Thursday, July 25, 2013

Ethnic Cleansing Illustrated: The Echo Parque Gang Injunction. Join the resistance!

Ethnic Cleansing Illustrated: The Echo Parque Gang Injunction

The rapid gentrification of Echo Parque and its surrounds just can’t happen fast enough for development firms like Van Daele Homes and others waiting to profit from the Glendale Boulevard Corridor Project. Standing in their way are low income households with children—predominantly families of color and indigenous peoples.

On the right is an overlay of the proposed gang injunction over the area income map. Neighborhoods that poor families of color have lived in for decades, and in some cases generations, are targeted. This damning visual evidence confirms the project as being what can only be termed ethnic cleansing. Both the former and current Los Angeles City Attorneys received donations from developers with stakes in the Glendale Boulevard Corridor.

Join the the resistance:

“Gentrification is Genocide!” — 2008 Graffiti on the Patras’ parking lot wall


Thursday, July 11, 2013

LASM: AALA and UTLA Presidents write LAUSD Board Members with serious concerns over Superintendent's irresponsible comments and behavior

First published on LASM on July 11, 2013

Deasy stayed at the Gates Foundation only a year and a half, practicing that "responsible philanthropy," which amounts to handing out money with one hand while throwing a bomb with the other. Many speculate that the Gates job was just a holding pattern for the Los Angeles appointment, which will give him the opportunity to turn LA in to the Gates model district. — Susan Ohanian

It's about time that someone demanded the Superintendent follow the directives of the elected representatives of the people of Los Angeles rather than those of the small minded tyrant named Eli calling the shots from 10900 Wilshire Boulevard. Let's applaud both Dr. Perez and Mr. Fletcher for this wonderfully worded letter demanding a modicum accountability from Mr. Deasy.

Dear Board Members:

We are writing on behalf of the members of our two organizations: United Teachers Los Angeles, which represents the 36,000 classroom teachers and health and human services professionals of LAUSD, and Associated Administrators of Los Angeles, exclusive representative for over 2,300 certificated and classified administrators within the District.

We wish to raise a concern about recent statements by Superintendent John Deasy, related to his obligation to abide by the policy positions and directives of the Board of Education.

On June 20, the "LA School Report," published a story entitled, "Defiant Deasy Says He'll Push Targeted Spending Plan Anyway." In that article Mr. Deasy clearly indicates that it is his intention to circumvent the Board vote on use of new state LCFF monies. Specifically, Mr. Deasy is quoted as stating that, "The Board voted down the directive. . . ," referring to Ms. Galatzan's recent local spending resolution, "[But] they can't stop me from doing it; we're doing it anyway." To date, we have not been able to locate any report that Mr. Deasy has disavowed these public statements, nor has he indicated that he was misquoted.

The Superintendent is an employee of the District, and is legally required to operate "under the control of the Board." The California courts have recognized that a Superintendent does not "exercise independent powers" (Main vs. Claremont, Unified School District, 161 CalApp 2d189, 204).

As the presidents of two organizations charged with representing and bargaining for a large proportion of District employees, we do not expect that Mr. Deasy's statements and policy positions will always align with those of our respective organizations. However, as both District employees and as taxpayers, we do expect that the Superintendent will, at all times, discharge his duties in a manner that is consistent with his role as the District's chief executive officer. Statements and conduct to the contrary can only erode public confidence in the Board and the District. California law clearly places both the power and the responsibility for ultimate leadership of the District in the hands of its elected governing board. Regardless of Mr. Deasy's motives or intentions, no district, and no community, is served when this democratic authority is undermined.

Please contact either of us if you have any questions. We are thankful for your time and attention to this matter.


Warren Fletcher Judith Perez
President, President,
United Teachers Los Angeles Associated Administrators of Los Angeles


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

@TCFKSM: Sign BAR’s Petition: Anti-Racist Educators Should Not Issue Ghetto Passes To Teach For America

First published on TCFKSM on July 10, 2013.

