Monday, December 31, 2012

Precinct Walking Kickoff Robert D. Skeels for LAUSD School Board

Join with Student, Teacher, Family, and Community volunteers in getting the word out about School Board candidate Robert D. Skeels. We’ll be walking neighborhoods, talking to voters, and distributing literature. Campaign T-Shirt, light refreshments, and volunteer training provided.

Saturday, January 5, 2013 @ 12:30PM
Cafe in the Heights
3510 N Broadway Lincoln Heights, CA 90031
( across from Lincoln High School | map: )

Únase a los Estudiantes, Maestros, Padres de familia y Comunidad en hacer correr la voz acerca de Robert D. Skeels, el candidato corriendo para la junta escolar LAUSD. Vamos a caminar por los vecindarios para hablar con los votantes y la distribuir volantes. A los voluntarios se proporcionará una camiseta de la campaña, refrescos, y formación (training).

교육위원 후보, 로버트 디 스킬즈(Robert D. Skeels) 의 선거운동을 위해 학생, 선생님, 가족 그리고 지역사회인들의 참여를 부탁드립니다. 우리는 함께 이웃을 방문하여 투표인들과 함께 이야기하며, 정보를 제공하는 선거캠페인을 할 것입니다. 티셔츠, 간단한 음식, 그리고 자원 봉사 교육등이 무료로 제공됩니다. 많은 관심과 참여를 바랍니다. 감사합니다.

Precinct Walking Kickoff Robert D. Skeels for LAUSD School Board


Friday, December 28, 2012

Robert D. Skeels for LAUSD School Board Placard design

Robert D. Skeels for LAUSD School Board Placards


January Candidate Forum

January LAUSD District 2 Candidate Forum


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Featured Endorsements Robert D. Skeels for LAUSD School Board 2013

Want to endorse Robert D. Skeels for LAUSD School Board? Simply fill out this form.

United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) endorse Robert D. Skeels for LAUSD Associated Administrators of Los Angeles (AALA) endorse Robert D. Skeels for LAUSD Southern California Immigration Coalition (SCIC) endorse Robert D. Skeels for LAUSD Unión del Barrio Los Angeles endorse Robert D. Skeels for LAUSD Association of Raza Educators (ARE) Los Angeles endorse Robert D. Skeels for LAUSD Southern California Americans for Democratic Action (SCADA) endorse Robert D. Skeels for LAUSD

United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA)Associated Administrators of Los Angeles (AALA) • Southern California Immigration Coalition (SCIC) • Unión del Barrio • Association of Raza Educators (ARE) Los Angeles • Southern California Americans for Democratic Action (SCADA) • Progressive Democrats of Santa Monica Mountains • Professor Diane RavitchProfessor Paul L. ThomasProfessor James HornProfessor Stephen KrashenDr. Rosemary L. LeeDr. John ThompsonDr. John FernandezSusan OhanianCheryl OrtegaTeresa SitzElliott AdamsRon Kovic • Kathleen Hernandez • Ken Montenegro • James Lafferty • Ron Gochez • William AparicioCarolyn JacobsonJohn Lincoln III • Kermit Gratts and Family • Anne Zerrien-Lee • Marcy WinogradIngrid VilledaMartha Sanchez • Vik Chaubey • Matthew KoganGillian RussomJulie CarsonJanette Daniel-Whitney

Professor Diane Ravitch endorses Robert D. Skeels for LAUSD

Professor Diane Ravitch endorses Robert D. Skeels for LAUSD I am happy to endorse the candidacy of Robert D. Skeels for LAUSD school board.

He attended UCLA, is a veteran of the US Navy, and a staunch supporter of public education. He passionately defends the right of every child to a high-quality education.

His knowledge, experience and perspective would add a greatly needed new voice to the deliberations of the school board. He would stand up for children, parents and teachers.

The future of public education hangs in the balance, as the forces of privatization circle round it. I strongly urge voters to support Robert Skeels at this critical time.

Diane Ravitch — is Research Professor of Education at New York University and a historian of education. She is the author of ten books and has edited an additional fourteen. Her latest is The Death and Life of the Great American School System. She blogs prolifically for numerous sites, including her own. Her full Curriculum Vitae.

Educator & Activist Cheryl Ortega endorses Robert D. Skeels for LAUSD

Cheryl Ortega endorses Robert D. Skeels for LAUSD Having known Robert since the PSC battles and having watched him arrive at schools at 7:00 am to help teachers reach out to parents, having worked with him in organizing parent rallys, and having enjoyed watching him take on Monica, I will 100% vouch for his integrity as well as his qualifications for school board member. He is in for the long fight and is a true and articulate advocate for public education. That Diane Ravitch has endorsed him is a strong message to all of us. Congratulations Robert.

Additional Video Endorsement by Cheryl Ortega.

Cheryl Ortega — Director of Bilingual Education in LAUSD

Author & Educator Susan Ohanian endorses Robert D. Skeels for LAUSD

Susan Ohanian endorses Robert D. Skeels for LAUSD Robert D. Skeels has an important slogan for his candidacy for the LAUSD school board: "As an individual committed to social justice, I will stand up." I know first-hand of the difficulties faced by LAUSD teachers and I know what parents want for their kids. The solutions start with social justice and someone willing and able to stand up and speak l truth to power. Robert D. Skeels' strong activism in the community served by the schools in most need of a voice make him uniquely qualified for this position.

Susan Ohanian — Currently a freelance writer, Susan Ohanian’s writing draws on her own long career as a teacher grades K-14 and on current corporate-politico assaults on public education.

Professor Paul L. Thomas endorses Robert D. Skeels for LAUSD

Professor Paul L. Thomas endorses Robert D. Skeels for LAUSD As a life-long educator, nearly thirty years, and education scholar, I strongly endorse the candidacy of Robert D. Skeels for LAUSD school board.

His life experiences and unwavering knowledge about and support of public education make him an ideal voice to reinforce the democratic purposes of universal public education.

In an era during which political and corporate support for democracy, equity, and social justice is eroding, the election of Skeels sends a powerful message that a voice for the public and the commons matters. I urge voters to recognize the importance of voting for Skeels and creating a school board that honors the interests of the people.

Paul Thomas, EdD — is Associate Professor of Education at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina.

Professor James Horn endorses Robert D. Skeels for LAUSD

Professor James Horn endorses Robert D. Skeels for LAUSD Robert D. Skeels has been writing at SM since June 11, 2011, and his astute, acerbic, and sometime acidic commentaries have effectively lifted many rocks where profiteer snakes hide, melted away many corporate leeches from their public hosts, and shamed many professional self-servers for their unwavering commitments to themselves. In doing so, he has shone his own true colors as a relentless advocate for public schools, democracy, and social justice.

