Wed, Jun

Eli Broad Bias Showing at LA Times … No Fan of Public Teachers and Schools


EDUCATION MATTERS-In the last few days, the LA Times has published misleading information on the California Appeals Court decision this week denying the lower court ruling in the Vergara lawsuit – a suit wherein a few carefully chosen students were urged to press a lawsuit to terminate teachers without due process, changing the law pertaining to what they call tenure. In addition, this lawsuit would serve to weaken teachers unions.


The suit was contrived by billionaires David Welch (under the aegis if the nonprofit called Students Matter,) and with the input of Eli Broad, the Walton Family and others of the billionaire anti-public school contingent. These uber-wealthy non-educators tried to prove that bad and uncaring teachers were assigned to inner-city schools so as to diminish the civil rights of inner-city students to a fair and equal education in public schools; they believed that laws should be changed to be able to fire them with no due process.

However, these same billionaires have been working toward privatizing most of Americas' public schools -- turning them into "Wall Street investment opportunities," as openly expressed by Rupert Murdoch in his NY Times op-ed a few years ago; support has also come from hedge fund managers such as Whitney Tilson, who sell their clients products of investments in charter schools and other allied corporations, and even hold classes for these clients on how to invest in "public" education for large profits. 

This is the greatest scam in the universe and outshines Teapot Dome as a robber baron scheme.  They call the schools "public" but the only thing public about them is that they are paid for by the American taxpayer public. Other than that, these charter schools have no oversight by real educators and education administrators, nor a Board of Education, but are run on business models devised by Eli Broad and his Broad Academy, all to make vast sums of money for their leaders and investors, none of whom are generally educators.

These vulture business managers fire real trained teachers with degrees in education, replacing them with low-paid Teach for America recent college graduates who only get five weeks of minimalist training before being dumped into classrooms in inner cities for only a short period of time; they are often assigned 50 children to a room that was built to hold 30. Many disasters occur, and students suffer.

This week one of these ersatz public charter schools was awarded $7.2 million dollars by an LA court for not having LAUSD provide them with a free site for their marginal school. We also see Fetullah Gulen, the Turkish Imam who lives in guarded seclusion in the Poconos, running over 146 of these questionable charters all over the US, eleven of them in LA. These Magnolia Schools in LA are headed by the infamous charter school queen, Caprice Young, someone who has made a fortune in her career off these schools that use taxpayer funds with no taxpayer oversight.

As for the LA Times, this information is always soft pedaled by the Times reporters. We have been told they are under the thumbs of their bosses, the Editorial Board, who carefully monitor and edit their reports. Focusing on Saturday, April 16, 2016, we find the reporters’ front page story starts off with their own Broad-directed take on this week's decision by the Appeals Court to throw out this highly flawed case. The Times, and LASR, all week kept calling this a "landmark case," which it is not. It is a failed case of bad law based on unproven allegations and bias against teachers and their unions. But the “Broadies” will again file similar lawsuits since they have endless deep pockets.

Howard Blume and his writer pals follow the Broad line imposed by their Times bosses, even though they do not have the usual disclaimer on Saturday’s front page manipulated article. Ryan Smith and Ben Austin are quoted by the LA Times. They chose once again to interview and quote Ryan Smith, past hatchet man for United Way and now the darling of Marion Edelman fame and fortune, and Parent Revolution/parent trigger shady lawyer, Ben Austin, former and still hatchet man for Eli Broad, and now of Broad/Welch fame and fortune, to be their voices on education issues.

These two men are leaders in the deception to steal public education in the name of their manufactured view of civil rights. They already led the infamous street charade on Oct. 29, 2013 to get the contract renewed for the equally infamous John Deasy (who now works fulltime for Broad.) This was when the pathetic LAUSD Board of Education danced to Eli Broad’s tune, allowing the spectacle takeover of Beaudry Street and Board Room...and then signing and extending a disastrous contract – all this after the multiple fiascos caused by Broad's Supt. Deasy which cost the District around $780 million in losses and payoffs for lawsuits. Deasy almost forced the District into bankruptcy.

The supportive “reformer” language these reporters use in their introductory paragraphs, "the nation's most generous teacher employment protections...and, the (reformers) centerpiece effort to remake schools....and, teachers' unions have flexed their muscle locally and nationally" is egregious. These biases set the scene for the rest of the manipulation of the story.

The “reformer players” and the Times use the important claim of civil rights to elevate the privatizing of public schools, and the firing (and teacher jailing) of teachers without due process, with the goal to kill off unions -- yet they want the exclusive use of public funds to run their charter schools, all paid for on the backs of the taxpayers. Deasy testified against teachers at the Vergara trial; at the Treu decision for the plaintiffs, he stated that he was delighted and would rush home to fire more teachers...and he did.

The cited Times article mentions the recent Friedrichs case, which SCOTUS dropped in a 4-to-4 tie after Justice Scalia's death, as a case "which could have prevented unions from collecting dues from employees who didn't agree to become members." This is not what the case actually shows. As with Harris v. Quinn, ("Holding: The First Amendment prohibits the collection of an agency fee from the plaintiffs in this case, home health care providers who do not wish to join or support a union. JudgmentReversed in part, affirmed in part, and remanded, 5-4, in an opinion by Justice Alito on June 30, 2014.

Justice Kagan filed a dissenting opinion in which Justice Ginsburg, Justice Breyer, and Justice Sotomayor joined,") teachers who do not join the union are generally required to pay a small fee since they benefit from union negotiations in their behalf as well as paid members. 

But how easy it is to blame all of public education’s problems on the teachers.

However, do these reporters interview some of the skid row (see San Pedro St. in LA) crack mothers of the thousands of LAUSD students who sleep on the hard streets every night? Rarely do these ace reporters do any in-depth investigation of how these inner- city kids live lives of desperate poverty, with little food or rest, and virtually no parental supervision. There are also many poverty-level parents working three jobs to try to exist.

There are thousands of others who have no business parenting children. These students are sent to school and teachers are supposed to fill all the spaces of their wretched lives, make them math and language successes, and be college-ready, as well. These expectations extend to the lives of all LAUSD students living at or below the poverty level -- which is close to 80% of LAUSD. Could Eli make this work? Could the Kochs or the Waltons with their endless billions do it? Why don’t they focus on curing poverty, instead? Or could it be that’s because there are no fortunes to be made in curing poverty?

As to their education articles, it seems the Times reporters never interview highly respected academics like Professor Rogers at UCLA or Emeritus Professor Kashen from USC. Rather, they feature the mendacious warriors for privatization from Eli Broad’s selected non-profits, United Way, Parent Revolution, and California Endowment. So what the public reads is deeply slanted.

This is a story filled with dichotomies. It is a continuum of despair – struggles of inner city life amid the grandest displays of wealth in LA. The 40,000 sq. ft. mansions, which could house a hundred people, are but vacation homes for the billionaires who seek to run the world. These are the homes highlighted by the tour buses…not the tents stretching for miles and miles from 1st and San Pedro, the homes of the poverty stricken, showing such degradation and filth a mere twenty-minute drive from Rodeo Drive.

When we lose a free press, a truly unbiased media, we lose democracy. Judging by Campbell’s new gig at LASR, and by the venomous LA Times, plus the biased NY Times, all is lost.


(Ellen Lubic, Director of Joining Forces for Education is a Public Policy educator/writer. Views expressed are those of the author and do not reflect the views of CityWatch or its ownership.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.

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