Category Archives: LAUSD

Here’s Some Insight Into How Zillionaires Use Charter Schools To Skim Public Cash Into Their Own Pockets While Providing Exactly Zero Social Benefit In Exchange — Ruben Alonzo — Head Boss Of That Co-Locating Criminal Conspiracy Known As Excelencia Charter Academy — Got His School Approved By LAUSD In April 2018 — Six Weeks Later He Turned Around And Sold The School’s Future Income To Some Shady Finance Company At A Discount — The Extra Money Went Straight To The Finance Company — Why Is This Even A Thing? — How Is This Putting Kids First?

It is well understood that zillionaires are making tons of money from charter schools, even and maybe especially the putatively non-profit ones. And until recently I at least had assumed that this involved esoteric financial schemes that normal human beings like me don’t have a hope of understanding. This is roughly the impression given by various exposes, like this one in Forbes from last year.

But some records I recently obtained from that creepy little conspiracy known as Excelencia Charter Academy via the California Public Records Act show that, at least in some cases, the grift is very straightforward.1 Easy even for humans to comprehend. It’s called “selling receivables.” The idea is very simple. A charter school has guaranteed future income in the form of payments from the state. They sell those payments to a finance company at a discount.

The finance company also charges a transaction fee. So for instance, if a charter has enrollment worth $1,000,000 they might sell those future payments for $980,000 now, which is less 2%. That means that $20,000 of public money, meant to educate children, has just evaporated into some zillionaire’s pocket for no reason, with no social benefit, nothing.2

This is usury. Payday loans for putatively public institutions. It’s textbook predatory lending with the unique distinction that both the borrower and the lender are teaming up to prey on a third party, which is the public. And, as I said, none of this is theoretical. Excelencia Charter Academy actually did this last year, which was their first year in operation.
Continue reading Here’s Some Insight Into How Zillionaires Use Charter Schools To Skim Public Cash Into Their Own Pockets While Providing Exactly Zero Social Benefit In Exchange — Ruben Alonzo — Head Boss Of That Co-Locating Criminal Conspiracy Known As Excelencia Charter Academy — Got His School Approved By LAUSD In April 2018 — Six Weeks Later He Turned Around And Sold The School’s Future Income To Some Shady Finance Company At A Discount — The Extra Money Went Straight To The Finance Company — Why Is This Even A Thing? — How Is This Putting Kids First?

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The Accelerated Schools Board Meeting Will Take Place Thursday December 5 At 10 AM — Nightmarish Racist Automaton Juli Quinn — Soon-To-Be-Former President Of The Board Of Directors — Scheduled To Rage-Quit Over Protests — If You Can’t Stand The Heat Get Out Of The Damn Kitchen — As The Cliche Would Have It — But Also If You Can’t Stand The Heat Stop Doing Evil Stuff That Is Sending You Straight To Hell — Just A Parting Thought For Juli Quinn — Quinn’s Welcome Departure Likely To Usher In Amplified Reign Of Racist Terror — With Psychopathic Greed-Head Real Estate Grifter Leonard Rabinowitz Poised To Take Over Presidency — This Is A Guy Who Wants To Eliminate Special Education From His Damn School — And Only Has Not Because They Can’t Afford The Associated Pay Cut — Come Out To The Meeting And Watch History Being Made!

Our old friends at the white savior privatizing charter conspiracy known as The Accelerated Schools are having a board meeting tomorrow, December 5, at 10 AM on the main campus at 4000 S. Main Street 90037. You may well remember that at their last meeting chaos broke out in response to board president Juli Quinn’s high-handed disdain for the human beings her organization purports to serve, in particular their concern for the immoral and illegal firing of long-time TAS employee Hilda Guzman.