And so I was excited to hear that Robert is now campaigning for a seat on the LAUSD Board of Education, which will hold its primary election a little over a hundred days from now.

I hope everyone in L.A. (and elsewhere) who believes that public schools are for the public rather than corporations will support Robert's candidacy, for I cannot think of anyone with more commitment, drive, and passion for humane public schools for all children and for the future of our democracy.

And besides, Schools Matter needs a blogger who is a school board member.

Dr. Jim Horn — Associate Professor, Ed. D. Program in Educational Leadership, Cambridge College and Editor of Schools Matter.

Professor Stephen Krashen endorses Robert D. Skeels for LAUSD

Professor Stephen Krashen endorses Robert D. Skeels for LAUSD I STRONGLY SUPPORT THE CANDIDACY OF ROBERT SKEELS FOR SCHOOLBOARD. Imagine! A schoolboard member who actually understands how students learn!

Dr. Stephen Krashen — is professor emeritus at the University of Southern California, who moved from the linguistics department to the faculty of the School of Education in 1994. He is a linguist, educational researcher, and activist.

Educator Dr. John Thompson endorses Robert D. Skeels for LAUSD

Dr. John Thompson endorses Robert D. Skeels for LAUSD I strongly support Robert Skeels because of what he has taught me. Mr. Skeels has a profound understanding of both the big picture and the nuances of education policy. He is clear-eyed about what must be done, and he is equally clear in explaining his vision. The LAUSD needs his analysis of problems and solutions.

John Thompson — was an award-winning historian, lobbyist, and guerrilla-gardener who became an award-winning inner city teacher after crack and gangs hit his neighborhood.

Parent/Activist Teresa Sitz endorses Robert D. Skeels for LAUSD

Teresa Sitz endorses Robert D. Skeels for LAUSD Robert D. Skeels is committed to providing comprehensive health education for our children, taught by qualified and credentialed health teachers. In Los Angeles, where the rates of sexually transmitted infections are some of the highest in the nation, where obesity is rampant and poverty exacts a toll on the mental and physical health of our students and their families, denying comprehensive health education, as Mayor Villaraigosa and LAUSD have done, is irresponsible and abusive. Robert D. Skeels has his priorities straight. I am proud to endorse him for school board.

Teresa Sitz — Community Representative DMHS, Member, Silver Lake Neighborhood Council (for identification purpose only)

Former School Board President Elliott Adams endorses Robert D. Skeels for LAUSD

Elliott Adams endorses Robert D. Skeels for LAUSD Speaking as a past school board present, I know well the complicated balancing act between money and education that is central to running a school district. Robert Skeels understands this and will work hard to provide a quality education for the children of the district even with the limited funds of today.

Good school districts must reflect the needs of the community. Robert has deep roots in the community and understands that a school board needs to be transparent and available to community members in order for it to reflect local needs. He has a record of working to protect local schools from big corporations who are trying to take them over through privatization.

In order to accomplish these ideals it takes determination and refusal to buckle under pressure, both of which are skills Robert has.

Elliott Adams — was President School Board in New York, President of Rotary, Mayor of his village, active member of Chamber of Commerce, national president of Veterans For Peace and a veteran of Vietnam and Korea.

Dr. John Fernandez endorses Robert D. Skeels for LAUSD

Dr. John Fernandez endorses Robert D. Skeels for LAUSD I strongly endorse the candidacy of Robert D. Skeels for the L.A. City School Board, District 2.

Robert D. Skeels clearly is an impressive candidate. Robert has a thorough understanding of the problems and needs facing public education today, especially those in the LAUSD. As a social justice advocate, Robert D. Skeels will fight for a critical pedagogy that is culturally relevant and meets the curricular, cultural, and linguistic needs of bicultural students. I am confident that Robert D. Skeels will be a tremendous addition to the L.A. City School Board and will be at the forefront in creating the conditions that will foster teacher, student, and parental success, which are urgently needed in the LAUSD.

Dr. John Fernandez — Teacher, Theodore Roosevelt High School (Ret.) and former Director of the Mexican-American Education Commission for the LAUSD.

Ken Montenegro endorses Robert D. Skeels for LAUSD

Ken Montenegro endorses Robert D. Skeels for LAUSD I'm very proud to endorse Robert D. Skeels' candidacy to the LAUSD school board. What makes me proud about Robert's candidacy is that few folks are unabashedly committed to defending public education from the forces of privatization. Moreover, Robert has a clear understanding that the teaching profession needs an advocate and not additional enemies on the school board.

As someone who attended LAUSD from K-12 and as the parent of a middle school child, I know that Robert's vision of an effective and compassionate public school system is possible and desired by the varied communities of Los Angeles.

Ken Montenegro — is a graduate of Peoples College of Law; technologist; former vice-chair of trustees of 1st Unitarian Church of Los Angeles; member of the advisory committee of the Coalition to Stop LAPD Spying; and a member of the executive committee of the Los Angeles Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild (organizational affiliation for identification purposes only).

Dr. Rosemary L. Lee endorses Robert D. Skeels for LAUSD

Dr. Rosemary L. Lee endorses Robert D. Skeels for LAUSD I am honored to endorse Robert as a candidate who has the true interest of students parents and teachers at heart. He will work towards making their vision of a quality public education available to all students in our schools.

Dr. Rosemary L. Lee — LAUSD (Ret.), Trinational Coalition To Defend Public Education USA

Ron Kovic endorses Robert D. Skeels for LAUSD

Dr. Rosemary L. Lee endorses Robert D. Skeels for LAUSD I strongly and enthusiastically endorse Mr. Robert D. Skeels for the district 2 school board trustee seat in LAUSD! He is a man of great courage and commitment and will serve our community well. With much respect!

Ron Kovic — Vietnam Veteran, author, "BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY."

Association of Raza Educators LA endorse Robert D. Skeels for LAUSD

The Association of Raza Educators-Los Angeles proudly endorses Robert D. Skeels for LAUSD Board District 2

Association of Raza Educators (ARE) Los Angeles endorse Robert D. Skeels for LAUSD In a climate in which public education is under attack and public leaders are severely under-serving the very communities they represent, the need for leadership that is and has been conscious, forthright and active towards empowering our communities through education is long overdue. Education is essential to the preservation of civil and human rights. It provides the foundation for all political and economic progress and it must be a basic right of all people. Making this right a reality is the fundamental objective of The Association of Raza Educators (ARE).

It is in this context and with this spirit that the Association of Raza Educators-L.A. enthusiastically endorses Robert D. Skeels for the LAUSD School Board (District 2). Social justice activist and education writer Robert D. Skeels understands the need for not only a change in the LAUSD leadership, but also, a change in the very direction that education has taken as a result of private, corporate and political interests.

