Monday, November 22, 2010

Governor Elect Brown: Please remove Ben Austin from the State Board of Education

Report Green Dot's Ben Austin on the City Ethics Commission Complaint Form Online
Dear Governor Elect Brown:

One of the first things you can do to help the people of our beleaguered California is help restore balance to the State Board of Education. Please consider removing recent appointees Ben Austin and Alan Arkatov, both of whom are employed by the charter-voucher school sector, and neither of which have any substantial background in education.

The distinguished Ralph Shaffer, Professor Emeritus, History at Cal Poly Pomona, makes a cogent case for a generalized reason why these appointees should be denied:

We need to remove the monopoly grip charter schools have on the state board of education. There’s probably no more powerful, and certainly no more successful, lobby in California than that which promotes the interests of charter schools. Consider the biographies of those currently serving on the state board. Four of the nine are deeply involved in charters. That’s why they are on the board. The governor has just appointed two more charter advocates – one of whom has been the head cheerleader for the most powerful charter school corporation in the state, if not the county. Charters have no more than 5% of California’s students, yet with these appointments they will have a lock hold on the board. Who will speak for the overwhelming majority of our students, the 95% of our kids that the state board is slighting with its rush to expand charters, who already are draining the state education budget to the tune of a billion dollars a year.

We need a State Board of Education that represents the people of California, not an exclusive club of wealthy executives that operates essentially as an extension of the California Charter School Association. The lucrative charter-voucher industry has too many ways it can manipulate and game the system as it is. They shouldn't hold the State Board of Education hostage as well. For too long have corporations held all the reins of power in California, this is an opportunity to give some power back to the people.

Advocating Public Education

Robert D. Skeels


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Coalition for Educational Justice (CEJ) Annual Fundraiser Party December 4, 2010

UCLA Community School
3201 W. 8th St. Los Angeles, CA 90005
Saturday, December 4, 2010 from 6:00 — 10:00 PM

CMO Corporate Charters discriminate against SWD, Special Ed, and ELL students! Support CEJ in its struggles for educational justice!
Information for this event
Informacion en Español tambien

Dear Friends and Supporters,

Coalition for Educational Justice NEEDS YOUR HELP! We've been fighting for educational justice for over a decade, and the political and economic struggles we face in public education have never been so intense. At the same time that we are fighting the privatization of our schools through charter give-aways and campaigning to obtain more desperately needed school funding, foundations that used to support CEJ are tightening their belts and not giving as generously as before. We have had to go from having a full time director to a part time organizing director. We no longer have an office and we are being as frugal as possible with our limited funds. PLEASE RESPOND TO THIS LETTER WITH A GENEROUS DONATION TO CEJ. THANK YOU!

The good news is that our part time organizing director, Frances Turner, is awesome! She started as a student organizer 7 years ago at Crenshaw High School's CEJ chapter. She now inspires and helps guide new CEJ students at LA High, Crenshaw, Dorsey, Jordan, and YOU. Frances brings her dynamic personality and powerful leadership skills to our organization and we are very excited and pleased to have her as our staff person. Byron Gudiel continues to volunteer as a steering committee member of CEJ and Frances' husband, Jesse Turner, is also a very active and contributing steering committee member.

Another piece of CEJ good news is our upcoming annual Fundraising Party in December. It will be held, as it was last year, at the:

UCLA Community School
3201 W. 8th St. Los Angeles, CA 90005
Saturday, December 4, 2010 from 6:00 — 10:00 PM

We're Bringing Back Old School and will highlight the Left's victories through the decades, from the 50's up through the 90's.

We'll never be able to build the movement we need without parents and students in the lead. CEJ is one of the few organizations of parents and students that is working directly with the teachers' union, specifically on a comprehensive anti-privatization strategy. Many other parent and student groups have become part of different anti-union and quasi-privatization efforts. But in CEJ we are exposing the bottom-line motives behind the move to privatize and de-unionize our schools. We have been steadily gaining allies and making progress in our efforts and we continue to stand strong.

