper, and have been fortunate to contribute to its opinion page. But I have to ask: What is happening at The Times? With each article in Value-Added methods it gets deeper and deeper into a mess of its own making and displays further hubris or ignorance.

Mr. Lauter claims that the big public policy question people have been arguing since The Times published its first value-added article is whether "teachers have a significant impact on what their students learn or whether student achievement is all about demographics." This statement is a little like claiming that a recently published article on, let's say, a lawsuit against a tobacco company got the public arguing about the link between tobacco and lung disease.

The complex web of issues involving parental income, student achievement, and the role of the teacher has been a central topic in education research and practice for a very long time and in many countries. I was writing about it over two decades ago, and a half-century worth of work preceded mine. To say that The Times study (or the one from Colorado) finds that the quality of the teacher matters, is perhaps news to Mr. Lauter, but not to others who know about schools.

In its eagerness to justify itself, The Times staff resorts to parsing out the details of The Times and Colorado studies -- something, by the way, that journalists always accuse researchers of doing -- but miss the big point. The paper acknowledges but finally sets aside the well-known fact that Valued-Added scores are not stable, and that the results one gets will significantly depend on the models and assumptions one uses. Given the way these measure work, it is unlikely that the instability will be refined away. These problems, therefore, will have a marked effect on the accuracy of the evaluation of teachers -- including the vast range in the middle -- and on their employment and career advancement. Furthermore, just as important, the use of this problematic method will affect the nature of the profession and recruitment into it.

I cringed at the cheap insinuation that the Colorado study is influenced by the source of some of its funding. Shall we consider the vested interest of Mr. Lauter, Mr. Felch, etc. in this project? Or the fact that Thomas Kane, who Mr. Lauter approvingly quotes, is a high-level official at the Gates Foundation, overseeing a project which has invested heavily in Value-Added methods? The point is that there are all kinds of personal, professional, and institutional investments in this debate, so if you're going to lay them out, lay them all out. And if you suspect a biasing influence, do the reporter’s job of demonstrating it.

But the big, big question for me is how is it that this newspaper moved so strongly toward advocating a particular technology in school reform? The Times is not just editorializing that we need reform, but within its news department is taking a side on a technique. The paper is no longer reporting the news, but creating it and spinning it.

Here's a thought experiment. The PSA test for prostate cancer has many supporters and detractors in the medical community. The Times has run excellent articles reporting on this debate. Imagine, though, if the Times decided to take a side in it, and hired a medical researcher to run a study for The Times in support of its stance. Preposterous, right?

But that is analogous to what The Times has done.

Mike Rose
Social Research Methodology Division
UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies
Posted by: Mike Rose | February 14, 2011 at 08:56 PM

Thank you Professor Rose for phrasing so eloquently what we all wanted to say.

Share/Bookmark

Parents Across America In Solidarity with Teachers

Stand up to Arne Duncan's corporate charter privatization scheme!
All over the country, from Wisconsin, to Rhode Island, to New York, a fierce assault has been launched against our teachers – against their right to negotiate for better working conditions, for seniority protections, and against arbitrary layoffs, without due process.  
 
This assault has been funded and carried out in many cases by the same small group of wealthy men who want to privatize our public schools.  You should note that no one is talking about removing seniority protections from firefighters or police.
 
As parents, we understand that experience matters when it comes to effective teaching; (see our fact sheet on this issue).
 
We also realize that in many cases, better working conditions also means better learning conditions for our children, and that without the right to collective bargaining, class sizes could swell to unimaginable proportions – something that these men who are trying to impose their solutions  on our schools are aiming for, though they themselves send their children to private schools where classes sizes are limited to 15 or less.
 
We recognize that this attack on the teaching profession would make the job far less attractive, especially in our large urban districts, which already suffer from high rates of teacher turnover.  If our nation wants to attract qualified candidates to the profession and keep them there longer, this attack on the teaching profession is the exact opposite direction from where we should be going.
 
In this time of dire need, as parents we stand behind our teachers and say no more.  Rallies are planned at 12:00 NOON tomorrow, Saturday February 26, in many places. MoveOn has compiled the master list of events around the country. Find the event or events nearest you here, and join us!
 
This is no time to sit back, and allow the billionaires, hedge fund operators and privateers to attack our teachers and destroy our public schools.
 
Leonie, Mark, Sharon, Andrea, Rita and Lisa for Parents Across America

Share/Bookmark

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

To All Defenders of Public Education

Arne Duncan's neoliberal dismantling of public education is criminal
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is hosting an International Summit on the Teaching Profession in New York City on March 16-17. It is by "invitation only" and timed to take place right before the "Celebration of Teaching and Learning" at the NYC Hilton.

Duncan will be using this international platform to push the school privatization and market-based education policies he has been trying to impose on school districts across the nation. NEA and AFT national leaders, who have, despite their members' opposition, endorsed much of of the Duncan ideology and rhetoric, will also be in attendance.

This event, which is sure to receive a great deal of publicity, provides us with a great opportunity to publicly demonstrate the opposition of students, teachers, parents and education advocates to Duncan's K-12 policies, as well as to the massive budget cuts that are triggering tuition hikes across the country, undermining access to higher education.

BAMN is organizing a picket of the event. Would you or your organization be interested in participating? We haven't yet worked out all the details, and we are flexible about choosing a time that would make it possible for the most people to attend.

If you are interested, please respond to this email with your contact information, and I will organize a conference call to work out the details.

