Tag Archives: California Charter Schools Association

In June 2018 The United Teachers Of Los Angeles Sent A Brown Act Demand Letter To Excelencia Charter Academy – Which In Case You Forgot Is That Co-Located Boyle Heights Horror Show That Galaxy-Brained Carpetbagger Ruben Alonzo Proclaims Himself To Be The Founder Of – And Most Interestingly LAUSD’s Charter School Division Got In On The Process And Demanded That Excelencia Hand Over A Bunch Of Evidence About UTLA’s Allegations – And Here Are Copies Of Everything! – Along With A Bunch Of Emails Between Alonzo And His Privatizing Sleazeball Of A Lying Lawyer – Wayne Strumpfer Of Young Minney Corr – Plotting Out Line By Line How They’re Gonna Respond – Important And Unprecedented Look Behind The Curtain At Charter School Deliberations Over Transparency Laws!

It turns out that in June 2018 the United Teachers of Los Angeles sent a letter to Ruben Alonzo, galaxy-brained creepy-stalky founder of the co-locational privatizer conspiracy known as Excelencia Charter Academy, demanding that his organization cease, desist, and cut it the heck out with all the Brown Act violations they had been getting up to. This story is revealed by a collection of emails I recently obtained from Excelencia via the California Public Records Act, which are available here on Archive.Org.

UTLA accused Excelencia, with good reason, of “engag[ing] in a pattern of secrecy by holding meetings at locations inaccessible to the public,” specifically to do with, among some other things, board members teleconferencing into putatively public meetings, a practice which is allowed by the Brown Act but only in a highly constrained way.1 In addition to demanding that Excelencia cut it out, UTLA also demanded that they fix some of the errors and additionally publicly promise never to do those things again.2 They also sent a copy of the letter to LAUSD’s Charter School Division.

On receipt Alonzo’s first move was to forward the letter not only to his board members, but to Keith Dell’Aquila and Josue Cofresi, a couple of flacks at the California Charter Schools Association, to ask their advice. Which was, obviously, to ask a damn lawyer. Alonzo proceeded to hit up this blog’s old friend Wayne K. Strumpfer, of counsel3 to privatizing law powerhouse Young Minney Corr. Strumpfer didn’t take anywhere near the statutorily allowed 30 days to drop a letter on UTLA containing complete and utter concessions to their list of demands.

And most interestingly from my point of view, seeking as I always am, seemingly in vain, nonjudicial remedies for outlaw charter school behavior,4 the Charter School Division sent a letter to Excelencia demanding that they respond in detail to UTLA’s allegations. And Excelencia did take this requirement seriously. I have also complained to the CSD about various charter school violations and they brushed me off, but nevertheless I am glad to learn that there is some kind of channel for LAUSD to handle such complaints.

And after much back and forth Strumpfer wrote a letter for Excelencia Board President Ana Lasso to sign her name to capitulating to their demands in that way lawyers for outlaw government agencies have of agreeing to stop breaking the law even as they assert on every possible level that they have never actually done anything wrong.

That’s the short version, but the emails themselves reveal a lot of detail about the process that Excelencia went through in responding to UTLA’s demands. This is important in itself because, as we know, these charters can not, will not, follow the law if left to their own devices. I’ve sent a number of these demands, including two to The Accelerated Schools which are still pending,5 and it’s interesting to get some insight into what kinds of things are going on behind the scenes. Read on for the long version of the story with links and transcribed selections!
Continue reading In June 2018 The United Teachers Of Los Angeles Sent A Brown Act Demand Letter To Excelencia Charter Academy – Which In Case You Forgot Is That Co-Located Boyle Heights Horror Show That Galaxy-Brained Carpetbagger Ruben Alonzo Proclaims Himself To Be The Founder Of – And Most Interestingly LAUSD’s Charter School Division Got In On The Process And Demanded That Excelencia Hand Over A Bunch Of Evidence About UTLA’s Allegations – And Here Are Copies Of Everything! – Along With A Bunch Of Emails Between Alonzo And His Privatizing Sleazeball Of A Lying Lawyer – Wayne Strumpfer Of Young Minney Corr – Plotting Out Line By Line How They’re Gonna Respond – Important And Unprecedented Look Behind The Curtain At Charter School Deliberations Over Transparency Laws!

