Thursday, March 31, 2011

Educating Our Children is a Community Affair

This essay first appeared in the Los Angeles Sentinel

Written by Marguerite Poindexter LaMotte, on 03-25-2011 16:18

In what appears to have been a carefully orchestrated performance, the Board of Education voted last Tuesday, to give away seven of our schools (new and existing) to outside (private) charter agencies during its discussion of Public School Choice (PSC). The Board's action was appalling and its willingness to easily turn schools over to private operators, represents an ominous sign for the future of public school education.

The March 15 agenda included six additional schools, which were split between charter operators and district administrations. The three existing schools: Henry Clay, Horace Mann and John Muir Middle Schools, are located within Board District I and are represented by my office. Each of these schools had submitted plans, written by teachers and administrators, to maintain district control of their schools. Each plan was written with the full understanding of community demographics and psycho-social dynamics. Each plan included provisions for special needs students who require professional services that are best provided by a unified school district. Despite the best efforts of teachers with experience working in communities with social conditions that frighten some, the Board found it necessary to vote contrary to my wishes. In one case, they voted against the recommendations of the Superintendent, a professional educator, who is ultimately in charge of the district.

During the March 15 meeting, some of the Board members appeared to have met in advance to write and rehearse scripts. During the Board meeting, they recited lines, complete with accompanying emotions and phony smiles. I stated that I felt the Board majority was voting in lock-step with City Hall. One school, formerly known as South Region Elementary School #6, recently re-named after the late community activist, Juanita Tate, was given away to Aspire Public Schools - a move that has infuriated members of the local community as well as myself. Located on a soccer field previously owned by Tate, the school is scheduled to open in September. Imagine the horror now being felt by the community, including Tate's children, after the Board's unprecedented action to award a new, named school to a charter operator with no sense of the culture or history of Mrs. Tate's work in our community.

Another partner, MLA has been approved to "assist" John Muir. As the educational partner of several schools, including Manual Arts, in Board District 1, MLA has no magic panacea either. Despite being under an abbreviated union contract, teachers at Manual Arts have expressed a desire to get out of MLA.

In the case of Henry Clay, where the Superintendent had recommended a shared campus between the existing administration and Green Dot Public Schools, the Board voted to totally disregard the school-based plan and gave the school entirely to Green Dot. This unsound political move was unheard of and smacks of blatant discrimination. How dare they award another school in South Los Angeles to a partner with questionable results in our community? Despite reports to the contrary, Green Dot has had dismal results in our community with Academic Performance Index (API) scores. Several of their schools post scores well below the district's focus cut-off of 650. After Green Dot fired district teachers and weeded out students they did not wish to teach (including special education students), many of their 2010 API scores still leave little to be desired, including: Animo Locke #1, with an API of 563; Locke #2, 605; Locke #3, 495; Locke #4, 537; Locke Tech, 606; Animo Watts Charter, 547 and Animo Justice, 566. Clay has a score of 538. Why in the world does the School Board think Green Dot has a magic formula for Clay, given its history? The Board's policy says that charter operators must enhance the educational experience.

The March 15 Board action represents a regression in our community. The moves are in direct conflict with statements in the Board's motion of August 25, 2009, which created PSC. Parents and community members must join teachers and say "enough is enough!" With only one vote on a seven-member Board, I need the community's help. Together, we must work to stop the moving targets that allow our schools to become the focus of district give-aways. We must stop the appearance of conflicts of interest.

We must make the real community's presence felt at School Board meetings; not the community whose service is purchased for a bus ride, $5 T-shirt and sandwich. If more community members and organized parent groups become watchdogs, we may see the School Board follow their own motion and begin to place the interest of children above the political agendas of adults.

Marguerite Poindexter LaMotte represents Board District 1 on the Los Angeles Unified School District's Board of Education


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Democrats for Neoliberal Education Reform

"Like special interests, our constituents deserve some consideration also." — Marguerite Poindexter LaMotte (LAUSD Board). At least someone was thinking of parents and community before corporations and privatizers at LAUSD.

Stand up to Arne Duncan and DFER's corporate charter privatization scheme!
If we ever needed more insight into just how manipulative and insidious Democrats for Education Reform (DFER) is as an agent of the corporate and neoliberal agenda, they've published a white paper discussing how they managed to railroad the anti-community, anti-teacher, pro-corporate SB-191 through the Colorado Legislature. The bill, which further disenfranchised communities in favor of corporate "ed-reformers," and stripped Colorado teachers of nearly any protections whatsoever is a prime example of how it isn't only teabagging darlings like Florida's Rick Scott and Wisconsin's Scott Walker that want to destroy public education and bust all unions.

Using a systematic methodology of guile, deception, and select co-opting of various other entities, DFER politicians were able to pass a pernicious bill that all but turns the teaching profession into a career path akin to working as a fast food fry cook. Of course, that's how the well heeled hedge fund managers that founded DFER view anyone outside of their insular world of finance capital to begin with.

Although the document is an extremely boring read — chock full of corporate "ed-reformer" jargon and buzzwords — it's important for social justice activists and public education advocates to read it in order to understand what we are up against. These are the type of tactics the plutocrats and corporate reformers have perfected.

Probably the most disgusting and revolting passage in the paper:

Not only as a respected interest group, but also as the primary consumer of the students Colorado schools produce, the sponsors rightly believed that the business community’s support would add important diversity and depth to the coalition. [emphasis mine]

Although we shouldn't be surprised that ultimately DFER espouses some of the vilest concepts of Freidman and Rand's ideology, the fact that they openly discuss students as mere commodities to be consumed by the owners of the means of production is a grim reminder of what drives the so-called education reform crowd. For them the working class and our offspring are just a means for their financial backers to generate ever more profit, and DFER doesn't even try to obscure the exploitation that the system depends on, indeed, they willingly embrace it.

LAUSD's Corporate Superintendent John Deasy is slated to do an event with DFER's depraved Gloria Romero on March 31, 2011 in Glendora, California. We can rest assured that many of the provisions in Colorado's SB-191 will be discussed as the inevitable corporate future for LAUSD at that event. Mussolini and Franco must be beaming with pride in the Ninth Circle right now, their dreams of a completely corporate state being fulfilled with nary a whimper.

Since we're discussing the ruling class lackeys of DFER, I want to republish my response to deformer Paul Hoss' obsequious support of the school privatizers currently headed by the right wing Joe Williams in the comments following a Valerie Strauss piece.

Contrary to @paulhoss' reactionary right-wing nonsense above, DFER serves two functions. First, it gives the nouveau riche an opportunity to network by joining charter-voucher school boards and the boards of charter-voucher related trade associations. Since these aspiring socialites and elitists, many of whom made their fortunes shorting housing derivatives and by other "honorable" means, aren't able to get on boards dominated by "old money," DFER/TFA and the like give them a chance to play self important neo-gilded-age tycoons much like the robber barons of old. They like to call themselves philanthropists, although they are nothing of the sort.

