Monday, March 26, 2012

Why everyone effected by the LAUSD cuts needs to come to Thursday’s rally at Mariachi Plaza


Micheltorena Screening: The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for Superman

The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for Superman Micheltorena Screening


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Save Our Adult Schools Rally, March 29, 2012 at 1:30PM La Plaza del Mariachi Boyle Heights

20120328 Save Our Adult Schools Rally


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Speaking truth to Eva Moskowitz and Gideon Stein's wealth and power

What is really, really outrageous to me — as a thirty year...forty years in this community, of advocacy — is that there has been a systematic exclusion of the leadership of this community. — Frances Lucerna (El Puente Leaders for Peace and Justice)

The illustrious Real Reform Studios bring us this brilliant short documentary showing the community of Los Sures' principled resistance against the vile privatizers running the lucrative Harlem Success Academy.

Pay close attention to hedge fund backed Moskowitz's advertising budget. That huge amount alone would provide arts programs or English Language Learner classes for many students. Also, see Karen Sprowel's testimony about how her special needs child was mistreated by the Stein and Moskowitz money making machine.

Please support the Grassroots Education Movement and Real Reform Studios. The work they do on behalf of social justice and public schools is invaluable. If you haven't seen (or even if you have) The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for Superman, arrange a house party showing now!

Colocation is a crime, let charters locate on someone else's dime!


Saturday, March 17, 2012

LAUSD Adult Education's Lorenzo: "Learning English and Spanish Saved my life"

Knowing only his indigenous language when he arrived to the US ten years ago, he was homeless and lived under a bridge...learning English enabled him to get a job and, subsequently, the resources to provide for himself, get off the street, and live in a house. Video taken during the United Adult Students strategic planning meeting on Saturday, February 18, 2012. — SaveAdultEdNOW


Thursday, March 15, 2012

National Coalition for Literacy: On adult education's critical role in social justice

"It's also important to note that adult education serves an important social justice role in that it allows people to improve their lives despite a system that benefits from their remaining underprivileged." — Robert D. Skeels

Save Evans Adult School and all of LAUSD DACE Photo by Yoon Jung Lee.
Photo by Yoon Jung Lee
My latest essay entitled On adult education's critical role in social justice was published March 13, 2012 on the National Coalition for Literacy's site as part of their discussion series on "Cut the Excuses, Not Education! How Is Fighting the Proposal to Eliminate Adult Education in L.A."

The article series featured students, educators and activists engaged in the struggle to save Los Angeles Unified School District's Division of Adult and Career Education from the designs of neoliberalism. Speaking on behalf of my fellow activists, we genuinely appreciate the National Coalition for Literacy bringing our struggle to a national audience. What happens in Los Angeles is often a bellwether, and we can only hope that our struggles won't be in vain and inspires people to stand up to what Freire called "neoliberal fatalism."

National Coalition for Literacy's mission is to advance adult education, family literacy, and English language acquisition in the U.S. by increasing public awareness for the need to increase funding and programs; promoting effective public policy; and serving as an authoritative resource for the field on national adult education issues.

Published 2012-03-13 on National Coalition for Literacy, please read it there and share widely.


Must Read: Why the Racist History of the Charter School Movement Is Never Discussed

Anyone over the age of 30 should recall phrases including "school choice" were the clarion call of segregationists and southern dixiecrats. [Still are.] — Robert D. Skeels

privatization = segregationProfessor Christopher Bonastia's Why the Racist History of the Charter School Movement Is Never Discussed is perhaps the best work I've read on the modern segregation and eugenics movements that are cloaked in the rhetoric of school choice. Packed with historical precedents and an honest assessment of today's empirical data, the essay is a powerful antidote to the nonstop stream of privatization propaganda pumped out by the deep pocketed charter industry. The following excerpt provides an idea of why everyone must read the whole piece:

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.

Read in on AlterNet and share it widely.


UW-Madison School of Education Dean Julie Underwood Discusses ALEC


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Today's protests at LAUSD, an appeal for action

I just want to say that while my steadfast support of PUBLIC education is well known, I have a very special place in my heart for what DACE does and who it serves. This goes far beyond having a member of my household enrolled. All of those you serve are the ones that are the most vulnerable in this brutal system we live in. I promise that Yoon and I will fight alongside all of you until the last, we can't let them take this away from people that have nothing else to turn to. — Robert D. Skeels (In a note to Adult School Teachers)

Save LAUSD from vile corporate predators. Only thing missing in pic is Philip Anschutz and Eli Broad holding Mayor Villaraigosa's strings.I'm not sure if all of you have heard, but the Superintendent is presenting a draconian budget to the LAUSD Board of Trustees to vote on today. Even though the alleged budget shortfall is only 10%, Deasy (a former Gates Foundation executive and a graduate of the Broad Superintendent's academy) has crafted a budget that will eliminate education for 35% of the district's students and eliminate 100% of Elementary Arts and after-school services. Garcia and Deasy are threatening to lay off nearly 10,000 people in this round, meanwhile charters are sucking up resources and real estate.

While the elimination of Elementary Arts and after-school services directly effect K-12 families, I hope that everyone will realize that the elimination of SRLDP, Early Education, and Adult Education are attacks on the most vulnerable in society and represent a human tragedy.

If any of you have late afternoon to early evening availability, I'm pleading with you to show up and join the protests at Beaudry today. Here's the Adult Ed flyer, but to be sure SRLDP and all the other impacted programs will be out in force today. Tell the District not to balance the budget on the backs of the poor and most needy.