Share

When Protesters Shut Down Extera Charter Schools’ March 2019 Board Meeting They Criticized Extera For Taking Money From Privatizing Walton/Broad Front Group Great Public Schools Now – And Doctor Jim Kennedy Tacitly Accepted The Validity Of Their Criticism By Mumbling Non-Denials About How Extera Had Not Yet Accepted Any GPSN Money – But Emails Obtained Via The CPRA And Published Here Show That Even While Kennedy Was Mumbling His Mumbles – Even Then – Extera Was Actively Seeking GPSN’s Money – With The Active Support Of CCSA – To Support Their Expansion Into The Montebello Unified School District – In Other Words Precisely The Kind Of Colonial Charterism Opposed By The Protesters – Showing The Utter Dishonesty Of Kennedy’s Claims

So you probably heard about how activists from Centro CSO and the United Teachers of Los Angeles and Eastside Padres Unidos Contra la Privatizacion protested vigorously and shut down the March 19, 2019 meeting of the Extera Charter Conspiracy Board of Directors to express their opposition to Extera’s colonial co-location at Eastman Avenue Elementary School in Boyle Heights.

And one of the key exchanges was between a protester, whose name I don’t know, and self-proclaimed doctor and supreme Extera commander Jim Kennedy, and you can watch it here.1 The backstory is that Corri Ravare had been talking previously about how Extera was getting some money from famous Walton/Broad privatizing front organization Great Public Schools Now, which, as the protester notes, is extraordinarily revealing with respect to which team Extera plays for.2

The protester called Dr. Jim Kennedy out on this and he denied that they had taken any money from GPSN: “At this point we have not …” But the truth, as the protester said, is that Corri Ravare had already “said we pretty much have the money.” And the problem with this? Well, clearly, it is that “Great Public Schools Now have declared themselves an enemy of public education. Those are the people we have to work against because they are selling out our public schools to Eli Broad and the Walton Foundation.”

She’s absolutely right about that, of course, and Doctor Jim Kennedy seems to understand that, or at least to realize that Extera’s association with GPSN doesn’t look so good. No doubt this is why he went on to tell her straight out that “[Extera has] not yet accepted that money.” But, as you may already have guessed, Doctor JK is being extraordinarily deceptive here with his mumbled half-denials. In fact Extera had been actively pursuing money from GPSN since December 2018, four months before the date of this meeting.
Continue reading When Protesters Shut Down Extera Charter Schools’ March 2019 Board Meeting They Criticized Extera For Taking Money From Privatizing Walton/Broad Front Group Great Public Schools Now – And Doctor Jim Kennedy Tacitly Accepted The Validity Of Their Criticism By Mumbling Non-Denials About How Extera Had Not Yet Accepted Any GPSN Money – But Emails Obtained Via The CPRA And Published Here Show That Even While Kennedy Was Mumbling His Mumbles – Even Then – Extera Was Actively Seeking GPSN’s Money – With The Active Support Of CCSA – To Support Their Expansion Into The Montebello Unified School District – In Other Words Precisely The Kind Of Colonial Charterism Opposed By The Protesters – Showing The Utter Dishonesty Of Kennedy’s Claims

Share

Community Activists From Centro CSO And The United Teachers Of Los Angeles Protested Extera Charter Schools’ Co-Location At Eastman Avenue Elementary School – And Extera Flipped Out And Stalked Them – And Called The Cops About Them – And Consulted With The California Charter School Association – And Creepy Lawyers – And Fantasized About Confiscating Their Cell Phones – And Cultivated Informants To Ask About Them – And Worst Of All Extera Gleaned Activists’ Personal Contact Information From Very Likely Illegal Meeting Sign-In Sheets – An All-Round Lawless Crew At Extera – Surprised Anyone Thinks It’s A Good Idea To Let Them Care For Children

Earlier this year there were a series of protests against Extera Charter Schools co-location at Eastman Avenue Elementary School in Boyle Heights organized by Centro CSO and the United Teachers of Los Angeles. One of these protests was held at the March 2019 meeting of the Extera board of directors, and you can watch a video of it here on the Facebook page of activist group Eastside Padres Contra La Privatizacion. It is well worth your time to watch these powerful, clear-eyed parents bearing witness to the damage that this charter school does to their community.