'If this is how "anti-racism education" works - giving cover to organizations and policies that hurt people of color more than anybody else, it might be time to re-think that whole contraption as well.' — Bruce A. Dixon

Sign BAR’s Petition: Anti-Racist Educators Should Not Issue Ghetto Passes To Teach For AmericaBlack Agenda Report (BAR) has been a consistent and principled opponent of neoliberal education reform for as long as corporate interests have been attacking our public schools. Please sign their petition right away:

Anti-Racist Educators Should Not Issue Ghetto Passes To Teach For America

Here's the text of the petition:

Mass firings and layoffs of experienced teachers, school closings like those in Chicago, New York, Philadelphia and elsewhere are only happening in black and brown school districts. Teach For America is a key element of policies driving us toward the profitable (for a few) privatization of public education. Anti-racist educator Tim Wise is scheduled to speak at a July 19 TFA event.

We the undersigned urge Mr. Wise to reconsider, to not show up, to refund his honrarium if already collected. In the event Mr. Wise DOES address Teach For America we urge him to tell his audience and the world the truth.... that replacing black experienced teachers with mostly white temps is a disaster for black communities, the education of black children, and objectively racist. Nobody's sending "teachers" with only 5 weeks training to white suburban schools, why should we believe it takes only 5 weeks to learn to teach inner city children. If that's not racist, we wonder what is.

We promise to forward the list of signers to Mr. Wise on the 18th. Signers who give us permission to be recontacted will be offered the chance to sign up for Black Agenda Report's weekly email notices, and other ongoing news about the fight against educational privatization and so-called "school reform."

Full Radio Commentary: Why Is Tim Wise Stamping the Anti-Racist Ghetto Passes at Teach For America

A transcript and audio of a longer radio piece by BAR's distinguished Bruce A. Dixon is available: Why Is Tim Wise Stamping the Anti-Racist Ghetto Passes at Teach For America. I can’t recommend it or Black Agenda Report’s education coverage enough.




Dr Cintli: Raza Studies Now Conference at Santa Monica College July 13

Dr Cintli: Raza Studies Now Conference at Santa Monica Colleg...: Press Release - Please post and forward The Association of Mexican American Educators in conjunction with local educators and groups...


When LAFund isn't using charitable donations for political ads or expired food for LAUSD kids, they're using to spy?


Tuesday, July 09, 2013

@TCFKSM: National Council on Teacher Quality teams up with SearchSoft Solutions, Inc. to boost profits

First published on TCFKSM on July 9, 2013.

"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

National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ)'s dubious reputation for manufacturing "research" beneficial to the neoliberal education reform project is well earned. Professor Ravitch's introduction to Dr. Mercedes Schneider's latest piece tersely sums up the astrotank* that is NCTQ:

NCTQ is not a research organization. It is not a think tank. It is not a professional organization. It is an advocacy group and few of its board members have ever taught or have any direct knowledge of teaching or teacher preparation.

A little more on NCTQ's funding sources and board members before getting started:

NCTQ of course, is funded by the usual suspects. Prominent corporate education reform pushers the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Edythe and Eli Broad Foundation are front and center, as are fringe right benefactors like the Searle Freedom Trust. NCTQ's Board of Directors and staff are pretty scary, but the real eye opener is their Advisory Board chock full of reactionaries, profiteers, neoliberal darlings, and corporate education reform luminaries. Just a few names should suffice: fringe right American Enterprise Institute's Rick Hess, billionaire Bloomberg's former hatchet man and New York City pariah Joel Klein, discredited and disgraced leader of the District of Columbia's "erasuregate" scandal Michelle Rhee, reactionary The Hoover Institution's Eric Hanushek, and so many more. Although there are one or two nominally liberal organizations thrown in for good measure, these advisors are by and large right wing think tanks, companies and individuals that make money off of education, anti-union advocacy groups, and a few foundation representatives like Stefanie Sanford of the, you guessed it, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Around a year ago Professor Horn wrote about all the emails he receives from online diploma mills. I get those too, and I also get press releases from just about every nefarious privatization group around, including The Broad Foundation, The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, the Center for American Progress, and others. Today's subject line of note in my inbox?

