Saturday, March 21, 2015

SAVE Early Childhood Education in LAUSD. Save SRLDP!

Sign the petition!

SAVE Early Childhood Education in LAUSD. Save SRLDP!

SAVE Early Childhood Education in LAUSD!


Friday, March 20, 2015

The Perfect Person for Imperfect Circumstances (the AvalonSensei, Martha Infante)

The Perfect Person for Imperfect Circumstances. Photo: Martha Infante, by David B. Cohen

The Perfect Person for Imperfect Circumstances
by David B. Cohen

My commentary:

I count myself among the lucky people to know this outstanding educator. My wife and I even attended one of her fundraisers for her students’ D.C. trip. Her essays on her various blogs are some of my favorite reads in that she conveys hope at such a critical time. Teachers like Martha Infante are the reason I spend much of my free time advocating for public education and in support of our local teachers. She is a gift to the community and to the profession as a whole, and she is not alone. I stand behind our public school teachers.


Stoner families to present petitions to ICEF Board to oppose proposed co-location at Stoner ES


Today Thursday, March 19 at 5 PM, parents of Stoner Elementary will be giving petitions to the ICEF Board at their monthly meeting to oppose the proposed co-location of ICEF Vista on the Stoner campus.
Over the past few weeks, Friend of Stoner Avenue Elementary conducted a petition signing and letter writing campaign to urge ICEF Vista to withdraw its co-location request for 2015/16.  Friends of Stoner will be presenting the petitions to the board and again asking ICEF to withdraw its co-location request.

*A PDF copy of the petitions is included with this press release.

WHAT: Friends of Stoner Elementary School booster club will be:

: Thursday, March 19, 2015 at 5 PM
WHERE: ICEF Vista Main Office. Monthly Board Meeting.
5120 W. Goldleaf Circle, Suite 350, Los Angeles, CA 90056

ICEF Vista Elementary, a neighboring school that is currently located two blocks from Stoner on the campus of the defunct St. Gerard Majella Elementary School, has requested co-location space at Stoner.  To many people in the neighborhood, ICEF is seen as ‘the school at the church’ and many ICEF families take pride that their school provides benefit to the local parish.  However, ICEF wants to expand and that means leaving the church grounds. Part of ICEF’s expansion plan includes co-locating at another campus to open up space at the St. Gerard campus.

ICEF is “stealing from Peter to Give to Paul”
Stoner ES parents are outraged to learn that ICEF Vista’s plan to co-locate would to take set aside rooms that are used for music, art, parents center, and computer lab at Stoner so that ICEF can open up space on the St. Gerard campus to have room for an art room, parents center and computer lab.  ICEF is literally taking away resources from Stoner ES to give those same resources to the ‘school at the church.’

Stoner community collecting petition signatures
The Stoner parents are have been collecting signatures and handing out information in front of Stoner ES and ICEF Vista opposing the proposed co-location.  To the Stoner parent’s surprise, there are many in the ICEF community that are opposed to the co-location for various reasons and signed the petition opposing the co-location.
Some ICEF parents see the co-location as just flat out wrong.  Other stated that the reason they are at ICEF is they don’t want to be at Stoner. So, sending their child to the Stoner campus doesn’t make sense to them. Parents from outside the area said they would not be happy driving their children to a school across from the Mar Vista Gardens housing  projects, and would rather enroll their child at another school.
With opposition coming from both the Stoner community and the ICEF community, it is surprising that ICEF wants to continue down this path.

Co-location Protest at ICEF, more planned
The Stoner community is furious about the co-location and is working hard to oppose it. Last week, on March 10, Stoner parents held a protest in front of ICEF to oppose the co-location.  ICEF parents were present at the protest and were asking for a better school for their children. If the Stoner community is working this hard to oppose the co-location, and it hasn’t even happened yet, image how the opposition will be if the co-location happens.
If the co-location happens, the Stoner community has vowed to have protests against the co-location for the entire first week of school, and to have more protest throughout the year.

ICEF Facebook Bombarded with 1 star reviews
The co-location is also being opposed online. Stoner supporters have taken to the ICEF Facebook page to oppose the co-location. Supporters have bombarded the review section with comments opposing the co-location and 1 star reviews, bringing the previously 5 star rating down to 3 stars.

Stoner community documenting co-location woes
            The Stoner community is also online document the co-location struggle on the blogAdventures in Charter School Co-location available at  Since the announcement of the ICEF co-location the blog has started to received hundreds of hits a day.