The protest set off a fairly crazed and surprisingly whiny-baby series of responses from the privatizers. This story is revealed by emails recently produced to me by Extera in response to a request under the California Public Records Act, a selection of which is available here on Archive.Org. In particular Extera staff began stalking the protesters on social media, complained about them to LAUSD’s Charter School Division and, separately, to board member Monica Garcia. And to the Los Angeles Police Department, who they tried to get to commit to attending future board meetings to arrest troublemakers.

Had their lawyer, Lisa Corr no less, name partner at privatizing powerhouse law firm conspiracy Young Minney Corr, advise them on how to lawfully eject people from public meetings. Arranged to meet privately with Ilse Escobar, perceived by Extera Commander of Operations Corri Ravare to be the protesters’ “ringleader” and other protesters, floated plans to confiscate their cell phones at the meeting, and then whiningly cancelled the meeting on short notice. Consulted continuously with the California Charter School Association on messaging against the protesters.

Attended a meeting of Centro CSO to spy on the opposition. Cultivated informants to provide information on Escobar. And as if not more creepy than any of these severely creepy actions is the fact that Extera asked members of the public to sign in at their meetings and then used the personal contact information collected to help them stalk the protesters.1

This kind of reaction to community disdain is commonplace among charter school boards and, for that matter, their privatizing colleagues in business improvement districts. They’re not used to attention from the public, and somehow they think they ought to be immune to it. They’re happy to take public money from the government to carry out defined public governmental purposes, but as soon as the public treats them like the government agencies they are under California law, they flip out and use that public money to fund these insane, immature responses.

Regular politicians and the staff they hire are used to protests, criticism, and petitioning for redress of grievances. For the most part don’t react so aggressively, so insanely. Can you imagine if it came out that members of the LAUSD School Board or the LA City Council had sent infiltrators to community meetings, or used information gathered from sign-in sheets to investigate protesters by interviewing their acquaintances? It would be a huge scandal, and rightly so. It’s no less scandalous when these charter operators do it. Read on for transcribed selections from some of the emails. And you can download the whole set from Archive.Org as well.
Continue reading Community Activists From Centro CSO And The United Teachers Of Los Angeles Protested Extera Charter Schools’ Co-Location At Eastman Avenue Elementary School – And Extera Flipped Out And Stalked Them – And Called The Cops About Them – And Consulted With The California Charter School Association – And Creepy Lawyers – And Fantasized About Confiscating Their Cell Phones – And Cultivated Informants To Ask About Them – And Worst Of All Extera Gleaned Activists’ Personal Contact Information From Very Likely Illegal Meeting Sign-In Sheets – An All-Round Lawless Crew At Extera – Surprised Anyone Thinks It’s A Good Idea To Let Them Care For Children

Share

The California Charter School Association Provides Free And Discounted Lawyers To Charter Schools To Help Them With Co-Location – And Putative Good Guy Lefty Law Firm Public Counsel Evidently Provides Free 501(c)(3) Work To Incipient Charter Schools – Which Is Totally Freaking Not Consistent With Actual Good Guy Lefty-Ism – Oh Also – Excelencia Charter Academy Founder And Head Boss Ruben Alonzo Is A Childishly Moronic Clown Who Can’t Stand Criticism – And Goes Running And Crying To Authority Figures Trying To Get People In Trouble – And Then Cackles Like A Poobutt About It With His Self-Proclaimed Wife – Those Are My Stories And I’m Sticking Him To Them!

There are many, many, many problems with charter schools in Los Angeles,1 not least of which is this co-location nonsense they get up to, authorized by some malcriado state law known as Prop 39 which allows charter schools to vampiratically fasten themselves to the necks of genuine public schools and drain their life and vitality by aggressively colonizing their physical classrooms and school spaces.2

Everybody sane hates this, and it’s the occasion for protests across LA Unified, like e.g. at Baldwin Hills Elementary School, and at Catskill Elementary in Carson, and at Sunrise Elementary in Boyle Heights. And while it is true that everybody sane hates this well, tragedy indeed, it’s also true that not everybody is sane. In particular let us consider the California Charter School Association, about as unsane a gang of grievous grifters as can be.

These appalling privatizers not only want to use the next ten years to put every kid in the state in a damn charter school, but they openly3 scheme with self-proclaimed boy genius and lame duck school board member Nick Melvoin to further this scheme by weaponizing the already weaponized-by-design Prop 39. And not only that, but a set of newly released emails, obtained via the CPRA, shows that they also fund free lawyers to help charters navigate the apparently complex process of applying to colonize actual public schools via Prop 39.