Press Release: NCTQ and SearchSoft Provide Important New Tool for School Districts to Recruit Best Trained New Teachers

July 9, 2013 (Washington, DC) – The National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ), which recently released the first edition of the Teacher Prep Review, an annual study rating the quality of teacher prep programs, and SearchSoft, a leading provider of web-based hiring and evaluation systems for the K-12 market, have teamed up to help school districts use the ratings to screen teacher applicants.

The ratings, currently available on both the NCTQ and U.S. News & World Report websiteswill be integrated into SearchSoft hiring systems, providing HR officials in school districts with detailed information on the quality of training that aspiring elementary and secondary teachers receive at 1,100 colleges and universities across the country. The Review determines if programs are covering the fundamentals of teacher preparation, from admissions requirements to the quality of the student teaching experience, including preparation in teachers’ content areas, early reading instruction (for elementary teachers), and classroom management.

SearchSoft’s Applicant Tracking System is a recruiting and hiring system employed by thousands of schools across the country. This new partnership will allow HR staff in schools to view program ratings for each job applicant’s undergraduate or graduate teacher prep program. This data set gives principals and other hiring managers an important tool to screen teaching candidates, saving time and money and delivering the best-prepared candidates to the classroom.

“Every school leader should be equipped to build a dream team,” said Kate Walsh, president of NCTQ. “When making hiring decisions, it's imperative that school leaders have every measure of a candidate available--and what kind of training a candidate received is no small measure. Our partnership withU.S. News & World Report ensures that aspiring teachers will have ready access to program quality; this partnership with SearchSoft ensures that school districts also have easy access.”

“Understanding the quality of different prep programs is of vital importance for our customers,” said Mark Strickland, SearchSoft’s chairman. “NCTQ has been a leader in the work to better understand this issue in great detail. We are excited to be their partner in delivering this research directly to the people who choose teachers for our nation’s classrooms. We look forward to working with NCTQ to make a lasting contribution to public education.”

For more information about the Teacher Prep Review, see:

For more information on SearchSoft’s products and services, see

Laura Johnson                                                                       Mark VanHooser
Director of Communications                                               Vice President of Sales and Marketing
National Council on Teacher Quality                                 SearchSoft Solutions, Inc.
202-393-0020 x117                                                               317-488-5240 x1114                                                         

About NCTQ
The National Council on Teacher Quality advocates for reforms in a broad range of teacher policies at the federal, state and local levels in order to increase the number of effective teachers. We are committed to lending transparency and increasing public awareness about the four sets of institutions that have the greatest impact on teacher quality: states, teacher preparation programs, school districts and teachers unions.

How noble of the NCTQ to partner up with a privately held, for profit firm whose market share is on the up and up as more and more Broad Academy and Teach for America (TFA) Alumni run more and more school district administrations. There's not a ton of information readily available about SearchSoft Solutions, Inc. However, Boston-based venture capital firm Schoolhouse Partners has invested in SearchSoft Solutions, Inc., and Manta's website lists the following about them:

Searchsoft Solutions in Indianapolis, IN is a private company categorized under Computer Software Development and Applications. Our records show it was established in 1998 and incorporated in Indiana. Current estimates show this company has an annual revenue of $2.5 to 5 million and employs a staff of approximately 10 to 19.

NCTQ's latest tie-in of their policy advocacy to a profitable business venture reminds us that the "K-12 market" really "is the Big Enchilada."

* Astrotank: portmanteau of astroturf and think tank. The rationale behind coining this new word should be fairly self explanatory.


Farewell to Mayor Villaraigosa: Pragmatist or Lacky of the Rich?

Farewell to Mayor Villaraigosa: Pragmatist or Lacky of the Rich? via Diane Ravitch's blog.

As Antonio Villaraigosa exits the mayoralty of Los Angeles, there will be both tributes and brickbats.

Among other things, he will be remembered for his failed attempt to take control of the public schools and for his hostility to teachers, to their union, and to public education. On his watch, there was “an explosion” in the number of privately managed charter schools, a high priority for the billionaires.

He did get control of a small number of schools, raised millions of dollars to turn them into “incubators of reform,” but demonstrated that his schools performed on state tests no differently from regular public schools. Mayoral control has no magic elixir.