Since our last fundraising appeal, we went through the first round of Public School Choice, which we describe as a school give-away to charter companies, and we won a significant battle by keeping 32 out of 36 schools within LAUSD. Three of our schools went to the Mayor's Partnership (PLAS) within I-Design of LAUSD, and 3 others went to various charter organizations. Surprisingly, the LA School Board overwhelmingly supported home-grown school reform plans that CEJ members, in some cases, helped create, and that all of CEJ supported. Through community forums with strong CEJ parent participation, we were able to build support for our plans. In the advisory votes that were later taken last winter, the support for the home-grown reform plans was tremendous and clearly influenced the School Board.

All our CEJ chapters joined a state-wide Day of Action on March 4, '10, and demonstrated with thousands of students, pre-k through adult school, including university students who led the effort throughout California, in Pershing Square, in downtown Los Angeles, one of many locations throughout the state where large mobilizations were held. A Dorsey CEJ student spoke on the podium in front of thousands of demonstrators and a vibrant and enthusiastic group of CEJ students, parents and teachers marched and chanted alongside our sisters and brothers in the struggle, holding our CEJ banner aloft.

Last spring, and during the past two years, CEJ, along with its allies, was very involved in the fight against budget cuts, and was a part of making sure there were minimal RIFs (lay-offs) in order to prevent further deterioration of the teaching profession and the quality of student learning in Los Angeles. CEJ teachers are assisting UTLA in formulating the union's strategic plan and are involved in the Teacher Effectiveness Work Group that is proactively recommending progressive alternatives to evaluating teachers that do NOT include the use of student test scores, but WILL improve the quality of teaching and learning.

This past summer, CEJ developed its own strategic plan which we have begun to enact this fall. We have two city-wide campaigns with which our 6 CEJ chapters and our steering committee have engaged. The first is our State Budget Justice campaign where CEJ members, including many CEJ parents and students, spent more than 100 hours phone-banking and precinct-walking in targeted neighborhoods, promoting two state propositions: 24 and 25 earlier this month. We were unsuccessful in passing Prop 24, which would have closed corporate loopholes and redirected 2 billion dollars to our schools, but we DID help pass Prop 25, a HUGE victory, changing the way California will handle its annual budget from now on. By allowing 50% +1 to pass the state budget, instead of requiring 2/3rds as it has been in the past, Republicans will no longer be able to hold the process hostage, forcing our state to borrow at a high rate of interest for months beyond the budget deadline in order to stay solvent, and compelling the Democrats to cut deals that help the rich and hurt those most in need.

Our second campaign is Social Justice Schools, not Privatization, in which we are actively highlighting our best practices in education, like Crenshaw High School's Social Justice Academy and the UCLA Community School (a pilot school) where CEJ teachers are finely tuning their craft, and working on writing REAL school reform plans for schools on the give-away list this year. We are also preparing the fight for our schools that have just come out on the list for next year, 3 of them being CEJ schools: Dorsey, Los Angeles and Jordan High Schools! We're planning community forums to help educate folks about charter schools and privatization and to inform the community about the teacher/administration/community school plans that should be supported and voted for in community votes in January. We'll hold the forums in the targeted neighborhoods we phoned and then walked in, door to door, during the election campaign, and residents, who indicated their interest earlier, will be invited. After the final School Board decision, determining which school plans will be accepted, CEJ members will once again engage the same communities in promoting a pro-student and pro-teacher school board member in the School Board elections in March, 2011. We have worked closely with UTLA and PEAC (Progressive Educators for Action) in both these campaigns, as well as with the state-wide California Alliance.

CEJ parents, as well as students, have been hugely involved in these two campaigns. UTLA officers, leaders and staff have been very impressed with the grass-roots nature of our organizing. CEJ is unique in its ability to bring parents and youth into this work, side by side with teachers.