Petitions opposing co-location to ICEF board
Today, the Friends of Stoner booster club will present the 100 letters and signed petitions to the ICEF board and once again ask them to withdraw their co-location request. The petitions have been signed by members the Stoner community, ICEF community and local Del Rey community. A PDF copy of the petitions is included with this press release.

Media is invited to attend.
            The Stoner parents are requesting that ICEF Vista to withdraw it co-location request for space on the Stoner ES campus.

Adam C. Benitez
President, Friends of Stoner Avenue Elementary School


Caravana 43, Ayotzinapa Vive, ¡La Lucha Sigue!

Caravana 43, Ayotzinapa Vive, La Lucha Sigue!!

Caravana 43, Ayotzinapa Vive, La Lucha Sigue!!

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I am writing about the "CARAVANA 43" tour beginning this week in Los Angeles tomorrow March 19-22.

As you may or not be aware, a very important caravan is making its way up the "Pacific Region". It is called the Caravana 43 - there will be a mother and father of two of the missing students that were disappeared last September in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero, MexicoThere will also be 2 students from Ayotzinapa and a professor on this speaking tour. 

Attached are the fliers for the four days, Thursday-Sunday of events.
The events, actions, etc. in LA are being called on under the banner of "Caravana 43 Los Angeles/Inland Empire" which is essentially a coalition of several community based organizations. 
Two important public events happening this weekend are:  this SATURDAY 3/21: 5pm-7:00pm at UTLA in the Auditorium, with a March following on Sunday from Placita Olvera at 12:30pm.  

Please come and invite friends and family!!   This is an invaluable opportunity to learn about what is going on with the movement of the 43 disappeared students, directly from those that have lost a loved one and were part of this struggle. 

These missing students were student-teacher activists, fighting against the privatization of public schools, and right now, the repression, brutality and atrocities are serious, and they need our help! 

Join us this weekend let's put the pressure on the Mexican Government and the United States government who supports the corruption in Mexico and finances the so-called "War on Drugs," pushed for the "Plan Merida" and now the Plan Pueblo-Panama, the Transpacific Partnership, etc. & so on, because this is a key reason for this tour, please see the attached fliers and help spread the word!!


Kelly Flores
Union del Barrio, LA
Chair of Raza Education Committee, UTLA


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Alliance corporate charters, teacher organizing, and moral imperatives

"The shady nature of Alliance's real estate dealings, their dismal SAT scores and CSU remediation rates, and their refusal to educate every child are all compelling… [a]llowing these private entities to cherry pick students and avoid educating the most vulnerable and needy students is immoral. Taking a strong stand as a community against that kind of discrimination sends a strong message to these corporate schools that we demand equity for all our students." — Robert D. Skeels

Alliance corporate charters, teacher organizing, and moral imperatives

The announcement that the nascent Alliance Educators United joined with United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) in order to empower their force of professional educators to advocate for their students is exciting news indeed. That this is occurring at Alliance Corporate Charters is noteworthy. We are witnessing authentic organizing in the belly of the beast — given how Alliance was formed by Republican venture capitalist Richard "Dick" Riordan and his cabal of profit-hungry businessmen as a means of trying to discredit public education. Alliance's top-down, business-rather-than-pedagogy informed methodologies have failed miserably. For example, in 2013: five of the seventy-five lowest SAT performers in LAUSD were Alliance schools. Add to their educational leadership vacuum administrators fixated on personal financial gain, rather than school community building, and you have Alliance's recipe for disaster. This is why they have had major teacher turn-over issues. Alliance's educators have been poorly treated, and they were fearful to advocate for their students against Alliance's business-banker management culture.

Unionized educators will go a long way towards addressing some of Alliance's more egregious practices.

There's another dimension to this story. In 2010 UTLA drafted their UTLA Proposed Charter School Policy document outlining a set of social justice principles that the union stated it "expects that all charter schools adhere to". These well reasoned expectations are very much like the demands put forth by the Honorable Jackie Goldberg founded Transparency, Equity, and Accountability in Charter Schools (TEAch) organization. Everyone should join TEACh, even families with children enrolled in privately managed charter schools.

Want to encourage both UTLA and Alliance Educators United to keep the UTLA Proposed Charter School Policy in mind for all their future organizing, and hope that they will transform many of those principles into concrete demands that Alliance begin to treat their students right. I'm including the UTLA Press Release, the UTLA Proposed Charter School Policy, and TEAch's mission statement below. I hope these serve to ignite a conversation about how we can force the lucrative charter school industry to finally place student need above corporate greed!

