Monday, August 02, 2010

Caught Ben Austin and Jed Wallace's incessant lies on KPCC today

"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)

Defend Public Schools from Corporate Charter-Voucher CharlatansPat Morrison featured pathological liars, and charter-voucher industry beneficiaries, Ben Austin and Jed Wallace on KPCC today. Sadly, since Morrision is very unfamiliar with the topic, she allowed her guests to continue unabated in a non-stop stream of lies, misinformation, and propaganda. One of the more memorable — and certainly laughable — fallacies was Austin's reactionary claim that market forces will fix education. The second coming of misanthrope Ayn Rand, or all time huckster Milton Freidman anyone?

Fortunately, several people (myself included) were able to call into the radio show and make an effort to expose these two charlatans. Unfortunately, in most cases we weren't able to rebut the fact-free responses of the charter-voucher industry's highly paid representatives.

Here are edited comments I typed on the KPCC page for the show segment.

Charters are private institutions taking public funds and extending education to a small subset of public students. Charter-voucher schools are not subject to most laws, including the Public Records Act. They have private, unelected boards that do not accommodate community or even the parents whose children attend their institutions. A perfect example of this is how Green Dot closed Animo Justice without any input whatsoever from the students, parents, teachers, or community where the school served. Here are some articles addressing that:

A REAL Parent and Student Revolution brewing at Corporate Green Dot CMO Charter Schools

South Central protests school closures

Taking on a charter school closing

Wallace and Austin have both made a killing on the Charter-Voucher industry. For an in depth look at Austin's shady dealings, please see this piece:

Political Patronage for Green Dot Public Schools' Chief Propagandist

What the CCSA, Austin, Wallace, and all the others making a fortune in the charter-voucher industry won't tell you amidst their claims of college placement are their epic remediation rates. Some of Green Dot's schools boasting placement in the CSU system have up to 70% of their students having to take remedial math. Their percentages for English aren't much better. There is so much to expose about charter-voucher schools, but since they are generating so much money for their executives and vendors, many are looking away.

I don't know if anyone remembers the well heeled Jed Wallace's nonsensical piece defending charter-voucher accountability in the Los Angeles Times a little ways back. In the piece he makes the outrageous statement that a charter school's 990 form has all the information the public were ever needs to know about their closed and secretive operations. Really? Trying to determine a 501c3 operations from a 990 is akin to grokking someone's lifestyle from a 1040EZ form. They're both tax returns! The California Charter School Association's Jed Wallace and his slimy charter-voucher counterparts like Barr, Ponce, Ressler, Christie, Smith, Piscal, Petruzzi, Burton, and McFarlane don't want the public to know any details of their money making machines — they're far too profitable!

A very special thanks to the la_teacher_guy for contacting me about the broadcast and encouraging me to call in to put the heat on scoundrels like Wallace and Austin. I'm sure both of them were well compensated for their misinformation campaign today.


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