INSIDE EDUCATION POLITICS-One of the main goals of the public education privatizers has been to make it easier, legally, to fire teachers. Understanding this goal is not difficult. You fire more teachers; you show how bad the public education system is with so many bad teachers. This in turn justifies systemic change or more euphemistically referred to as education reform. And the reform is always the same, more charter schools, more online education, more testing, more replacement of teachers with Teach For America Troops/others.
Education reform also always includes more for profit teacher preparation programs- because now not only are the public schools really bad according to the privatizers, but now we don’t have enough teachers in the profession, so we need to recruit more and find alternative ways, short cuts, on how teachers get licensed- enter for profit teacher preparation programs $$$$. The public education privatizers have the perfect business plan- create chaos, justify change, make change, make profits. And the more change, the more profits to make.
Add the constant false claim that there are so many sex offenders in the classroom that are impossible to get rid of, and the privatizers create the perfect distraction to fool the public while scooping up billions of tax dollars- all in the name of helping students.
The problem that never gets addressed in the corporate controlled media is the serious human abuse taking place against teachers to achieve these privatizing ends. As the public education system gets primed with low wage, inexperienced, temporary teachers who cost less and don’t require benefits, the privatizers are also adding teacher bullies provided by the numerous education leadership academies trained to spy on, write up and report back on any outspoken critic of the privatization agenda. Some of the teacher bullies are Broad trained education consultants (privatizer moles). These bullies are right there working along side the teachers.
So if a teacher happens to complain when school administrators hold back Black students in a English class, when in fact they qualify for advanced placement (an actual story), this teacher automatically becomes a target. She begins to get reassigned to classes where the majority of students have behavioral problems, she then gets assigned to subjects outside of what she is authorized to teach, and she is constantly monitored, watched and written up for even speaking to colleagues. As her every move is watched, and the privatizer moles continue to write her up, the teacher becomes more and more stressed.
Eventually the dismissal will look like a problematic teacher was given numerous chances and failed to comply, when actually this was a serious case of on the job mental torture by the agents of the privatization agenda. No one is talking about these abuses, but they are happening across this country. Remember why the privatizers would want it to appear that Black students are failing, to justify the need for systemic change- more change- more profits. It is sickening.
The public education privatizers, really scam artists, have even hijacked the civil rights movement to suggest that they are the only ones fighting to ensure equal educational opportunity- no mention ever of all the money they are making from their many scams all funded by our public education tax dollars.
This siphoning off of public education tax dollars creates another crisis- the claim that the public education system needs more funding. More funding from whom? Yes, we the tax payers are paying for this outrageous scam. The rich privatizers create the de-funding of public education as tech companies, testing companies, consultants, evaluation companies, charter schools, online schools and the like, take- take- take our public education tax dollars, then the politicians, who the privatizers have funded through campaign donations, claim the public education system needs more money. Simple solution really, you don’t need to be a math wiz for this one- stop making deals to give public education tax dollars to corporations and to the rich, stop the madness. But no, the politicians and key government policy makers (many with economic conflicts with the privatization entities) keep shoving these scams down our throat like there is no other solution to the manufactured budget crisis. I don’t think we are buying it anymore, do you?
The public education privatizers have been working on many fronts. A few of their main goals are listed below- much of which was obtained from websites of the numerous non-profit front groups that serve this agenda like 50can.org:
- Put their folks in office / gov / mayors / school bds/ supts / admin / teachers, mayoral control includes selection of school board members
- Put their transplants in your local district- push for local control (less opposition from the pesky public)
- Change Teacher Evaluations <--base them on test scores
- Get rid of teacher tenure / keep the new teachers (cheaper)
- Allow their leaders at the school site to fire teachers
- They have folks studying up on teacher pensions (Hoover inst)
- They have finance folks in place
- They have consultants / strategists
- They have textbook companies in place ex. Peason + new common core standards
- They want digital learning / e learning that "they" sponsor
- They want "their" technology / data instruments in our schools
- They want to run the schools like a business
- They have bought out many newspapers / media companies + hired many reporters to bias the news
- They have a lot of their own media companies / tv already in place
- They want to make a killing $$$ on textbooks, digital textbooks, common core standards, consulting, Teach for America, their technology and data driven instruments in our schools….all paid for with our tax dollars.
A major player in the public education privatization agenda which funds many political campaigns in the state of California is an organization called Edvoice.
Edvoice was considered one of the top five political action committees by funding amount for the 2010 California general election. Let’s take a peek at who is behind Edvoice.
Edvoice is currently headed by Bill Lucia (CEO) (this list may not be current but is correct for his positions held) Chief Consultant of the Assembly Education Committee, senior staff on the Budget and Appropriations Committees, and Chief of Staff and education consultant to the Chairman of the Senate Republican Caucus. He has also served in Senior Analyst roles at the Legislative Analyst's Office and the Department of Finance.