Sincerely,
Donna Stern
BAMN National Coordinator

Share/Bookmark

Monday, February 21, 2011

Dr. Stephen Krashen on Book Access Contributing Closing "Achievement Gap"

"If this study shows anything, it shows that we've got a two-to-one margin of bad charters to good charters, that's a red flag." -- Margaret E. Raymond (Director Stanford Center for Research on Education Outcomes CREDO 2009)

Keep the PUBLIC in public schools
While all the self-styled right wing reactionary 'experts' on education are blaming the so-called achievement gap on hard working teachers and their unions, real experts on education like Dr. Krashen have consistently pointed out that poverty is the number one factor we need to address.

Unlike Austin, Rhee, Romero, Deasy, Anshutz, Ponce, Gates, Barr, Broad, Petruzzi, Krinsky, Rose, Piscal, McFarlane, and all the other reactionaries claiming to have simple answers to complex problems, Dr. Krashen isn't only an expert on pedagogy, he actually reads all the important studies in the field. His analysis is brilliant, and his research is invaluable to all of us advocating social justice.

Stephen Krashen, PhD, is a Professor Emeritus, University of Southern California

Controlling for social class and children's books in the home closes the black-white in kindergarten: An important result buried deep in Fryer and Levitt (2004)

Stephen Krashen

Fryer and Levitt (2004) examined reading and math test scores in kindergarten and grade 1 using data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study (about 1000 schools). Their focus was the gap between black and white children.

For reading, the difference between black and white children at the start of kindergarten was .40 (where 0 = mean, sd = 1). Thus, black children scored 40% of one standard deviation below white children.

When Fryer and Levitt controlled for SES, (parents education, parent occupation, household income), the gap dropped to .134.

When they controlled for SES and number of children's books in the home the gap dropped to nearly zero, -.006.

This is a major result: social class and the presence of children's books evens the playing field. And this is only for a test given at the start of kindergarten. As they note, "including number of books …. completely eliminates the gap in reading" (p. 452).

As is typical for these kinds of results, it is buried deep in this long paper.

When Fryer and Levitt controlled for more predictors, including age at kindergarten, birth weight, whether the mother was a teenager or age 30 at the time her first child was born, the characteristics of neighborhood, whether mother was working, preschool program participation, parental involvement in child's life, family size and family structure, the difference was.093. Black children did slightly better.

Fryer and Levitt did not find the same "summer slump" than others have reported: In fact, black children closed the gap slightly over the summer. But the summer in this study was between kindergarten and grade 1. Closing the summer gap is related to access to books and self-selected reading over the summer (studies by Heyns, 1975 and by J. Kim, 2003). Not much self-selected reading takes place with six year olds.

As usual, there was no mention of libraries of any kind.

_____
NOTES
Fryer, R. and Levitt, S. 2004. Understanding the black-white test score gap in the first two years of school. The Review of Economics and Statistics 86 (2): 447-464.
Heyns, B. 1975. Summer Learning and the Effect of School. New York: Academic Press.
Kim, J. 2003. Summer reading and the ethnic achievement gap. Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk 9(2): 169-188

Share/Bookmark

Friday, February 18, 2011

Teacher at Imagine Charter School Fired for Bumper Stickers

This is one of the things the far right loves about the charter-voucher school push — the ability to silence dissent, particularly from teachers.

If this young woman was in a union, she'd still have her job, and those students wouldn't be deprived of her teaching.




[click if you can't view this video]


Does anybody still want to know why social justice groups like Coalition for Educational Justice support due process for teachers?

Share/Bookmark

Meeting: LD4 + Echo Park Community Partners Design Team Plan

CRES14 LD4 and Echo Park Community Partners Plan Meeting
Saturday, February 19, 2011, 10:00am—12:30pm
The Cathedral Congregation—St Paul
840 Echo Park Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90026-4209
In the Meeting room (follow the signs)
Parking is free

Support the LD4 and Echo Park Community Partners Design Team Plan

  • Our school will have a visionary curriculum It will be project-based and multidisciplinary, integrating the arts and promoting knowledge and respect for the environment. Students will think critically, research and explore local history, and gain valuable experiences through our collaboration with Echo Park community members and resources.
  • Our school will serve ALL students It is a fully inclusive neighborhood school that welcomes all students, regardless of their level of need. Students with special needs will work together with general ed peers in a school culture that promotes respect for all differences and that values each individual's strengths.
  • Our school will be democratic As a public school, we will have a School Site Council composed of teachers, parents and administrators. This body has decision-making power over things like the school budget and curriculum. Parents and teachers have a real voice in shaping the school's future. In charter schools, that voice is advisory only; they are run by private boards.
  • We will have a dual language program that serves a diverse population of learners Students who come from Spanish, English, or Tagalog speaking backgrounds (or any other language) will have the opportunity to build academic literacy in more than one language.

Sound good? Sign the petition and join us this Saturday!

  • Nuestra escuela tendrá un programa de estudio visionario. El aprendizaje será basado en proyectos y será multidisciplinario, integrando los artes y promoviendo conocimiento y respeto por el medio ambiente.Los estudiantes pensarán críticamente, investigarán y explorarán la historia local, y tendrán experiencias valiosas por medio de nuestra colaboración con miembros de la comunidad y los recursos de Echo Park.
  • Nuestra escuela será para TODOS los estudiantes.Es una escuela inclusiva que recibe a todos los estudiantes, no importa el nivel de ayuda que necesitan.Les damos la bienvenida a todos.Estudiantes con necesidades especiales trabajarán juntos con estudiantes en el programa general en un medio ambiente que promueve respeto por nuestras diferencias y que da valor a como se destaca cada estudiante.
  • Nuestra escuela será democrática.Como una escuela pública, tendremos un Concilio Escolar (School Site Council) compuesto de maestros, padres, y administradores.Este grupo tiene el poder de hacer decisiones sobre asuntos como el presupuesto de la escuela y el currículo. Padres y maestros realmente tienen una voz en la formación del futuro de la escuela.En escuelas Chárter, como Camino Nuevo, esa voz es solamente consultivo; las escuelas son manejadas por una mesa directiva privada.
  • Tendremos un programa de lenguaje dual que servirá a una población diversa.Estudiantes que hablan español, inglés, otagalo (o cualquier otra idioma) tendrán la oportunidad de establecer la capacidad de leer y escribir en más de un idioma.
  • Este plan fue escrito por maestros.Es apoyado por un movimiento de padres y miembros de la comunidad de Echo Park que creen en la visión y el propósito de esta escuela.