As a grassroots teacher organization working alongside students, parents, and communities, ARE understands that in order to move ahead, we need people with social justice convictions on all levels and in all strategic positions in order to truly effect positive change in our communities in fundamental ways.

To have such a School Board candidate who is an advocate for the cultural, linguistic and critical thinking needs of our students, it is an honor and a privilege for ARE-L.A. to endorse Robert D. Skeels for the LAUSD School Board.

Ya basta with the profiteering of our youth's educational rights!

Ya basta with self-serving "leaders" who have forgotten about our disenfranchised youth!

Unidos Venceremos!

The Association of Raza Educators (ARE) was established to uphold the rights and liberties of the Raza community.

Educator Marcy Winograd endorses Robert D. Skeels for LAUSD

Marcy Winograd endorses Robert D. Skeels for LAUSD I proudly endorse Robert D. Skeels for school board. We need his visionary leadership to fight privatization of our schools and champion public education.

Marcy Winograd — is the author of Lola Zola and the Lemonade Crush, a novel for tween girls.( A public high school English teacher, Marcy helped organize OccupyLAUSD to protest education budget cuts.

Educator Ingrid Villeda endorses Robert D. Skeels for LAUSD

Ingrid Villeda endorses Robert D. Skeels for LAUSD So happy and glad to be able to organize, and work hard for such a great candidate.

Ingrid Villeda — is a teacher at Stanford Avenue Elementary and the South Area Chair for LAUSD

Activist Martha Sanchez endorses Robert D. Skeels for LAUSD

Martha Sanchez endorses Robert D. Skeels for LAUSD Martha Sanchez — is a former adult ESL student, adult school graduate, and activist who led an environmental justice campaign resulting in the closing of a toxic chemicals plant. Ms. Sanchez continues to fight for her community and is an activist in the SaveAdultEd campaign while attending college at California State University.

Educator Matthew Kogan endorses Robert D. Skeels for LAUSD

Matthew Kogan endorses Robert D. Skeels for LAUSD I support Robert D Skeels because he is a man of character who always puts the interests of the community first. I have no doubt that he will continue to fight the influence of billionaires who currently dominate education on our country. When adult education was threatened with elimination, Robert was there from beginning to end fighting with us for a program valued by the community.

Matthew Kogan — is a teacher at Evans Adult School and the Adult Education Chair for LAUSD

Educator Gillian Russom endorses Robert D. Skeels for LAUSD

Gillian Russom endorses Robert D. Skeels for LAUSD Robert is absolutely dedicated to fighting for fully-funded, quality education that nurtures all the talents of our students. He will stand up to the privatizers, the budget cutters, and the testing mania and will always stand with students, parents, and educators.

Gillian Russom — is a teacher at Roosevelt High School and the East Area Chair for LAUSD

Educator Julie Carson endorses Robert D. Skeels for LAUSD

I support Robert because he fights to keep the "public" in public education. I am proud to support his candidacy for school board and will fight hard for his election. Go Robert!

Julie Carson — is an Adult Education teacher for LAUSD

Janette Daniel-Whitney endorses Robert D. Skeels for LAUSD

So glad to know you are out there working for liberating, empowering education. I was living in Mexico when Paulo Freire gave talks in Cuernavaca. He is one of my heroes. Now you are also one of my heroes. Heard your interview this am on KPFK. Learning about Seattle teachers and parents saying no to the educational insanity of standardized tests, core curriculum, etc. was the best news I have had as an educator in ages. Yes!


Debunking Common Core Curriculum's so-called Four C's

First published on Schools Matter on December 26, 2012.

"When you go to doctors, they don’t take all your blood, they only take a sample." — Professor Stephen Krashen

Common Core State Standards (CCSS) means profits for corporations and reduced critical thinking skills for working class peopleProfessor Diane Ravitch had a brief comment entitled The True Goals of Education? this morning where a reader suggested a sort of whole child approach based on virtues as opposed to tedious test preparation. That in itself wouldn't merit much attention, but oddly one of the readers posted a comment suggesting that those self-same virtues were the stated intent of Common Core State Standards. The following was my response to that assertion:

For the plutocrat sponsors* of Common Core State Standards (CCSS) to suggest that it has any goals beyond imbuing corporate servitude, compliance, petty jingoism, and acceptance of austerity is nothing short of pernicious propaganda.

Certainly David Coleman and Co. coined their "four C's" well after the fact, and clearly this was in response to to cogent criticisms by actual educators including Susan Ohanian, Professor Stephen Krashen, and others.

Everything in Corporate Core Curriculum is designed to discourage critical thinking skills, and this is why CCSS won't be required outside of public schools (eg. charters, parochial, and private schools). There definitely won't be any canned corporate curricula sponsored by the Gates Foundation inflicted on the children of privilege at schools like Sidwell Friends.

Like its fellow malignant projects "No Child Left Behind" and "Race to the Top," CCSS has goals directly aligned to neoliberalism:

  • Cause the appearance that the public school school system is broken, and that market solutions (charters/vouchers) would fare better.
  • Control the curriculum and combat any chance that "dangerous" curricula that might cause people to resist neoliberalism or question corporate dominance is taught.
  • Further sort students by race and class, and further subject them to endless mind numbing test preparation. Ultimately discouraging any critical thinking skills in any class outside those running society.
  • Serve as the perfect excuse for union busting and the total deprofessionalization of teaching. Ultimately leading to low cost, but highly profitable delivery of necessary information (informational texts anyone?) to those not deemed as needing critical thinking. Real teaching will continue to exist in the hallowed halls of elite private schools for scion of the ruling class.
  • Obscene profits for charlatans like Pearson, Microsoft, Goldman Sachs, Gideon Stein, and everyone else associated with the diverse markets connected to school privatization, real estate, and the standardized-testing-industrial-complex.

We must resist Corporate Core by every means posible. Paris 1968 is a good model for us to follow. If we don't, we may as well begin writing our eulogies for public education today.

* I'm not saying Mr. Mindlin is working for one of them. He did, after all, say the so-called "four C's" were "allegedly" at the heart of CCSS.


Monday, December 24, 2012

Robert D. Skeels Speech on TENTEN Rooftop December 16, 2012


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Photos from the campaign trail: Robert D. Skeels for LAUSD Schoolboard

Robert D. Skeels for LAUSD Schoolboard 2013


Saturday, December 15, 2012

City Clerk Certifies Official List Of Candidates

Ron Gochez: LA City Council District 9 Candidate, Robert D. Skeels: LAUSD District 2 Candidate 2013 Primary Nominating Election

LOS ANGELES (December 14, 2012) — Los Angeles City Clerk June Lagmay released today the official list of 77 candidates who have qualified to appear on the ballot for the March 5, 2013 City of Los Angeles Primary Nominating Election. A random alphabet drawing conducted publicly in the City Council Chamber on December 10, 2012 determined the order in which candidates are listed in each race.