Alliance Educators United

MARCH 14, 2015

Josh Kamensky, 323-205-6634
Kim Turner, 213-305-9316


Teachers and counselors at Alliance College-Ready Public Schools announced Friday that in order to achieve the highest quality learning environment for their students and working environment for themselves at their fast-growing charter school organization, they are organizing a union at their schools.

Educators maintain that having a respected voice in all decisions impacting teaching and learning is critical to ensuring a strong foundation of student-focused, teacher-led collaboration. “I believe that using the teacher’s voice in policymaking for our schools is the surest way to develop the best environment for our students and to create a legacy of greatness for the Alliance,” said history teacher Elana Goldbaum.

Alliance College-Ready Public Schools began operations in 2004 with the opening of Alliance Gertz-Ressler High School in the Pico-Union neighborhood. Today, with 550 teachers and counselors serving 11,000 students at 26 schools, it is the largest charter operator authorized by the Los Angeles Unified School District. The organization’s Board of Directors includes some of Los Angeles’s most active civic figures, including former mayor Richard Riordan and former ambassador and investment banker Frank Baxter.

By giving teachers a voice in the decision making at Alliance, we can ensure that we are allocating resources appropriately and serving our kids in the best way possible,” said teacher Xochil Johansen of Stern Math and Science School. Added teacher Aaron Livingston, “Organizing the union will help the Alliance keep good teachers from leaving.”

Many Alliance educators note that retaining and recruiting talented staff is vital for student success and the well-being of the school community. Teachers at other schools agree. “Students deserve a sense of stability and safety in the relationships they build and they deserve educators who are invested in providing the best instruction,” said Bre Delgadillo, a teacher at Apple Academy Charter School in South L.A., who formed a union with her colleagues in 2014.

A letter signed by community leaders expressed support for teachers and called on Alliance to “listen to your teachers and to respect their fundamental right to organize a union […] without management influence or interference, and come to an agreement with Alliance teachers for a fair and neutral process to organize their union.” The letter was signed by leaders from the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), California Partnership, the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), and Strategic Actions for a Just Economy (SAJE).

“It’s this simple: Every school does better when teachers have a voice,” said UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl. “UTLA is proud that Alliance teachers are organizing to join with more than 35,000 educators—over 1,000 of whom teach at independent charter schools here in Los Angeles—to protect educational standards for students in our city.”
 #  #  #

Josh Joy Kamensky

UTLA Proposed Charter School Policy by Robert D. Skeels

About TEAch: Transparency, Equity, and Accountability in Charter Schools

We are an organization of parents, teachers, school employees, taxpayers and community members who want to ensure that charter schools are Transparent, Equitable, and held Accountable for their practices, for the outcomes of the students they serve, and that they do no harm to students attending traditional public schools.

TEAch exists because charter schools have largely abandoned their original purposes:

1. To provide research and development for all public schools on best practices in order to ensure that ALL young people have access to a high quality education; and

2. To lead the way, by example, in transforming public school outcomes for ALL students through teacher-led schools, relieved of the hierarchy of central administration.

We support the original goals of charter public schools.

The current goals of some charter school operators are to greatly expand and capture as many taxpayer dollars as possible for their own schools, thereby removing funds available to traditional public schools. The almost ENTIRELY UNREGULATED CHARTER school system in Los Angeles currently receives at least $683 million (more than $1/2 billion!) per year in taxpayer funds, money that used to go to Los Angeles Unified School District students. Without Transparency, Equity, and Accountability, we know that many charters are not living up to their own goals as stated in their charter applications.

Taxpayer-funded charter co-location on traditional public school campuses is also causing great harm to students in traditional public schools by permanently overcrowding their campuses, and causing huge reductions in their funding. This has resulted in teacher layoffs and increased class sizes in LAUSD traditional public schools.

What We Want: TEAch seeks reasonable state and district regulation of public, taxpayer-funded charter schools to ensure Transparency, Equity, and Accountability.


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Schools Matter: Financially malfeasant charters run by shadowy religious cult escape LAUSD scrutiny

First published on Schools Matter on March 17, 2015

"The Walton family, founder of Wal-mart, the worldwide retail giant, has donated millions of dollars to schools considered to be associated with the Gülen community." — Charter School Scandals

Who has ties to the cultish Gülenist Movement? Fethullah Gülen, Ref Rodriguez, Caprice Young, Monica Garcia, Richard Vladovic, Reed Hastings, Yvonne Chan, and Carrie Walton Penner

The largest chain of privately managed charter schools in the United States is that of those affiliated with the cultish Gülenist Movement. Proving that no scandal is too large for the combined financial and political power of the revenue hungry charter school industry, the Los Angeles based Magnolia branches of the Gülen Network have essentially committed the crime, but will not do the time. The Los Angeles Times outlines the scale of Magnolia's crimes:

"An audit performed last year for the district’s Office of the Inspector General found that Magnolia was $1.66 million in the red, owed $2.8 million to the schools it oversees and met the federal definition of insolvency. The Palms academy also was insolvent, the audit found."