And it seems that Quinn is not only an unreconstructed racist but she’s also a thin-skinned whiny little baby who cannot stand even the slightest criticism. Which is why, according to the agenda for tomorrow’s meeting, Quinn is rage-quitting her position on the board because her fans just don’t love her enough. Oh, and if that’s not fascinating enough, according to this list of proposed officers Quinn’s slated replacement as board boss is thuggish real estate grifter Leonard Rabinowitz.1

By the way, shaming Quinn into quitting her position, making her too uncomfortable to continue, is not only a great victory for the activists responsible, but it’s exactly the kind of thing Americans have been doing to tyrants for centuries. This is how free people exert their power. For a powerful statement of this principle, see this Letter to the Inhabitants of the Province of Quebec, sent by the Continental Congress in 1774, explaining that one benefit of a free press is that it allows citizens to organize themselves, a process “whereby oppressive officers are shamed or intimidated, into more honourable and just modes of conducting affairs.”

Please come out to the meeting if you have time, then! You can support Hilda Guzman and the other activists who have been pressuring this board to do the right thing and meet some really brave, really wise people. People who are worth knowing. And not one of them is on the damn board of directors. Not yet, anyway…
Continue reading The Accelerated Schools Board Meeting Will Take Place Thursday December 5 At 10 AM — Nightmarish Racist Automaton Juli Quinn — Soon-To-Be-Former President Of The Board Of Directors — Scheduled To Rage-Quit Over Protests — If You Can’t Stand The Heat Get Out Of The Damn Kitchen — As The Cliche Would Have It — But Also If You Can’t Stand The Heat Stop Doing Evil Stuff That Is Sending You Straight To Hell — Just A Parting Thought For Juli Quinn — Quinn’s Welcome Departure Likely To Usher In Amplified Reign Of Racist Terror — With Psychopathic Greed-Head Real Estate Grifter Leonard Rabinowitz Poised To Take Over Presidency — This Is A Guy Who Wants To Eliminate Special Education From His Damn School — And Only Has Not Because They Can’t Afford The Associated Pay Cut — Come Out To The Meeting And Watch History Being Made!

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Ruben Alonzo — Carpetbagging Galaxy-Brained Founder Of Excelencia Charter Academy In Boyle Heights — Co-Located On The Campus Of Sunrise Elementary School — Surveilled, Stalked, And Photographed Anti-Charter Protester Mimi Duncanson — And Tried — Unsuccessfully — To Get The Cops To Tow Her Car — And Pretty Likely Violated The Brown Act To Prevent Her From Learning Of Impending Teacher Firings At Excelencia — And This Is The Kind Of Amoral Grifter The State Of California Entrusts With The Lives Of Small Defenseless Children

Excelencia Charter Academy is yet another creepy little charter school run by yet another shockingly unqualified creepy little galaxy-brained grifter, this one known as Ruben Alonzo, going about the place making creepy little announcements of delusionally impending disruptive excellence while lining his creepy little pockets with public money1 at the expense of the actual human children that the state legislature, for reasons they’re going to have to answer for eventually, has seen fit to place into his care.

In this regard Alonzo is much like Sakshi Jain, shockingly unqualified founder of the ill-fated GANAS Academy, whose plan to co-locate on the campus of Catskill Elementary School conjured up such a monumental hurricane of activist opposition and scorn that, it appears, she has had to put her school’s opening on hold while she slinks back to her lair to soothe her metaphorical wounds with a salve made of equal parts boorish self-pity and Walton family megabucks.

Unlike Jain, though, Alonzo did actually manage to open his school. In the Fall of 2018 as it happens and, like Jain’s fiasco, co-located, in this case on the campus of Sunrise Elementary School in Boyle Heights. And like Jain’s folly Alonzo’s weirdo little project conjured up some opposition, most publicly from Sunrise Elementary teacher Mimi Guzman-Duncanson.

Duncanson famously parked her SUV out in front of the school covered in flyers advertising the appalling lack of qualifications of Excelencia’s teachers, let alone Ruben Alonzo, the self-proclaimed founder. Duncanson’s protest was covered in the Los Angeles Times and by Jason McGahan, writing in The Baffler.