The program pays for the first 5 hours from one of California’s pre-eminent privatizing law firms, Young Minney Corr or Procopio. After that CCSA funds an additional 5 hours at the discount rate of $200 per. And there’s other help available to new charters, this time, more surprisingly, from the famously leftish pro bono law firm Public Counsel, which seems to provide lawyers to charters to help them form their governing 501(c)(3) corporations.

Not sure what the deal is about this but it was fairly shocking news to me so I am sharing it with you here. Perhaps it’s part of their low-income-serving non-profit formation program. Which makes about as much sense for charter schools as calling Dracula a local peasantry-serving aristocrat.

So anyway, read on for links to salient emails, transcriptions therefrom, and, if you can make it all the way to the end, a transcription of an amusing, revealing, childish, and fairly reprehensible email chain involving Excelencia Charter founder and head boss Ruben Alonzo, and Luis Barraza, principal of Sunrise Elementary School, host organism of Alonzo’s vampirism, and Cynthia Kanagui who, in addition to being some kind of robotic lobbyist at robotic lobbying org Great Public Schools Now, is also Mrs. Ruben Alonzo.4 Alonzo is still angry that Sunrise Elementary teacher Mimi Duncanson is protesting his damn school and he cannot, will not, just stop whining about it.

By the way, this is the same Mimi Duncanson whose car Alonzo, in yet another of the overtop hissy fits for which he’s infamous, tried to get towed by the LAPD but they wouldn’t to it. In this email, transcribed below, Alonzo is all like “Luis she is really mean and called me a vendido!” And Luis is all like “don’t worry I will talk to her!” And then Alonzo emails Kanagui at her personal Gmail address5 and is all like “oooOOOH! Mimi is in big trouble!” Because he’s a childish whiny-baby; and also the kind of person that LAUSD seems to think is fit to educate and care for some actual human children.
Continue reading The California Charter School Association Provides Free And Discounted Lawyers To Charter Schools To Help Them With Co-Location – And Putative Good Guy Lefty Law Firm Public Counsel Evidently Provides Free 501(c)(3) Work To Incipient Charter Schools – Which Is Totally Freaking Not Consistent With Actual Good Guy Lefty-Ism – Oh Also – Excelencia Charter Academy Founder And Head Boss Ruben Alonzo Is A Childishly Moronic Clown Who Can’t Stand Criticism – And Goes Running And Crying To Authority Figures Trying To Get People In Trouble – And Then Cackles Like A Poobutt About It With His Self-Proclaimed Wife – Those Are My Stories And I’m Sticking Him To Them!

Share

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.”

Share

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!

Share

At Least Since February 2018 The California Charter Schools Association And The Los Angeles Advocacy Council Have Been Scheming To Get Jose Cole-Gutierrez — LAUSD’s Chief Charter School Watchdog — Fired — And They Have Been Scheming With Monica Garcia Mostly — And Kelly Gonez And Austin Beutner — And Formerly Ref Rodriguez — They Have Gone So Far As To Compile Lists Of Potential Replacements For Cole-Gutierrez — And Discussed How They Would Like His Replacement To Oversee Their Operations — The Foxes Don’t Want To Guard The Hen House But They Will Be Happy To Hand Pick The Guards — And Garcia Has Actually Advised Them On What Kind Of Evidence The Board Would Need To Have In Order To Move To Fire Him — Which Seems Like An Extraordinarily Unprofessional Way For Elected Officials To Treat Professional Staff

In June I received a massive set of really revelatory emails from Green Dot Charter Schools via the California Public Records Act. There’s a summary of what’s happened since then in this linked post. I have been working on organizing them to publish and at the same time telling stories based on them, and today’s post is another installment in that project.

The California Charter Schools Association sponsors a group of about 20 local charter school leaders, called the Los Angeles Advocacy Council, which meets regularly to plot and plan various pro-charter lobbying activities in LAUSD and a few other districts.1 The LAAC’s workings have hitherto been deeply buried. They don’t issue press releases for the most part, and they’re not really written about very much. As of right now, this blog is the top Google hit for them.