Share/Bookmark

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

"The original vision of charter schools was that they would help strengthen public schools, not compete with them." — Diane Ravitch (celebrated education professor and author)

Charter Schools are privatization and are a vehicle for vouchers
In the comments section of Lobbying Around Leadership at Echo Park’s New School Heats Up, a CNCA staffer named Kelly states "Robert (and anyone else), please make sure that you are checking where you get your facts (or where your fact-finder's get their facts)." She then goes on to present some statistical data. I responded thusly:

Kelly, I appreciate your admonishment on fact checking, but are you suggesting that the CSU's data is erroneous or inaccurate? Furthermore, you and several other "statisticians" keep insisting that the CSU sample is "only 17 students." Given that CNHSC graduated roughly 100 students in 2008, it represents nearly one fifth of your graduating class. My sources familiar with UC system remedations tell me that while CNHSC numbers are a little better there, they aren't as stellar as the CNCA CMO claims they are. Also, for those claiming that 17 students is statistically insignificant in terms as CSU enrollments, it's still that selfsame number of students having to retake high school courses.

Here's some more statistical information since we're sharing links, let's use some that aren't from charter-voucher industry trade associations like the CCSA or GreatSchools, Inc., which have a vested interest in the data they collect and present.

Camino Nuevo High School Charter - Los Angeles - California Schools Guide - Los Angeles Times shows CNHSC' unofficial API rank as 6/10, with a fairly poor diversity score.

What's more, the California Department of Education's SAT Report shows CNHSC SAT scores as being fairly low, which would seem to support the CSU remediation rate data that Kelly is trying hard to discredit.

Data from SAT Report (CA Dept of Education)

97.94% Camino Nuevo High School Charter students tested
Critical Reading Average 379
Math Average 396
Writing Average 396
Composite 1171

Resulting in only 11% of CNHSC students testing with a composite SAT of 1500 or above. 1171 is well below the composite SAT to make the even the lowest spot on this list: Highest Average SAT Scores in Los Angeles County - California Schools Guide - Los Angeles Times.

Part of the statistics above are probably due to the fact that the median teacher experience at CNHSC is only 4 years. However, that doesn't mean that CNCA staff aren't dedicated or sincere, just relatively inexperienced. Yet many CNCA staff keep saying their corporation has a decade of doing what it does in contrast to an "unproven" plan proffered by LD4/EP Community Parters. Since many of the educators involved the the community plan have taught for more decades than CNCA has been in existence, that meme is absurd on its face. That hasn't stopped the CNCA staff from repeating it though!

Just as paid CNCA staff are able to find statistics favorable to them increasing their market share, community volunteers like myself are able to find CNCA statistics that aren't flattering. As a social justice activist I don't see test scores as be-all, end-all. That said, CNCA's marketing literature does, and I feel it's appropriate to question that. Sorry for speaking truth to your power CNCA.

In the end this debate comes down to who should control our resources: the community or an unelected board. Once we hand the public over to the private, we abdicate control. Our community deserves better than that. We should be able to control our own destiny, and not rely on, in the words of Paulo Freire, "the false generosity of paternalism."

Share/Bookmark

Monday, February 14, 2011

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

Getting information from the CCSA and Jed Wallace is tantamount to a reporter in the 1970s getting information on the health risks of smoking from the Tobacco Industry. — Robert D. Skeels (CEJ)

CNCA's enforcer Hoa Truong, A Broad Residency in Urban Education product.
This Week's Topic: Echo Park's Newest School is an Echo Park Patch piece intended to spark community dialog about the disposition of CRES 14. As we've seen throughout the process, there's what the community thinks and then there's propaganda campaign by CNCA executives and staff. The pernicious Hoa Truong, CNCA's COO, made very misleading, and frankly, mendacious comments under the article. Here is my expanded and revised response to his proverbial pack of lies:

Hoa Truong presents what can only charitably be called half truths here. True CNCA is a 501C3 "non-profit," but that is merely a tax status and says little else. Rather than private companies, they are private corporations (that's what the C in 501C3 stands for). As private corporations, the have unelected boards. In CNCA's case that board has no parents or community members from our attendance boundary.

For more on Camino Nuevo's board, see: 'Social justice hedge fund managers' and 'social justice investment bankers' at Camino Nuevo?

Moreover, although Camino Nuevo Charter Academy are "not for profit" there are no limits to the salaries charter-voucher schools pay their well heeled executives. Ana Ponce, CEO of CNCA, pulls down a whopping $140,639. For more on this see: Crafty Camino Nuevo Charter Charlatans

Mr. Truong mentions that CNCA's "board meetings are public meetings." Note that being able to attend a meeting is a far cry from the community having control over CNCA and their schools' operations. To CNCA's credit, they are one of the very few Charter Management Organizations (CMO) that hold public meetings, most meet in secret. CMOs like CNCA mistakingly equate input with decision making.

Truong, a businessman, not an educator, certainly has a vested interest in not divulging such information. More to the point Truong is a graduate of the vile Broad Residency in Urban Education, a plutocrat funded venture that can only be described as school privatization shock troops. Rather than allowing him and the elites populating his board dictate to us, we have a better idea.