You can see a picture of Maestra Duncanson2 with her minivan somewhere near this sentence.That picture and another like it came from a huge set of emails released to me recently by Alonzo pursuant to the California Public Records Act.3 And if it looks like hostile photography, like surveillance, well, that’s because that’s precisely what it is. It turns out that aggressively callow hellbaby Ruben Alonzo just could not deal with the fact that anyone at all dared to question his galaxy-brained 29 year old self.

These emails reveal that Alonzo hated and feared the truth to such an extent that not only did he stalk and surveill her, take hostile photographs of her, not only did he whine about her to every reporter who’d sit still long enough, but he tried to convince police to tow Duncanson’s protest van, although they refused.

He also arranged for police presence at his school for the first few days of operation because of his hatred and fear of protesters. He almost certainly also violated the Brown Act by emailing information about firing two teachers to his board of directors in advance of the meeting, explicitly stating that he was doing so in order to keep Duncanson from learning it. You can find PDFs of the relevant emails here, and read on for quotes and links!
Continue reading Ruben Alonzo — Carpetbagging Galaxy-Brained Founder Of Excelencia Charter Academy In Boyle Heights — Co-Located On The Campus Of Sunrise Elementary School — Surveilled, Stalked, And Photographed Anti-Charter Protester Mimi Duncanson — And Tried — Unsuccessfully — To Get The Cops To Tow Her Car — And Pretty Likely Violated The Brown Act To Prevent Her From Learning Of Impending Teacher Firings At Excelencia — And This Is The Kind Of Amoral Grifter The State Of California Entrusts With The Lives Of Small Defenseless Children

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After Accelerated Schools Board President Juli Quinn Shut Down The October 24 Board Meeting In A Fit Of Petulant Rage — Because Protesters — Her Social Inferiors In Every Way Just Ask Her — Dared To Say Something True In Her Presence — And Weren’t Sufficiently Grateful For The Sacrifices Being Made By Their White Saviors On The Board — After All That — Facilities Director Tom Nizetich Cursed About Security Guard Guillermo Garcia Calling The Police To Handle The Situation — Because Nizetich Didn’t Think The Police Would Even Show Up — He Wanted Garcia To “Just Shuffle These People Out Of Here God Almighty” — Listen To A Recording Of Nizetich’s Foul-Mouthed Cynical Paranoia — And Wonder Yet Again Why Anyone Thinks It’s A Good Idea To Make These Self-Absorbed Psychopaths Responsible For The Care And Education Of Actual Human Children

Of course you remember a few weeks how Juli Quinn, president of the Board of Directors of the white supremacist criminal charter school conspiracy known as The Accelerated Schools, threw her toys from the pram and shut down a meeting just because public commenters said some true things. And the subject that they were commenting on was, of course, the unreasonable firing of long-time employee and union member Hilda Rodriguez-Guzman.

But what you might not have known is that Hilda has been continuing to investigate wrongdoing at TAS via, among other things, the California Public Records Act. And this is how she recently obtained official audio recordings of the last three TAS board meetings. She shared them with me and I’m sharing them with you by publishing them on Archive.Org for download and on YouTube for streaming. Here are links:

★ June 27 part 1 — YouTube | MP3 | Ogg Vorbis
★ June 27 part 2 — YouTube | MP3 | Ogg Vorbis
★ August 29, 2019 — YouTube | MP3 | Ogg Vorbis
★ October 24, 2019 — YouTube | MP3 | Ogg Vorbis

And this is important information to have. And it came with an unexpected bonus which supplies even more important information. After Quinn shut down the October 24 meeting the Board did not stop recording immediately and thereby captured some comments by facilities manager Tom Nizetich to executive assistant Mia Watson about how the protesters ought to be handled in his opinion. Here’s what he said:

Tom Nizetich: God damnit! He’s letting Vincent deal with these people while he’s on the fucking telephone!

Mia Watson: Who? Garcia!