The City Clerk has certified the following candidates to appear on the March 5, 2013 ballot in this order:


MÓNICA GARCĺA, Member of the Board of Education
ANNAMARIE MONTAÑEZ, Teacher/Doctoral Candidate
ROBERT D. SKEELS, Educator/Education Researcher
ABELARDO DIAZ, High School Teacher
ISABEL VASQUEZ, Teacher/Community Advocate

STEVE ZIMMER, School Boardmember/Teacher
KATE ANDERSON, Parent/Child Advocate

MARIA CANO, Education Advocate/Organizer
IRIS ZUÑIGA, Nonprofit Executive/Parent
MONICA RATLIFF, Fifth Grade Teacher
ANTONIO SANCHEZ, Educator/Community Organizer


TERRY HARA, Deputy Police Chief
CURREN D PRICE, JR, State Senator/Professor
ANA CUBAS, Councilmember’s Chief Deputy
MANUEL “MANNY” ALDANA, School Council Boardmember
DAVID ROBERTS, Community Development Advocate
MIKE DAVIS, California State Assemblyman


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Ten Ten Wilshire event this Sunday — Robert D. Skeels for LAUSD 2013

Join us for an evening of conversation on educational policy on the spectacular 1010 Wilshire rooftop. Meet the board candidate who has been endorsed by many nationally renowned education experts including: Dr. Diane Ravitch, Susan Ohanian, and Dr. Stephen Krashen.

Sign up on facebook or

Rooftop Fundraiser for Robert D. Skeels for LAUSD 2013


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Open letter to David Welch, Eli Broad, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, and their Students Matter Astroturf

First published on Schools Matter on December 22, 2012.

"And not merely pride of intellect, but dulness of intellect. And most of all, the deceitfulness; yes, the deceitfulness of intellect" — Leo Tolstoy

David Welch, Eli Broad, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher propagate liesTo David Welch, Eli Broad, Theodore J. Boutrous, Theane Evangelis Kapur, Theodore B. Olson, Enrique A. Monagas, and Joshua S. Lipshutz:

Your Students Matter website explicitly states "When it comes to education quality, numerous studies show that teachers have the greatest impact on student achievement."

Can you please produce even one peer reviewed study from a legitimate source that backs up that assertion?

As a person closely associated with top academicians in the field of education research and policy, I am not aware of any study that makes such a brazen and strident claim.

Indeed, even Eric A. Hanushek, an economist who shares your unfortunate politics and world view, has found that teachers account for no more than 13% of student achievement. A far cry from the declaration on your website, which, in the absence of any factual basis, is mendacious at best.

Since you're billionaires, businessmen, and attorneys it's safe to assume your knowledge on issues of pedagogy and education policy is negligible. With that in mind, I'll do you a favor and clarify your grossly erroneous statement, albeit even the correction is lacking nuance and context. What some initial studies have shown is that teachers are the largest of in-school factors impacting student achievement. I refer you to the aforementioned Hanushek findings to put that into some context.

I understand that neither your law firm, nor the astroturf public relations 501(c)(3) you created to disseminate misinformation, are interested in facts. That said, I felt a moral obligation to let you know that many community members are not fooled by your propaganda.

I taught bilingual catechism, primarily at St. Teresa of Avila Church, for a dozen or so years. One of the things we had to teach young children about was the definition of a lie. This idea was simple enough for 7-9 year olds to comprehend: "when you say something that you know is untrue, it's a lie." Sadly that concept is seemingly too complex for high powered litigators like yourselves to grasp.

Advocating public education and social justice

Robert D. Skeels

Candidate for District 2, Los Angeles Unified School District


Monday, December 10, 2012

Open letter to Los Angeles County Federation of Labor on School Privatization and Ms. Mónica García

"I can't wait until all contracts are thin contracts." — LAUSD President Mónica García on Unions

School Privatization Hurts Everyone

School Privatization Hurts Everyone.Privatization via charter schools removes agency from communities and encourages the lowest wages possible. Aside from eschewing organized labor within schools themselves, every aspect of privatized schools encourages the use of non-unionized labor and at-will employees. This is true from construction, to food services, to site maintenance, and every other facet of building, running, and maintaining schools.

Corporate charter chains like CNCA are under no obligation to even consider contractors with agreements with organized trade unions. Instead of their numerous projects benefiting the workers in the community, those tax dollars go into the pockets of well heeled developers. Other large charter chains like Alliance outsource to 501c3 firms all the work that would typically be done by classified union employees at public schools.

Ultimately school privatization drives down wages, commoditizes labor, and takes the dignity out of work and our communities.

President Mónica García supports school privatization

Mónica García's policies of giving schools away to outside bidders has exacerbated anti-labor practices. Even in the case where she can't eliminate organized labor, she has made disparaging remarks like "I can't wait until all contracts are thin contracts." Rather than viewing unions as partners in educating students, she treats them as adversaries. Her disdain for collective bargaining is disconcerting.

While real estate firms, contractors, and charter executives have flourished under Ms. García's leadership, we've seen a steady decline in certified and classified personnel in the district. This trend towards privatization affects all labor.

Moreover, her policies have been hurtful to the community at large. Here are a few of the more egregious things she can take credit for.

  • Mónica García has consistently ignored the voices and needs of our parents, students and communities, employing repression to stifle legitimate dissent. 
  • Under García's leadership, tens of thousands of teachers, librarians, and health and human service employees have been  subjected to reduction in force notices. While some of these educators have been rehired, the net effect has been teacher demoralization; a disincentive to enter the teaching profession; a disruption and marginalization of impoverished schools; and arguably illegal classroom overcrowding. 
  • Under García's watch, hundreds of millions of dollars in LAUSD properties and resources have been given to privately managed charter school corporations, systematically starving public schools of resources. 
  • García has overseen several destructive school reconstitutions and closures, despite warnings from scholars that such drastic "reforms" do nothing to improve outcomes. 
  • García has been a party to handing public schools over to charter corporations which are documented to perform worse than the schools they replaced. 
  • The hallmark of García's tenure has been hundreds of millions of dollars squandered on unnecessary tests, consultants, and questionable hiring priorities. This budget mismanagement has led to the current situation where programs critical to poor and immigrant families including: The School Readiness Language Development Program, Early Education Centers, Elementary Arts, and Adult Education have been cut, while the District held millions in reserve. 
  • Under García, LAUSD has taken Federal Title I and Title III funds (supporting low-income students and English Language Learners respectively) away from school sites.

In the interest of our communities and all the hard working women and men who still have the hard earned right of collective bargaining, we need to endorse school board members who will partner with labor.