Our CEJ chapter work, which is overseen by Frances, is continuing to thrive. Our 5 high school chapters meet regularly and have been instrumental in helping us meet the goals of our two campaigns. At Allesandro Elementary School, in addition to maintaining our fruit and vegetable bars at lunchtime and planting a new batch of vegetables and flowers in our greenhouse, the students, parents and teachers of Allesandro CEJ are teaming up with the Sierra Club in an effort to get Los Angeles off of coal by 2020. At their recent Halloween festival, Allesandro CEJers helped run a booth that gave prizes of LA Beyond Coal tee shirts and buttons to folks who signed petitions and letters to move the campaign forward.

So, as you can see, CEJ remains a strong force in support of public education and in support of equity and racial and socio-economic justice in our communities. We are in need of your support. Please send us a donation, using the form below, and/or come to our annual fundraising party at the UCLA Community School on 8th Street, west of Vermont. See you there!

December Fundraising Committee of Coalition for Educational Justice (CEJ)


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Advocating Public Education Roundup 10W46

"Public Charter" is an oxymoron. — Steve Neat

CMO Corporate Charters discriminate against SWD, Special Ed, and ELL students!
Dr. Diane Ravitch's The Myth of Charter Schools in The New York Review of Books is nothing less than a cogent and complete dismantling of the propaganda piece by the smug mendacious hipster Davis Guggenheim.

In Charter Schools and Civil Rights: What Kind of 'Movement' is This? Brian Jones takes on all the civil rights pretenders in the charter-voucher industry, whose only rights they're worried about are corporate rights. Some highlights:

Third, while it has black faces perched in important places, the charter school "movement" is not a "black movement" for education. Whereas folks participated in the civil rights movement at great personal risk, many of the influential black supporters of charter schools stand to profit handsomely.

While everyone knows about Reverend Al Sharpton taking hundreds of thousands from hedge fund managers to push the charter-voucher agenda, and I'm sure everyone is familiar with Guggenheim's darling, who as the article points out "pays himself half a million dollars a year." However, we do have some local opportunists who have traded civil rights for corporate rights as well. Reverend Eric Lee and Reverend K.W. Tulloss are Los Angeles based shills for the highly profitable charter-voucher school sector. Reverend Lee, with the backing of all the right wing school privatization organizations, is running against community favorite and public school supporter Marguerite Poindexter LaMotte. District 1 is the only LAUSD Board seat the nefarious billionaires including Eli Broad, William Gates, and heirs to the Wall*Mart throne haven't been able to buy yet.

Reverend Tulloss sits on the board of the most unscrupulous and unprincipled 501C3 in Los Angeles, Ben Austin's corporate, er Parent Revolution (née LAPU). Austin's personal record on race relations is spotty at best, and he and his organization have been called into question several times for this. In addition to Code Words and Green Dot’s Pandering to Westside Racism we have several more examples of this, see the links under the heading "A preference for a "certain kind of folk."

Brian also addresses the corporate edreformer's ridiculous idea that "it is a "movement" that claims that the interests of adults (specifically, teachers) are in conflict with the interests of children (students)." That false Austin-esque dichotomy is often at the heart of the AEI/Cato/Hudson/Heritage/Hoover talking points, and Brian dispatches it with unmatched ease and grace. In the privatized charter-voucher versus public schools debate there is only one true division, either you're for corporations or you're for communities!

The whole article deserves careful attention, as it provides a wealth of facts to dispel even to most pernicious of edreform mendacity. See all of Brian's posts on Huffington Post and Socialist Worker.

Our friends at Black Agenda Report posted this incredibly awesome short video by Teacher Sabrina.

[Click if you can't view the video]

Hedge fund filth in action! Predatory parasite Whitney Tilson of Tilson Funds in regards to the 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

At least the pariah is finally being honest about the real purpose for the corporate charter-voucher "movement," just like we so-called "defenders of the status quo" have been saying all along. Profit is the only superman they've been waiting for. For more on this see: Goldman Sachs Gets Serious About (profiting from) Charter Schools. None of this will matter so long as these privatizers keep charter-voucher schools on pace with their other big money makers, like the prison industrial complex. Of course these days its hard to tell the difference between corporate charter-voucher schools and prisons. Check out this latest egregious CMO offense: Detention First at Segregated Charter School Chain Gangs.