Nizetich: Yes! How could you! Son of a bitch drives me out of my mind! The police! Good luck getting them over here! Just shuffle these people out of here!

Watson: Seriously!

Nizetich: God almighty!

Continue reading After Accelerated Schools Board President Juli Quinn Shut Down The October 24 Board Meeting In A Fit Of Petulant Rage — Because Protesters — Her Social Inferiors In Every Way Just Ask Her — Dared To Say Something True In Her Presence — And Weren’t Sufficiently Grateful For The Sacrifices Being Made By Their White Saviors On The Board — After All That — Facilities Director Tom Nizetich Cursed About Security Guard Guillermo Garcia Calling The Police To Handle The Situation — Because Nizetich Didn’t Think The Police Would Even Show Up — He Wanted Garcia To “Just Shuffle These People Out Of Here God Almighty” — Listen To A Recording Of Nizetich’s Foul-Mouthed Cynical Paranoia — And Wonder Yet Again Why Anyone Thinks It’s A Good Idea To Make These Self-Absorbed Psychopaths Responsible For The Care And Education Of Actual Human Children

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In 2017 Sakshi Jain — Founder Of Ill-Fated GANAS Academy Charter School — Sent Three Videos To CD15 Staffer Fernando Navarrete — Proclaiming That They “Provide A Glimpse Into” What She Had In Mind To Subject Small Children To — Basically Militarized Grammar Drills — Like Some Kind Of Subtextually Coercive North Korean Card-Flipping Performance — Totalitarian Training For Future Automatons — Of A Sort That The Zillionaires Who Fund Jain And Other Charter School Grifters Would Never Subject Their Own Kids To — We Were Luckier Than We Knew That Jain’s Appalling Project Flamed Out

Sakshi Jain, yet another in a long line of nihilistic charter school scammers, once thought she would start a school, GANAS Academy, in the City of Carson, authorized by LAUSD and to be colocated on the campus of public elementary school Catskill Elementary. But the community saw through her lies and fought back against them and Jain ultimately had to abandon her unholy plans and slink back to her lair in disgrace.

It has been clear all along that Jain had no one’s but her own best interests in mind and that placing human children in the custody and care of such a callow grifter was an awful idea, but details of what she was planning for her victims have been few. We did learn recently from a grant application Jain submitted to the California Department of Education that she believed in stringing together empty words about putative excellence, although again, what this would mean for the actual children wasn’t clear:

… rigorous academics, character development, and community engagement, GANAS Academy Charter School educates students in kindergarten through fifth grade for academic success, placing them firmly on the path to college. GANAS Academy believes that all students – regardless of zip code, race, or socioeconomic status – deserve access to a high-quality education that prepares them for success in college and career.

But recently I obtained some really interesting 2017 information from CD15 about what Jain had in mind. Buscaino’s office was involved at that point because Jain originally planned to colocate her infernal school in Wilmington, which is in the City of LA in CD15, so she was cultivating relationships with them. To this end, on October 1, 2017 Jain emailed Buscaino staffer Fernando Navarette and cultivated with all her damn might:
Continue reading In 2017 Sakshi Jain — Founder Of Ill-Fated GANAS Academy Charter School — Sent Three Videos To CD15 Staffer Fernando Navarrete — Proclaiming That They “Provide A Glimpse Into” What She Had In Mind To Subject Small Children To — Basically Militarized Grammar Drills — Like Some Kind Of Subtextually Coercive North Korean Card-Flipping Performance — Totalitarian Training For Future Automatons — Of A Sort That The Zillionaires Who Fund Jain And Other Charter School Grifters Would Never Subject Their Own Kids To — We Were Luckier Than We Knew That Jain’s Appalling Project Flamed Out

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Accelerated Schools Board Meeting Shut Down — By President Juli Quinn — In A Petulant Gavel-Smacking Rage — Because Some Members Of The Public Spoke Some Truth In Her Presence — That The Board Members Are Racist — Incompetent — They Endanger Children — They Fired Hilda Guzman In Retaliation For Her Union Activity And Her Political Speech — TAS Violated The Brown Act At Least Three Times In Forty Minutes — Requiring Sign-In For Entrance And Illegally Holding Two (!) Separate Secret Meetings Out Of The Presence Of The Public! — Which May Actually Rise To The Level Of A Criminal Violation!