For anyone that tells you that Adult Education isn't important, or tries to divide us by saying its a choice between adults OR children, always remember it's about adults AND children. Share this with everyone:

Improving mothers' literacy skills may be best way to boost children's achievement

Researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health concluded that programs to boost the academic achievement of children from low income neighborhoods might be more successful if they also provided adult literacy education to parents.

The researchers based this conclusion on their finding that a mother's reading skill is the greatest determinant of her children’s future academic success, outweighing other factors, such as neighborhood and family income.

The analysis, performed by Narayan Sastry, Ph.D., of the University of Michigan, and Anne R. Pebley, Ph.D., of the University of California, Los Angeles, examined data on more than 3,000 families.

The study, appearing in Demography, was supported by NIH's Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

"The findings indicate that programs to improve maternal literacy skills may provide an effective means to overcome the disparity in academic achievement between children in poor and affluent neighborhoods," said Rebecca Clark, Ph.D., chief of the Demographic and Behavioral Sciences Branch at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), the NIH institute that funded the study.

After mother's reading level, neighborhood income level was the largest determinant of children's academic achievement.

The researchers undertook the study to isolate factors contributing to the disparity in academic achievement that other studies have found between children in low income and affluent neighborhoods.

Sastry and Pebley's analysis was based on data collected between April 2000 and December 2001 as part of the Los Angeles Family and Neighborhood Survey, an ongoing examination of families in 65 LA county communities. The information included the results of reading and math assessments of 2,350 children ages 3 to 17, their mothers' education level, census records of neighborhood income, and family income and assets. The participants in the study were representative of the larger Los Angeles community.

Sastry and Pebley noted that neighborhood income had the largest impact on achievement for children ages 8 to 17, who are at the middle and higher end of the age range. This is consistent with the idea that the environment outside the home becomes more important as children grow older, they said.

"This analysis gives us a chance to isolate the different factors that affect children’s achievement," Dr. Sastry said. "Policy measures to encourage mixed-income neighborhoods, improve early childhood education, and build mothers’ reading skills each could have positive effects on children’s achievement scores."

The NICHD sponsors research on development, before and after birth; maternal, child, and family health; reproductive biology and population issues; and medical rehabilitation. For more information, visit the Institute’s Web site at

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit


Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Save LAUSD Adult Education Rally March 13, 2012

Save LAUSD Adult Education Rally March 13, 2012


Monday, March 05, 2012

Adult School Students explain why Adult Schools are so important!


Open Letter to Silver Lake NC Regarding motion opposing Prop 39 Colocation of Micheltorena Street ES

A group for schools, communities and families struggling against the divisive and inequitable law that allows private charter school corporations to seize and occupy space on public school campuses.Dear Silver Lake Neighborhood Council:

As an eighteen year 90026 resident and a long time supporter of Micheltorena Street Elementary School, I urge you not to cave into the California Charter Schools Association's (CCSA) pressure to remove the following motion from the agenda for the March 7, 2012 Board Meeting:

VIII.c. Motion: Micheltorena Elementary School – Charter Co-location (proposal to not support co-location between schools per LAUSD/Prop 39)

Firstly, the representatives of Silverlake residents deserve to make their voices heard on this important issue without interference from outside organizations with vested interests. The proposed colocation of Micheltorena Street Elementary School won't only be disruptive to Micheltorena and the immediate community, but the community at large and surrounding neighborhoods. In my observation Prop 39 is a divisive and inequitable law that allows private charter school corporations to seize and occupy space on public school campuses. As one of the social justice writers who documented [1] the ordeals of the Gabriella Charter Corporation colocation of Logan Street ES,  I can tell you firsthand how divisive and destructive Prop 39 Colocations are. Initial research by community members and myself have brought up some grave questions about Citizens of the World Charter (CWC) Corporation as well.

Moreover, the CCSA  is not an organization the Neighborhood Council should be acquiescing to. Perhaps a brief history of their organization is in order. The CCSA was co-founded and led for years by right-wing reactionary Steve Poizner [2]. Poizner, if you recall, was a gubernatorial candidate whose platform was viciously anti-immigrant, anti-woman, and anti-gay rights. Obviously, these are positions incongruent with the progressive families and residents of Silver Lake. The CCSA serves on behalf of the lucrative charter schools sector much like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce does for big business. The CCSA receives billions from ALEC allies, right-wing billionaires, and ideologically charged foundations to carry out a school privatization agenda. For example, the arch-conservative Walton Family Foundation recently handed the CCSA 15 Million Dollars  [3] for it's dubious activities which are ultimately all aimed at increasing market share for the burgeoning charter school industry. [4]

Yet this about more than whether CWC Corporation has a spotty past or whether the CCSA uses its vast wealth and political influence to disenfranchise communities. This is about Micheltorena Street ES, the tremendous progress it has made, and the exciting future it can have. As a longtime advocate of dual language immersion programs, I would be saddened to see the proposed Micheltorena program lose the opportunity to flourish because of a collocation. Public School principals under duress of brokering and peace-keeping between their public schools and the privately managed charter schools occupying their campuses aren't able to devote all their energies to their own school. We've seen this exhausting ordeal with Logan's Principal Luis Ochoa, who won the Echo Park Patch 2011 Person of the Year [5], despite the pressures of a colocation by their bad neighbor in Gabriella Charter Corporation.

Indeed, Micheltorena Street Elementary School families and the Silverlake community benefit greatly from their public school. It would be a tragedy not to use every available resource to resist the colocation of the school. As the Neighborhood Council is the voice of the community, I urge you to allow this vote and to support public schools against the tide of school privatization.

Advocating public education and social justice

Robert D. Skeels

[1]  Two articles on the tragic situation at Logan and
[2] Poizner founding CCSA and on immigration on women's rights and Prop 8
[3]  See LA Times