The public school option (LD4 Echo Park Partnership) for CRES 14 will almost certainly be run under the Pilot school model. Pilot schools have Governing School Councils which have real decision making power. Governing School Councils are comprised of community members, parents, teachers, and administrators. There is nothing analogous to this in the corporate charter-voucher school world. CNCA's Ana Ponce herself said the following at a Union Avenue School meeting "Parents having decision making power over a budget is not a sustainable model." Aside from her business buzzwords, she shows an utter contempt for ordinary working class people. In Truong and Ponce's world, decision making is best left to "our betters."

We say no, we demand the right of our community's self determination. We want CRES 14 to be a community controlled public school, not a corporate charter school.

Vote for LD4 and Echo Park Community Partners Design Team Plan

Share/Bookmark

Thursday, February 10, 2011

We Demand Democratically Run Public Schools for Echo Parque

Support public schools and want to keep Camino Nuevo out of Echo Parque? Sign this petition, and if you live in LAUSD district 5, write in candidate Scott Folsom! Together we can stem the tide of school privatization.



Share/Bookmark

Street Vendors to protest another case of brutality at MacArthur Park

Stop Police Brutality
The Vendedores Ambulantes (Street vendors) of Alvardo y Wilshire (MacArthur Park) will have a protest today against police brutality by the Sheriffs who patrol the Metro Line stops. The protest will be on the sidewalk in front of the Metro Station on Alvarado and 7th Street. 
 
On Tuesday of this week the Sheriffs raided the vendors and beat one of their young members. One of them took a picture of the beating. They asked for the support of the Southern California Immigration Coalition so we are now supporting them. 
 
4:00PM Thursday February 10, 2011
Protest/Press Conference
Metro Station on Alvarado and 7th Street
Organized by the Street Vendors and supported by the Southern California Immigration Coalition

Share/Bookmark

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Charter Voucher Charlatans Now Advocating AIG Style Derivatives

"The education industry represents, in our opinion, the final frontier of a number of sectors once under public control... represents the largest market opportunity... the K-12 market is the Big Enchilada." — Montgomery Securities prospectus quoted in Jonathan Kozol's "The Big Enchilada"

Charter Voucher Charlatans Now Advocating AIG Style Derivatives
If we ever needed more evidence that the entire charter-voucher charade is about market share and money making, Expand a Proven Finance Solution for All Charter Schools, by Ricardo Mireles, the well heeled Executive Director of Academia Avance, provides us with clear insight.

In the piece Mr. Mireles, without any regard to the fact that he's discussing public money, advocates "sell[ing] our state receivables to private companies." Let's bear in mind that the state receivables that Mireles refers to is our tax dollars. The last thing the public needs is unelected boards of privatized charter schools gambling with our hard earned tax dollars in cockamamy schemes smacking of the exotic mortgage derivatives market that crashed the economy and made a handful of Wall Street plutocrats even more rich.

By and large, nearly all charter schools (charter schools are schools that take public money, but are run by private entities including corporations), get huge grants from ideologically biased foundations like that of the neoliberal Broad/Gates/Walton Triumvirate. When charters cite studies by far-right think tanks that they tend to get slightly less public funding than public schools, they invariably leave out the fact that they more than make up for such minor shortfalls with a deluge of plutocrat funds to spend with little or no oversight.

No wonder hedge fund managers like the vile Whitney Tilson espouse charter-vouchers schools like they're the next bubble to profit from. Here's what the predatory parasite of Tilson Funds had to say in regards to the extremely lucrative charter-voucher industry he helped create:

"hedge funds are always looking for ways to turn a small amount of capital into a large amount of capital." A wealthy hedge fund manager can spend more than $1 million financing a charter school start-up. But once it is up and running, it qualifies for state funding, just like a public school... "It is extremely leveraged philanthropy," Mr. Tilson said. — Joel Klein’s Lesson Plan

Curiously Mireles says "CCSA is a great advocate." [1]. He doesn't say what they advocate, but we all know CCSA's advocacy story. Here's a few reminders:


At first I was intrigued as to why Mireles would be pushing a very risky, but lucrative financial shell game. Turns our Mireles is somewhat exceptional in the highly paid charter-voucher CEO world. He only pays himself $65,327 according to his 2009 990 Part VII A, while most charter executives help themselves to lavish six figure salaries. So it isn't surprising he's on board with AIG style dupe-the-public financing. Such schemes give him a chance to further increase his fortunes at the public's expense via clever investing. We can all be sure that companies like Charter School Capital (CSC), discussed in Mireles' article, will be investment vehicles for all the vultures looking to profit off the privatization of public education.

Charter schools are notorious for gross malfeasance and financial mismanagement. Charter School Scandals is probably the best resource for viewing the scope of this endemic and ever growing problem. The site introduces itself with the following:

A compilation of news articles about charter schools which have been charged with, or are highly suspected of, tampering with admissions, grades, attendance and testing; misusing local, state, and federal funds; engaging in nepotism and conflicts of interest; engaging in complicated and shady real estate deals; and/or have been engaging in other questionable, unethical, borderline-legal, or illegal activities. This is also a record of charter school instability and other unsavory tidbits.

We don't need to look too far for charter schools scandals though, it turns out that "[f]ormer employees and parents accuse[d] Ricardo Mireles of improprieties because of financial pressure at Academia Avance" , this is detailed in a Howard Blume piece Critics assail director of L.A. charter. The article details how Mireless, a Coro Fellow [2], was embroiled in a major scandal at his school. Why LAUSD renewed Academia Avance's charter defies comprehension. Mireles must have gotten his financial advice from the notorious Mike Piscal of ICEF ignominy.