One thing revealed by these emails is that the LAAC is in no sense an egalitarian institution. There are about 20 members, but there is also an inner leadership group, consisting of Cristina de Jesus of Green Dot, Emilio Pack of STEM Preparatory Academy, and a bunch of CCSA flacks.2 This behind-the-scenes cabal shapes the activities of the group through weekly “check-ins,”3 at which they discuss their progress on their most cherished goals, which they call “North Stars”.4

And some of the most revealing records in this set are the leadership’s weekly updates. These are written by CCSA staff and show past progress and future plans for each of the North Stars. These, along with the monthly minutes of the meetings of the full LAAC expose all manner of wrongdoing, weirdness, and supervillainry, and are well worth your time to browse. They’re available on Archive.Org here:

Weekly updates — And lots and lots of other interesting items, too various to describe.
Agendas and minutes

And there are a million stories in those records, of which I can only tell one at a time. Today’s is about LAUSD’s charter school division, CSD in the vernacular. This office, headed by Jose Cole-Gutierrez, is charged with overseeing charter school operations in the district. And the charters don’t like it one bit. They don’t like being overseen, and they don’t like their overseers. And they would like to see Jose Cole Gutierrez fired and replaced with someone they see as more sympathetic to their cause.5

Some degree of antipathy between the overseen and the overseers is to be expected, of course. But CCSA’s antipathy, as exposed in these records, goes far, far beyond a bunch of charterites griping to the choir around some metaphorical cyberspaced water cooler.6 Whatever you as a sane person may think of privatizers, no one ever accused them of lacking initiative or imagination. In fact, CCSA has been trying to get Jose Cole-Gutierrez fired from his position at least since February 2018, using, at a minimum, the following tactics:

★ Surveying charter schools for stories about Cole-Gutierrez’s inconsistencies and putative incompetencies.

★ Meeting with LAUSD board members Ref Rodriguez, Monica Garcia, Kelly Gonez and Superintendent Austin Beutner to discuss how and why to fire Cole-Gutierrez and, egregiously, accepting concrete advice from Garcia about what kind of evidence the Board would need to be able to move forward on firing him.

★ Compiling a list of acceptable candidates to replace Cole-Gutierrez once they’d succeeded in having him fired.

So far Cole-Gutierrez has managed to hang on to his job in the face of this onslaught, but it’s not clear that he’ll be able to indefinitely. It’s possible that the only reason they haven’t been able to move in on him is that with Rodriguez’s ignominious departure they just don’t have the votes to finish the job.

I don’t have evidence that would explain Cole-Gutierrez’s survival, at least not yet. I am seeking it, of course, but the going is quite slow. It may well be years before we learn the rest of this story. And read on for links to documents and transcribed selections that tell this story in all the detail.
Continue reading At Least Since February 2018 The California Charter Schools Association And The Los Angeles Advocacy Council Have Been Scheming To Get Jose Cole-Gutierrez — LAUSD’s Chief Charter School Watchdog — Fired — And They Have Been Scheming With Monica Garcia Mostly — And Kelly Gonez And Austin Beutner — And Formerly Ref Rodriguez — They Have Gone So Far As To Compile Lists Of Potential Replacements For Cole-Gutierrez — And Discussed How They Would Like His Replacement To Oversee Their Operations — The Foxes Don’t Want To Guard The Hen House But They Will Be Happy To Hand Pick The Guards — And Garcia Has Actually Advised Them On What Kind Of Evidence The Board Would Need To Have In Order To Move To Fire Him — Which Seems Like An Extraordinarily Unprofessional Way For Elected Officials To Treat Professional Staff

Share

Keith Yanov — Formerly General Counsel For Green Dot Charter Schools — Has “Transitioned To Private Practice” — Which Means He Quit Or Was Fired — And Given That It Was Almost Certainly His Decision To Follow The Law And Release That Massive Set Of Emails To Me In June — Revealing The Appalling Inner Workings Of The California Charter School Association — The World-Shaking Magnitude Of Which Is Still Only Barely Known — I would Venture A Guess That The Latter Is Not Impossible — Firing Someone For Following The Law Certainly Wouldn’t Be Out Of Character Over There At Green Dot — Or Any Of These Charter School Criminal Conspiracies For That Matter


It turns out that Yanov is still representing Green Dot in the matter discussed in this post. More details on Twitter:




On June 28, 2019, via the California Public Records Act, I received a massive set of emails1 from Green Dot Charter Schools. The release includes thousands of emails between Green Dot CEO Cristina de Jesus and various elite Los Angeles Area charter school thought leaders2 and their propaganda unit over at the California Charter School Association. And the staffer I had been dealing with for the few months prior to the release was Green Dot general counsel Keith Yanov.