Edvoice was founded in 2001 by Reed Hastings (CEO of Netflix, Facebook BD member, former Microsoft board member, Green Dot founding funder, Aspire School founding member) and John Doerr (venture capitalist, investment banker), along with former CA state Assembly members Ted Lempert and Steve Poizner (high tech entrepreneur);
Eli Broad and Don Fisher (deceased CEO of The Gap and major KIPP supporter) once served on EdVoice’s board. Doris Fisher, widow of Don Fisher is currently a major funder of Edvoice.
Eli Broad (photo above) is currently a major funder of Edvoice!!
Edvoice is described as “a state-wide coalition of California business leaders and others who support education reform”. Another co-founder is Don Shavley, Gates foundation Senior program officer, co-founder of Californians For Public School Excellence (co-founded with Reed Hastings), Green Dot Public Schools board of directors; was also involved in starting the first charter school in California- San Carlos learning Academy.
Green Dot Public Schools is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange- tax payer funded!!
Aspire Public Schools is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange- tax payer funded!!
Also on Edvoice board of directors- Carrie Walton Penner- granddaughter of Walmart founder Sam Walton (Carrie is also on KIPP BD, CA Charter School Association BD and married to Greg Penner who is/was on Teach For America BD and who manages Madrone Capital Partners).
Carrie Walton Penner is currently a major funder of Edvoice!!
Reed Hastings contributed one million dollars to the passage of Proposition 30. Why? Privatizers want local control. Why? There is less resistance/opposition from those pesky public voters. Reed Hastings also threw his monetary weight behind another Proposition- Prop 39- to lower the percentage of voters required to pass local school bonds from 65% to 55%. Yes, Mr. Hastings doesn’t seem to care too much about democratic processes that may interfere with his opportunities to make huge profits from tax dollars.
Still think, these cronies are in it for the kids???
Edvoice was behind Senate Bill 1530, a bill to make it easier to fire teachers, introduced in February 2012 but did not pass out of the Assembly Education Committee. Jennfier Wada, lobbyist for Edvoice was present, never stated she was a lobbyist from Edvoice when she spoke at the hearing and of course supported the bill wearing her Louis Vuitton high heels. Edvoice gave campaign contributions to the author of SB 1530, California senator Alex Padilla.
The privatizers lost this fight, but was that the end for the public education privatizers? Oh no, not with all that profit to be had. Not when they needed manufactured crisis to create systemic change and make more profits. In 2012, before SB 1530 dies in the Assemby Education Committee after heavy media scrutiny, the privatzers were already cooking up another scheme.
This time they needed the public to be distracted so they could re-write legislation to make it easier to fire teachers. What would be a good distraction? A good way to create smoke would be to call up your media cronies and get the public to pay attention to a major lawsuit attacking teacher tenure laws and dismissal laws.
Enter the Vergara lawsuit, filed May 2012. At the same time, work on new legislation while no one (the human beings not profiting from this privatization scheme anyway) is looking too closely. And so, Assembly Bill 215 was born. AB 215 has been ordered enrolled, it has passed both the senate and the assembly. It is awaiting Governor Brown’s signature. Not too much media scrutiny on AB 215- too much buzz around the Vergara decision (the smoke).
What is AB 215? Not too surprising, if you have been following the money scammers, it aims at amending two of the very same dismissal statutes that were attacked in the Vergara lawsuit, namely CA education section 44934 and 44944. Why? The privatizers need to make it easier to fire teachers? Why? They need to make it look like so many bad teachers exist in the public schools that there needs to be systemic change. Why? They need to replace outspoken critics of the privatization agenda with low cost, low wage, no benefits teachers. Why?
They need to introduce through government contracts more testing, more evaluations, more online schooling, more school closure conversions into charter schools, more lease agreements with charter management companies- more- more-more- more profits…all with our tax dollars. Ah, get it? It is the privatizers that have the budget crisis! But, that is not what we, the public, are being told.
The privatizers have big plans, many of which have created mass layoffs, teachers committing suicide, school closures where low income students now have difficulty getting to school in dangerous neighborhoods, numerous students not receiving a quality education as they get tested and tested for a major part of the day, and parents, teachers, school staff and children in a constant state of flux.
The devastation caused by the privatizers has also left many qualified teachers struggling in poverty, mentally exhausted and resulted in way too teachers no longer with us. The privatizers have also left many fired whistleblowers struggling to survive.
But, but, all that money, they must make all that money or at least tap into a major portion of it. And so, they continue their scams- the kids, it is all for the kids.
Still think they are doing it for the kids??
The public education privatizer success has been amazing. And maybe that is the real reason for the ramping up, the scams are so fantastically ridiculous, that people everywhere are waking up to the fact that public education policy makers (many with economic conflicts with the privatizers) need to stop giving our tax dollars to the rich (testing giants like Pearson, K12 inc, Green Dot, Aspire, Tech companies, Pearson evaluations; Pearson textbooks, Pearson curriculum/content )- get rid of all the billionaire/corporate speculators that are wasting our tax dollars on themselves, get back the qualified teachers that were either wrongfully dismissed or improperly laid off (if they haven’t been totally scared away); hire back the school counselors….and everyone work together to help the individual needs of students-not the cookie cutter approach that is destroying our public education system.