As you may know, Hilda Guzman was wrongfully fired by The Accelerated Schools in July 2019. Her union, SEIU Local 99, organized a powerful protest at the last board meeting in August and was poised to do so again last Thursday, October 24. You can read more about Hilda’s situation and the Union’s response here. You can also watch the whole meeting, only about 40 minutes, here on YouTube.1

And as you may also know, TAS has an illegal policy of requiring members of the public to sign in prior to attending their Board meetings,2 though, and it took the SEIU members so long to get through this process that president Juli Quinn had closed public comment by the time the SEIU members made it into the room where the meeting was being held.

Quinn tried to make this idiotic decision stand in the face of righteous outrage by the protesters, until she couldn’t bear the shame any longer and said “I’d like to ask the board if you’d like to take a quick recess.” Then she idiotically hit the table with her idiotic gavel3 and they all left the room. Which is so illegal. It’s jaw-droppingly illegal.4 All business of the Board must be conducted in public except for a short list of specific reasons, none of which apply here. Even if any of them had applied it’s not allowed to meet in private without agendizing it first.5

After about five minutes the Board came back in and Juli Quinn6 admitted that she and her stupid colleagues had made a decision while they were in the back.7 And the decision that she admitted that they had made is that they were going to reopen public comment for 15 minutes only. But, like the totalitarian martinet she is, Dr. Quinn decided to read the public comment policy out loud first.
Continue reading Accelerated Schools Board Meeting Shut Down — By President Juli Quinn — In A Petulant Gavel-Smacking Rage — Because Some Members Of The Public Spoke Some Truth In Her Presence — That The Board Members Are Racist — Incompetent — They Endanger Children — They Fired Hilda Guzman In Retaliation For Her Union Activity And Her Political Speech — TAS Violated The Brown Act At Least Three Times In Forty Minutes — Requiring Sign-In For Entrance And Illegally Holding Two (!) Separate Secret Meetings Out Of The Presence Of The Public! — Which May Actually Rise To The Level Of A Criminal Violation!

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Emails Reveal Scholarship Prep Charter School PR Flack Jarryd Gonzales Facebook Stalking Harbor Area Defenders Of Public Education — Trying To Prevent Bad Publicity Based On Board Member Charles Friedrichs’ Xenophobic Anti-Immigrant Retweets — Whose Twitter Account Is Now Protected By The Way — Very Likely On The Advice Of Gonzales — Yet Another Example Of How Charters Squander Public Funds — Paying Idiots An Actual Salary To “Monitor” Adverse Twitter Accounts — I’m Guessing The Meteoric Flameout Of GANAS Academy Has These Piratical Privatizers Quite Worried!

Scholarship Prep is a chain of charter schools in Southern California recently expanded into the Los Angeles Unified School District with a school in Lomita. Charter minion and former state legislator Gloria Romero is one of the founders of the school, locally famous for having conspired with Sakshi Jain to accept the students left without a Fall 2019 school to attend by the spectacular implosion of Jain’s weirdo vanity charter project, GANAS Academy.

And, as you know if you followed that Jain/GANAS thing at all, those Harbor Area public education supporters are fierce. They’re tough as nails and they don’t like charter schools. And having shut down Jain, well, it’s not a surprise that they might be, to understate matters somewhat, not a hundred percent thrilled by Romero’s imperialistic designs on LAUSD kids and money.

And like many of us do these days, they have some presence on social media. For instance, there’s Harbor Area Defenders of Public Education on the Facebook and various Twitter accounts that take an interest, maybe most prominently LA County Leaks. This last account recently, just for instance, tweeted some info about Scholarship Prep’s board of directors and their lack of experience in education.

