Thursday, March 10, 2011

ICEF Crooks to get gobbled up by competing Corporate Charter Chain

"The education industry represents, in our opinion, the final frontier of a number of sectors once under public control... represents the largest market opportunity... the K-12 market is the Big Enchilada." — Montgomery Securities prospectus quoted in Jonathan Kozol's "The Big Enchilada"

Charter Voucher Schools take the PUBLIC out of the equation
Howard Blume details how the filthy rich Judy Burton and Antony Ressler's corporate behemoth Alliance is on the verge of gobbling up beleaguered ICEF in Merger of 2 organizations would create California's largest charter school operation

No surprises there. That's what corporations do when they see their competitors floundering, they merge (a euphemism), moving closer towards monopoly status, and everyone except for the wealthy CMO executives and their vendors loose out.

Los Angeles' communities and taxpayers have but one question. "Where's the money Mike Piscal?" "Where did it all go?" ICEF's criminal squandering of millions of dollars makes the bureaucrat bullies of Beaudry look positively on the level. There needs to be a serious investigation of Piscal and his conies to see if funds were misappropriated.

I am a little surprised that Riorden and the poverty pimping plutocrats didn't give the CORO princess of of privatization, Caprice Young, more time to salvage ICEF's completely tarnished reputation. For years the Broad/Gates/Walton Triumvirate and the charter-voucher sycophants in the corporate media held ICEF up as one of the "models" public schools should seek to emulate. LAUSD is no stranger to fiscal mismanagement either, but I hope they don't follow ICEF's dubious accounting strategies. In LAUSD's case, at least we get to vote on their board, we don't get to vote for the vile hedge fund managers running Alliance or ICEF's boards. The list of Charter School Scandals increases exponentially by the day, but no one wants to discuss the elephant in the room outside of community activists, parents and schoolteachers.

Charter schools are publicly funded, but are privately operated by unelected boards, typically by corporations. Charters are free from nearly any rules or regulations and only have their charters revoked on the rare occasions they're exposed in the media. State Senator Liu's SB 433, which would require charters to follow public school rules in regard to suspension and expulsion of pupils, could go some way towards changing that.



Unknown said...


Mike Piscal?? Maybe you haven't heard, he has been gone for over 6 months. Did you use the word "criminal?" If you have proof call the Attorney General/District Attorney/etc.., your vieled accusations make you look small.

Mike Piscal educated thousands of students in South LA, sending most of them to prestigious colleges on scholarships. There is a facebook page of about 1,400 students who credit ICEF, and Mike Piscal, for their success.

Other than make basely accusations, what have you done?

Rather than being mad at you, I actually pity you.

Unknown said...

By chance I found out where Mike Piscal is!

I hope this doesn't get you more upset.

He is the CEO of the Andre Agassi Schools in Las Vegas. His salary is published in the Schools Board Minutes.

Hold is twice as much as he was making at ICEF.

Robert D. Skeels * rdsathene said...

Arnold, since you seem to know so much about Piscal's activities, why don't you tell us where the millions of taxpayer dollars went. Or does asking such an innocuous question make me look small.

Fact is, that if it wasn't malfeasance, then it was the most unconscionably incompetent accounting of all time. You can choose, either Piscal was a thief or an incredibly incompetent CEO who tanked ICEF. Either way, the community and taxpayers were fleeced.

Everyone that watches these charter-voucher charlatans knew about Piscal's new gig. That's the great thing about the charter-voucher industry, you never have to say you're sorry.

Apparently you haven't attended one for the prestigious colleges in question, since the phrase criminal squandering is not tantamount to calling an individual a criminal. Maybe I'm using words that are too big for you, you are a charter supporter after all.

Back to your Ayn Rand novels Arnold.

Unknown said...

Again, great angry and misinformed rhetoric.

In South-LA, the graduation rate is 40.6%. After the LAUSD Board, and the misguided union, spent $ 20 Billion on school construction. Not modest, or practical schools, but the 3 most expensive schools in the Western Hemishpere (#1 - $ 578 Million on the Ambassador School Site).