Who was, as you can see by the fact that he actually handed over the records, very reasonable about the whole process. Take a look, if you’re interested, at the actual email in which he sent me the material. Yeah, true, it’s got some copypasta legalese, but he actually gave over, and as long as they do that I don’t care what kind of legalicious word salad they serve up as a side dish.

And then things really blew up, as you may already know. Howard Blume of the Los Angeles Times published two separate articles based on this material, the first one and the second one. The material revealed that Austin Beutner was letting the CCSA write his speeches for him and Nick Melvoin was letting them write actual board resolutions and also slipping them confidential info from LAUSD’s general counsel at the very same time that CCSA was suing LAUSD.
Continue reading Keith Yanov — Formerly General Counsel For Green Dot Charter Schools — Has “Transitioned To Private Practice” — Which Means He Quit Or Was Fired — And Given That It Was Almost Certainly His Decision To Follow The Law And Release That Massive Set Of Emails To Me In June — Revealing The Appalling Inner Workings Of The California Charter School Association — The World-Shaking Magnitude Of Which Is Still Only Barely Known — I would Venture A Guess That The Latter Is Not Impossible — Firing Someone For Following The Law Certainly Wouldn’t Be Out Of Character Over There At Green Dot — Or Any Of These Charter School Criminal Conspiracies For That Matter

Share

Top Secret Document Revelations — California Charter Schools Association Aims To Have 100% Of California Students In Charter Schools By 2030 — Or “Charter-Like Public Schools” — Whatever That Means — And To Get Control Of Vast Quantities Of Exceedingly Valuable LAUSD Real Estate — Which Is Worth Untold Zillions Of Dollars To Zillionaire Charter Investors — Privatizing Boy Genius And Supreme Commander Of Outlaw Charter Operator Ednovate Oliver Sicat Acknowledges Out Loud That This Plan “Works Well For People Who Fund Us — Not Necessarily For The District” — Which Undermines CCSA’s Claim To Want To Put “Kids First” To Some Extent

Contained in a massive release of records from Green Dot Charter Schools that I received in June 2019 are hundreds of emails between Green Dot Supreme Commander Cristina de Jesus and her co-conspirators on something called the Los Angeles Advocacy Council.1 The LAAC is one of a number of local lobbying groups sponsored by the California Charter School Association and staffed by various charter school honchos.2

The minutes of their meetings along with the handouts, policy statements, and so on, many of which were included in the record release, provide a fairly shocking picture of the CCSA’s appalling activities. I am still trying to organize even the LAAC materials, but have finally managed to separate them out, export them as PDFs, and extract all the attachments. This still-complex set of records is now available here on Archive.Org.3

And just as an example of the incredible revelatory nature of this material, take a look at this packet of reading materials prepared by CCSA for an October 2018 event called the Executive Summit. Even this single document is far too rich, too complex, for me to discuss completely in one4 post. It contains, among many, many other essential pieces of information, various proposed changes to CCSA’s mission, goals, and so on. For instance, CCSA’s current mission statement reads:

A million students attending charter public schools by 2022, with charter public schools outperforming non-charter public schools on every measure.

And, at least in October 2018, they were proposing to change this to:

Every student in California attending a great charter school, or a great charter-like public school, by 2030.

It’s not clear at all what they mean by “charter-like public school[s]”. It’s especially unclear given the amount of time they spend ranting about how charter schools are in fact public schools,5 so presumably charter schools are the most charter-like public schools of all, but whatever. The point is that this is an acknowledgement by the CCSA that they are in fact trying to destroy public education in California by removing ALL students from it or, if that’s not possible, making public schools be so much like their private charters that there might as well be no public education. In any case, please read the whole document. It is a revelation.
Continue reading Top Secret Document Revelations — California Charter Schools Association Aims To Have 100% Of California Students In Charter Schools By 2030 — Or “Charter-Like Public Schools” — Whatever That Means — And To Get Control Of Vast Quantities Of Exceedingly Valuable LAUSD Real Estate — Which Is Worth Untold Zillions Of Dollars To Zillionaire Charter Investors — Privatizing Boy Genius And Supreme Commander Of Outlaw Charter Operator Ednovate Oliver Sicat Acknowledges Out Loud That This Plan “Works Well For People Who Fund Us — Not Necessarily For The District” — Which Undermines CCSA’s Claim To Want To Put “Kids First” To Some Extent

