Thursday, December 16, 2010

Astroturf Spawns Ever More Astroturf, Plus Parent Revolution Lies about Celerity Special Education Again!

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

Update on this here: Update on the veracity of McKinley Parents for Change

A 'revolution' funded by Wal-Mart and Microsoft.
The phonies, fakes, and frauds running the pernicious asto-turf Parent Revolution, which sprang fully formed from Green Dot Public [sic] Schools Los Angeles Parents Union, has spawned yet another "parent" group. The name of the new group? McKinley Parents for Change, a group whose authenticity and grassroots credibility is best summed up by Caroline Grannan's descriptive passage:

an organizing drive from within a school community does not require paid organizers to cold-call all over town, asking strangers if their children attend the school.

So what does a newly formed, pro-charter-voucher "parent" group, supposedly wholly unrelated to the highly paid staff at the billionaire financed Parent Revolution do first in the midst of the scandal Parent Revolution managed to create in Compton? They produce a flyer announcing another Ben Austin/Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa style closed town hall. You know, one of those meetings where softball questions lobbed up by charter-voucher supporters like Marlene Romero and Ismenia Guzman are answered by slick charter school marketing professionals and the foppish millionaire from Benedict Canyon. Dissenting questions and legitimate concerns by parents like Karla Garcia and Lee Finnie will be patently ignored, or worse, dismissed as supporting the mythical status quo. These corporately controlled closed town-halls are notorious for, in the words of the snarling vicious corporate troll Michelle Rhee, "creat[ing] a hostile environment when parents speak up." [2]

The amateurish prose of the flyer, which sounds suspiciously like it was written by a recent Political Science undergraduate with Coro affiliations, makes the bold assertion that the wealthy Vielka McFarlane's corporate charter has to accept all students under the law [3] and then provides a passage from the proposed regulations of the corporate charter trigger law ostensibly as "proof." While the proposed regulations make vague mention of admitting all students within an attendance boundary, there is no language discussing charters being required to accommodate special education pupils, students with disabilities, or English Language Learners at all. [4] None.

Parent Revolut... er, I mean, McKinley Parents for Change might try to say that means Celerity could in theory support children with special needs, so let's look at the facts.

Here is the [real] proof

Here are Celerity's existing special education figures:

Data Tables: Pilot Study of Charter Schools' Compliance with the Modified Consent Decree and the LAUSD Special Education Policies and Procedures

Not very promising if your child has special needs huh? Here is some more hard data disproving the Compton Charter Charlatan's alleged "proof" and putting to lie their accusations that social justice activists spreading misinformation:

Pilot Study of Charter Schools’ Compliance with the Modified Consent Decree and the LAUSD Special Education Policies and Procedures

  • SWD attending charter schools made up 7.6% of the overall charter student population, while SWD consisted of 11.3% of the overall student population attending DO schools which indicates that SWD are disproportionately under-enrolled at charter schools.
  • Students with low incidence disabilities attended charters representing 1.11% of the total charter enrollment, while students with low incidence disabilities made up 3.09% of the DO school population of SWD. Based on this, the relative risk ratio for students with low incidence disabilities to be enrolled in charter schools is 0.36, which means that students with low incidence disabilities enrolled at LAUSD charters are significantly under-represented.
  • During the 2008-2009 school year, 12 of 148 (8.1%) charter schools offered a special day program as an option for serving SWD. In contrast, 87% of DO schools provided this same program option. Collectively, the lack of such programs indicates a disproportionate availability of special education services offered at charters.

Further, "accepting" all children from an attendance boundary is not the same thing as actively supporting all their needs. Charter-voucher schools, which typically pay their executives whopping six figure salaries, usually don't have money left over for special education children, students with disabilities, or English Language Learners. What charter-voucher schools usually do is tell parents "your child is welcome here, but we don't have the facilities to provide them with everything they need, we will do our best but..." At this point parents make the only rational decision they can make, and that is to place their child in a public school — a school where the obligation to educate every child comes before profit and executive salaries. The cynical charter-voucher operators are then able to say "the parent voluntarily withdrew their child, they chose to return to the district."

Bear in mind that Yolie Flores' vile Corporate Charter Choice Resolution [5] also contained so called provisions to accept every child in an attendance boundary (vehemently fought by the California Charter School Association). In practice when "Para Los Niños" was able to seize a portion of Evelyn Gratts Elementary School via Yolie Flore's giveaway resolution, all the parents that had special needs children had to change schools after the charter takeover in order to get their children the resources they needed.

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

LAUSD said of PSC, like the CCSA/DFER says of the "trigger" law, that their corporate charter allies have to accept all students. Meanwhile they do nothing of the sort in practice. These pernicious, privately managed entities, have only one real priority — profit. According to Part VII of Celerity Educational Group's 2009 Form 990 Vielka McFarlane pays herself a whopping $193,442.00 a year in salary. That ladies and gentlemen, is the motivating factor behind dubious trigger laws.

[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. (this footnote first published by Robert D. Skeels here)
[2] The evil empress of privatization pushing and poverty pimping is quoted here the hedge fund darling found time to support Ben Austin on her way to work for fellow teabagger Rick Scott.
[3] The extremely dishonest bullet point says the following: "Under the law, Celerity has to accept all students (including Special Education students) and all current students regardless of grades."
[4] The closest thing to an obligation to educating every child appears in §4806 under "Permissible activities. An LEA [Local Educational Agency] may also implement comprehensive instructional reform strategies, such as: ... (C) Providing additional supports and professional development to teachers and principals in order to implement effective strategies to support students with disabilities in the least restrictive environment and to ensure that limited-English-proficient students acquire language skills to master academic content;" In other words, educational programs for children with special needs are entirely optional, and not required. Once more the charter-voucher industry has found a way out of the obligation to educate every child! Proof indeed!
[5] Cynically named Public School Choice Resolution
[6] For the mother's impassioned speech see the 08-25-09regbd video in this directory on LAUSD's site This is the same board meeting in which Ben Austin called parent and community votes for community schools "soviet style elections."


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