You ask Piscal, where's the money?

Misdirecting your anger at ICEF is bizarre. In a District with 40% graduation rates, and in a state where prisons receive $ 55K a year to house an inmate, we should all be outraged. Charter schools receive $ 6,800 to educate students. You have a school district in LAUSD, serving South LA, that has sent more students to prison, than to college.

Your choice to attack ICEF is so astounding, it must be personal.

Students & Parents found a refuge at ICEF, a leader who believed in their greatness, and an organization that did nothing but prepare our students to attend college. When we complained about the cost of the field trips, the financials were opened to us. As parents in the community, our students got no facilities, utilies, security guards, desks, books, etc... The District allots $ 9,000 for students going to Crenshaw, with facilities, with utilies included.

As parents, we wondered how ICEF did so much with so little.

I answered yours, no you answer mine.

How many students did you graduate?

How many students did you send to college?

I doubt you have done more than ICEF, so it seems you may continue to exercise your right to attack, malign, and misdirect. Good for you.

While you do that, the parents of the community will do the "heavy lifting" of fighting for our students against this oppressive and immoral LAUSD/UTLA - 40% graduation rates, 20 Billion on new schools, 3 of which may be the most expensively constucted schools in the World.

Basically, stay in your chair on the sidelines. Our children are in the midst of a crisis of leadership, and we have serious work to do.

Robert D. Skeels * rdsathene said...

You haven't answered where the millions of dollars went, but we'll wait for the corporate merger with Judy Burton's empire to see if the truth ever comes out about the missing funds.

Love how you play fast and loose with LAUSD's graduation rates, which in reality are nothing like those you cite:

That in and of itself demonstrates how mendacious your arguments are. However, your loyalty to privately run corporate charters is duly noted.

Regardless, since you are clearly in the corporate charter camp, supporting unelected unaccountable boards, your question is a laughable straw man, as is your defense of a scoundrel like Mike Piscal. If Piscal's behavior was so on the level, then why didn't the plutocrats running ICEF keep him around? One would have to think that Broad, Riordan, et al would have kept him on in order to stabilize the schools' transition, no?

Since I don't work for a lucrative charter-voucher company making a mind boggling six figure salary, I can't claim to have sent any students to college. During my 14 plus years as a volunteer CCD teacher in my community, I can claim having some participation in many graduations though.

I don't get paid to advocate for Public Education. Can't say as much for all the CMO support groups like FTC, FIS, LAPU/PR, ABC, etc. I have many the same criticisms of LAUSD that you have, except I don't see privatizing schools as an answer to poverty. You clearly do. I have nothing personal against ICEF, and certainly not against the students and parents that have or are attending their schools.

I do take issue with unelected charter boards, their corporate governance, their plutocrat funders, and privatization in general.

You can rest assured that I am never on the sidelines, I'm always right in the middle of the struggle for social justice. That my opponents consist of the Broad/Gates/Walton Triumvirate, the Chamber of Commerce, Phillip Anschutz, The Koch's, Cato, AEI, Heritage, Hoover, Hudson, et al, speaks volumes to which side I'm on.

Vilify me all you like, but I don't see how speaking truth to Mike Piscal power and privilege makes community activists like myself the bad guy.

Anonymous said...

What a joke this guy Michael Piscal is. My sons were a students at the Las Vegas Charter School, and there were always questions about where all the funding was going. After he departed there were millions of dollars missing like in Los Angeles. I pulled my two sons out of the school as well as other parents after we were asking questions and there were just sketchy answers. Piscal is a thief who goes to inner cities, and steals public school funds to line his own pockets. I feel for the students and parents in New Jersey. With his track record he will probably do the same disappearing act there as well.

Anonymous said...

Piscal should be in jail for stealing all the money from Charter schools in California. What a joke he is. No wonder there is a high turnover rate at any school is ran. Underpaid teachers who work 12 hours a day and work 6 days a week. He is so ignorant and shady.