He fought hard to tie teachers’ evaluations to test scores, despite the absence of any evidence for doing so. He controlled the school board through his surrogates, but recently lost control when two of the candidates he supported were defeated despite the millions raised by the mayor.

This turn of events is especially surprising in light of Villaraigosa’s early career in the labor movement. His conversion is a tribute to the power of money in American politics.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa speaking at a school privatization event hosted by ALEC, Parent Revolution, and The Heartland Institute. Photo by Robert D. Skeels
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa speaking at a school privatization event. Photo by Robert D. Skeels


Monday, July 08, 2013

PESJA_LA: Breaking: edreform tyrant with fake Ph.D angry that educator with real Ph.D now LAUSD boss


Sunday, July 07, 2013

Darn it! #LAUSD Superintendent @DrDeasyLAUSD threatens to resign if Vladovic becomes Board Prez, then welches

The above tweet is from a good friend who is an author, educator, and dedicated activist.

It would be best for everyone if Deasy, Aquino, Hill, and all the other graduates of Eli Broad's various "academies" resigned and left the district to those that would put pupils before profits.

From Supt. John Deasy faces rocky relationship with new LAUSD president

"A coalition of civic leaders and philanthropists consider Deasy, a national figure, crucial to rapid, continued progress in L.A. Unified."

What this really means is that NPIC millionaires like United Way Greater Los Angeles' Elise Buik's gravy train depends highly on Eli Broad and and his fellow plutocrats's money to support their organizations, so they gladly voice support for anyone they're told to. The fund-to-advocate paradigm in the NPIC world is really the only reason for Deasy's continued existence at LAUSD, working class people despise him, but the corporate media only interview NPIC executives. Elise Buik, Rene Rodman, and Kate Anderson are wealthy white women with no connection to grassroots parent and community organizations.


Villaraigosa: The Myth of The Progressive Mayor (teaser)

"The alliance, formed between the mayor, the school board, and Los Angeles' corporate elite to design the idea of 'public school choice,' is another example of how neoliberal economic policies have influenced educational policies." — Professor Theresa Montaño

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa speaking at a school privatization event. Photo by Robert D. Skeels
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa speaking at a school privatization event. Photo by Robert D. Skeels
I finally finished an essay I actually started writing in the Spring of 2011 on the flight to Korea with my wife. With about a third written, it sat forever until the urgency of Villaraigosa leaving one office, and his contemplating another, motivated me to finish it. Weighing in at around 5,500 words with footnotes, there's no need to reproduce the whole thing here — especially in that it isn't only about his education policies. However, the bulk of the piece does focus on his AEI approved neoliberal dismantling of public education in Los Angeles. The last section is a somewhat thorough examination of his direct involvement in school privatization and teachers union busting. So here's the first two paragraphs and an outline of the essay's contents. Please read and share the whole thing: Villaraigosa: The Myth of The Progressive Mayor.

Statuesque in a six thousand dollar suit, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa graced the June 2009 cover of Los Angeles Magazine. Emblazoned across his photograph was the bold word "Failure." The tenuous article, embodying the sentiments of many hopeful Angelenos, reproached the Mayor for not being the visionary progressive many envisioned him to be, and in that regard, a failure.

While Villaraigosa disappointed supporters and failed to deliver any progressive policies whatsoever, he was hardly a failure to those he really serves. Indeed, for developers, real estate tycoons, billionaires, and school privatization profiteers, Villaraigosa's eight year reign was a smashing success.

Villaraigosa: The Myth of The Progressive Mayor


The 99 Cents Store School... brought to you by the lucrative charter school industry

Lalo Alcaraz's La Cucaracha strip often features pro-public education items, which are also typically sensitive to ongoing attacks on the teaching profession and the difficulties of teaching. This particular strip is a favorite of mine, highlighting both the institutional racism and profit motive behind the neoliberal school privatization project.

In Los Angeles, the 99 Cents Store School model is reserved for impoverished children of color at centers of creativity culling and cultural sterilization like Green Dot, CNCA, ICEF, KIPP, and Alliance.

