Tuesday, February 01, 2011

The real question is, does the CCSA disseminate any information that isn't biased and incorrect?

"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?
LAUSD Parent Teacher Association (PTA) activist and maintainer of the widely read 4LAKids blog, Scott M. Folsom, caught some egregious factual errors in a Neon Tommy article from yesterday. The piece, entitled LAUSD's Public School Choice Closes Second Round Of Community Voting contains factual errors so grave, that Folsom's version of the title is:

The Spin, the Spin: LAUSD's PUBLIC SCHOOL CHOICE CLOSES 2nd ROUND OF COMMUNITY VOTING - in which "Neon Tommy" reports half the story ...and gets it all wrong!

Surprisingly, many of USC/Annenberg's Neon Tommy writers seem to write these biased and incorrect reports quite frequently. I'm sure it has nothing to do with several USC faculty [1] sitting on various local CMO charter boards, or that the Annenberg Foundation is a major funder [2] of corporate charter schools. Such an insinuation would be unconscionable, wouldn't it?

The first error 4LAKids blog points out is:

...in which an overwhelming majority of proposed campuses were converted to charter schools [100% untrue - smf]

Folsom is right to point out that it is 100% untrue. If memory serves, only three or four of the public schools were given away to corporate charter operators in the first round of PSC. The lion's share fortunately went to public schools under the community and teacher plans. Sadly, one of those schools given over to privatization was in my neighborhood after our community voted 93% in favor of the public school plan as opposed to the corporate charter school plan. As I wrote recently on solidaridad:

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]...

[6] For the mother's impassioned speech see the 08-25-09regbd video in this directory on LAUSD's site http://audio3.lausd.k12.ca.us/cgi-bin/qt-dir-audio.pl?Reg_Bd_Mtg//2009regbdmtg/ This is the same board meeting in which Ben Austin called parent and community votes for community schools "soviet style elections."

When Phoebe Unterman, the Neon Tommy piece author, asserts that "a lot of major problems with how the vote was executed" "last year" Folsom's comments speaking to that very innacurate statement are spot on:

[Those problems continued this year – and if anything were amplified. In the voting I attended on Saturday busloads of “community voters” were bused–in by a charter operator from across town, The majority of the ‘voters’ had not attended the community meetings and were presumably voting as instructed by the provider of the transportation-smf]

Burgeoning Corporate Charter Voucher Empire Camino Nuevo Charter Academy chartered buses and buses full of outsiders to vote at CRES 14 PSC advisory.
And lest the less-than-honest folks at the CCSA try and deny the charter buses Folsom discusses see the accompanying photograph here and discusion of the PSC 2.0 vote in Barrio Echo Parque: Banana Republic PSC Elections Camino Nuevo Corporate Charter Style.

For a less polemical piece than mine, please see David Lyell's A field report from the Public School Choice 2.0 Advisory Vote, unexpectedly (but pleasantly so) in Intersections South LA, another blog run by USC/Annenberg.

One more correction for Ms. Unterman in addition to the wildly inaccurate statements Folsom already points out. It's Ana Ponce, not Ana Ponse [sic]. Ana Ponce, of course, is the wealthy businesswoman who runs the burgeoning corporate charter voucher empire CNCA. Ponce's claim to fame is her...

...bloated six-figure compensation package [which] is OVER FIVE TIMES THE AVERAGE INCOME of the community members that she claims to be part of the same "tapestry." [3]

In Unterman's defense, she's a student journalist at a journalism school that has a strong ideological leaning towards the charter-voucher industry. Several of the professors there actually tell their students which sources to use. [4] Unterman wrote back to Scott Folsom:

"I got my information from the California Charter School Association, and didn't think that it would be biased or incorrect."

A word of advice for Ms. Unterman. Getting information from the CCSA and Jed Wallace is tantamount to a reporter in the 1970s getting information in on the health risks of smoking from the Tobacco Industry. Folsom's response to Unterman's Mea culpa is well worth the read as well.

Since the CCSA's sole reason for existence is to increase market share for the highly lucrative charter-voucher industry, the real question is, does the CCSA disseminate any information that isn't biased and incorrect?

[1] Professor Susan Estrich for example.
[2] Camino Nuevo Charter Academy and Green Dot Public [sic] Schools for example.
[3] See footnote six (6) in Crafty Camino Nuevo Charter Charlatans for a full explaination of this quote.
[4] With the notable exception of Kevin Douglas Grant, whose articles are balanced and quote both sides of the issue. For two exemplenary Neon Tommy articles see: Two South LA High Schools Combine Efforts As They Fight To Save Themselves and also As Education Reform Advances, A Shifting Power Structure Reveals Fractured Movement


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