And repeal charter school laws!!!! And do it now. Teachers need union officials who don’t take money from public education privatizers, who protect their rights- so teachers need to clean their union house, elect new union reps to protect the sanctity of qualified educators- and do it now. And parents and students must all be vigilant-opt out of the testing scams-de-fund the privatizers. And last but in no way least, prosecute the criminal conflicts of interests to send the scam artists and their co-conspirators to jail- lock them up and throw away the keys for perpetrating this convoluted, inhumane, discriminatory and sick fraud.
The public education privatizers never want to mention socioeconomic factors such as poverty, domestic violence in the home, absent parents or lack of food as having any appreciable impact on student learning. No, these real factors would make their arguments that lack of student learning is the sole fault of bad teachers impossible to swallow, so these factors always get left out. Why? They want to privatize, they want the money, the goals- keep your eye on their goals and all will be clear.
So while teachers, activists, community leaders, and journalists focus on the faulty facts of the Vergara decision, the public education privatizers successfully pushed through amendments to the education code making it easier to fire teachers- AB 215, all while no one was looking too closely. Teachers can now only have 5 witnesses for a dismissal hearing involving so-called egregious misconduct, none of the witnesses can be deposed for longer than 7 hours and the whole dismissal hearing must be wrapped up in 7 months except for good cause shown. Sound fair? It is not suppose to be fair.
No mention that current law automatically suspends a teacher charged with a mandatory sex or drug offense as defined in education code 44010 or 44011, and if convicted no due process attaches as these are mandatory revocation offenses. Now, under AB 215 any employee accused of egregious misconduct will be subject to an expedited dismissal hearing with extremely little time to defend against false allegations.
Does anyone see the potential for abuse by the privatizers with all their money and attorneys on their side? The abuse is already happening at lightning speed.
The plaintiffs in Vergara case actually invoke the problem of misassigning inexperienced teachers in schools containing predominantly low income or minority students, an issue not raised in the decision. The employment and tenure laws at issue in Vergara do not determine where a teacher is placed at a particular school site. The local school district that hired the teacher determines this assignment.
Local school districts assign hired teachers to specific school sites, determining whether an inexperienced or experienced teacher exists at a particular school site. Most in the education community know this fact; the employment statutes at issue in Vergara are simply irrelevant to teacher assignment. Another problem is misassignment of teachers with improper credentials or with improperly issued waivers issued by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC).
CTC is supposed to issue waivers only after a local school district performs due diligence in finding a qualified teacher for a vacant position, then the school district signs under penalty of perjury a statement of need to the CTC, whereby CTC then decides to issue a waiver to an otherwise ineligible applicant for a teaching credential.
The Williams settlement (California lawsuit and settlement resulting in 5 legislative bills (and numerous education code amendments/additions) addressing the placement of qualified teachers in low performing schools, to reduce the number of emergency permits, require proper credentials in classes with ESL students or learning disabilities, among many other issues attempting to address serious discriminatory practices affecting low income and minority students) was supposed to rectify the problems of misassigned teachers in the classrooms of low income and minority students. What happened? Was there another deal brokered between government policy makers and the privatizers?
Ask Governor Brown what happened. He hired Susan Burr to be his education advisor. Who is Susan Burr? Burr drafted the 1992 California Charter School Act while she served as principal consultant to the CA state senate, authored by former California senator, and CSU Institute for Education Reform co-founder Gary Hart. Who monitors the misassignment of teachers?- the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.
And where was the teacher union execs and officials while all of this (Vergara and AB 215) went down? Follow the money, both unions NEA and AFT have taken money from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Broad Foundation (public education privatizers) just to name a few of the privatizers funding the unions. And another union, the SEIU, also took money from the Broad Foundation to help organization efforts to push education reform (privatization money scams) in Los Angeles and other urban districts.
Labor unions are supposed to protect labor, which is after all, why they receive dues from their members. But, the conflicts of interest here make it impossible for the teachers (rank and file) to fight back- unions either remain silent or misinform their members (and the public) about what is really going on.
Again, that seems to be the point of the public education privatizers- buy everyone off, including apparently the union execs- silence all opposition. But, the rank and file teachers, activists, parents and even students are waking up to the scams. Human beings with human compassion will rise up and fight back. It is never too late to expose corruption, greed and most importantly inhumanity. It must be exposed for what it is … disgusting.
(Kathleen Carroll is a former government attorney (CA Commission on Teacher Credentialing) turned whistleblower. Carroll has been a strong opponent of the privatization agenda of our public education system (both k-12 and higher ed.). She has been a regular guest on KPFA radio in Berkeley, California and continues to speak out against the fraud of siphoning off education tax dollars to the rich while at the same time claiming we have an education budget crisis.)
Vol 12 Issue 52
Pub: June 27, 2014