One cringes thinking of all the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) public school libraries that could have been reopened with those millions "missing" from the privately managed Magnolia Gülen Charters.

Last time millions of dollars went "missing" from a huge Los Angeles charter chain was during the massive Inner City Education Fund (ICEF) scandal. Their former "CEO" Mike Piscal is still at large somewhere in the country. Steve Poizner's partner in the crime of establishing the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA), Caprice Young, was brought in as the spin-spokesperson for that staggering squandering of taxpayer money. Once more Young is brought in to provide cover for mind-boggling charter school impropriety, this time at Magnolia. Turns out Caprice Young has been working for Gülen's charter network all along documents the connections between Young and her new employer.

The intrepid Scott M. Folsom gathered all the news on this issue, and added his salient thoughts on the matter. I do differ with Folsom on one point—this has everything to with "Fethullah Gülen involvement", and anyone aware of the cult's well documented undue influence over LAUSD board members like Monica Garcia, knows how much power these malfeasants have.

The allegations against Magnolia are of Misuse of Public Funds. Plain and simple.

No amount of “great schoolage” and kids on waiting lists forgive this. Ultimately this is a matter of law enforcement - and the LAUSD Board – as public trustees and empowered with enforcing the charter law and protecting the public purse – have blinked/waffled/whatever.

I hate to be “zero intolerant” – but there are no waivers or mulligans for malfeasance.

The Man Behind the Curtain has nothing to do with the case: This has nothing to do with with the Fethullah Gülen involvement with Magnolia; to bring that up is a bit of misdirection.

Parental Choice does not give the right to parents to choose to send their kids to a bad school -- whether the school is bad because it does a crummy job of teaching students or managing the public’s funds. I consider Caprice Young a friend – but she has been brought in to save the day and impose order amidst fiscal chaos while framing and spinning and charming the story of the chaos as something less than egregious.

The biblical metaphor of pouring oil upon the waters comes to mind – but ask the folks on the Gulf Coast – or in Alaska: Oily waters are not necessarily a desirable outcome!

The Board in its role as charter authorizer and overseer moved to suspend the three charters. It may have dodged a public vote earlier – but it had authorized the superintendent to act in its behalf. That’s what superintendents and Boards of Ed do.

Then the Board of Ed went into closed session and changed their mind and/or had their minds changed.

The process of granting, suspending and reviewing charters is supposed to occur in Mr. Justice Brandeis’ “Disinfecting Sunshine”. Instead it happened behind closed doors in the guise of settling a lawsuit.


K12NN Wire: Open letter to Andrew Thomas regarding the LAUSD District 5 runoff

First published on K12NN Wire on March 18, 2015

Dr. Andrew Thomas:

Congratulations on your respectable election finish, and on noting on your website that out-of-town billionaires are financing the campaign of charter industry profiteer Refugio “Ref” Rodriguez against an incumbent endorsed by United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA). Your analysis ignores the fact that most UTLA teachers are also public school parents, live in our communities, and are our working class neighbors. Meanwhile profiteer Rodriguez’s reactionary billionaire backers, like Carrie Walton-Penner, Reed Hastings, Michael R. Bloomberg, and Eli Broad, have absolutely no connection or stake (other than financial) in our communities. Dr. Thomas, your hackneyed “parents as customers” rhetoric is shallow, groundless, and doesn’t assess the reasons why Rodriguez and his ilk are spending the obscene amounts of money they spend. You can stick with your vapid binary arguments that this is simply UTLA versus the charter industry, leaving everyone else out of the equation, or you could tell the truth and say this is the billionaires versus all the rest of us.

I have been an education activist in the 90026 area for roughly two decades. My burning question is, where have you been Dr. Thomas? I’ve never seen you at a Neighborhood Council Education Committee meeting, any anti-Prop 39 actions, the March 22 actions to save Public Education, the struggle to save CRES 14 from privatization, at a meeting of the Honorable Jackie Goldberg’s TEACh (Transparency, Equity, and Accountability for Charter Schools) coalition, or any other public school related struggle. While you may be involved at Marshall High School, you clearly have only become a “parent advocate” quite recently, and your agenda seems to be limited to those issues concerning white, upper middle class parents. If you are indeed interested in supporting public education, and increasing community and parent involvement, then I welcome you. If that is true, prove it by making a strong statement against the lucrative charter industry and their candidate Rodriguez. If you won’t endorse the incumbent, at the very least you should take a strong and principled stand against his neoliberal opponent, who faithfully serves the very billionaires you seemingly challenged when you asked on your website “Why are out-of-district billionaires... spending over a $1 million in this school board race?”