The "ethos" of these budding plutocrats are are those of neoliberalism and markets. Freire and Macedo referred to this as "...a perverse ethics that, in fact, lacks ethics." DFER's advocates for policies that Ayn Rand and Milton Friedman espoused, policies that incorporate vile concepts like competition, market solutions, and choice — all highly discredited ideas. How progressive are DFER's ideas when they are universally lauded (and for the most part coined) by the likes of Heritage, AEI, Cato, Hoover, Hudson, and all the other extreme right wing think tanks?

Indeed, DFER and like minded groups merely provide an ostensible liberal veneer for the most reactionary aims. Their operatives and supporters deserve nothing but universal disdain. Cloaking privatization in the guise of "helping children" goes beyond cynical, it's downright sinister.



Dr. Ralph E. Shaffer is Professor Emeritus, History Cal Poly Pomona

Green Dot to Take Over Vernon?

Reliable but unnamed sources at the state capital insist that AB 46, Assembly Speaker John Perez' Vernon disincorporation bill, contains a secret clause. According to a highly placed aide in the Speaker's office, interviewed under an assurance of anonymity, the final version of the bill will turn Vernon over to Green Dot, giving a whole new meaning to "charter city."

Rather than disincorporate Vernon, the city will maintain its legal identity but will technically be managed by Green Dot. Applying to cities the Green Dot principle that any one can run a school, a short list of candidates for Green Dot's city manager include former LAUSD Superintendent David Brewer and soon to be former super, Ray Cortines.

But former Green Dot executive Steve Barr is favored to be tapped for city manager. He disappeared from public view following what was mistakenly thought to be his ouster from Green Dot. In fact, he secretly entered Eli Broad's Institute for City Government, a newly organized training facility to mold municipal administrators with the proper outlook on city management. The Institute is an offshoot of Broad's successful counterpart that indoctrinates "school choice" superintendents.

Green Dot spokesman Marco Petruzzi would not confirm or deny the rumor. Instead he read a statement suggesting that Green Dot's past performance made it a logical choice for such a takeover. Long-time charter school critic Robert D. Skeels agreed: "Good idea. Green Dot already runs its schools like factories."

Following the usual rules involved in reconstituting a school, all Vernon officials and employees will be fired. Some, at the discretion of Green Dot, may be rehired. Under Green Dot, employee compensation will not include any pension benefits, health insurance or sick leave. As at some charter schools, the work week will include Saturday and a full ten hour day on weekdays. Green Dot, as a rule, does not welcome labor contracts.

Several local unions, which had vigorously opposed Vernon's disincorporation and had devoted both manpower and money to defeat the Perez bill, were stunned by the sudden turn of events. Said a dejected representative from the electrical union: "Capital and labor had united in opposition to AB 46. We gave our all for Vernon. Now this."

Maria Durazo, county labor federation leader, says organized labor has an even greater problem in store. The Walton Foundation reportedly has given Green Dot several million dollars to erect worker re-education camps. There, union members will be disindoctrinated through a lengthy process designed to imbue them with a politically correct position on the rights of capital and the subordinate position of workers.

How will a Green Dot Vernon differ from the current city? In keeping with its practice of cherry picking students, Green Dot will decide which businesses can stay and which will be forced to relocate in traditional cities. Using its power as a truly "charter" city, Green Dot will keep only the best performing businesses, sending the rest elsewhere. "For all I care, they can go to Bell," Barr said. Those business owners who resist expulsion will face special assessments, parcel taxes and other irritating fees that will encourage them to leave. Eminent domain looms as a last resort.

Many business and property owners, advocates of "city choice," expressed outrage and vowed to fight. "Owners Revolution," allegedly to be headed by ousted state school board member Ben Austin, is patterned after a highly vocal and abrasive Green Dot subsidiary. Expect the purple prosed newsletters to be penned by charter advocate and Emmy winning comedy writer Bill Gunderfest. Already Owners Revolution has reportedly harassed owners sympathetic to Green Dot. Several billboards have appeared along Vernon Avenue denouncing the takeover.

If the legislature balks, refusing to pass AB 46, Green Dot has Plan B. Those same reliable sources suggest that already Green Dot and the present cabal running Vernon have had extensive talks. Under consideration is a proposal in which the Vernon city council would use its power as a charter city to contract with Green Dot. That would allow the school company to run the city, leaving the current council in office at full salary and with their current pension benefits.

Either way, the term "charter city" will have an new definition.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Advocating Public Education Roundup 11W12

In a profound sense, Democrats like Michelle Rhee have paved the way for Scott Walker — Richard D. Kahlenberg

CMO Corporate Charters discriminate against SWD, Special Ed, and ELL students!
Every day the list of CHARTER SCHOOL SCANDALS grows and grows. The inevitable result of putting public money into private hands. CHARTER SCHOOL SCANDALS' sister site, THE BROAD REPORT, detailing the depraved machinations of the vile plutocrat Eli Broad, was recently updated as well.

Our quote of the week comes from Professor Linda Darling-Hammond in Darling-Hammond: U.S. vs highest-achieving nations in education:

[T]he United States has been pursuing an approach to teaching almost diametrically opposed to that pursued by the highest-achieving nations.

California State Senator Carol Liu's SB 433 would require charter schools to follow public school rules in regard to suspension and expulsion of pupils. A step toward fairness and equity. You can be assured the reactionary CCSA will oppose it since takes away another vector of charter school discrimination, and could effect their market share and scores.

Kenneth J. "TeacherKen" Bernstein's I am a proud union teacher is a brilliant piece that dismantles the vapid Scott Walker/Ben Austin/Andy Smarick arguments about seniority, tenure, evaluations and more.

Opposed to Yolie Flores 2.0? Here are five articles explaining why LAUSD District 5 voters should REJECT the unethical and unprincipled Luis Sanchez.

LA Weakly [sic] Alert
What does one get when they mix yellow journalism with laughable misinformation? Simone Wilson! Wilson, whose inability to grasp even simple facts is exceeded only by that of her rich right-wing libertarian boss Jill Stewart. Wilson writes in her piece:

"Central Region Elementary School 14: Convert to Camino Nuevo charter campus"

The school is newly built and has never been opened. Precisely how is it being converted Ms. Wilson? Moreover, how is it a "low-performing campus" if it has never been open? Wilson's lack of cogent writing is matched only by her obvious cheerleading for Stewart's wealthy fellow socialites in the lucrative charter-voucher school industry.