Share

As Early As July 1, 2019 Sakshi Jain Already Knew That GANAS Academy Would Not Open In 2019 — She Was In Touch With Gloria Romero — Former State Senator And Supreme Commander Of Scholarship Prep Charter Schools — About Handing Off Stranded GANAS Students To Scholarship Prep’s Wilmington Campus — I Guess It’s Good That Jain Was Thinking About The Kids’ Future — But She Put Off Announcing Non-Opening For Almost Two Weeks — Surely The Families Could Have Used The Extra Time To Climb Out Of The Lurch In Which She Left Them — Oh Yeah — The Official Story At That Time Was That GANAS Wasn’t Opening Because They Were “taking an additional year to plan” — Which Is An Extraordinarily Dishonest Way To Describe What Actually Happened

This is just the briefest of notes to bring you up to date, or at least as up to date as the information presently in my possession will allow, on the slow-mo bridge collapse that is the story of GANAS Academy and its galaxy-brained founder Sakshi Jain.1 Jain’s universally reviled2 plan to colocate her creepy little charter school on the campus of the well-beloved neighborhood public school Catskill Elementary in the City of Carson met with pushback from the community on a massive scale, which was ultimately successful in convincing her to give up on colocation and to postpone opening her school for at least one more year.

This kind of thing, for one reason or another, happens all the time with charter schools. They vanish, leaving enrolled kids in a desperate situation. It doesn’t happen, can’t really happen, with actual public schools. This lack of stability is one of the approximately eleventy zillion reasons why charter schools are pernicious. According to the Daily Breeze, Jain announced on July 12, 2019 that GANAS would not be opening this year. This left enrolled students, for whom, by the way, Jain had paid $850 per each to a super-genius recruiter named Ed, a little more than a month to find a school to attend this fall.

But emails I recently obtained from Scholarship Prep Charter Schools show that Jain had already determined as early as July 1, 2019 not to open GANAS for this school year.3 On that day Jain was introduced to former state senator Gloria Romero, supreme commander of Scholarship Prep, by Chris Copolillo, California Charter Schools Association überlobbyist, for the express purpose of hooking up the students stranded by Jain’s instability and unwillingness to honor her word with one of Scholarship Prep’s schools in Wilmington.

On the one hand, I guess it’s commendable that Jain was thinking of the future of the students she’s stranded. On the other hand, it’s pretty awful that by July 1 she had already determined not to open her school, and yet didn’t announce it publicly for another 12 days. Surely the families who were relying on her to educate their children could have used the extra time to place their kids elsewhere.

It’s also interesting, as you’ll see if you read on to the transcriptions, that in her conversations with Romero, Jain nowhere explained exactly why it was that her school wasn’t going to open. The nearest anyone came to an explanation was Copolillo’s extraordinarily disingenuous statement that Jain “may be taking an additional year to plan”. Which I suppose is the truth, but it’s certainly not the whole truth.

Another small but essential revelation here is that CCSA isn’t just a lobbying organization, it also micro-facilitates the daily operation of charter schools. Not surprising, I guess, but I just wasn’t aware that this kind of thing was among the services they provide. Anyway, read on for full transcriptions of the emails and experience for yourself the private talk of privatizers.
Continue reading As Early As July 1, 2019 Sakshi Jain Already Knew That GANAS Academy Would Not Open In 2019 — She Was In Touch With Gloria Romero — Former State Senator And Supreme Commander Of Scholarship Prep Charter Schools — About Handing Off Stranded GANAS Students To Scholarship Prep’s Wilmington Campus — I Guess It’s Good That Jain Was Thinking About The Kids’ Future — But She Put Off Announcing Non-Opening For Almost Two Weeks — Surely The Families Could Have Used The Extra Time To Climb Out Of The Lurch In Which She Left Them — Oh Yeah — The Official Story At That Time Was That GANAS Wasn’t Opening Because They Were “taking an additional year to plan” — Which Is An Extraordinarily Dishonest Way To Describe What Actually Happened

Share