Dr. Danny Weil takes on Kaplan, Phoenix, ITT and other for profit predators leeching pubic funds in his latest Truthout piece Removing Plaque at the Gum Line: For-Profit Universities, Emboldened by the Midterm Elections, Seek to Prevent Any Regulations

Here's yet another example of charter-voucher lavishness with public funds. Friendship Tech Prep Academy is going to drop $410,000 to purchase iPads for its exclusive student body. I'm glad to see the lucrative charter-voucher industry using pubic funds so wisely. What is it that AEI/Cato/Heritage informed greedy hedge fund managers, CEOs, bankers, and other business types say about charter-voucher schools being more efficient than pubic schools again?

While we all want children to have access to technology in schools, this is clear evidence of the kind of segregation charter-voucher schools espouse in principle and practice. Until the poorest school in DC has equal access to the same resources, we should consider this incident for exactly what it is — discrimination.

Megan Driscoll's short piece Strong New Films Go After the Much Hyped "Waiting For Superman" and Its Simplistic Educational Analysis takes on smug mendacious hipster Davis Guggenheim's hedge fund pr0n "documercial." The article mentions several real documentaries that begin to address several of the root causes for problems in education today.

Leading the charge for our schools is an interesting short on SW worth the read, if not for the fact that the perspective on a working class person's day is something completely alien to the wealthy elites like Vielka McFarlane, Ben Austin, Whitney Tilson, Antony Ressler, and Marco Petruzzi.

The following Guardian piece by Paul Thomas The corporate takeover of American schools is best summed up by its own tag line: "The trend for appointing CEOs to the top jobs is symptomatic of a declining commitment to public education and social justice."

Check out this great comment in response to charter-voucher cheerleader Gabe Rose who works with his fellow privatization specialist, the insatiably greedy Ben Austin. Whoever wrote it sounds like they may have attended school with Rose.

John Merrow wrote a surprisingly refreshing piece in Open Classrooms v. Charter Schools. It doesn't only take on the smug mendacious teacher hating hipster Davis Guggenheim, it actually points out that there are many excellent public schools that we can look at as models. Since only 17% of charter-voucher schools do better than public schools, saying we can learn a lot from them is vapid, vacuous, and specious, especially since "they only do better by skimming the strongest students and purging the low-performers, sending them back to the neighborhood schools." Instead we should be looking to public schools as the model, especially like the one Merrow discusses which is the feature of this video:

[Click if you can't view the video]

See Mike Klonsky for After 15 years of mayoral control in Chicago. Dr. Krashan spanks Jay Mathews in Another attempt to show American children are bad at math. The Perimeter Primate featured a guest post recently: We Should Be Careful With Our Words. Lastly, Larry Cuban dispels edreform nonsense in Serviceable Myths about School Reform.


Monday, November 08, 2010

Early Education is Key to Raising America Winter 1991

A piece I wrote way back in 1991. Obviously, my writing has improved exponentially since then — I was in still in Junior College when I wrote this. My politics have also improved as well, shifting from a liberal-populist perspective to that of a leftist. I cringe when I read some of the passages in this piece, which show me still being under the spell of mixed consciousness resulting from years of being exposed to ruling class ideology.

What is missing from my 1991 essay of course, is a clear class analysis of why the U.S. doesn't fund early education, and how instead of investing in children early it prefers to train workers on the cheap. Hence the big push today for charter-voucher schools. Narrowing curriculum and focusing on teaching working class children to "work hard - be nice" are precursors to them being the laborers in the profit system. A liberation pedagogy differs from this in so many ways.

