Wednesday, June 19, 2013

@TCFKSM: Speaking even more truth to Parent Revolution plutocrat power

First published on @TCFKSM on June 19, 2013

"The resolution by board member Steve Zimmer requires the district to independently verify the signatures and how they're gathered by Parent Revolution, the group that helps to organize parents in efforts to take over schools. The district will also increase the amount and types of information available, such as an analysis of five years of school data and the types of reforms attempted in the past." — Barbara Jones, Daily News

Ben Austin and Shirley Ford of ALEC's Parent RevolutionThe poverty pimps and privatization pushers at the plutocrat funded Parent Revolution are a little bit rattled right now. After their corporate drive by at Los Angeles' Weigand Elementary resulted in 21 of 22 teachers departing in solidarity with their outstanding principal who was targeted by gunman Austin, the local press and others took notice and were critical. Even the Nonprofit Quarterly took issue with Parent Revolution's unsavory tactics. Professor Diane Ravitch's cogent critiques of Parent Revolution have been so effective, that Ben Austin attacked her on Huffington Post, and now they've created a blog to "debunk" the esteemed education historian's factual dismantling of their astroturf organization.

Parent Revolution was totally caught off guard when Los Angeles Unified School District's (LAUSD) Steve Zimmer introduced a resolution intended to curtail some of their one sided war on public schools. The resolution passed, and there's a chance it could lead to an eventual repeal of the awful legislation. I sent the following note to the LAUSD board members today prior to the historic vote to check the plutocrats' Parent Revolution Pinkertons.

Important evidence supporting Mr. Zimmer's resolution

As the Honorable Members of the Board of Education consider Mr. Zimmer's "Comprehensive Information for Parent Initiated School Transformation" resolution to request provisions for transparency, information, and equity in the Parent Empowerment Act (aka Parent Trigger), it may help to understand why those glaring issues weren't addressed in the first place.

Parent Revolution's Ben Austin was a paid advocate for the lucrative charter school industry before, during, and after the entire process of crafting the regulations for the so-called Parent Trigger. While the two former time periods were unethical, the latter time period was illegal, and Austin received an official letter of censorship from the California State Board of Education (SBE) for breaking California law by lobbying for and tampering with the regulations. That letter is attached and can be also read here:

It tells Parent Revolution's Austin "...please immediately discontinue any paid advocacy to the State Board of Education including advocacy on the Parent Empowerment regulations.

Unfortunately, the letter was too little, too late. All of the anti-democratic provisions in the trigger regulations like the faculty gag rule, rules against holding open informational meetings at schools, no rules providing equity for all stakeholders -- including parents that don't sign the petition, and every other rule crafted to provide Austin's billionaire funded organization with every advantage had already been codified by Austin before he was censured. The milquetoast slap on the wrist didn't reverse or mitigate the abject damage the law has allowed Austin and his group to wreak on our communities.

Why should our Board of Education vote in favor of this resolution and be doing everything it can overturn the trigger? When laws are immoral and serve to perpetuate classism, racism, and other oppressions, we have a moral duty to resist, defy, and even break them. Doesn't matter if it's the Parent Trigger, the Fugitive Slave Law, or the 1870s Enforcement Act. Every era has deplorable laws that exist to serve those on top and to undermine the conditions of working people, the Parent Trigger is just one in a long line of unconscionable crimes against the most vulnerable.

I urge you all to vote yes on the Comprehensive Information for Parent Initiated School Transformation resolution.

Advocating public education and social justice

Robert D. Skeels

PS: Several former Parent Revolution staffers have remarked on Deputy Director Gabe Rose's hygiene issues. Today's tweet from the LAUSD Board Room by Hillel Aron of the right-wing LA School Report really drove home how unsettling this is.

The Parent Trigger, a racist law to empower corporate reformers in their quest for privatization and austerity

Public Schools, Private Agendas: Parent Revolution by Gary Cohn on April 2, 2013


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