Privately managed charter schools are so rife with malfeasance, that the very birthplace of charter schools — Minnesota, recently placed a moratorium on them. This is because it was found that "75% [of charter schools] had a least one irregularity noted in their financial audit." — Minnesota 2020 (2008 Report). Rest assured, whenever you put public money into private hands, corporate charlatans will find a way to pocket it. All the while saying that they are doing it for the kids, and that theirs is a kids centered agenda.

I've got a better idea. "If corporate charter-voucher schools were obligated, like public schools, to educate every child, we would see the proliferation of charters disappear almost overnight. Take the profitability out of the equation, and charter schools would return to their original mission."

To join the fight-back against corporate charters and the privatization of public schools, join your local chapters of Coalition for Educational Justice (CEJ) and Parents Across America (PAA). Together, collectively, we can stop the privatization of public education by demanding people before profits.

_____
NOTES
[1] According to Critics assail director of L.A. charter Mireles worked for the CCSA, he "helped set up computer and phone systems for the California Charter Schools Ass[ociation].
[2] Poverty pimping and privatization pushing Coro Fellows list includes: Caprice Young, Yolie Flores-Aguilar, Ryan Smith, Jordan Henry, Ricardo Mireles, Gabe Rose...

Share/Bookmark

Saturday, February 05, 2011

On Anschutz, Villaraigosa, LAUSD Privatization Candidates, and Riding Dinosaurs

This article was first published on Dissident Voice

... [A] Bizarro World, where the richest and most powerful people in the U.S. are cast as a plucky band of selfless rebels fighting for the civil rights of poor children of color, while dedicated and overworked teachers who can't afford a house or pay for their children's college tuition are imagined to be the greedy overlords of the old order. — Randy Childs (Educator and Activist)

Failure doesn't begin to describe charter sycophant Villaraigosa and PLAS
Producer, stadium developers donate to group backing Villaraigosa's school board candidates, is a piece details how fringe right wing billionaire Philip Anschutz has donated at least $100,000 to the Mayor Failure's Coalition for School Reform — a slush fund to elect privatization friendly school board candidates for Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD).

Anschutz, a reactionary that makes the fascist-friendly Koch Brothers look moderate in comparison, also funded Waiting for Superman, the poverty pimping propaganda piece by the smug mendacious hipster Davis Guggenheim. How far to the right is Anschutz? Master researcher and educator Kenneth Libby's Philip Anschutz and Walden Media: What Kind of Agenda? exhaustive list shows huge sums of Anschutz's fortune going to organizations that are anathema to social justice and public schools, including Hoover, AEI, Heritage, Cato, etc., along with school privatization favorites like KIPP and Alliance for Choice in Education.

One of the better biographies I've seen on Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa's corporate education reform partner Anshutz comes from educator and author Mike Klonsky.

Finally there's Phillip Anschutz, the owner of the Examiner, which is nothing but a filthy little right-wing tabloid, disguised as a newspaper. But Anshutz also bankrolled the hot anti-union propaganda film, Waiting for Superman. Just in case you thought this film was made only by a group of well-intentioned, but misguided liberals.

Anschutz is a far right-wing, evangelical billionaire who inherited his fortune from his father's oil business and who has become a media mogul, publisher of the Weekly Standard, the S.F. Examiner, and owner of L.A.'s Staples Center. He was also the force behind California's anti-gay initiative.

But it gets so much better, and here's my favorite part. On February 3, 2011, Klonsky "tweeted" the following.

Anschutz funded Discovery Inst., that promotes intelligent design and criticizes evolution. But then, so did Gates. http://bit.ly/yNog0
1:11 PM Feb 3rd via TweetDeck

Discovery Institute is an extreme right wing evangelical group that promotes fantasies like free markets and a 10,000 year old earth. While we shouldn't be surprised about Anschutz's support for such charlatans, some readers may be shocked that the convicted predatory monopolist William "Bill" Gates III, well known for his anti-labor libertarianism, also donates money to organizations which actively promote the idea that people once rode dinosaurs.

Great to have these kind of folks dictating the dialog on public education, labor relations, and national curriculum. And we thought Texas was in trouble? It would be a safe bet to assume that the reactionary Walton fortune heirs probably share similar views. This begs the question, how does the other member of the neoliberal Broad/Gates/Walton Triumvirate stand on riding dinosaurs? Do members of Villaraigosa's privatization slate for the LAUSD school board including Tamar Galatzan, Luis Sanchez, Eric Lee and Richard Vladovic hold similar views?

Back to the Los Angeles Times piece we started with, which further details:

...fundraising wars over school reform, including philanthropist Eli Broad ($150,000), former Mayor Richard Riordan ($25,000) and Spanish-language media executive Jerry Perenchio ($250,000). All told, the informal Villaraigosa slate — he is actively raising money for three candidates but has yet to endorse them officially — has collected more than $1 million on behalf of Tamar Galatzan, Luis Sanchez and Richard Vladovic.

Disgusting enough? Maeve Reston and Howard Blume also discuss how many of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's Coalition for School Reform contributors also "happen" to be well heeled developers with multi-billion dollar projects awaiting City Planning Commission approval. Go figure!

School privatization minded LAUSD School Board candidates Tamar Galatzan, Luis Sanchez and Richard Vladovic should be confronted on how they stand on the very serious issues brought up here. The Mayor's forth candidate, Eric Lee, doesn't seem to be taking money from Villaraigosa's Coalition for School Reform. However, Eric Lee's very close association with Parent Revolution's Ben Austin and DFER's Gloria Romero — both of whose organizations are funded by the same foundations as Coalition for School Reform — doesn't bode well for his impartiality either.