Recently, some of the poverty pimps and privatization pushers of the charter-voucher camp have insinuated that I've only been concerned with these issues over the past few years. Early Education is Key to Raising America was written in 1991. I wrote this when the vast majority of so-called edreformers were still in high school or middle school — back before Ben Austin or Michelle Rhee had ever considered phrases like education reform or even knew what words like pedagogy (actually they still don't know this one) meant. So who are the "Johnny Come Latelys" in this debate again?

Early Education is Key to Raising America

[Click if you can't view the document]


Saturday, November 06, 2010

Open Letter to LAUSD VP Flores regarding Anthony Krinsky

Keep the PUBLIC in public schools
Vice President Flores-Aguilar:

I don't know if this right-wing troll Anthony Krinsky works directly for you [1], Eli Broad, the CCSA, DFER, Green Dot, Parent Revolution or is a friend of someone like Bill Grundfest. However, you don't need a CORO fellowship to know how to back search a blogger URI, which Krinsky had linked to his facebook account. Remember I attended UCLA just like you Ms. Flores, it's just that I majored in Classical Civilization, while you seemingly majored in Self Colonization Studies. I've known who this Krinsky guy is for some time, but really paid no mind since his poorly conceived writing is reminiscent of a disinterested teen enrolled in one of those charter-voucher institutions you're so fond of. Nor does it surprise me that you, a Gates Foundation employee, would follow the blog of a guy that idolizes Jim DeMint and Meg Whitman.

However, his Wednesday post crossed the line in several regards. Vice President Aguilar, since you are in contact with Mr. Krinsky please do me the favor of forwarding this letter on to your fellow right wing reactionary colleague.

[1] You do after all, follow his blog. For authentication see both the enclosed image and pdf files.


Mr. Krinsky:

I was somewhat amused to learn you attended Harvard, given that your prose reads like the screed of an angry forth grade charter school dropout. I'm also glad to see that you're finally using your real name as of yesterday instead of hiding behind aliases like 'the edobserver Anthony.' I of course, have always used my full name when engaging in polemics for the past two decades, since I have nothing to hide and am not afraid of speaking truth to power.

Up to now I've tolerated your childish and baseless accusations, but your vile and disgusting post on Wednesday has forced me to speak out.

1) You accuse me of taking money from UTLA or another union one more time and my Public Interest Lawyer will do exactly what you write is your fear. Let's say that you and Melissa will be cleaning my bathroom for decades to pay off that kind of settlement. I am not paid by any unions, nor am I a member of a union.

2) I have never stalked any of you reactionary privatizers in my life. I've never photographed any of you right wing dolts in the park or at your homes. What I have done, is openly photograph ed-deformers at political events serving political roles at public places like LAUSD and UTLA. I'm a widely published freelance writer. Taking photographs of politicians, public figures, and 501c3 staffers working political events isn't stalking -- it's photojournalism.

Let's be clear, I don't stalk or sneak. If I see someone in public and want to confront them, I walk up to them like a man and talk to them. Just ask Ms. Flores-Aguilar's staffer Ron Palacios what happened when I saw him trying to undermine the Trinational Coalition To Defend Public Education event last year.

Likewise, please feel free to make arrangements to call me a thug, creep, or a stalker in person instead of just on your blog. To be sure, I never call anyone something in my prose that I would be afraid to say to their face. In your bizarre-stream-of-consciousness-blog, you write that you have concerns and deep fears about my specialized military training. You need not be concerned with that. I'm a peaceful man.

With the deepest possible contempt

Robert D. Skeels -- a Public Education Advocate


Thursday, November 04, 2010

Rebutting comments on "Educating for Democracy: If Doctors Were Treated Like Teachers"

"One result of 30 years of neoliberalism is the a widespread assumption that if you're unhappy dominating or exploiting your fellow human beings, it must be because you're stupid or incapable." — Mike Marqusee

Keep the PUBLIC in public schoolsProfessor Joel Shatzky's Educating for Democracy: If Doctors Were Treated Like Teachers was a sharp critique of the way the corporate "edreform" crowd have set up teachers as the ultimate straw man for the real causes behind public education issues. His article emphatically points out the absurdity of both the language and ideologies employed by the poverty pimps and privatization pushers that front for the burgeoning charter-voucher school industry.