And the Harbor Area Defenders have also shared some important info about the Board, like for instance this post about Board member and music professor Charles Friedrichs who, despite being in control of a multimillion dollar publicly funded school that serves predominantly Latino populations, probably not entirely documented, will nevertheless gleefully retweet some incredibly xenophobic remarks about immigrants.

You might think, by the way, that Scholarship Prep wouldn’t worry about this kind of talk. They’re a multi-zillion dollar organization, well-funded, thoroughly lawyered up, on the right side of the powerful, and so on. Why would anyone think they might be worried about a little ragtag band of partisans sniping at them from the most obscure of the obscure little backwaters of Twitter.1
Continue reading Emails Reveal Scholarship Prep Charter School PR Flack Jarryd Gonzales Facebook Stalking Harbor Area Defenders Of Public Education — Trying To Prevent Bad Publicity Based On Board Member Charles Friedrichs’ Xenophobic Anti-Immigrant Retweets — Whose Twitter Account Is Now Protected By The Way — Very Likely On The Advice Of Gonzales — Yet Another Example Of How Charters Squander Public Funds — Paying Idiots An Actual Salary To “Monitor” Adverse Twitter Accounts — I’m Guessing The Meteoric Flameout Of GANAS Academy Has These Piratical Privatizers Quite Worried!

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New Records From GANAS Academy — Pertaining To A $475K Start Up Grant From The California Department Of Education — Expose Sakshi Jain’s Utter — Complete — Total — Lack Of Ability — Of Imagination — Of Competence — Of Original Thought — And Call Into Question Anybody’s Decision To Put Actual Human Children Into This Woman’s Care For Any Reason Whatsoever — Let Alone Give Her Half A Million Bucks — Oh Also These Records Show That The $850 Per Recruited Student That Jain Famously Paid Came Out Of Public Funds — Which Is Apparently Known To Be A Bad Thing — Because Some Charter In San Diego Is Currently Getting Dragged In The News For Doing The Same Thing — But Only Paying $200 Per Kid

I’m spending some time trying to understand the finances of from-scratch charter school startups authorized by LAUSD. In particular, for a number of reasons, I’m looking closely at GANAS Academy, an amateurish little effort, slated to open in Fall 2019 but which for various reasons did not. I previously learned that the would-be founder, Sakshi Jain, kicked things off with a $325,000 grant from the Walton Family Foundation. And very recently I received a number of records that show that she also received a $475,000 grant from the California Department of Education.

It may be that these two amounts aren’t additive, because, according to the award letter, the CDE grant is “reimbursement based.” It’s at least plausible that this means the Walton grant was given to cover expenses that would be reimbursed by the DOE, although I have no proof (yet) either way. I just don’t have enough information to understand exactly how much money total was involved in the abortive debut of GANAS, but it was an awful lot. And I previously showed that Jain paid a recruiter $850 per kid enrolled. One of these records shows that she was paying the guy out of CDE funds.1 I’m not sure if this is legal, but a charter school in San Diego is getting really bad press right now for doing the same thing.2

However, as interesting as it is, tracking what became of the money is not the most interesting information to be gleaned from this set of records, available here on Archive.Org. Neither is the weird and illegal crap she spent it on. That’s to be expected from such a grifter. What’s really interesting is the story of how this callow, this jejune little nobody, Sakshi Jain, with not an original idea in her head, without significant training, no demonstrated ability to do anything, can basically slap together a bunch of idiotic copypasta and be awarded a charter school and around half a million dollars in money from the state. And what’s worse, given actual responsibility for actual human children.