At the end of the day if you sincerely support public education, you should be asking why is it that a well-heeled charter industry executive can run for our public school board, but no member of the public can ever run for the board of his charter school empire? That question strikes at the heart of what it means to support public schools and democracy in general.

I challenge you to take a principled stand.

“Washing one’s hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral.” — Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed

Cheryl A. Guerrero for KPCC


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

More research further discrediting Corporate [Common] Core State Standards (CCSS)


Monday, March 16, 2015

Schools Los Angeles Students Deserve (SLASD) March General Assembly

Schools Los Angeles Students Deserve (SLASD)

Schools Los Angeles Students Deserve (SLASD) General Assembly

Thursday, March 19, 2015
St. Marks Lutheran Church
3651 South Vermont Ave,
Los Angeles, CA 90007

(2 blocks north of the Expo line's Vermont station)

Following an invigorating Parent Institute this past Saturday, parents are full of ideas for how to move our work into the next stages!

Students have ideas for on-going political education efforts at their campuses, especially around the Black Lives Matter movement and issues, and how to launch the social media campaign through a cross-school online video.

Our campaign at the School Board is moving forward too, as meetings continue with School Board Members to develop a resolution for the changes students deserve to see in their schools.

Please join us to put all this into action.


Schools Matter: Eli Broad funded United Way Greater Los Angeles now also serving CCSA's political arm

First published on Schools Matter on March 14, 2015

"By what logic does United Way engage in an activity that is shunned by all the other charities?" — Professor Ralph E. Shaffer

United Way Greater Los Angeles' (UWGLA) role as a tax deductible lobbying and public relations firm for plutocrats like Eli Broad, Bill Gates, Carrie Walton Penner, and Casey Wasserman is expanding. They are now apparently functioning as adjunct to the deep pocketed California Charter School Association (CCSA). To wit, compare this email from the "non-partisan charity" UWGLA to that of the CCSA trade association's 501c4 wing, CCSA Advocates:

Eli Broad funded United Way of Greater Los Angeles now also serving CCSA's political arm

Eli Broad funded United Way of Greater Los Angeles now also serving CCSA's political arm

Notice any similarities?

In a discussion with several other social justice activists, we were trying to decide why UWGLA's well paid political consultants didn't have the good sense to at least change the precise order of the candidates that they and their fellow special interest group, the CCSA, feature on their propaganda pieces. UWGLA could argue, unconvincingly, that they put the names in the same order as candidates received votes in the primary election. However, it's far more likely that they used CCSA's billionaire backed candidates' existing information and then tacked on the other candidate information on as a grudging afterthought.

The first clue that UWGLA has absolutely no respect for the candidates outside of the CCSA privatization pushers like Galatzan and Rodriguez? They misspelled the Honorable Bennett Kayser's name as "BENNET KAYSER" in every occurrence of both the image and text of the communication they sent out. This is the seated school board member, and UWGLA has a mind-blowing multi-million dollar budget, but they get everything else correct except the school board member's name? Moreover, notice how all of the head shots are proportional, but they use the old political trick of making one candidate look abnormal by using a disproportional photo crop. A nasty little Fox News style play probably drawn up by CCSA's arch-reactionary political director Carlos Marquez.

We frequently look to UWGLA's plutocrat funding sources and the neoliberal pay-to-advocate paradigm that UWGLA and other members of the Non-Profit Industrial Complex (NPIC) operate under. Nothing is more telling of UWGLA's complete allegiance to the neoliberal corporate education reform agenda than this 2013 photo of privatizer Monica Garcia, the disgraced John Deasy, millionaire Casey Wasserman, billionaire Eli Broad, and UWGLA's Elise Buik. What we typically don't look at is the staff members UWGLA employs to promulgate their donors' agenda.

UWGLA's current Education Program Officer is Elmer G. Roldan. Prior to his UWGLA stint, Roldan worked for the Camino Nuevo Corporate Charter Chain—known for its unelected board of bankers, finance capitalists, and hedge fund managers. Before cashing in on the charter industry, Roldan worked for former Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) board member Monica Garcia, who has ties to the shadowy Gülenist cult. He also worked for the anti-public education NPIC Community Coalition. It's a safe bet that Roldan's whole two years of community college prepared him to deal with the broad range of topics on education policy and pedagogy.