The screed Wilson et al write is indicative of why the LA Weekly is considered a trashy masseuse and porn ad pennysaver amongst all other Los Angeles journalists. I suppose that's what we can expect from smug white libertarian hipsters that never outgrew their angst filled teenage years reading sociopath Ayn Rand. Although all their ideas are highly discredited, they maintain the answer to poverty is privatization. I'd call on social justice activists to boycott the LA Weekly's advertisers, but all those escort services, "gentlemen's" clubs, and other questionable enterprises already know we're not their customer base, so it's doubtful they'd care at all.

The LA Weekly's ideological counterparts — the teabaggers — have been hard at work. From Wisconsin, there's a neoliberal gambit to privatize the whole education system. Coming soon to a district near you: Republican bill calls for a board of political appointees to authorize charter schools. The Heartland Institute's bosom buddy Ben Austin must be drooling over that news, who needs a "trigger" when you can privatize the whole system at once? More corporate obsequiousness. For those of you that thought "The L Word" meant one thing, think again. Turns out the "L" word, the people that actually provide it, and depictions of it are so hated by right wing reactionaries, that the teabagging Governor of Maine wants to remove all signs of it. See Wingnut ME gov takes labor mural down for full details.

Timothy D. Slekar's Teachers, This One Is for You addresses some of the issues with opting out of high stakes testing mandated by the reactionary NCLB. Dr. Jim Horn speaks to NCLB and corporate power in Barack and Arne Van Winkle.

"The No Child Left Behind Act has been deadly to public education. So why has the president embraced it?" Dr. Diane Ravitch addresses this in Obama's War on Schools. Dr. Ravitch argues elsewhere that We Must Change the Narrative About Public Education.

[click here if you can't view this video]

ISR issue 71 still has some of the best articles on school privatization to date. Let's review:

I'm partial to the second article since Gillian quotes two of my essays in it. We all know I am not above shameless self promotion. Speaking of that, SW reprinted my defense of Matt Damon — Matt Damon stands up for teachers.

NYC Public School Parents recently featured a satirical short entitled Bringing the War Home. Interesting piece in Education Notes, which is cogent and compassionate, and probably one of the best I've read in terms of starting a very necessary dialog: When will we start talking to charter school parents?. Let's remember that dialog with parents and community is different than with the financially and politically motivated. Can You Have Dialogue With Ed Deformers? discusses why the DFER types have to be treated differently.

Dr. Stuart Jeanne Bramhall's The Charter School Industry – Part I is first in a series exposing the charter charlatans. Michelle Rhee Versus Michelle Rhee catches serial liar Rhee in a contradiction, as if that's hard to do.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Class War In Wisconsin: First Hand Accounts

Educators march against Walker's attacks on their unions and rights (Carole Ramsden)
Thursday March 24, 2011, 4:30PM
UTLA Building Room 816*
3303 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90010
Corner of Wilshire and Berendo

Members of United Teachers Los Angeles, Lisa Karahalios and Sarah Knopp, were able to go to Madison to witness the struggle firsthand will come together to share their experiences and the lessons learned from the battle for Wisconsin.

A sickout initiated by teachers in Madison, Wisconsin protesting Governor Scott Walker's union- busting "budget repair" bill has sparked a movement of hundreds of thousands of workers, students, and activists converging on the State Capitol over the last few weeks to stand up for workers' rights. These rallies have inspired workers from around the nation and captured the world's attention. Yet in an amazing display of arrogance, Walker and his Republican cronies have pushed through their vicious measures in defiance of the will of the people of Wisconsin.  We cannot let public-sector  workers and unions be scapegoats for an economic crisis caused by banks and billionaires! 


Lisa Karahalios
Verdugo Hills High School
Part of the 160 member LA union delegation to Madison

Sarah Knopp
Youth Opportunities Unlimited Alternative High School
University of Wisconsin-Madison alumna

For further reading, check out Sarah Knopp's article about her experiences in Madison and the reports from the ground:

Please invite all teachers, activists, and friends to join us for a report back and discussion.

(Visit for reports and analysis of this struggle!) 

Sponsored by the Los Angeles Teachers Branch of the International Socialist Organization 
Please call (310) 869-6321 for more information

*Use of UTLA facility does not imply endorsement of views presented.
** Photo: Educators march against Walker's attacks on their unions and rights (Carole Ramsden)


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


Let's blame teachers, decline of the US, parents, but not the real cultprit: POVERTY

Let's blame (1) teachers (2) schools of education (3) the decline of the US (4) lack of a national education program (5) parents, but not the real culprit: POVERTY — Dr. Stephen Krashen

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

The massive budget deficits states have faced over the past few years were caused by decades of tax breaks for the rich, attacks on students and workers, the continuation of wars and occupation overseas.
Everybody seems to think that our educational system is broken, because of our "low" test scores on international tests.

The federal government and Bill Gates think that the solution is improved teaching and teacher education, and that we can force teachers and Schools of Education to get better by "raising standards" and by evaluating teachers according to student gains on standardized test scores. (My comment =

In fact, the US Dept of Education is in the process of developing the most ambitious, brutal testing program ever seen in the US, increasing testing far beyond current levels.

But not everybody is blaming teachers. 

Newsweek regards American educational problems as part of an overall decline in the United States of America. (My response =

A Barron's writer says we should blame the fact that we don't have a national education system (My response =

An Indianapolis Star columnist says we should blame parents. (My response =

The USC Trojan Family magazine even wondered if better online games would fix the "failing" schools  (my response =

There is no evidence that any of this is correct, but there is plenty of evidence that the real culprit is poverty. As I mentioned in each of the letters and comments cited above, American children who do not suffer from poverty achieve do very well on international tests, scoring at the top of the world. This suggests that our schools, teachers, and parents are doing OK. (Of course we can always improve, but the data indicates that there is no national crisis).

I also cited the work of David Berliner and Michael Martin, who document the damage caused by poverty, the impact of an inadequate diet, environmental toxins, and poor health care, and several scholars have documented that fact that children of poverty have little access to reading material at home, in school, or in their communities, which means little chance to develop literacy.

In each of the letters to the editor and comments, I also mentioned some solutions, ways of protecting students from the effects of poverty that require far less effort and money than we are now eagerly investing in new tests.

The US Dept of Education will not even consider this possibility. They maintain that with determination, high poverty can schools can do very well, a claim that both Gerald Bracey (to a large extent) and I (to a small extent) have challenged ( All we need to do is raise the bar, or, in other words, make school harder and test more often.

This won't work. When students are hungry, have serious health problems, and have not read much because of the absence of books in their environment, all the determination, hard work and inspired teaching in the world will be of little use.