How anyone can look at this woman’s plans and proposals, can see the money everyone’s throwing at her, and still manage to think charter schools could ever be a good idea I will never understand. Sakshi Jain and her backwards, pernicious little project are not some kind of fluke, it’s no accident that she was able to do this. Everything’s working as it’s meant to work for her. This stupid, harmful little school is precisely one of the things that the system is designed to allow.3 Read on for links to the records, descriptions, and even some snide commentary!
Continue reading New Records From GANAS Academy — Pertaining To A $475K Start Up Grant From The California Department Of Education — Expose Sakshi Jain’s Utter — Complete — Total — Lack Of Ability — Of Imagination — Of Competence — Of Original Thought — And Call Into Question Anybody’s Decision To Put Actual Human Children Into This Woman’s Care For Any Reason Whatsoever — Let Alone Give Her Half A Million Bucks — Oh Also These Records Show That The $850 Per Recruited Student That Jain Famously Paid Came Out Of Public Funds — Which Is Apparently Known To Be A Bad Thing — Because Some Charter In San Diego Is Currently Getting Dragged In The News For Doing The Same Thing — But Only Paying $200 Per Kid

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Charter Schools Fought For Years To Reduce The Power Of LAUSD’s Inspector General To Oversee Them — In 2018 Internal Chaos In The Office Of The Inspector General Led To Restructuring Which Effectively Reduced Oversight Of Charters — According To The California Charter School Association “should be seen as a major win by and for the charter community.”

The Los Angeles Unified School District has a particularly powerful oversight office, the Office of the Inspector General, known in the trade jargon as OIG. And in 2018 the School Board failed to renew then-IG Ken Bramlett’s contract. According to LA Times education reporter Howard Blume, pro-charter board members Monica Garcia, Kelly Gonez, and Nick Melvoin voted against renewal, which was enough to deadlock the board and prevent Bramlett’s return. Blume also noted that Bramlett had aggressively investigated some charter schools, in some cases leading to criminal charges being filed, and that charter schools had been clamoring for limits on OIG’s ability to investigate them but he stopped short of saying that Bramlett’s fall from grace was due to charter school influence.

And later a bunch of overwhelmingly salacious details of a number of really appalling and quite serious hostile work environment complaints against some of Bramlett’s senior subordinates came out along with credible accusations that Bramlett had at best failed to take these complaints seriously. Regardless of the validity of the uproar, and it seems quite valid indeed to me, this had the effect of directing most of the media attention away from charter school involvement in Bramlett’s downfall. Not entirely, though. For instance, Kyle Stokes, education reporter with KPCC, did mention that charter schools had been seeking to limit OIG’s role in overseeing them, although in that same article noted that “sources who spoke to KPCC said that concern over charter oversight was not a factor in the board’s thinking”

But newly published internal documents from the Los Angeles Advocacy Council, a shadowy organization run by the California Charter School Association and about 20 local charter school leaders, paint a very different picture. In fact LAAC and the CCSA give themselves credit for taking advantage of the chaos at OIG in order to effectively remove oversight of charter schools from OIG’s purview.

Not only that but they claim to have kept quiet about the issue in order to protect their public image. In the same document they also claim that they were asked to do so by unnamed people in the District who promised CCSA and LAAC that “they would handle it, and they followed through” Given some statements in another document it’s not impossible that convicted felon and then Board member Ref Rodriguez was one of these unnamed people. The charterites were thrilled by the outcome of their work against OIG oversight, announcing that it “should be seen as a major win by and for the charter community.” Perhaps this media strategy underlay Stokes’s sources’ comment about charter involvement in Bramlett’s non-renewal.

And recently we learned from this same set of records that, for instance, LAUSD superintendent Austin Beutner allowed charter school lobbyists to write at least one of his major policy speeches. And that Board member Nick Melvoin leaked information about confidential legal strategies to them and let them write Board resolutions.