Angelenos should be very concerned that the Mayor's LAUSD school board candidates aren't only funded by billionaires and plutocrats, but also that their funders espouse extreme right wing views. Nationally, progressives and public school advocates should pay closer attention to those funding and supporting the so-called education reform and charter "movements."

In Los Angeles we've already seen the influence of fringe right ideology in local privatized charter schools. At Celerity Nascent Charter School we witnessed the sad incident where teachers were fired for reading a poem about Emmett Till, which was rationalized by the principal's oblique suggestion that Till somehow deserved his fate. Another example is Green Dot Public [sic] Schools' original Alain Leroy Locke Charter High School petition, which contained language requiring students "demonstrate a belief in the value of capitalism."

The money, power, and influence behind the school privatization forces is considerable. The creeping insidious influence of far right ideology will continue unless communities, students, parents, and educators unite and demand an end to the privatization of our schools. Collectively we can stop the corporate education reform agenda.

To glorify democracy and to silence the people is a farce; to discourse on humanism and to negate people is a lie. — Paulo Freire (Pedagogy of the Oppressed)


Share/Bookmark

Thursday, February 03, 2011

SCOTT FOLSOM RE-ENTERS RACE FOR LAUSD SCHOOL BOARD AS WRITE-IN CANDIDATE

SCOTT FOLSOM RE-ENTERS RACE FOR LAUSD SCHOOL BOARD AS WRITE-IN CANDIDATE

Communities support LAUSD candidates opposed by vile right winger Phillip Anschutz and his puppet Mayor Villaraigosa
Wednesday, February 2, 2011

For Immediate Release

"One of the best outcomes in public education is when a dropout drops back in." With those words parent activist and current LA County Parent/Community Volunteer of the Year Scott Folsom returned to the campaign for LAUSD Board of Education Seat #5 - representing Northeast and Southeast Los Angeles.

"I left the race because I couldn't justify the amount of money I would need to raise to make a decent showing in a traditional campaign...and I'm returning because the political fundraising to date has left decency far behind as it veers towards obscene." Folsom said.

"Recent revelations about downtown developers pouring money into the campaigns of Board of Ed candidates favored by Mayor Villaraigosa - and the on-again/off-again endorsements by the teachers' union point out the reality that the current campaign is all about securing endorsements and raising money ...not successful young people."

"I think it's time to Raise Issues, Raise Awareness ...and perhaps Raise some Hell," Folsom said.

"This will be a write-in campaign, as such it will be uphill - it will be done without a lot of money but with a lot of passion. A true independent campaign to put an independent on the board of education.

"I am also concerned about the hardball politics played in some of last week's so called "community advisory votes" in the Public School Choice process - choosing operators for new schools across the District. I saw for myself that a charter school operator bused-in pro-charter voters from across town to one polling place. I now understand that the buses made additional stops and that bused-in voters voted multiple times at multiple school sites. Democracy may not be pretty ...but that is not democracy.

"I don't think our schools should be operated by "operators" - schools should be run by teachers and principals and parents - supported by by professional and accountable administrators - and overseen - but not controlled - by the superintendent of board of education.

"Charter schools should be run by their local boards in the communities they serve in an open, transparent and accountable manner," Folsom said. Not by corporate boards meeting behind closed doors - in essence becoming public schools operated on a private agenda.

"School leaders and elected officials and parents - all of us - need to teach and to model Civics and Ethical Behavior four our children. We need to conduct ourselves on the honorable side of legal and ethical - and I don't see how selling the naming rights to a yet unbuilt football stadium and using the money to buy seats on the board of education serves the best interest of Los Angeles schoolchildren. I am for pro football in LA; I used to own Rams season tickets back in the day - but I'm unwilling to swap seats on the Board of Ed for seats on the sideline.

"I have served on the LAUSD Bond Oversight Committee for nearly a decade; in that time we have successfully avoided becoming embroiled in the kind of politics practiced involving builders and developers that have historically plagued Los Angeles politics. The movie "Chinatown" was fiction - but fiction is something that didn't happen - not something that isn't true. The film was a metaphor for how Los Angeles land development and politics have been entwined since the early days of our city. For the most part we have kept politics and corruption out of the current school building and modernization process and we need to take that success and practice and apply it to the governance of this school district..

"In the next five weeks I will reach out to parents and the community and teachers and educators and school staff -- to anyone who will listen - and hopefully to those who will vote - about raising the bar together -- about how LAUSD, fairly-or-unfairly maligned as it is, is all of us, working together for our kids.

"Finally, today is Groundhog Day. In the movie of that same name the lead character was doomed to relive the same miserable day of his life until he got it right. I am back in this race this time to get it right because our children really only have one shot at education, one shot at the grade they're in - one try to learn what they need to learn today. We don't have enough money in the budget to do it the way we'd like to do it - but we need to get it as close to right as we possibly can - so that tomorrow we and they and all-of-us-together can get it better.

"It's about learning and teaching. And for the next five weeks part of the lesson is spelling. S-C-O-T-T F-O-L-S-O-M"

!Onward/Adelante!