A modest proposal:
  1. No child left unfed (Susan Ohanian): In addition to free/reduced price lunch, a good breakfast.
  2. Better health care: More school nurses in high poverty schools.
  3. Improve school and public libraries, especially in high poverty areas.
  4. Pay for this by reducing testing (NUT = No unnecessary testing, posted at


Southern California Immigration Coalition Conference

Southern California Immigration Coalition
CA Statewide (Im)migrant Rights Conference: Building a Movement to Stop ICE & Police Repression

Saturday, March 26 2011
8:00AM - 3:30PM
Santee Education Complex
1921 Maple Ave. LA, CA 90011

Plenty of FREE Parking
Child care will be provided
Lunch will be provided

Conference Program
MC: Adrian Alvarez

Conference Registration: 8:00AM - 9:00AM

Conference Opening: 9:00AM

Opening statement: Assembly member Gil Cedillo (5 Minutes)

SCIC Welcome statement: Daniel Montes, Union del Barrio (10 minutes)

Solidarity Statements: Andres Garcia, New York Immigrant Community Empowerment- Live via Skype (5 minutes)

Anh Pham (via Skype), Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee, Minnesota (5 minutes)

Soledad "Chole" Alatorre, Hermandad Mexicana (5 minutes)

1) ICE Raids/E-Verify/287(g)/Secure Communities
Location: Student Cafeteria
Moderators: Carlos Montes, Community Service Organization and Fight Back News & Natividad Carrera, S.C.I.C

Panelists: (10 minutes per speaker)
Adriana Garcia Cabrera, May 1st Coalition/Dignity Campaign, San Jose, Pablo Alvarado, National Day Laborer Organizing Network- Los Angeles Alfonso Gonzalez, New York May 1st Coalition, New York Salvador Reza, Puente, Phoenix, Arizona Adriana Jasso, Raza Rights Coalition, Project of Union del Barrio, San Diego

2) Drivers Licenses/Police Checkpoints & Car Impounds
Location: Auditorium
Moderators: Julia Wallace, South Central Neighborhood Council & Mario Brito, Witness for Peace Southwest

Panelists -10 minutes per speaker

Cynthia Anderson Barker, National Lawyers Guild, Los Angeles, Miguel Robles, Alianza Latinoamericana por los Derechos de los Inmigrantes - San Francisco, Sol Porras, Francisco Romero, Todo el Poder al Pueblo, Oxnard, Elizabeth Robles, Inland Congregations United for Change, Our Lady of Soledad Church, Coachella, Pablo Aceves, Comite de Derechos Humanos- Digna Ochoa, Barrio Logan, San Diego, Representative, Gil Cedillo, Los Angeles, Ron Gochez, Southern California Immigration Coalition, Los Angeles

Lunch: 12:00PM - 1:00PM
Location: Student Cafeteria

Statewide Assembly: 1:00PM - 2:30PM
Location: Auditorium:

Presentation/Discussion of proposals
Approval of Statewide resolutions

International Labor Panel: 2:30PM - 3:30PM
Location: Auditorium

Gilda Chacon Bravo, World Federation of Trade Unions- Americas Region- Cuba, Humberto Montes de Oca, Interior Secretary of the Mexican Electrical Workers (SME)- Mexico, Jorge Cazares Torres, Section VIII of the National Steering Committee of Education Workers (CNTE), Mexico,

For more information:
Southern California Immigration Coalition (SCIC)
323-602-3480 415-368-1891 619-398-6648

The Southern California Immigration Coalition recently organized a Community Forum Stop Police/ICE Repression at Mac Arthur Park

[click here if you can't view the video]


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Protest Chief School Privatizer Arne Duncan at Fremont HS Today!

[R]ight wing reactionary DFER/DLC corporate elitist filth Arne Duncan was recently interviewed. Mocking the deaths, destruction, diaspora of people of color, gentrification, and widespread misery Hurricane Katrina caused, Duncan had this unconscionable thing to say about schools in relation to Katrina: "best thing that happened to the education system in New Orleans was Hurricane Katrina." — Robert D. Skeels

Arne Duncan's neoliberal dismantling of public education is criminal
Arne "Katrina Schadenfreude" Duncan returns to the scene of a crime his policies made possible today. The government representative of the Broad/Gates/Walton Triumvirate will be touting his discredited and disruptive turnaround policies here in Los Angeles.

March 22, 2010 4:00 PM
Fremont High School
7676 South San Pedro Street
Los Angeles, CA 90003-2399

Two quotes from two different public education activists sum up why protesting Duncan at Fremont High School is so critical:

Last minute but very important. LAUSD is accelerating its use of Duncan-style "turnarounds" of struggling urban schools -- which amounts to firing the whole staff and forcing all to reapply, union contracts be damned. These "turnarounds" or "reconstitutions" are a proven disaster -- the worst weapons in a nasty arsenal of corporate school "reforms". Even a small but organized protest could be effective. I'm gonna try to go. Contact me if you can attend.

I'm reaching out to anybody who might be able to go. Arne Duncan's been a big proponent of school "turnarounds" and I just can't imagine he's coming to Fremont to announce that he's been wrong about shutting down community schools, and re-opening them or turning them over to charters.


Phillip Anschutz and Mayor Villaraigosa's corporate candidate Luiz Sanchez cheating again?

"Luis Sanchez...worked the room at a posh Beverly Hills condo...The nearly 50 guests drank Au Bon Climat chardonnay and Piper Sonoma sparkling wine as Sanchez's backers, including school board President Monica Garcia and charter school leaders, lauded him..." — Los Angeles Times

It doesn't take much to realize that Villaraigosa's Luiz Sanchez, whose backers and politics are identical to Flores, will treat our community with the same arrogant disdain.
Just how perfidious is Luiz Sanchez the corporate charter candidate for the District #5 seat of the LAUSD board? Well, on top of every other scandal the vile Yolie Flores clone has perpetrated, he has now been exposed for illegal fund-raising!

This astonishing news of malfeasance first appeared in a Bennett Kayser press release published on the popular 4LAKIDS blog.


What is most inscrutable about Sanchez's latest ethics violation is that he doesn't seem to feel that there is any scandalous behavior too below him, since he has the backing of Mayor Villaraigosa and the plutocrat funded Coalition for School Reform.

A great quote from the Kayser press release sums up Sanchez's relation to the powerful and wealthy right wing interests who back him:

"Sanchez and his Wall Street supporters have already spent over $1 million to capture this seat," declared Kayser, "and for that they could not achieve a majority of a low turnout election."

This is the very same Sanchez that used his and his wife's 501C3 ICS to phonebank for his campaign, documented here:

ICS phonebanking for Luis Sanchez? Conflict of interest much?

This is also the same Sanchez that wouldn't support the Echo Parque community's right to self determination since he knew his political mentor, the corporate minded Yolie Flores, had already struck a deal with her wealthy friend Ana Ponce to turn the school over to CNCA.