I posted a link to Shatzky's essay on facebook and received the following, probably well intentioned, but woefully misinformed comment:

"...any teacher that is doing a good job would be happy to be rated and have it published."

Here's my response:

The problem with this is that how do you rate something that is for the most part is entirely subjective?

Like Professor Shatzky points out, do we judge doctors by mortality rate — even if they serve high risk neighborhoods? While his piece is meant to be humorous, he builds a cogent case against using subjective methods for measuring things that are qualitative.

Now to teachers. The reason Shatzky's analogy is so apropos is that ALL current methods being proffered as a means to "rate" teachers are flawed through and through. Whether we're talking about the highly discredited "value added method," raw APIs, or test scores in general, there is an overwhelming preponderance of evidence that linking such scores to teacher performance alone are specious and biased. Education experts like Diane Ravitch, Alfie Kohn, Linda Darling-Hammond are an excellent place to start if you are actually interested in reading up on this. Ravitch's watershed The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education., especially chapters 2, 6, 8 and 9 present watertight arguments against the "ratings racket" peddled by the so-called "ed reform" crowd.

I respectively disagree with your second assertion. I personally know at least a dozen teachers that had their so-called ratings go from bad to good or good to bad, simply because they transfered from one school to another. Did these teachers suddenly become exceptional or mediocre overnight? Isn't it much more likely that the real factors that effect student performance — like poverty and access to books — are the real issue? Dr. Stephen Krashen writes extensively on this. Here's a recent post he made discussing Bracey's research. The problem is poverty: Evidence from Gerald Bracey

What's more, do we reduce education in general to an arbitrary measure of children's proficiency in the narrow confines of Math and English? Aside from reducing children to mere test scores — and hence diminishing their humanity, we rob them of the opportunity to be exposed to the widest curriculum possible. Rest assured, an obsession with testing, narrowing of curriculum, and avoidance of teaching critical thinking skills isn't how schools for the children of the wealthy operate.

I suppose if there was a fair and objective way of rating teachers, then you might be right in your assertion. However, this is far too nuanced and complex an issue to apply reductionistic methodologies in spite of what hedge fund managers, bail out recipients, talk show hosts, and convicted predatory monopolists would have us believe.


Obama and the “Superman” School Predators | Black Agenda Report

"I don't know any reasonable person who would champion charter schools as a model, when only 17% do better than conventional public schools, and only do better by skimming the strongest students and purging the low-performers, sending them back to the neighborhood schools." — wseadawg

Black Agenda Report's executive editor Glen Ford speaks truth to corporate charter power!

[Click if you can't listen to the audio]

In addition to listening to the radio show, check out the full transcript of Ford's incredible commentary!

Obama and the “Superman” School Predators

Corporate School Reform. Featuring fake stats, dubious studies, bogus high states testing, unproven teacher merit pay schemes, charter schools including military charters schools, patronage, cronyism, corruption, worse educational outcomes, thousands of sExcerpt:
“Waiting for Superman” is a scam and a sham, that has been catapulted into the national political conversation by a $2 million marketing grant from the Emperor, himself, Bill Gates. In the most perverse sense, it is appropriate that Washington, DC’s Seed School is featured, since Gates and the hedge fund billionaire parasites consider their cash contributions to charter schools as “seed money” from which will grow a hybrid, publicly-funded school system where profiteers will flourish. In the last decade, these finance capitalists have enlisted a cadre of Democratic politicians to wage war against teachers and against the very idea of public education, exploiting the historical grievances of Black parents, especially.*
Emphasis mine.

Black Agenda Report's coverage of the corporate onslaught against public education has been peerless. Simply searching for the word charter on their site produces a wealth of articles that name names and call thing what they really are.


Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Discussing School Privatization, Propositions 25 and 24 with Inglewood residents decide once every few years which member of the ruling class is to repress and oppress the people through parliament--this is the real essence of bourgeois parliamantarism. — VI Lenin

Keep the PUBLIC in public schools
I usually don't get too involved with electoral politics [1], but the budget cuts have been so devastating in our communities that I got involved volunteering along with many CEJ/PEAC/UTLA members with SCOPE and the California Alliance in building support for Propositions 25 and 24. I spent a couple of Mondays phone banking on these ballot propositions, which while not the broad reforms we need, are at least steps in the right direction towards a more progressive tax structure and budget fairness.

This Saturday I participated in SCOPE's door to door campaign in a get out the vote effort for yes on Propositions 25 and 24, and to talk to people about building local public school forums. Inglewood is heavily targeted by the charter-voucher industry's front groups like the so-called Parent Revolution [2] and nefarious politicians like SCLC pretender Eric Lee who are entirely bought off ideologically by lucrative charter-voucher school sector, so the second reason for the walk was actually more important than the ballot propositions.

I thought I would be able to pair up with someone I knew, but the organizers wanted to match up politically experienced people with individuals new to community organizing. I was paired up with a young woman who is a Crenshaw High School sophomore. She had never done anything like this, so I was told to train her as we went door to door. We had great discussions about politics, poverty, and oppression between going to peoples' doors. Our precinct consisted of a rough square bordered by Harvard on the East, Western on the West, and 81st to 85th North to South. We got into some very interesting discussions. The Crenshaw student was especially impressed by a family from Belize, that really spent a lot of time talking to us.

Aside from the few people that didn't want to discuss voting, most people intuitively knew the value of Propositions 25 and 24. Many brought up the real problem is Proposition 13, which allows corporate crooks and the super wealthy to pay little to no property taxes, while the bulk of the tax burden falls on working class people. It wasn't a hard sell to say we wouldn't have problems with our schools if people like Eli Broad, Jed Wallace, Vielka McFarlane, and Marco Petruzzi paid their fair share of taxes.

I was surprised how vocal many people were when we discussed charters. They were vehemently against giving public funds to private corporations and were surprisingly savvy about the misleading and mendacious language used by astroturf groups like Families in Schools, Alliance for a Better Community, and Parent Revolution. In fact, some people had sharper critiques of corporate charter schools than I do! Bravo to the good people of Inglewood for realizing their emancipation will come from below, and that it's not something that will be bestowed on them by billionaires with white savior syndrome or smug mendacious hipsters like Davis Guggenheim. Not one of the Inglewood residents I spoke with favored school privatization via charters and vouchers. Many expressed legitimate concerns with improving public schools, but none expressed the teacher hating, corporate gushing, pro-privatization rhetoric we hear spouted by the supposed leaders of parental sentiment.

I was also very impressed by SCOPE and CEJ's grassroots organizing. Unlike the utterly astroturf "Parent Revolution" headed up by the disingenuous Ben Austin and his cadre of white male right wing executives like CORO fellow Gabe Rose, whose answer to all poverty and budget issues is to privatize public schools [3], there is the progressive stance. That stance is to tax the rich and fully fund our communities. Organizations like SCOPE and CEJ actually get it, and I was proud to volunteer for them. Check out this awesome flyer by CEJ with a cogent critique of corporate charters: Coalition for Educational Justice flyer on 24, 25, and combating corporate charters.

Many people have been asking me for a voter's guide. I don't do that, but you can do much worse than following the Peace and Freedom Party's Workers' Voter Guide, or Green Party guides.

Don't forget to vote yes on 24 and 25!
[1] Being the lowest form of politics Do elections matter?
[2] Word on the street is privatizer Shirley Ford has been busy in that district vying for corporate trigger takeovers and pushing the reactionary Eric Lee as a corporate friendly CMO/EMO/Charter-Voucher alternative to community favorite and public school supporter Marguerite Poindexter LaMotte.
[3] In the process making wealthy corporate charter operators all the more wealthy.