Sunday, December 09, 2012

Robert D. Skeels' Talk at Association of Raza Educators on December 6, 2012

LAUSD District 2 candidate Robert D. Skeels speaking, and the following roundtable discussion at the December 6, 2012 meeting of the Association of Raza Educators Los Angeles. The topic was 'Reclaiming Education is a Human Right during this era of Neoliberalism.' The talk was in preparation for the anniversary of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, celebrated on the December 10 of each year.


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Why I enthusiastically endorse Ron Gochez for Los Angeles City Council District 9

First published on Robert D. Skeels for School Board on November 28, 2012.

Ron Gochez and John ParkerFor many years the people of Los Angeles City Council District 9 (CD9) have not been represented. Instead, deep pocketed developers have had virtually unfettered influence and access, and we've seen tragedies like the razing of the South Central Farm, the victimization of the homeless under Safer Cities Initiative, and intentional blight to displace low income families of color to make way for gentrification and development greed. Indeed the past dozen years have seen the residents of CD9 subjected to all manners of indignities, exploitations, and oppressions, including environmental racism.

Community members and groups asked long time community activist Ron Gochez to run for the CD9 seat. While Ron has never had aspirations of running for political office, he has always been responsive to the needs of his community. He is backed by a diverse, multiracial, multi-ethnic coalition of working class peoples, many of whom are immigrants, who are tired of their voices being utterly ignored on City Council.

Ron Gochez and Robert D. SkeelsI've known Ron for many years. He is a man of conviction, principle, and integrity. He has spent countless hours in selfless service to his community, and most importantly, to those who are the most vulnerable in our society. He is never afraid to speak truth to power, and he alone is the only candidate for CD9 that will represent the families and working peoples of such an underserved and exploited community.

Ron is a social justice educator both professionally in his role as a teacher, and in his every interaction with his community. We need more people of conscience to take a stand like Ron has. His campaign is known as the "People’s Campaign," and that is truly what it is. That is why I have contributed to his campaign and wholeheartedly endorse Ron Gochez for Los Angeles City Council District 9.

Robert D. Skeels
Education writer, social justice activist, and District 2 candidate for the LAUSD School Board


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

In memory of Harvey Milk: teacher witch-hunts are nothing new

First published on Robert D. Skeels for School Board on November 27, 2012.

"Gay people have been slandered nationwide. We've been tarred and we've been brushed with the picture of pornography." — Harvey Milk

Harvey MilkThe current crop of teacher-bashing political opportunists including Michelle Rhee, Ben Austin, Peter C. Cook, Gloria Romero, and Andy Smarick, are nothing new. While it's always been in vogue to attack the female dominated profession, teachers have really been in the crosshairs of reactionaries ever since they won the modicum of protections that unions provide.

San Francisco's Supervisor Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone were assassinated 34 years ago today. Milk, who had been a teacher early in his career, was a man who always spoke truth to power. When right-wing extremist John Briggs coined Proposition 6, he relied on the same bigoted thinking that we've seen in recent times with Proposition 32, and other anti-teacher, anti-student, anti-worker initiatives. While the defeat of the Briggs Initiative was clearly a watershed victory for the Gay Rights Movement, it was also victory for labor and public employees, especially school employees.

Milk was no stranger to supporting and partnering with organized labor. His successful partnership with the Teamsters was an excellent example of what today's activists need to be emulating. Milk was savvy to realize that oppressed groups need to work together in order to overcome their oppressions. The fight for gay rights, women's rights, workers' rights, immigrant rights, and all our struggles are one in the same. The other side counts on us being divided.

The corporate and neoliberal forces pushing education reform rely on divide and conquer strategies. They pit parents against educators, students against other students via standardized tests, "lucky" lottery winners against families with special needs children, and we can increase this list ad infinitum. Using deceptive language about "choice," they've begun to destroy one of the great things in our country—universal public education. We need to call out the reformers' false dichotomies for what they are. We need to strengthen the natural alliances between students, educators, parents, and community. We need to tell the privatizers that the only "choices" we want are those that assure equity for all students!

We get there by emulating Harvey Milk's coalition building. We get there by exposing billionaire funded astroturf 501c3s for having the narrow interests of their funders, not our communities. We get there by pushing all unions—especially those in our schools—into social justice unionism. We get there by electing school board members who will be activists and advocates on behalf of their communities.

The struggle continues.


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Refocusing LAUSD on reading and learning instead of testing

First published on Robert D. Skeels for School Board on November 24, 2012.

It's difficult to explain exactly what being poor is all about, or why access to books and ideas might be as important as a free breakfast. — Walter Dean Myers

The Power of Reading by Stephen KrashenHope Is an Open Book, an op-ed piece by author Walter Dean Myers, was tweeted this morning by educator Susan Ohanian. While written in 2005, Myers' message about access to books is profound and even more urgent today with canned corporate education solutions that narrow curriculum dominating policy. Sadly, Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) is run by a Superintendent who neither values books, nor libraries. This has to change, and change quickly. We need to shutdown LAUSD's testing-industrial-complex and reopen both our school and classroom libraries. Reopening libraries also means rehiring credentialed librarian-educators. We can pay for that by ditching discredited and expensive attempts to tie teacher evaluations to test scores (VAM/AGT) and use the millions of squandered dollars associated with them. Read with your children, read in front of your children, and let them choose their own reading materials. It's a proven formula for fostering authentic life-long learning.

Free Voluntary Reading (FVR) is a well researched methodology in which students are allowed to choose their own reading materials. Professor Stephen Krashen and his colleagues have found that "[r]ecreational reading or reading for pleasure is the major source of our reading competence, our vocabulary, and our ability to handle complex grammatical constructions." The Power of Reading, Second Edition: Insights from the Research is an excellent text to familiarize oneself with the concepts and research behind FVR.


Monday, October 29, 2012

Schools Matter: How the VAM/AGT pseudoscience worm turns

First published on Schools Matter on October 29, 2012.

While value-added models are intended estimate teacher effects on student achievement growth, they fail to do so in any accurate or precise way — Dr. Bruce D. Baker

VAM and AGT are discredited and harmful to public educationMaybe it's karma, but Kyle Hunsberger of the Gates Foundation backed astroturf TeachPlus, and one of Los Angeles Unified School District's biggest cheerleaders of the highly discredited VAM/AGT pseudosciences, is now a victim of that selfsame modern phrenology.

This quote is pretty amazing coming from a bona fides member of the "no excuses" camp.

"I have to be reassured that I don't have to lobby for honors students," Hunsberger said. "I have to know that I have a shot at a good evaluation if I teach lower-performing kids."

Maybe he'll be a former member of that camp from here out, now that he's experienced the practical application of his faulty theoretical framework. That framework incorrectly posits that "effective" teaching "overcomes" any other factor including poverty, student motivation, or even English Language Learner status.