Until recently (namely when they were exposed for their role in UWGLA's massive public deception campaign) Roldan worked alongside Ryan Smith and Jason Mandell. Before joining UWGLA, Smith worked for the notorious Green Dot Corporate Charter Chain and the so-called Partnership for Los Angeles Schools (PLAS) with Marshall Tuck (whose wife, Mae Tuck, also works at UWGLA). After the UWGLA astroturf incident, Smith went to work for the reactionary EdTrust. Mandell worked with fellow poverty pimp Yolie Flores at the The Gates Foundation funded Communities for Teaching Excellence. Mandell now works for the California Charter Schools Association, although that was sort of his function when his paychecks read UWGLA as well.

The candidate forums run by UWGLA mentioned in the mailer were addressed in Statement on Gates and Broad Foundation funded United Way Greater Los Angeles running LAUSD forums. Candidates opposing the CCSA funded ones had myriad complaints about the heavy handed manner in which the UWGLA treated them durring the forums. LAUSD District 3 candidate Carl J. Petersen submitted the following account. His complaints have been corroborated by other District 3 candidates, who wished to remain anonymous.

The first thing that hit me upon entering the venue was Ms. Galatzan had set up a table in the courtyard with her election paraphernalia, including yard signs. This clearly broke the rules which stated that only one piece of literature could be distributed and this would be at a table that the United Way would set up for all of the participants. Elizabeth Badger and I both immediately complained to the person in charge (I believe that his name was Elmer), who confirmed that Ms. Galatzan had broken the rules and promised that it would be taken care of. When the signs remained up I filed another complaint and was again assured that the signs would be taken down. Once on stage, the moderator announced a rule that each candidate was allowed one sign in the courtyard. The fact that this was a rule change was not conveyed to the audience.

The next inconsistency with the rules occurred during the debate itself. After a round that did not go well for Ms. Galatzan (I believe the subject was iPads), the moderator decided to break format and allowed Ms. Galatzan to go out of turn to defend herself. The moderator felt that this was fair because we had all attacked the incumbent.

To me, the strangest part of the night happened when I went to collect my unused literature. I had provided 200 flyers to be distributed at the appointed table, but the actual turnout was much less. I think the estimated attendance was 100 people. My flyers must have been in great demand because none were left and the volunteers said that they had not seen them. I wish I knew when in the evening they had been removed.

I think that it is telling that the United Way was the only candidate forum that Ms. Galatzan attended during the entire campaign. She skipped the second debate, a meet and greet at the Northridge West Neighborhood Council and a final Q&A at the Encino Neighborhood Council. I would like to know what assurances the United Way provided her that made her feel their event was a safe one for her.

Eli Broad and Carrie Walton Penner will stop at nothing to turn the entire public education system over to the private sector, where corruption and greed rule supreme. UWGLA's ability to remain a tax exempt organization is testament to how much power and influence the Broad/Gates/Walton Triumvirate have.

Some of United Way of Greater Los Angeles and United Way Worldwide's other "education" related activities:

United Way Greater Los Angeles creates ad campaign for their biased LAUSD candidate forums

* Emperor Broad is quoted in the New York Times


K12NN Wire: How do Karin Klein and Los Angeles Times define "high-performing"?

First published on K12NN Wire on March 14, 2015

Sent to the Los Angeles Times on March 14, 2015

Re: Teachers at Alliance charter group push to form union

The author here calls the Alliance's corporate chain a "high-performing charter group". I'm curious if that inaccurate designation came directly from either Alliance's or the California Charter Schools Association's marketing departments?

Despite claiming that their schools produce top college prospects, Alliance College "Ready" Schools boast 6 of the 80 lowest SAT performers in Los Angeles County, and 5 of the 75 lowest in LAUSD. (Source: "California Schools Guide." Lowest Average SAT Scores in Los Angeles County. Los Angeles Times, 01 Jan. 2013. Web. 19 Sept. 2013.). Those numbers have not significantly changed in two years.

Moreover, Alliance routinely produces "graduates" with astronomical remediation rates. Take their Gertz-Ressler campus' figures for 2008-2012. The California State University (CSU) makes remediation data available (Source: for all schools sending them students.