Indeed, this is the same Sanchez paid for by Phillip Anschutz, a reactionary so far to the extreme right that his very name brings up visions of Mussolini and Franco. Anschutz dumped at least $100,000 into the corporate Coalition for School Reform &mdash a slush fund to elect privatization friendly school board candidates including Luiz Sanchez for Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). In addition to supporting free market "solutions" for education advocates like Sanchez, Anschutz also supports like-minded organizations including the Manhattan Institute, Heritage Foundation, Cato Institute, Hoover Institution, and the American Enterprise Institute.

Community activists are relieved to hear that the Kayser campaign reported these latest violations by Luiz Sanchez to the City Ethics Commission. The Commission was also informed of the Sanchez campaign using Inner City Struggle's resources to phonebank. Sadly, gross violations of ethics like these are typically swept under the rug by the supposed watch-dog arm of the City. When earstwhile city employee and Parent Revolution moonlighter Ben Austin was exposed for using his city position to lobby for charter-voucher school market share, word is that a single phone call from the Mayor nixed any serious investigation into Austin's case (# 2010-36).

It doesn't take much to realize that Villaraigosa's Luiz Sanchez, whose backers and politics are identical to Flores, will treat our community with the same arrogant disdain.


Sunday, March 20, 2011

NCLB Fuels School-to-Prison Pipeline: New Report

Just continue to follow the money. This Race to the Trough will make the Reading First crooks under Bush look like dopey Boy Scouts. &mdash: Jim Horn, PhD (Educator, Writer)


for further information, see expert contacts listed below
for immediate release, Thursday, March 17, 2011
Arne Duncan's neoliberal dismantling of public education is criminal
New Report Shows High-Stakes Testing and Zero-Tolerance Policies Force Students Out of School and Into the Justice System
Washington, DC — A report released today details the sharp growth in practices that push K-12 students out of schools and into the juvenile and criminal justice systems, with especially alarming effects on students of color and youth with disabilities. Federal Policy, ESEA Reauthorization, and the School-to-Prison Pipeline, the result of a year-long collaboration of research, education, civil rights, and juvenile justice organizations, also offers policy solutions for ways that federal law can reduce the pushout and over-criminalization of students. Nearly 150 organizations have endorsed the paper.
"As Congress works to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), it is essential to examine how No Child Left Behind (NCLB) has itself contributed to the School-to-Prison Pipeline," states the report. "Indeed, No Child Left Behind's 'get-tough' approach to accountability has led to more students being left even further behind, thus feeding the dropout crisis and the School-to-Prison Pipeline."

The report's detailed analysis shows that NCLB worsened the learning environment and made schools less effective. It led to decreased graduation rates, slower rates of academic improvement and of closing racial achievement gaps, as well as an increased burden on the justice system and wasted tax dollars.
The paper calls for an improved federal role in education, in which the public will be given a more accurate and meaningful assessment of schools' strengths and weaknesses, schools will provided more tools for improving their performance, and students' educational opportunities will be better protected.
"By focusing accountability almost exclusively on test scores and attaching high stakes to them, NCLB has given schools a perverse incentive to allow or even encourage students to leave," explained George Wood, Executive Director of the Forum for Education and Democracy.

"NCLB has led to the dramatic narrowing and weakening of curriculum," added Monty Neill, Executive Director of FairTest. "Because so much of the school day is focused on test preparation instead of well-rounded instruction, more students become alienated, making the jobs of teachers even harder."
The report also points out that NCLB directly encourages the use of zero-tolerance school discipline policies and the referral of students to law enforcement for disciplinary infractions. The result has been the over-criminalization of students across the country.
These policies have contributed to record-high suspension and expulsion rates, sharp rises in the use of school-based arrests and referral of students to law enforcement, and declining graduation rates. "The effects have been particularly severe for students of color and students with disabilities," said Len Rieser, Executive Director of Education Law Center — PA. "Racial disparities in school discipline have actually gotten worse. Our education system is becoming less equitable than it was only ten years ago."
"Moreover, NCLB has not done nearly enough to allow young people who are not in school to re-enter the education system. Many are left without a place to turn as they attempt to realize their goals," said Robert Schwartz, Executive Director of Juvenile Law Center.
According to Jim Freeman, Director of the Ending the Schoolhouse to Jailhouse Track Program at Advancement Project, "The increased reliance on these two 'get-tough' strategies — high-stakes testing and zero tolerance — is alarming. There is clear evidence that they have failed to achieve their intended results. Instead, they cause significant harm, especially to students of color and low-income communities. They combine to create unhealthy and unproductive school environments that fuel the School-to-Prison Pipeline."
Damon Hewitt, Director of the Education Practice at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund pointed out the historical significance of these developments. "The original Elementary and Secondary Act of 1965 was a civil rights statute at its core, intended to reduce inequitable educational opportunities experienced by poor children and children of color. The current version of that law — NCLB — actually contributes to those inequities.But with common-sense amendments, a revised ESEA can recapture its original purpose."
The report describes reauthorization of the ESEA as an important opportunity to begin dismantling the School-to-Prison Pipeline, and makes a number of recommendations to Congress:

  • Create a stronger, more effective school and student assessment and accountability system capable of recognizing multiple forms of success and offering useful information for school improvement.
  • Provide funding and incentives aimed at improving school climate, reducing the use of exclusionary discipline, and limiting the flow of students from schools to the juvenile and criminal justice systems.
  • Facilitate the re-enrollment, re-entry, and proper education of students returning to school from expulsion and juvenile justice system placements.
The report is online at:
Contacts for additional information:
Disparities in education and school discipline:
Jim Freeman, Advancement Project 202-728-9557
Damon Hewitt, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. 212-965-2783
Len Rieser, Education Law Center 215-238-6970
Zero tolerance policies and juvenile justice:
Robert Schwartz, Juvenile Law Center 215-625-0551

Assessment and accountability
Monty Neill, FairTest at 617-477-9792
George Wood, Forum for Education and Democracy 740-662-0503
Monty Neill, Ed.D.; Interim Executive Director, FairTest; P.O. Box
300204, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130; 617-477-9792;;
Donate to FairTest:


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Parent Revolution's mendacious minions to appear with The Heartland Institute reactionaries

"The idea of the parent revolution is to say fuck you." — Ben Austin [1] (Executive Director Parent Revolution)

LAPU-Parent Revolution's foppish millionaire from Benedict Canyon -- the mendacious Ben Austin
Renowned journalist and Parents Across America co-founder Caroline Grannan just wrote an inspiring essay entitled: Parent trigger misfires by disrupting and dismantling local schools. In the piece she outlines some of more egregious problems with the so-called Parent Empowerment Act in California [2]. Grannan, an expert on Parent Revolution, points out the organization is "not a parent group but was founded by charter school operators, backed financially by billionaires and corporate interests."