Scott Folsom for Board of Education Seat #5

committee in formation

contact: smfolsom@aol.com

http://www.4LAKids.blogspot.com

http://www.4LAKidsNews.blogspot.com

Scott Folsom is a parent leader in LAUSD and is Parent/Volunteer of the Year for 2010-11 for Los Angeles County. * He is Past President of Los Angeles Tenth District PTSA and represents PTA on the LAUSD Construction Bond Citizen's Oversight Committee. He is a Health Commissioner, Legislation Team member and a member of the Board of Managers of the California State PTA. He serves on numerous school district advisory and policy committees and has served as a PTA officer and governance council member at three LAUSD schools. He is the recipient of the United Teachers Los Angeles /American Federation of Teachers 2009-2010 "WHO" ('We Honor Ours') Person-of the Year Gold Award for his support of education and public schools * The names of the organizations above are for identification only - no representation is made or implied regarding endorsement. *

Share/Bookmark

It's Official, the LA Weekly is Ben Austin's personal public relations firm

"There's nothing the matter with teachers that a little less unionization and more COMPETITION couldn't cure." — Ann Coulter (racist reactionary right wing pundit)

"It would force the district to learn how to run great schools by forcing them to COMPETE." — Ben Austin (Executive Director LAPU/PR)

Defend Public Schools from Corporate Charter-Voucher Charlatans
Caroline Grannan's latest brilliant article exposing the nightmare caused by pariah Ben Austin and his band of paid organizers trying to establish corporate charters in Compton is Powerful "Parent" Trigger operators target vulnerable school; attack misfires. In it she links to yet another of right-wing reactionary journalist Patrick McDonald's cheerleading pieces for the Walton Foundation and Gates Foundation funded corporate charter front group Parent Revolution.

One of the lies in McDonald's article, discussing the foppish millionaire from Benedict Canyon and his paid staffers, was so egregious, I was compelled to write an open letter.

Open Letter Re: Parent Trigger Showdown in Compton Gets Increasingly Heavy; Jerry Brown, Kamala Harris, and Barack Obama M.I.A.?

(By the way LA Weekly have begun moderating their comments and won't allow any evidence against Parent Revolution to be posted on their site.)

Mr. McDonald:

In your Jan 24, 2011 piece you write: "McKinley Parents for Change, a parent group that arose late last year, after the Parent Trigger effort had gathered enough signatures to take over McKinley, is demanding that the signatures gathered in 2010 be honored."

That's absurd and incredulous! You know as well as I do that McKinley Parents for Change is a fake group formed out of Austin's office. You saw my articles and emails attesting to that. Is that how right-wing libertarian reporting works, ignore well documented facts that don't support your ideological goals? Or is it that you think Parent Revolutions' own Yuritzy Anaya was lying to me when she explained how that group was founded?

Update on the veracity of McKinley Parents for Change

Do you recall my email to you on Dec 17, 2010 where I wrote:

As a long time social justice writer, public education advocate, and immigrant rights activist I’m not fearful to search for the truth. As soon as a Compton parent sent along a copy of the fake McKinley Parents for Change flyer via a substitute teacher, I called the number and left a message. Yuritzy Anaya of Parent Revolution called me the next morning, spoke with me, and told me that their Deputy Director Gabe Rose created the flyer.

Also, why no LA Weekly coverage on how Gibson Dunn & Crutcher's Danielle Katzir mysteriously dropped off "Parent Revolution's" board as soon as Austin's lawsuit was announced? Conflict of interest much?

http://www.gibsondunn.com/Lawyers/dkatzir

I left her voicemail today to see if she withdrew from their board for obvious reasons related to conflict of interest. However, her Gibson Dunn & Crutcher biography still lists her as being a board member for LAPU/PR. To wit:

Ms. Katzir serves on the firm's Los Angeles-Area Diversity
Committee. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the
Los Angeles Junior Chamber of Commerce and the Los
Angeles Parents Union...
She also works closely with Green Dot Charter Schools and
the Los Angeles Parents Union in their collective efforts to
implement statewide education policy reforms, including,
most recently, representing them in connection with the
"Parent Empowerment" legislation, signed into California law
in January, 2010.

It's in the public's interest that such facts be reported on.

Mr. McDonald your paper is well known for yellow journalism, but your own articles clearly show that your no stranger to that either.

Contemptuously

Robert D. Skeels

Share/Bookmark

Dr. Stephen Krashen - Vonnegut and Suggestion for NCTE policy

Here is what Kurt Vonnegut and his friend Bernard O'Hare told a German soldier when they were liberated from a POW camp after World War II: "... America ... was going to try harder to give everyone work to do, and to ensure that our children, at least weren't hungry or cold or illiterate or scared to death." (Timequake, p. 142).

This is precisely our position (Krashen-Ohanian NCTE policy suggestion, re-posted below): Try to end poverty and meanwhile protect children from the effects of poverty.

Defending public education from privatization and fighting poverty are one in the same.
The NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) invited suggestions for its policy platform for 2011.
Suggestion for NCTE Policy Platform
Submitted by Stephen Krashen and Susan Ohanian
January 18, 2011

Single sentence summary: The NCTE platform should focus on removing the overwhelming barriers to student learning: food insecurity, lack of health care, toxins, and of special interest to us, access to books.

NCTE's Educational Policy Platform this year deals with removing the serious obstacles many children face that make real learning impossible. All of these obstacles are the result of poverty. The problem of poverty is so serious that it is useless to discuss details of language arts pedagogy unless we protect students from the powerful negative effects of poverty.

Many studies have documented how poverty impacts school performance: "Food insecurity," lack of health care, exposure to environmental toxins, and lack of access to books all have devastating effects on student's ability to learn.

The latter, lack of access to books, is of special interest to NCTE, as well as to other organizations concerned with literacy development and libraries: Without access to books, wide self-selected reading cannot happen. Wide reading for pleasure is the bedrock of the language arts. It is responsible for development enough competence in reading, writing, vocabulary, grammar, and mechanics that make higher levels of literacy possible.

The US has the highest rate of child poverty of all industrialized countries, which accounts for our less-than-spectacular scores on international tests. American children who live in middle class neighborhoods and who attend well-funded schools score at the top of the world.

The NCTE platform this year is that we are in no position to debate the subtleties of instruction such as the content of the literature standards. Our discussions of what is on the menu must wait until people are no longer starving.