Given the magnitude of these revelations it’s pretty plausible that someone in the District was conspiring with CCSA and LAAC to take advantage of chaos in OIG to implement the charters’ desire to be free of meaningful oversight. It’s plausible, but it is in no way acceptable. It’s bad enough to reduce oversight of charter schools, which receive so many millions of dollars in public money. But to reduce it in response to their demands, according to their plan, and to do this in secret while they pretend to the world not to have been involved, is absolutely intolerable. Intolerable but, as I said, given recent events, not surprising. Read on for links to and detailed quotes from relevant documents.
Continue reading Charter Schools Fought For Years To Reduce The Power Of LAUSD’s Inspector General To Oversee Them — In 2018 Internal Chaos In The Office Of The Inspector General Led To Restructuring Which Effectively Reduced Oversight Of Charters — According To The California Charter School Association “should be seen as a major win by and for the charter community.”

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A Secret Powerpoint From The California Charter Schools Association Reveals 2019 Lobbying Priorities And Strategies — In Particular They Consider Positioning Themselves As Champions Of Equity And Equality But Worry That Their Supporters Might See That As “Mission Creep” — They Consider Supporting Equal Access To High Quality Schools But Worry That Such A Position Might Alienate The “Choice Wing” Of Their Base — They List Among The Greatest Threats The Bare Possibility That Charter Schools Might Be Required To Earthquake Proof Their Buildings To The Same Standard As Public Schools — In Short This Is A Seething Stew Of Privilege — And Arrogance — And Clueless Self-Exposure — In Other Words More Of The Damn Same Stuff!

As you must know by now the California Charter School Association is the premiere wingnut loony tunes mouth-frothing privatization advocacy organization in the state. And we’ve been learning an unprecedentedly awful1 lot about them since June due to a huge set of records2 released by Green Dot Charter Schools in response to a request I made of them under the California Public Records Act.

These records are so rich, so complex, so voluminous, that it’s taking me freaking forever to go through them, sort them, write about them, and I’m therefore laying them on you in increments. And the increment at hand is this powerpoint presentation, created by the CCSA in August 2018 to explain the next year’s goals and fears to their members. I have also exported this as a PDF for ease of use.3 There are also JPEGs of the slides at the end of the post if that’s better.

And my goodness, what a revealing heap of steaming and pernicious arrogance we have here. Under recent wins, for instance, we learn that the CCSA “Conditioned Legislature to defeat a half dozen harmful policy and budget proposals in preparation for less reliable Executive branch.” That’s the California Charter School Association right there telling how they “conditioned” the Legislature in preparation for Gavin “Less Reliable than Jerry Brown” Newsom’s ascension to the throne.

And further down the line we learn the assumptions behind CCSA’s policymaking agenda for 2019, probably actually for always, but I don’t (yet) have the evidence. And again, what’s revealed is appalling but not surprising. For instance they pledge that “CCSA will seek compromise on legislation that minimally constrains flexibility but only in exchange for new entitlements.” This item casts the CCSA’s support of SB126, which makes it exceedingly clear that charters are subject to both the CPRA and the Brown Act, in an interesting light.

Perhaps in 2018 they thought that this new law only “minimally constrain[ed] flexibility” and that they were going to get a bunch of goodies in return. But I’m willing to bet they’re rethinking that concession now given that the fruits of a single CPRA request have subjected them to months of pain-writhing exposure, some scathing articles in the Los Angeles Times, and may ultimately end the career of their manchild knight in shining hair product, Nick Melvoin.

And their listing of what they see as the greatest threats against them for 2019 is very instructive as well. I’m not up on the details enough to comment on all of these but the ones I do understand are as appalling as the rest of it:
Continue reading A Secret Powerpoint From The California Charter Schools Association Reveals 2019 Lobbying Priorities And Strategies — In Particular They Consider Positioning Themselves As Champions Of Equity And Equality But Worry That Their Supporters Might See That As “Mission Creep” — They Consider Supporting Equal Access To High Quality Schools But Worry That Such A Position Might Alienate The “Choice Wing” Of Their Base — They List Among The Greatest Threats The Bare Possibility That Charter Schools Might Be Required To Earthquake Proof Their Buildings To The Same Standard As Public Schools — In Short This Is A Seething Stew Of Privilege — And Arrogance — And Clueless Self-Exposure — In Other Words More Of The Damn Same Stuff!

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