Surprisingly, Parent Revolution’s paid staffer Linda Serrato attempts (unsuccessfully) to argue with Grannan’s article. Her overarching assertion is that her plutocrat funded 501C3 somehow isn't in service of the charter-voucher school industry. The comments were so mendacious and outrageous, that I penned a Daily Censored article entitled:

Catching Parent Revolution's Linda Serrato in a lie

There's more.

We've seen over and over how Ben Austin and the Parent Revolution are guided by the ideas of far-right extremists and organizations like The Cato Institute, American Enterprise Institute, The Hudson Institute, and the Hoover Institution. We've documented that AEI's Andy Smarick is Ben Austin and Marco Petruzzi's reactionary ideological muse in CCSA and Market Share: Setting the Table for Vouchers, and by Austin's own admission on his blog post entitled On Moulding Consensus. I've also documented other instances too numerous to list here.

However, the foppish millionaire from Benedict Canyon and his Parent Revolution has taken their teabbaging friendly privatization message to a whole new level! This coming Monday, March 21, 2010 the plutocrat funded Parent Revolution is hosting an event next week with the vile extreme right wing reactionaries of The Heartland Institute.

For those of you that don't know, The Heartland Institute is essentially the John Birch Society with a budget.

The event will feature the following right wing reactionaries:

Ben Austin Executive Director of the Parent Revolution
Bruno Behrend Director of the Heartland Center for School Choice
Ben Boychuk managing editor of Heartland Center for School Choice School Reform News
Larry Sand president of the California Teachers Empowerment Network

Word is that David Duke, Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, and Glenn Beck aren't able to attend, but know their "ideas" will be represented amply.

For details on the event, there's a page on some school privatization site.

Here's how Parent Revolution's Ben Austin's rhetoric stacks up with the fringe right:

"[O]ther education providers to COMPETE with public schools for the opportunity to educate children." — The Heartland Institute (Bigoted Reactionary Right Wing "Think Tank")

"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)

Can't tell the difference? Neither can I.

[1] this one sided pro-privatization article quotes Austin as saying "The idea of the parent revolution is to say fuck you." While we already knew that was how Austin felt about our communities, poor people, and people of color, to hear it coming from the wealthy white charter profiteer's mouth was quite startling. (I first published this footnote in Ben Austin's Biography)
[2] Parent Empowerment Act is often refered to by its co-author as the Parent Trigger — since the wealthy Ben Austin, who lives in an affluent area that is "87.5% white and the median household income is $169,282," is blissfully unaware of how culturally loaded, and frankly racist, the word trigger is to use in conjunction with low income areas like Compton). This isn't the first time Austin has proven himself a bigot.

The Heartland Institute and Parent Revolution panel on the Trigger Law


Parents Across America press release on "Parent Trigger" legislation

Parents Across America is a grass roots organization against corporate charter school privatization scheme!
Leonie Haimson (NYC): 917-435-9329;
Julie Woestehoff (Chicago): 773-538-1135;
Bill Ring (LA): 310-600-2015;
Andrea Merida (Denver): 303-550-0677;
Caroline Grannan (SF): 415-412-5758;
Julia Sass Rubin (NJ): 609-683-0046;

Parents Across America: We oppose Parent Trigger laws

Reform should rely on proven solutions that involve parents from the ground up and improve rather than privatize schools

With California's so-called Parent Empowerment Act drawing national media attention as a school reform panacea, and similar laws being discussed in other states including New Jersey, Colorado, and elsewhere, the new national organization Parents Across America (PAA) warns that the law fails to promote positive solutions, is subject to abuse, and threatens to harm school communities.

"This law is likely to cause more problems than it solves," PAA said in a position statement. (See attached pdf. )

The Parent Empowerment Act took effect in California in 2010, creating a process called the Parent Trigger, in which a majority of parents at a low-performing school can petition to demand one of a narrow set of options, including firing all or some of the staff, takeover by a charter operator, or closing the school.

PAA is a grassroots organization that connects parents and activists from across the United States to share ideas and work together on improving the nation's public schools. The Parent Trigger, its statement said, "represents neither real parent choice nor empowerment."

In its statement, PAA explains why the group opposes the Parent Trigger process and cautions that none of the options offered "have been consistently successful in improving schools nationwide." The options allowed in the California law are the same as those provided in the federal School Improvement Grant program.

The Parent Trigger gives parents "no opportunity to choose among more positive reforms, and fails to promote the best practices for parent involvement from the ground up," as pointed out by Julie Woestehoff, Executive Director of Parents United for Responsible Education of Chicago. "The process creates huge potential for abuse, and for disruption and divisiveness in school communities."

Los Angeles parent leader Bill Ring adds, "I fear that this law, in its current incarnation, may be more about getting some organizations a better foothold in public schools. Even if parents do choose to reconstitute their school as a charter, how does this process ensure that they are empowered to evaluate the changes and ensure better outcomes for their children?"

Parents Across America instead supports a process in which parents are authentically involved at the ground level in developing strategies for improvement. "These strategies might include smaller classes, more parent involvement, or other reforms that have been proven to work and are aligned with the individual needs of the school and its students," says Leonie Haimson of Class Size Matters.

The Parent Trigger has been used at only one California school, McKinley Elementary in Compton, near Los Angeles. Parent Revolution, the Broad Foundation-funded organization that conceived of and pushed for the Parent Empowerment Act, selected the school to target and the charter operator that would take it over before sending paid operatives to collect signatures. The campaign was secretive, and some McKinley parents say they were misled about what the petition called for and had no opportunity to learn about other options. Since the petition was submitted in December 2010, the issue has erupted in a lawsuit, controversy and chaos.

The conflict in Compton underscores PAA's concern that "disrupting and dismantling school is likely to harm vulnerable students and communities in which the local public school is often a key stabilizing force," observes Caroline Grannan of San Francisco, founding member of PAA.

According to Julia Sass Rubin, a parent and member of the grassroots group Save Our Schools New Jersey, a PAA affiliate, "If a traditional public school converts to a charter schools, it affects the education of every child in that community by drawing critical resources from the traditional public school system. That is why Save Our Schools NJ supports legislation to require local voter approval for any new or expanding charter schools in a community. We do not believe the decision to establish a new charter school or to convert a traditional public school to a charter should be made just by government officials or by a small group of parents, as the consequences will affect the entire community."

The PAA statement recommends safeguards "if such a process is to exist," including full parent involvement at the school level, "transparency and disclosure," as well as rigorous requirements to ensure access for all parents in a clearly stipulated process - as well as access for all existing students if a charter operator winds up taking over the school.