Call me cynical, but I doubt Michael Stryer and James Encinas, Hunsberger's TeachPlus coauthors of this fact-free Op-Ed shilling for value added measures will stand by him now that the worm has turned. Corporate reformers are just like that, they're snakes and most venomous to anyone who break ranks and start telling the truth.

Let's stop testing children and start teaching them. Standardized tests are a perversion. NCLB/RTTT/CCSS are the real "status quo" and an abject failure at that.


Monday, October 22, 2012

Second Community Based LAUSD District 2 Candidate Forum Announced

I am honored to have been invited to this event and am looking forward to discussing critical education issues. Many thanks to the District 2 Neighborhood Coalition for organizing these forums. Thanks to PESJA, CARECEN, MALDEF, and others for endorsing the event.

A very prominent candidate was missing from the first forum...


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Yes on 30! No on 32!

Yes on 30! No on 32! Tax Millionaire and Stop Their Power Grab.

Yes on 30! No on 32! Tax Millionaire and Stop Their Power Grab.

It's time for Ben Austin, Gloria Romero, and Eli Broad to pay their fair share!


Thursday, October 04, 2012

First Community Based LAUSD District 2 Candidate Forum Announced

I am honored to have been invited to this event and am looking forward to discussing critical education issues. Many thanks to the District 2 Neighborhood Coalition for organizing these forums.


ALEC/DFER's Gloria Romero Stands Her Ground on Won't Back Down

ALEC/DFER's Gloria Romero Stands Her Ground on Won't Back Down

"The idea of “choice” has been manipulated by the corporate reformers and spread by groups like ALEC, who seek to use methods such as the Parent Trigger to turn public schools over to privately-managed charters. This is not real choice; nor is it parent empowerment." — Parents Across America.

My commentary in response to: Gloria Romero: 'Parent Trigger' fight hits the big screen. First published on Schools Matter on 2012-10-04.

The corporate charter trigger film is a shameful farce, and it isn't just film critics that have realized that the Murdoch/Anschutz financed propaganda piece is a joke. Daniel Barnz's Won't Back Down holds the dubious distinction of having the WORST opening weekend for a wide release (2,500-plus screens) in the last 30 years. Audiences aren't interested paying to see such strident and insulting nonsense.

Ms. Romero, who discusses "special interests," should be taken very seriously on that issue. She is an expert in special interests after all. As a politician she enjoyed a constant flood of campaign funds from the lucrative charter school sector to craft pernicious legislation like SB 592, which hands public school property over to private corporations.

Romero and Austin's corporate charter trigger law, which she forgets to mention had plenty of input from Bill Lucia of Reed Hastings' EdVoice (one of Romero's favorite corporate contributors by the way), and Friedman acolyte Arnold Schwartzenegger. These fringe-right forces made sure the trigger law would be amenable to The Heartland Institute and The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). The former is the trigger law's biggest promoter, the latter turned the commons robbing idea in ALEC template legislation.

When her billionaire special interest backers couldn't buy her the State Superintendent job, they gave her the next best thing: a quarter million dollar a year gig with the hedge fund supported DFER. In other words, Romero went from taking money from special interests while she was in Sacramento, to being one of the deep pocketed special interests influencing her former colleagues to push through more revenue streams through school privatization.


Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Help Save LAUSD's Crenshaw and Dorsey High Schools


Join Crenshaw and Dorsey High Schools at an EMERGENCY Community Meeting

Join Us at Our Community Meeting
Thursday, October 4, 5:30pm – 7:30pm
African-American Cultural Center
3018 W. 48th Street, LA, 90043 (at corner of 9th Avenue)

Save LAUSD's Crenshaw and Dorsey High Schools.After years of instability and lack of support from LAUSD, Crenshaw High School has been on its way back. A dedicated team of educators, parents, students, alumni, administrators, and community have been working in collaboration with the school’s partner, the Greater Crenshaw Educational Partnership (GCEP), to ensure that every student’s potential is fully developed. This includes:

  • Ensuring that every student masters the tools necessary to go to college or into a well-paying career after graduation.
  • Reducing the number of student suspensions and expulsions.
  • mproving school safety and providing wrap-around services to meet families’ needs.
  • Ensuring that every student can productively contribute to their community.

Crenshaw has developed a nationally-recognized instructional program that encourages academic excellence through building the self-confidence of students. The program provides students with:

  • Internships with local businesses and organizations.
  • College application workshops.
  • Exciting community learning projects that put knowledge and skills into action.
  • Opportunities to engage in great athletic, music, art, and social/emotional health programs.

Now, Superintendent Deasy wants to end Crenshaw’s partnership with GCEP. This will dramatically disrupt the school’s positive direction and programs that serve students. It will directly threaten Crenshaw’s ability to continue to raise funds from national sources to serve students. It will open the school to reconstitution (removing all faculty and staff) or charter turn-over. These two policies are not supported by research and cut students off from vital and ongoing people and programs.

Superintendent Deasy is threatening the school at the same time that the District has not provided Crenshaw and other South LA schools with the basics – up-to-date technology and materials, staffing for complete academic and college counseling, a full-time nurse, training in Positive Behavior Support, and support for site administrators. The school and GCEP have done a remarkable job of filling in these gaps, but LAUSD’s irresponsibility in these areas is felt deeply.

Crenshaw joins with Dorsey and South LA communities to demand that LAUSD not terminate the GCEP partnership, and that the District support rather than destroy promising reforms for students.

Dorsey Dons Fighting Reconstitution on facebook


Monday, October 01, 2012

Schools Matter: Kopp's shameless self-promotion in the guise of a Kozol book review

"Ms. Kopp's husband, Richard Barth, was an Edison executive before taking over as CEO of KIPP's national foundation, where he has sought to decertify its New York City unions." — Jesse James Alred

Separate is never equal: TFA, KIPP, and corporate charter schools are the new Jim Crow.One thing I'll concede to the corporate education reformers is their uncanny ability to use anything as a sales pitch for neoliberalism and profitability. Perhaps the most egregious example of this was Arne "Katrina Schadenfreude" Duncan's racist pro-charter school statement that the abject disaster was "the best thing that happened to the education system in New Orleans." Not to be outdone by a dullard second rate basketball player masquerading as Secretary of Education, education reform mogol Wendy Kopp has taken the dark art of corporate spin to a whole new level.

See my Schools Matter post, Kopp's shameless self-promotion in the guise of a Kozol book review, for the rest of this essay.

Published 2012-09-29 on Schools Matter, please read it there and share widely.


Robert D. Skeels, candidato al distrito 2 para desplazar a Mónica García

Robert D. Skeels explica por qué se ha lanzado como candidato al distrito 2 para desplazar a Mónica García, a quien considera pésima dirigente escolar.

