Tuesday, September 29, 2015
California Attorney General upgrades charter profiteer Refugio Ref Rodriguez's sham 501c3 "Partners for Developing Futures" from DELINQUENT to SUSPENDED!
Saturday, September 05, 2015
“Though boosted through a language of choice and effectiveness, the charters provide neither. Public funds pay for a system that lacks oversight, transparency, and funnels millions of dollars to privateers, who pocket salaries upwards of $1 million.” — Dr. Megan French-Marcelin
By now everyone has heard the wonderful news that the Washington State Supreme Court has ruled that charter schools are unconstitutional. This watershed holding and ruling has seen the neoliberal corporate education reform machine shift into overdrive to try and prevent the plug from being pulled from their profit pipeline. Dick Cheney's former aide Nina Rees, now CEO of NAPCS, published a ham fisted plea to save their cash cow in the Huffington Post. In additional to the charter school profit mongers being terrified, the neo-segregationists clamoring for school choice (read redlining) are also up in arms that the courts would require public funding to go to public, rather than private, institutions. As a second year law student, whose sole reason for wanting to be an attorney is to put an end to the neoliberal privatization of our schools, I am following this closely. I've posted the following thoughts in the comments of several places discussing the court's ruling:
Generally, there is no such thing as a "public" charter school. Both existing case law and public policy have long established the logic for the Washington State Supreme Court holding. The California Court of Appeals (2007-01-10) ruled that charter schools are NOT "public agents." The 9th Circuit US Court of Appeals (2010-01-04) ruled that charter schools are NOT "public actors." The National Labor Relations Board joins a host of other government agencies that have unequivocally ruled that that charters are "private entities."
By definition whether a charter is run by a for-profit firm, or a (501c3) non-profit, then it is not public. The United States Census Bureau frames this issue best: "A few "public charter schools" are run by public universities and municipalities. However, most charter schools are run by private nonprofit organizations and are therefore classified as private." (US Census Bureau. (2011). Public Education Finances: 2009 (GO9-ASPEF). Washington, DC: US Government Printing O ce. Print. vi).
Because these lucrative charter schools are not public, and are not subject to public oversight, they are able to get away with violating the constitutional rights of their students. The decision in Scott B. v. Board of Trustees of Orange County High School of the Arts saw Rosa K. Hirji, Esq. write: "The structures that allow charter schools to exist are marked by the absence of protections that are traditionally guaranteed by public education, protections that only become apparent and necessary when families and students begin to face a denial of what they were initially promised to be their right." It's time that we shut down the profitable charter school industry and divert our attentions to improving our public schools.
Friday, September 04, 2015
“We can get the same information from low-pressure testing of small samples of students every few years, each student taking only a part of the test, and extrapolating the results to larger groups. This will save taxpayers’ money, reduce testing anxiety, and give teachers more time to teach. When you go to the doctor, they don’t take all your blood. They only take a sample.” — Professor Stephen Krashen
The Honorable José Lara is a teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District and the Vice President of the El Rancho Unified School District. He is the Coordinator for ethnicstudiesnow.com and recipient the National Education Association's 2015 Social Justice Activist Award.
Open Letter to Parents on Common Core Testing Results
Soon California will release the results of your child’s Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, or SBAC tests. These tests are also known and the new Common Core test that California and states across the country implemented last year.
Please know that as you receive the results of your child's SBAC scores our child’s results may show up as failures. This does not mean that your child is not intelligent, that your child's teacher is doing a poor job or that the school your child is attending is failing. However, it does mean that the SBAC test is achieving expected results. You see, the SBAC test is a failure by design.
The testing company, who was hired to design the SBAC tests,with no input from educators, has purposely designed it to produce a high failure rate. This is so those same testing companies can now sell your child's school the "new" curriculum, test prep materials, intervention programs, textbooks, apps, technologies, etc.to bring up test scores. Not only that, they also hope to fool enough people that they start demanding "better" schools (mind you the problem is the test not the school). Corporate Charter Schools can then come in and takeover. All the while the fat cat CEO's of these corporations make a killing off of our tax dollars.
This moves hundreds of millions of dollars from the public to the private sector where the focus is not in educating our children, but instead making a profit. After all, that is purpose of the business model.
So I write you to take heed of the your child’s results. The results are not a true measure of anything except that the test is working, as it was designed to produce failure. Do not be fooled.