"While PAA celebrates parent involvement, this legislation does not fully include families in decisions about their schools. Until we can properly fund education and give districts the resources to include families in decision-making from the bottom up, such legislation simply takes advantage of parent disenfranchisement," concludes Andrea Merida, school board member in Denver. "We urge lawmakers to oppose proposals like the Parent Trigger that would exploit parents' legitimate concerns in order to hand public property over to private hands."


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Are School Privatizers Employing Fabian Núñez and Mercury Public Affairs to Champion Charters?

"Private money is paying for key senior staff positions... raising questions about transparency and the direction of reforms in the nation's second-largest school system." — Howard Blume (Los Angeles Times Education Staff Writer)

In the long run, charter schools are being strategically used to pave the way for vouchers—Jonathan Kozol

Mercury Public Affairs, LLC, is in its own words, "a high-stakes public strategy firm," given to "win at all costs" strategies, regardless of how unprincipled the means or the end. Fabian Núñez, a huge school privatization advocate, is a right-wing "Schwarzenegger Democrat" much like DFER's privatization pusher Gloria Romero.

From Gains for Fabian Núñez, Personal and in Business, Spark Talk and Questions

Mr. Núñez left the Assembly in 2008 because of term limits and went directly to Mercury Public Affairs, a Sacramento lobbying and advisory firm with ties to Mr. Schwarzenegger. A former Los Angeles labor official, Mr. Núñez sought a first-year salary of $1 million as he re-entered the private sector, according to a political operative who has known him for more than a decade.

In addition to being connected to district privatizers like the vile Yolie Flores, he and his firm are rumored to have been hired by Los Angeles charter-voucher school corporations. There is also talk that he and his firm may have have had some recent dealings with Camino Nuevo Charter Academy's wealthy Ana Ponce.

Insidiously damaging to public school advocates, Núñez has insider ties and connections to LAUSD because of his former employment.

From 2000-2002, Fabian was government affairs director for the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Not content with their own lucrative business, Mercury's managing director Glenn Gritzner is trying to jump on the windfall bandwagon that is school privatization by trying to found a charter-voucher school in Los Angeles called Prosper Academy.

As if all these affiliations with school privatization weren't enough; Michael DuHaime, a managing parter with Mercury, was on Teabagger Chris Christie's education transition team in New Jersey.

Given the "high stakes" nature of the PSC process of handing public schools over to private corporations, it wouldn't be surprising if Mercury Public Affairs, LLC had been brought in to sway LAUSD Board Member votes towards their paying charter clients. The Charter Management Organizations have market share at stake, and highly paid executives demanding annual raises after all.


Echo Parque Moms brave the elements to remind LAUSD that our community wants CRES 14 to be a Public School

"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)

Supporting The Local District 4 and Echo Park Community Partners Design Team Plan
LAUSD - vote for LD4 and Echo Park Community Partners Design Team Plan!LAUSD - vote for LD4 and Echo Park Community Partners Design Team Plan!
LAUSD - vote for LD4 and Echo Park Community Partners Design Team Plan!

The Echo Park Moms (& Dads) for Education group camps overnight at Beaudry

Surrounded by well paid employees of charter-voucher advocacy group Families That Can (FTC) and the salaried executives of the California Charter School Association [1] industry group, The Echo Park Moms (& Dads) for Education group camped overnight at Beaudry. Although our community voted overwhelmingly for the public school plan, and Superintendent Ramon Cortines recommended the public school plan, there's still a chance that rouge Board members could hand the taxpayer financed multi-million dollar facility over to private corporation, CNCA.

Echo Park Patch's Anthea Raymond writes more about the camp-out: Echo Park Moms, Camino Nuevo Camp Out at Board of Education

[1] The California Charter School Association (CCSA) was founded by Steve Poizner, an unabashed racist and nativist.


Saturday, March 12, 2011

Jon Stewart's Cribs: Teachers Edition Exposes Lavish Lifestyles

[click here if you can't view the video]


Friday, March 11, 2011

Gates' Yolie Flores lauded by LA Weekly's Yellow Journalists

‎"In California, 15 years ago those who made over 250,000 a year paid 10% in taxes, those over 500,000 year paid 11%. Today both pay 9.3%! No wonder we dont have money for schools, the rich have not paid their fair share!" — José Lara

Corporate Yolie Flores always has and always put charters first.
Jill Stewart's trashy masseuse and porn ad pennysaver has printed yet another homage to the princess of privatization, corporate "ed-reformer" Yolie Flores-Aguilar. Known currently for yellow journalism exclusively, this isn't the LA Weekly that used to employ real journalists like Marc Cooper and Howard Blume. Instead this is the corporately owned rag run by the vile right-wing libertarian Jill Stewart. LA Weekly's current staff writers, hacks like Stewart herself, serve as little more than a Public Relations arm of school privatization organizations like the DFER, CCSA, and Parent Revolution.

The Weekly's latest pernicious mendaciousness? School Reformer Yolie Flores Departs LAUSD to Fight From Outside. A piece chock full of inuendo, lies, and corporate cheerleading.

Had the author done any research, like a real journalist, they wouldn't have made the erroneous statement about "explicitly prohibited for-profits" in trying to defend the vile Flores-Aguilar against "The argument was that [she] was giving away schools to the private sector."

Since 501C3 non-profits are corporations by definition (that's what the C in 501C3 stands for), they are part of the private sector. Every time a public school is handed over to a CMO (Charter Management Organization), or other 501C3, they are being given to the private sector.

Now she is moving full time to her current employer, The Gates Foundation. LA Weekly's gushing servile mention of the convicted predatory monopolist, Bill Gates, doesn't paint an accurate picture of what the plutocrat's role has been in school privatization circles:

Gates Document Details Plans for Influence Peddling and Propaganda War for Corporate Ed

Who's striking out and who's sliding home?

Gates, a repugnant member of Broad/Gates/Walton Triumvirate's agenda, like that of the like minded Phillip Anschutz and the Koch Brothers, is clear. Flores-Aguilar serves that agenda, and no amount of spin about "putting children first" vapidness the LA Weekly writes changes that equation. Her concerns, first and foremost, are that her corporate backers achieve their agenda without any messy public backlash. Yolie Flores, like her equally vile counterpart Michele Rhee, blazed the path for teabaggers including Scott Walker to dismantle public institutions and implement neoliberalism.

A perfect example of Flores-Aguilar's duplicity and mendaciousness can be found here: Gates' Yolie Flores displays an all new level of mendaciousness on ACLU settlement. She is hated in communities and schools like Garfield HS and Huntington Park HS precisely because everyone recognizes her disdain for parents, community, and students.