Programa de radio dedicado a la educación en Los Angeles, California - Martes y viernes 9pm por W Radio 690 AM y 11pm México por Facebook:


EchoParkPatch: Expired food products being served by Walmart Foundation funded LAUSD Breakfast in the Classroom

"So long as there are children who are coming to school hungry, there will be a need for school breakfast programs, and until workers are guaranteed a living wage, there will undoubtedly be hungry kids." — Dana Woldow

Expired Oatmeal Bars arrive for the day's Breakfast in the Classroom (BIC)Ballyhooed as "historic" by Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) President Mónica García, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, and Broad Foundation backed InnerCity Struggle, Breakfast in the Classroom (BIC) is a poorly thought out program with noble intentions, but plagued from start by insurmountable implementation issues.

See my EchoParkPatch post, Expired food products being served by Walmart Foundation funded LAUSD Breakfast in the Classroom, for the rest of this essay.

Published 2012-09-27 on EchoParkPatch, please read it there and share widely.


Schools Matter: Comments on Fordham's Adam Emerson's latest pro-CCSA screed

The driving assumption for the pro-charter side, of course, is that market competition in education will be like that for toothpaste — providing an array of appealing options. But education, like healthcare, is not a typical consumer market. Providers in these fields have a disincentive to accept or retain “clients” who require intensive interventions to maintain desired outcomes—in the case of education, high standardized test scores that will allow charters to stay in business. The result? A segmented marketplace in which providers compete for the “good risks,” while the undesirables get triage. By design, markets produce winners, losers and unintended or hidden consequences. — Christopher Bonastia

Those who can teach, those who cannot pass laws about teaching. Fordham troglodyte Adam Emerson stepped up on behalf of the billionaire funded California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) today with an essay attacking the Los Angeles Unified School District's mulling a charter moratorium while investigations into widespread fraud, graft, and criminality are conducted. Short on facts, but chock full of propaganda, Emerson defends the lucrative charter industry and its nefarious trade association, the CCSA. I had some choice comments for Emerson and his fellow baggers, birthers, birchers, and choicers:

See my Schools Matter post, Comments on Fordham's Adam Emerson's latest pro-CCSA screed, for the rest of this essay.

Published 2012-09-18 on Schools Matter, please read it there and share widely.

Share/Bookmark Petitions to Move LAUSD Board Meetings to the Evening

From my LAUSD Campaign Site on September 6, 2012

For far too long only the well-paid members of the Nonprofit Industrial Complex (NPIC) posing as parents have been able to attend public LAUSD board meetings. Why? Because the meetings are intentionally held when working people...well, are at work or attending school. This petition calls on LAUSD to move public meetings to the evening so that the true voice of the community will be heard. Parents, students, educators, and community have been shut out of LAUSD. Meanwhile the charter industry and the NPICs have dominated the dialog and continue to provide the "Anschutz Four" board members political cover.

As a District 2 Trustee candidate for LAUSD, I endorse all efforts to make board meetings accessible to real stakeholders, and not just the NPICs and wealthy charter sector executives. Download these bilingual petitions and get them into our communities!


Chicago Teachers Union Versus Astroturf Billionaires

Billionaires like the Koch Brothers, Betsy DeVos, and Bill Gates fund astroturf tools like Jonah Edelman, Rebecca Nieves Huffman, and Kyle Olson. Working with anti-working class politicians like Rahm Emanuel, these groups and individuals strive to privatize public education, union bust, and profit off the sufferings of the poor. Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) is on the front lines of the battle to save public education, but they are fighting right-wing forces with limitless resources. Their bold actions in the face of overwhelming odds may well be the turning point in the battle to prevent the neoliberal project from eliminating public education nationwide. They need our support, please contribute to the CTU Solidarity Fund.

Here's CTU's introduction to the film:

The Chicago Teachers Union is currently on the front lines of a fight to defend public education. On one side the 30,000 members of the CTU have called for a contract that includes fair compensation, meaningful job security for qualified teachers, smaller class sizes and a better school day with Art, Music, World Language and appropriate staffing levels to help our neediest students.

On the other side, the Chicago Board of Education—which is managed by out of town reformers and Broad Foundation hires with little or no Chicago public school experience—has pushed to add two weeks to the school year and 85 minutes to the school day, eliminate pay increases for seniority, evaluate teachers based on student test scores, and slash many other rights.

Teachers, parents and community supporters in Chicago have fought valiantly—marching, filling auditoriums at hearings and parent meetings, even occupying a school and taking over a school board meeting. Most recently, 98 percent of our members voted to authorize a strike. But now we find ourselves facing new opponents—national education privatizers, backed by some of the nation's wealthiest people. They are running radio ads, increasing press attacks, and mounting a PR campaign to discredit the CTU and the benefits of public education.


Schools Matter: Tami Abdollah and John Deasy gush that 'Size Matters'

"Just continue to follow the money. This Race to the Trough will make the Reading First crooks under Bush look like dopey Boy Scouts." — Professor Jim Horn

Plutocratic priest of privatization, LAUSD Superintendent John DeasyThe neoliberal cabal at Southern California's KPCC can't cheerlead for school privatization loud or frequently enough. Not content with Pat Morrison lobbing softballs to Broad Superintendent Academy graduate and former Gates Foundation employee John Deasy once a week, KPCC's intrepid education beat reporters are always looking for the latest anti-public-school story angle.

See my Schools Matter post, Tami Abdollah and John Deasy gush that 'Size Matters', for the rest of this essay.

Published 2012-08-15 on Schools Matter, please read it there and share widely.


The Daily Censored: Mónica García champions the Gülenist Charter Movement in LAUSD

First published on The Daily Censored on August 5, 2012.

"This increasingly well-rooted network provides the Gulen Movement with daily access to the minds of over 45,000 students, and yearly access to hundreds of millions of hard-earned tax dollars." — Sharon Higgins

Corporate Education Reformer and Gülenist Champion Mónica García, President LAUSDCharter schools are privately managed entities with negligible oversight, but funded with public money. The somewhat secretive Gülenist Islamic sect, named after charismatic Turkish Imam Fethullah Gülen, runs more charter schools than any other charter school chain in the United States. While there's nothing wrong with privately financed religious schools, it's problematic at best that public funds are being used to fund religious charter chains.

The cultish Gülenist Movement currently operates eight such privately managed charter schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). Several more are slated to open after having won approval under the woefully misnamed "Public School Choice" (PSC) resolution, brewed by former LAUSD District 5 Trustee, Yolie Flores, who was also an employee of the Gates Foundation while concurrently "serving" the school district. Flores' PSC gives brand new school facilities built with public money away to charter school corporations like the Gülenist Magnolia Science Academy.