* 2008 Alliance's CSU proficiency 7% in math and 13% in English.
* 2009 Alliance's CSU proficiency 29% in math and 29% in English.
* 2010 Alliance's CSU proficiency 29% in math and 17% in English.
* 2011 Alliance's CSU proficiency 50% in math and 33% in English.
* 2012 Alliance's CSU proficiency 57% in math and 50% in English.

Alliance has made their "CEO" Judy Burton insanely wealthy though. In 2013, aside from the $139K+ she was making from CalSTRS and CalPERS, she was skimming another $315K+ in taxpayer money through her corporate charter pyramid scheme. (Source: California Pensions Database and Alliance 2010 Form 990 Part VII§A).

Robert D. Skeels

Shutting out the public's voice. Why does the LA Times only publish the charter industry's side?


Friday, March 06, 2015

More Than a Score The New Uprising Against High-Stakes Testing

More Than a Score
The New Uprising Against High-Stakes Testing

with editor Jesse Hagopian
Friday, March. 6 at 4:30pm:
United Teachers Losa Angeles (UTLA) in L.A.

Saturday, March 7 from 8am-3pm:
ARE 2015 Conference, San Diego
Across the country, students are walking out, parents are opting their children out, and teachers are refusing to administer detrimental exams. 

More Than a Score:
The New Uprising Against High-Stakes Testing

More Than a Score is a collection of essays, poems, speeches, and interviews--accounts of personal courage and trenchant insights--from frontline fighters who are defying the corporate education reformers, often at great personal and professional risk, an fueling a national movement to reclaim and transform public education.
"Those who support public education and a respected teaching profession can find hope in the stories of resistance in this book."
—Diane Ravitch 
"The eagerly engaged voices assembled here present an action plan to combat the increase in high-stakes standardized testing currently plaguing K–12 education…the focus is on doing rather than shouting, and each essay in this anthology is a blueprint for civic action….The contributors build on Hagopian’s optimism for the blooming of an “educational spring” and make this book exceptional."
Publishers Weekly Starred Review
"For anyone who wonders what’s powering the virulent opposition to standardized testing, Common Core standards and so-called education reform, Jesse Hagopian’s new book, More Than a Score, will be an illuminating read."
Seattle Times
"More Than a Score is an exciting book, filled with anger, passion and creative strategizing over ways to defeat standardized testing. It’s also a call to arms and a well-argued plea for educational equity and a thoughtful defense of public education, the teaching profession and student-centered learning."
JESSE HAGOPIAN teaches history and is the Black Student Union adviser at Garfield High School, the site of the historic boycott of the MAP test in 2013. He is an associate editor of Rethinking Schools, a founding member of Social Equality Educators, and winner of the 2013 “Secondary School Teacher of Year” award from the Academy of Education Arts and Sciences.

Hagopian is a contributing author to Education and Capitalism: Struggles for Learning and Liberation and 101 Changemakers: Rebels and Radicals Who Changed US History, and writes regularly for TruthoutCommon Dreams, Socialist Worker, Black Agenda Report, and the Seattle Times Op-Ed page.


Monday, March 02, 2015

Ravitch reader offers best response to CCSA and Ref Rodriguez's attacks on Bennett Kayser's disability

“SWD [Students with Disabilities] are disproportionately under-enrolled at charter schools” — Office of the Independent Monitor

"LG" is a frequent commenter on the distinguished Dr. Diane Ravitch's site. Here LG offers the best response I've read to date on California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) and Refugio "Ref" Rodriguez's vile campaign against Students with Disabilities (SWD) and their champion on the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Board, the Honorable Bennett Kayser:

“When criticizing a person who happens to have a debilitating medical issue, I would think opponents would have more class than to blur the lines by presenting ANYTHING that could be construed as discriminatory and hateful. Defending this is akin to saying, “Well, I didn’t mean to insult your condition–I was merely trying to insult you in order to preserve your dignity. YOU were the one who misconstrued my meaning.” Sorry, you watch your Ps and Qs when you are refuting actions–you don’t imply physical impairment in the process. That’s personal…but by all means, defend this heinous act as “creative and clever.”

B. S.

On a stick.”

California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) and Ref Rodriguez's vile campaign against Students with Disabilities (SWD) and their champion on the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Board, the Honorable Bennett Kayser


The Association of Raza Educators Annual Conference 2015

The Association of Raza Educators has their annual conference next Saturday on March 7. It will take place in San Diego. Below is the graphic. The keynote speakers will be Dr. Melina Abdullah of the Ethnic Studies Now Coalition and Black Lives Matter L.A., and also Jesse Hagopian a Seattle public school teacher. I will also be speaking at the event, and I hope you can join us! Click here for more information.