I write to you as a parent of two public school children and as a teacher to warn you of what is coming and to tell you that, no your child is not a failure and yes your child is more that just a test score. A test does not teach students anything, but teachers and schools do.
Lastly, if you are as upset as I am of this planned failure and the enormous about of money that is being wasted on this tests, then join me in opting out of school testing. There is a growing national movement to stop to over testing of our children and you actually have the right to opt out to have your child in a meaningful educational experience instead of testing. It is time to join this quite revolution against wrongful and over-testing of our children.
You can find more information about on the website here at www.unitedoptout.com
First published on Schools Matter August 29, 2015
“Our rulers don’t just want exclusive control over the governance and finances of our schools, they want to control both what is taught and by whom.” — Robert D. Skeels
On the average week I answer a few inquiries regarding various education issues. This week I received two that I felt deserved publishing. The first was addressed to a group of us on facebook, the second was a private email. In both cases the identity of others is removed in order to protect them.
Anyone ever hear of blended schools network or global personalized academics?
They are for-profit firms, both held by Sibling Group Holdings, Inc. (OTCQB: SIBE). The former is associated with Gooru, a 501c3 funded by right-wing donors including the Gates and Hewlett Foundations. The latter is Florida based and apparently has worked with privately managed charters associated with Jeb Bush and Joe Biden's brother. They "empower" students by profiting off of them staring mindlessly at computer screens.
A [reporter] from LA School Report contacted [redacted] today. I told her I've heard that LA School Report is very bad - biased..possibly part of corporate ed reform agenda.
More than one person has told me this about LA School Report.
What are your thoughts?
The LA School Report blog (LASR) is owned and operated by Jamie Alter-Lynton, sister of corporate reform cheerleader Jonathan Alter (cf. his attacks on Professor Ravitch), and wife of elitist Sony CEO Michael Lynton.
Alter-Lynton is a wealthy reactionary who sits as a board member on former Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Superintendent John Deasy’s LA Fund slush 501c3, and a number of other neoliberal corporate education reform outfits. They used their insider status with Deasy to know when to sell off all of their Pearson PLC stock before it took a big hit when the FBI investigation of LAUSD was announced.
They are virulently anti-labor, hate the public commons, and are against elected school boards. She's sort of a West Coast Campbell Brown, except she was doing this first. The Sony leaks reveal they are connected to all of the worst neoliberal corporate education reformers in the country. She funded the right-wing Coalition for School Reform SuperPAC to the tune of $100,000 once, and continues to support charter industry profiteers taking over our public school boards.
I could go on and on, but nothing sums these wealthy, white hypocrites up like this:
Let me know if you need any more on them.
Donald Trump's proposal is one that we as the Legalization for All Network (L4A) cannot and will not support. As fighters for immigrant rights across the country, we have asked many to respond to Donald Trump's costly and outrageous proposal.
And while the majority of our responses are against Donald Trump, we would also like to shine light on Republican Candidate and Governor of New York Chris Christie's recent proposal. Christie's immigration proposal promises to treat immigrants like FedEx packages, tracking them with bar-codes; instead of treating them with equality. These same 11+ million undocumented, and mixed-status immigrants are forced into migration by U.S.A. policies like NAFTA/CAFTA, or coups in places like Honduras.
Deporting all of the undocumented and bringing back only a few chosen ones or stalking them like FedEx property, is no solution for any immigrant.
"Donald Trump and other Republican presidential candidates call to overturn the right to citizenship for the children of immigrants echos the call made by Russel Pearce, author of the anti-immigrant Arizona SB1070. The same call to strip citizenship from the Nisei, the American-born children of Japanese immigrants during World War II, and also Chinese Americans who were targeted by the anti-Chinese movement in the 1870s and 1880s. This issue was settled by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1898, in the case of the US vs. Wong Kim Ark, where the Supreme Court ruled that the 14th Amendment to the constitution meant what it said, that everyone born in the United States are citizens. The 14th Amendment was passed in 1868 to guarantee rights to African American slaves and their children, and to overturn the 1857 Dredd Scott vs. Sanford Supreme Court ruling that African slaves and their children had no rights to citizenship. By calling for the end of right to citizenship, Trump and other Republicans are in effect raising the banner of the Slave South. Just as we fought to ban the Confederate battle flag, we must fight Trump and others who want to take this country back 200 years. Masao Suzuki is a member of the San Jose Nihonmachi Outreach Committee (NOC) that organizes and educates around World War II concentration camps for Japanese Americans."