The NCTE Platform: Make sure that no child is left unfed, all children have adequate health care and all children have access to a wide variety of reading material. Only when this is accomplished can we return to the business of what goes on in the classroom.

Share/Bookmark

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

The real question is, does the CCSA disseminate any information that isn't biased and incorrect?

"Jed's predecessor, Caprice Young, made over $250,000 for her work at the CCSA. Check out the cast of characters on CCSA's board of directors. Until recently, a Broad COO, Kevin Hall, and Kevin Johnson served on the groups board as well." — Kenneth Libby (Schools Matter)

Any surprise that the CCSA's Jed Wallace, like everyone in the charter-voucher industry, is a liar, cheat and thief?
LAUSD Parent Teacher Association (PTA) activist and maintainer of the widely read 4LAKids blog, Scott M. Folsom, caught some egregious factual errors in a Neon Tommy article from yesterday. The piece, entitled LAUSD's Public School Choice Closes Second Round Of Community Voting contains factual errors so grave, that Folsom's version of the title is:

The Spin, the Spin: LAUSD's PUBLIC SCHOOL CHOICE CLOSES 2nd ROUND OF COMMUNITY VOTING - in which "Neon Tommy" reports half the story ...and gets it all wrong!

Surprisingly, many of USC/Annenberg's Neon Tommy writers seem to write these biased and incorrect reports quite frequently. I'm sure it has nothing to do with several USC faculty [1] sitting on various local CMO charter boards, or that the Annenberg Foundation is a major funder [2] of corporate charter schools. Such an insinuation would be unconscionable, wouldn't it?

The first error 4LAKids blog points out is:

...in which an overwhelming majority of proposed campuses were converted to charter schools [100% untrue - smf]

Folsom is right to point out that it is 100% untrue. If memory serves, only three or four of the public schools were given away to corporate charter operators in the first round of PSC. The lion's share fortunately went to public schools under the community and teacher plans. Sadly, one of those schools given over to privatization was in my neighborhood after our community voted 93% in favor of the public school plan as opposed to the corporate charter school plan. As I wrote recently on solidaridad:

In practice when "Para Los Niños" was able to seize a portion of Evelyn Gratts Elementary School via Yolie Flore's giveaway resolution, all the parents that had special needs children had to change schools after the charter takeover in order to get their children the resources they needed.

Unlike the heartless and greedy charter-voucher advocates at Parent Revolution (or whatever name they are calling themselves today), I remember the impassioned speech by a mother fighting to keep all of Gratts a public school so that her special needs child could continue attending Gratts. [6]...

[6] For the mother's impassioned speech see the 08-25-09regbd video in this directory on LAUSD's site http://audio3.lausd.k12.ca.us/cgi-bin/qt-dir-audio.pl?Reg_Bd_Mtg//2009regbdmtg/ This is the same board meeting in which Ben Austin called parent and community votes for community schools "soviet style elections."

When Phoebe Unterman, the Neon Tommy piece author, asserts that "a lot of major problems with how the vote was executed" "last year" Folsom's comments speaking to that very innacurate statement are spot on:

[Those problems continued this year – and if anything were amplified. In the voting I attended on Saturday busloads of “community voters” were bused–in by a charter operator from across town, The majority of the ‘voters’ had not attended the community meetings and were presumably voting as instructed by the provider of the transportation-smf]

Burgeoning Corporate Charter Voucher Empire Camino Nuevo Charter Academy chartered buses and buses full of outsiders to vote at CRES 14 PSC advisory.
And lest the less-than-honest folks at the CCSA try and deny the charter buses Folsom discusses see the accompanying photograph here and discusion of the PSC 2.0 vote in Barrio Echo Parque: Banana Republic PSC Elections Camino Nuevo Corporate Charter Style.

For a less polemical piece than mine, please see David Lyell's A field report from the Public School Choice 2.0 Advisory Vote, unexpectedly (but pleasantly so) in Intersections South LA, another blog run by USC/Annenberg.

One more correction for Ms. Unterman in addition to the wildly inaccurate statements Folsom already points out. It's Ana Ponce, not Ana Ponse [sic]. Ana Ponce, of course, is the wealthy businesswoman who runs the burgeoning corporate charter voucher empire CNCA. Ponce's claim to fame is her...

...bloated six-figure compensation package [which] is OVER FIVE TIMES THE AVERAGE INCOME of the community members that she claims to be part of the same "tapestry." [3]

In Unterman's defense, she's a student journalist at a journalism school that has a strong ideological leaning towards the charter-voucher industry. Several of the professors there actually tell their students which sources to use. [4] Unterman wrote back to Scott Folsom:

"I got my information from the California Charter School Association, and didn't think that it would be biased or incorrect."

A word of advice for Ms. Unterman. Getting information from the CCSA and Jed Wallace is tantamount to a reporter in the 1970s getting information in on the health risks of smoking from the Tobacco Industry. Folsom's response to Unterman's Mea culpa is well worth the read as well.

Since the CCSA's sole reason for existence is to increase market share for the highly lucrative charter-voucher industry, the real question is, does the CCSA disseminate any information that isn't biased and incorrect?

_____
NOTES
[1] Professor Susan Estrich for example.
[2] Camino Nuevo Charter Academy and Green Dot Public [sic] Schools for example.
[3] See footnote six (6) in Crafty Camino Nuevo Charter Charlatans for a full explaination of this quote.
[4] With the notable exception of Kevin Douglas Grant, whose articles are balanced and quote both sides of the issue. For two exemplenary Neon Tommy articles see: Two South LA High Schools Combine Efforts As They Fight To Save Themselves and also As Education Reform Advances, A Shifting Power Structure Reveals Fractured Movement

Share/Bookmark