The Association of Raza Educators Annual Conference 2015


Billionaires behind California Charter Schools Association’s (CCSA) near record spending to defeat LAUSD's advocate for Students with Disabilities

Contact: Dan Nyaradi
Cell: 541-480-4948

Los Angeles –The California Charter Schools Association’s (CCSA) political arm, the CCSA Advocates, has dumped three quarters of a million dollars into defeating Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Board member Bennett Kayser and for promoting Dr. Ref Rodriguez, a member of CCSA’s own Board of Directors. While the issues facing the District are many and varied, this single-issue advocacy group has compressed debate to a simplistic pro- or anti-charter discussion.

With just three days left before Election Day, the trade organization and its candidate are $277,543.68 ahead in campaign expenditures. As of 2/25/15, a total of $412,615.34 has been spent in favor of Rodriguez with another $373,762.82 spent maliciously attacking Kayser.

With over a quarter million dollar advantage, CCSAA has flooded the airwaves, radio waves, social media, mailboxes and phones. Over the next four days, this gap is expected to increase even more given the large pot of money stashed in Sacramento by the b/millionaires.

Howard Blume recently reported in the Los Angeles Times (2/26/15) that prior to the December filing deadline, one billionaire gave the political action committee (PAC) $1.5 million, an out-of-state Republican gave $450,000, and an out-of-state Republican Walmart heir kicked in $250,000 to the group’s large political pot.

By running its money through a Sacramento PAC, CCSAA has bypassed local reporting rules that require a much higher level of transparency. Once past the December deadline, the next time CCSA Advocates report is August 2015, at which point voters will learn who gave what in their local school board race. If necessary, there will be a general election in May, once again, voters will be without key information about the rich out-of-town Republicans paying to promote charter school growth in Los Angeles.

Meanwhile, the overwhelming majority of Bennett Kayser donors represent the 99% who rely on public education. It will be their volunteering and their small donations that conquer Goliath.

Rodriguez Total: $786,378.16
Kayser Total: $508,834.48

(Sources: and
Paid for by Re-Elect Bennett Kayser for School Board 2015 – 419 North Larchmont Blvd., #37, Los Angeles, CA 90004 – ID #1361502 – Additional information is available at – – (323) 283-5574
Copyright © 2015 Re-Elect Bennett Kayser For School Board 2015, All rights reserved. 


Sunday, March 01, 2015

Robert D. Skeels' Endorsements: March 2015 Primary Election

"To glorify democracy and to silence the people is a farce; to discourse on humanism and to negate people is a lie." — Paulo FreirePedagogy of the Oppressed

Vote for Dr. George McKenna, Scott Schmerelson, and Bennett Kayser

Los Angeles Unified School District

Seat 1 The Honorable Dr. George McKenna
Dr. George McKenna: Experienced, courageous, and principled. Not cowed by billionaires with fringe ideologies and their profiteer puppets at the CCSA.
Seat 3 Scott Schmerelson
Endorsed by AALA, CSEA, and more.
Soft endorsement: Ankur Patel. I initially gave Patel a sole endorsement because he had wonderful critiques of neoliberalism and charters on his website, but they all disappeared. People started telling me he equivocated on school privatization via charters at forums.
Soft endorsement: Carl J. Petersen. I admire Petersen's energy and tenaciousness, but his knowledge on pedagogy and policy is of concern. When I met him, I asked if he had read Ravitch, Dewey, or Freire. He said no, and I said at least read Ravitch. Being a board member takes more just being a parent—Tamar Galatzan's glaring incompetence proves just that.
Seat 5 The Honorable Bennett Kayser
Bennett Kayser: The board member who insists that the charter industry be obligated to educate every child instead of ones that don't cut into their revenues! Also, a strong supporter of Ethnic Studies, Adult Education, Early Education, and more.
Seat 7 no endorsement
Soft endorsement: Dr. Richard Vladovic. I've taken umbrage with some of Vladovic's decisions in the past, but I think his witnessing some of the things that Deasy and the CCSA have done may have made him more aware of his complicity in the neoliberal project.

Community College Board of Trustees

Seat 1 Francesca Vega
Seat 3 Sydney Kamlager
Seat 5 Scott Svonkin
Seat 7 Mike Fong

City Council

District 10 Grace Yoo

City of Los Angeles Measures 1 and 2

Measure 1 NO!
Measure 2 NO!

We may as well call these measures what they are: a cost saving movida so that Eli Broad, Philip Anschutz, and Rupert Murdoch won't have to spend as much money on future school board elections. Vote no on these reactionary, anti-democratic measures.