Here is an email exchange a Huntington Park student started with me in December regarding the Gates Foundation employee in question:

Hey, my name is [REDACTED] and i am a senior at Huntington Park High school. Our school has been around for more than a hundred years and as of 2010-2011 Yolie Flores Aguillar an Alumni of Huntington Park high school is pushing for five small schools. She hasn't really told us her true definition of a "small school"...but we fear that she will make changes that could be related to her "pilot schools" or "charter schools". I read your article of "Solidaridad: Response to wild accusations by Yolie Flores Aguilar, Inc." It was shocking and embaressing to hear an Alumni of Huntington Park high, a hispanic women who has lived in our community, to be advocating such a thing!

I really appreciate your research.(:

just on top of all i want to say thank you. For keeping the "people" informed.

My response:

Thank you for reaching out, and I'm glad my writings were informative.

It is really unfortunate that there are people that would choose to serve their oppressors rather than their own community. We call it "self colonized." Collaborating with our oppressors never brings liberation, it only further oppresses us.

I was present when Ms. Flores met with the Garfield HS community and was shocked at both her arrogance towards and disdain for that community.

Your community should be the one empowered to make decisions about Huntington Park HS. Ms. Flores shouldn't be allowed to make decisions that effect entire communities for her personal gain. While both small schools and pilot schools are infinitely better than charters, your community should fight for ESBMM (Expanded School Based Management Model), which would keep it a public school with control by the teachers, parents, students, and community instead of people like Ms. Flores. If your school holds a forum, I'd be happy to speak to many of these issues.

Ms. Flores was rewarded for her loyal promotion of school privatization with a cushy high profile job at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (one of the biggest charter-voucher supporters).

You might want to consider joining Coalition for Educational Justice (CEJ). They are by far the best group advocating public education.

¡La lucha sigue!

Robert D. Skeels

By the way, I'll be running for the District 2 Board Seat of LAUSD against Monica Garcia 2012-2013

The student wrote back:

wow, im really glad to hear from you, will you be attending the LAUSD board meeting in january. i'll be going like at four in the morning to speak for 3 minutes, because it turns out that super intendent Cortines said i should go speak, my opinion should be heard. maybe it'll put some thought into these board members on changing the system and rethink the way students are evaluated.

and also Yolie did so happen to read my emails and she came to Huntington Park high school for a visit and the students stepped up to her and asked really good questions, some questions she even refused to answer...its politics.

we managed to document this meeting and now its on youtube: Parent Center smack it was uploaded by skwash4
if you would like to see it, and congrats, hope all goes well and wish you the best.

In the end, that student has done more for public education by standing up for their school than Yolie Flores has done in her entire corporate serving career. Of course the right wing author of the LA Weekly piece sees community members defending themselves from Flores' corporate agenda as a "Kafka-esque setting." Progressives see Yolie's moves as the "false generosity of paternalism." [1]

Lastly, the best part of the Weekly's gushing press release posing as an "article" is how it ends with a quote from the racist poverty pimp Ben Austin. How much of a pariah is the wealthy Austin in our communities? He recently made the "Crooks and Liars" website under the post: The "Parent-Trigger".

[1] "false generosity of paternalism" Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed. An excellent explanation of the phrase: "False generosity and paternalism: The point Freire is making with these terms is that when a system is structured so that there are oppressors and oppressed, some of the oppressor class feel genuine compassion toward the suffering of the oppressed. They move to isolate that suffering and to aid it, not to address the structures of society which are the root causes. Thus, to the extent that they relieve any suffering they do so by hiding from themselves the genuine causes, their own privilege as oppressor class members."

[click here if you can't view the video]


Jed Wallace hates communities and democracy. He demands LAUSD privatize CRES #14

"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?
Anthea Raymond's Community Team Gets Thumbs Up from Schools Chief to Run New Middle School discusses how Superintendent Cortines recommended CRES #14 become a public school run by the Local District 4/Echo Park Community Partners. In the article she quotes CCSA's Jed Wallace, who has never seen a school he didn't want to privatize. Naturally Wallace's disgusting remarks call for the LAUSD Board to ignore the Superintendent's recommendations for public schools and to give schools (ie. public property) over to his corporate clients. I had some choice words for the slimy CCSA CEO:

Any wonder Jed Wallace, who gets paid handsomely to increase charter-voucher school market share, would disrespect our community's wishes and make such disparaging remarks? CNCA's track record is spotty at best, they are an entirely undemocratic organization run by hedge fund managers, and they were soundly rejected by the voters in our community.

The rhetoric of these charter-voucher vultures is reprehensible. The only "choice" they want us to have is to choose to let them privatize the entire district and then watch as they funnel public funds into their oversized pockets. They insist all the while that they're getting rich "for the kids."

That PSC is the greatest tribute to Orwell's Newspeak one could ever witness is seen in Wallace's despicable suggestion that the Board should ignore the Superintendent's recommendation, and give our school away to a private entity run by outsiders. In those sentiments we see that PSC isn't about "public schools," nor is it about "choice." It's about handing public schools over to private corporations.

The California Charter School Association (CCSA) was founded by proud racist and nativist, Steve Poizner.


Thursday, March 10, 2011

ICEF Crooks to get gobbled up by competing Corporate Charter Chain

"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 Schools take the PUBLIC out of the equation
Howard Blume details how the filthy rich Judy Burton and Antony Ressler's corporate behemoth Alliance is on the verge of gobbling up beleaguered ICEF in Merger of 2 organizations would create California's largest charter school operation

No surprises there. That's what corporations do when they see their competitors floundering, they merge (a euphemism), moving closer towards monopoly status, and everyone except for the wealthy CMO executives and their vendors loose out.

Los Angeles' communities and taxpayers have but one question. "Where's the money Mike Piscal?" "Where did it all go?" ICEF's criminal squandering of millions of dollars makes the bureaucrat bullies of Beaudry look positively on the level. There needs to be a serious investigation of Piscal and his conies to see if funds were misappropriated.

I am a little surprised that Riorden and the poverty pimping plutocrats didn't give the CORO princess of of privatization, Caprice Young, more time to salvage ICEF's completely tarnished reputation. For years the Broad/Gates/Walton Triumvirate and the charter-voucher sycophants in the corporate media held ICEF up as one of the "models" public schools should seek to emulate. LAUSD is no stranger to fiscal mismanagement either, but I hope they don't follow ICEF's dubious accounting strategies. In LAUSD's case, at least we get to vote on their board, we don't get to vote for the vile hedge fund managers running Alliance or ICEF's boards. The list of Charter School Scandals increases exponentially by the day, but no one wants to discuss the elephant in the room outside of community activists, parents and schoolteachers.

Charter schools are publicly funded, but are privately operated by unelected boards, typically by corporations. Charters are free from nearly any rules or regulations and only have their charters revoked on the rare occasions they're exposed in the media. State Senator Liu's SB 433, which would require charters to follow public school rules in regard to suspension and expulsion of pupils, could go some way towards changing that.