The individual most responsible for the proliferation of Gülen Charter Schools in LAUSD is the Board President herself, Mónica García. García's ties to the Gülenists are long-standing, and she is a tenacious advocate on their behalf. She is speaking at the Gülenist Pacifica Institute in September 2012 regarding her prominent role in corporate education reform and the unprecedented privatization of LAUSD under her neoliberal reign. The Pacifica Institute ran into controversy last year, when Armenian groups protested the organization's ties to Turkish groups denying the 1915-1918 Armenian genocide. That García chooses to be so insensitive to the considerable Armenian population in her school district is most likely attributable to the fact that there are no Armenian organizations managing large chains of lucrative charter schools in LAUSD.

Advocating for the Gülenist movement and speaking at their events have paid handsome dividends for García. In addition to helping proliferate more privately managed charters schools, the Gülenists have been very generous donors to García's political coffers. García, who raised more than $100,000 in just two months for her 2013 reelection bid, counts several Gülenist operatives among her contributors. Suleyman Bahceci, CEO of Magnolia Charter Corporation, donated $250, as did Varol Gurler, Magnolia's CAO. The Pacifica Institute's Director, Ferdi Mesut Ates, chipped in $100. Pacifica's Ilker Yildiz contributed likewise. Undoubtedly, García will continue to rake in cash from the Gülenist machine, as she has from most of the lucrative corporate charter chains. In an ethical education environment, donations from corporate charters to district board members that have the power to grant them their charters and give them choice facilities would be considered a conflict of interest.

Corporate charter school magnate Yvonne Chan also recently donated to García's efforts to capture a third term as a LAUSD Trustee. Milken Educator Award winner Chan, despite a vested interest in the charter school industry, is on the California State Board of Education (SBOE). Like García, Chan has a long and rewarding history with the Gülen Charter Movement. In fact, she made sure that she and her other SBOE members granted Magnolia its Statewide Benefit Charter because:

Yvonne Chan had been on a free, Gulenist-guided trip to Turkey courtesy of the Pacifica Institute in one of the years just prior.

Incidentally, California isn't the only state where the Gülen "leaders lavish gifts and dinners on" politicians.

The Gülen Movement and their ubiquitous Gülen charter schools loom so large on the American education landscape that CBS' 60 Minuntes devoted a full length segment entitled: U.S. charter schools tied to powerful Turkish imam to this phenomenon of school privatization.

What's important here isn't which kind of religious group runs these schools, but that public funds are being used to support schools having overarching political and religious agendas like the Gülenist do. This is no different than the right-wing Milton Friedman inspired capitalism indoctrination American Indian Public Charter Schools and Green Dot Public Schools push on their hapless pupils. The former actually requires their charter school students to make daily pledges to our abject political economy. Nor is it any different than the charter school chain that teaches its students that Emmett Till's brutal murder was a just desert for what they termed his "sexual harassment." The selfsame Celerity Charter Chain pushes a "post-racial curriculum" that ignores institutional racism in favor of students self-colonizing by "dress[ing] for success..." rather than "focus[ing] on how the history of the country has been checkered." Because there's little to no oversight or regulation for the privately managed charter school sector, these and many more such incidents will continue unabated.

There's another major problem with García's expansion of Gülen charter schools in LAUSD. Part of the Gülenist modus operandi is to staff their schools with teachers lacking credentials (part and parcel the standard in the charter school industry), many of whom have never taught before at all. Gülen schools bring in Turkish businessmen and professionals on 1HB visas to teach, yet there is currently a glut of highly qualified, credentialed, unemployed teachers in LAUSD. Gülen supporters claim a lack of educators versed in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), but the reality is that there's neither a shortage of STEM workers nor teachers in the United States. Instead, Gülen movement watchdogs have demonstrated a pattern of abuse in regards to H1B visas.

Ultimately, the failings of Gülen Charter Schools are the same as with all charter schools. They are privately managed. They have unelected boards. They have a glaring lack of transparency both in terms of finances and operations. They contribute to the deprofessionalization of teaching. They undermine public schools and the bare semblance of democracy which those pubic commons represent. They are, to all intents and purposes, private organizations with access to a publicly financed revenue stream. Johathan Kozol's prescient prediction that our public school system was on the corporate auction block is being borne out by the expansion of Charter Management Organizations. Gülen Charter Schools are a symptom of a much deeper systemic problem known as neoliberalism.

School board trustees are elected to represent their community's interests in regards to public schools. That Mónica García is so beholden to the competing interests of the lucrative charter school sector raises serious concerns of opportunism, greed, and favoritism. Her championing of the Gülenist charter movement is further proof that she has little to no consideration of her constituents and our community's schoolchildren.

Special thanks to Sharon Higgins of The Perimeter Primate, Charter School Scandals, and The Broad Report for her copious existing research on this topic and encouraging me to write this specific piece. See this video for an idea of the breadth of her knowledge: Charters, Privatization Of Education & The Gulen Schools In The US: Sharon Higgins Speaks Out


Schools Matter: Obscuring history and human agency through NCLB, RTTT and CCSS

"Prior research, then, strongly suggests that charter programs have not lived up to their initial promise of transcending the segregating effects of traditional district boundary lines. In fact, these studies indicate charters exacerbate already rampant school segregation, particularly for Black students." — Erica Frankenberg, Genevieve Siegel-Hawley, Jia Wang

The Smith and Carlos Statue at San José State University
The Smith and Carlos Statue
at San José State University
I was reading Dave Zirin's latest piece, Fists of Freedom: An Olympic Story Not Taught in School, this morning and several things stood out and had me thinking in terms of how Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and its related high-stakes testing regimes not only distort curriculum, but how they are intended to distort students' consciousness of their reality.

See my Schools Matter post, Obscuring history and human agency through NCLB, RTTT and CCSS, for the rest of this essay.

Published 2012-07-25 on Schools Matter, please read it there and share widely.


Schools Matter: New Jersey's big fat corporate ed reform liars

Al denounced the idea of charters when it became clear that the concept had changed and was being hijacked by corporate and business interests. In Al’s view, such hijacking would result in the privatization of public education and, ultimately, its destruction — all without improving student outcomes. — Edith Shanker

Chris Christie and Laura Waters wreaking havoc on Garden State educationIt all started a few days ago when Edison scoundrel and Broadyte Chris Cerf published a fact-free diatribe extolling a charter school solution to a non-existant problem. To say that Cerf plays fast and loose with facts would be the understatement of the summer, but his most mendacious statements (and a grievous factual error) occur in regards to the venerable Albert Shanker.

See my Schools Matter post, New Jersey's big fat corporate ed reform liars, for the rest of this essay.

Published 2012-07-21 on Schools Matter, please read it there and share widely.