Wealthier white parents, send their kids to boutique charters — essentially private schools where the public foots the bill. Larchmont, Los Feliz, Gabriella, CWC, and Mike McGalliard's Metro Charter are all examples of the "Saks Fifth Avenue School" discussed in the comic strip. Bear in mind that children with special needs aren't welcome at either type of privately managed charter school.


Friday, July 05, 2013

@TCFKSM: More episodes of schooling in a not so "post-racial" America

First published on @TCFKSM on July 5, 2013

Imagine the impact if Obama spoke out emphatically against racism in other aspects of U.S. society. Unfortunately, all too often, Obama and others in the Black elite, along with liberals in the Democratic Party, avoid discussing race and racism, even when it is evident and obvious. — Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

Neither of these items are breaking news, but I just got around to this because I've been so busy trying to finish my Villaraigosa piece for LA Progressive.

First there's this article in Black Girl With Long Hair about a charter school that banned "Afro-puffs and small twisted braids, with or without rubberbands." The news went viral, and the charter quickly reversed its course and issued a boilerplate apology.

Actually the original piece didn't mention that Horizon Science Academy Lorain was a privately managed charter school, I'm the one that looked that up before tweeting. Something about the name of the charter got me thinking, and on a lark I decided to dig little deeper. Horizon Science Academy Lorain is run by the Concept Schools Charter Management Organization (CMO). Concept Schools is part of the Gülenist Movement. Sharon Higgins' longer piece entitled Concept Schools, Illinois, and the Gulen Movement, has caused Concept Schools so much consternation that they created a page on their site to try and deflect criticism.

When I first started reading Schools Matter, I noticed Professor Horn often used the phrase "cultural sterilization," which struck me as the most germane way to describe how both corporate charters and the neoliberal education reform project treated children in general. Charter schools banning hairstyles popular in the African American community is no different than Dave Levin and Mike Feinberg's KIPP schools forcing children of color to learn culturally unresponsive pedagogy.

Next, there's this interesting tweet. Mr. Biondo transcribes the sign incorrectly, it says "CAN I KEEP MY SCHOOL NOW??" An important distinction. At first glance I saw the #CPSClosings hashtag indicating that the young woman was protesting Rahm Emanuel's racist school closures in Chicago, but then I also noticed the #phillyeducation hashtag meaning the tweet was also in reference to the equally racist leadership of Philadelphia closing their schools.

It's poignant social commentary when a child is astute enough to understand the irony of wearing "white face" in response to racist school closures. Scary part is, with that mask she'd probably be able to get into Mike McGalliard's exclusive Los Angeles based boutique Metro Charter. Being melanin deficient is pretty much a requirement for the exclusive upscale private school taking public money.

A reminder about racist school closures


Wednesday, July 03, 2013

SKrashen: Van Roekel asks "What do you want instead (of the common core)?" My response.

I usually just provide a link through to Professor Stephen Krashen's posts, but this one merits full reproduction here.

Van Roekel asks "What do you want instead (of the common core)?" My response.

NEA president Dennis Van Roekel has asked: "If you don’t want it (common core), what do you want instead?"

The question assumes that something is seriously wrong with American schools and that schools need to be fixed. We are always working to improve teaching, but there is no crisis in teaching. The real crisis is poverty.

What I want instead is:

  1. Dump the CC$$ (for a quick summary of arguments, please see:
  2. protect children from the impact of poverty by investing more in food programs, health care, and libraries. 
  3. pay for 2. by reducing testing. A lot.


Tuesday, July 02, 2013


SKrashen: NO DROP IN READING FOR PLEASURE AMONG YOUNG PEOPLE...:   Comment on Walt Gardner, "Reading for pleasure,"  Ed Week, June 28, posted at:


Monday, July 01, 2013

LAUSD invites runner up Robert D. Skeels to BOE installment

Yes, thank you for asking...

LAUSD invites runner up Robert D. Skeels to BOE installment by Robert D. Skeels

Social justice rockstar and LAUSD District 2 runner up Robert D. Skeels invited to witness Mónica Ratliff and Steve Zimmer sworn in as members of the Board of Education.