- Masao Suzuki Economics professor at Skyline College. San Jose, California
"Donald trump promueve el odio y el racismo, y contra ese tipo de personas no se puede utilizar la razon, hay que derrotarlos con la organizacion y la mobilizacion. Como latino hoy mas que nunca debemos luchar por la legalizacion de todos nuestros herman@s indocumentados, Legalizacion para todos ahora."
- Edward C Tolentino, activist. Tucson, AZ
"Since Trump announced he would be running for President, the Latino community has become Trump's obsessive target for discrimination and hate-speech. As a consequence we immigrants have to deal with this continued attitude of disrespect and hate. In stores we are treated with a disrespectful attitude. As mothers, we are getting sued for not being able to pay our medical bills after giving birth. We are getting mistreated and taken advantage of at our work-places, and our kids continue to experience discrimination at their schools. Regardless of our citizenship status, we as immigrants will continue to feel repression if Trump wins. Trump's plans promise to continue targeting us as immigrants - and myself as a Mexican immigrant- but we are only becoming wiser and stronger. And we will fight back!"
- Citlalli Martinez, undocumented mother of two. South Carolina
In the beginning of his "Presidential Campaign", Donaldo attacked the Mexican people. My tíos y tias. Mis primos. Mis abuelos y mi padre. Calling them rapist and violent when I've know them for all my life and those two things don't describe them. Words like loving, honest and trabajadores come to mind when I think of them and the Mexican people. But now, Donaldo has attacked me and the Chicano Nation of Aztlán! He threatens to take our citizenship but what he does not understand that even before the 14th amendment and the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and even before the Spanish conquest and inquisition, the Chicanos people have been here! Out blood, sweat and tears are engraved in this land. So go ahead Donaldo, try to take our citizenship away, pero no llores when the Chicano Nation comes to take yours!"
- Bryan Orozco, activist. Tucson, Az
"What we are seeing here is straight up racism. These people, Trump, Walker, Bush, and those who follow them, claim to be very patriotic. They stand to 'defend America from foreigners'. In reality, they just hate people of color, specifically Latinos, with a flaming passion, with no real education on who we are. These people need to turn off CNN and get to know their gardeners, maids, janitors, and the people who prepare their damn food. I'm not going to reduce my people to just those positions, cause we are everywhere. We are teachers, scientists, and doctors. This country doesn't run without us. People like Donald Trump live in their own little world. They're more scared of us, then we are scared of them. Remember, we are everywhere. Try to deport us all, and you will have a revolution on your hands. We Latinos can do anything we put our minds to. There's a Mexican proverb that says 'They tried to bury us, but didn't know we were seeds.'. Also, while we are talking about stripping citizenship from immigrants, have you renewed your passport yet, Mr. Bush? "
- Adrian Romero, Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement. Salt Lake City, UT
"Not only is this plan unrealistic, it's is in humane. Trump's slogan is "Make America Great Again", but who is he trying to make America great for when immigrants are the backbone and powerhouse that runs this country everyday? He cannot deport 11 million people!"
- Maria Belen Sisa, DACAmented student, worker and activist. Gilbert, AZ
"Trump's racist comments against Mexican immigrants are another of the ongoing attacks on our community. These attacks usually intensify during elections and economic crisis. We are all united in denouncing these racists attacks; especially now since the other Republican presidential candidates are taking them up. Lets stand strong in our fight for legalization for all!"
- Carlos M. Montes, Brown Berets Co-founder and Board Member of Boyle Heights Neighborhood Council. Boyle Heights, Los Angeles
"Trump's plan to deport all undocumented immigrants in the U.S. is inhumane and won't happen. This country needs the labor of those immigrants and they are humans that have to be treated with equal respect. His massive deportation plan will lose him the Latino vote. However if he somehow wins the presidency, immigrant rights organizations across the country will stand up and resist any massive deportations."
- Oscar Hernandez student and immigrant rights community organizer with YES!. Milwaukee, WI
On Behalf of Board member Scott Schmerelson, please join us next Thursday, Sept 10 from 4:30-7:30pm to celebrate the Grand Opening of Scott’s District Headquarters. This is a good opportunity to meet some of the Valley’s School District leadership, school principals, parents, students, teachers, staff, supporters and community members. Light refreshments, light music and light hearts.