Tag Archives: California Charter Schools Association

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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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

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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

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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

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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

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It Appears That Icky Sticky Nicky Melvoin Revealed Confidential Attorney Client Information From LAUSD’s Office Of The General Counsel To The California Charter School Association In A Secret Meeting In February 2018 — Having To Do With A January 2016 CCSA Lawsuit Against LAUSD Over Prop 39 Access To Facilities — In February 2018 CCSA Met With Melvoin About LAUSD Facilities Policy — At This Meeting Melvoin Told CCSA — The Adverse Parties In The Freaking Lawsuit — That LAUSD’s General Counsel Was “Confident In Lawsuit Position” — And Therefore Was Disinclined To Settle — Two Months Later CCSA Conceded And Dropped The Suit Without A Settlement — Perhaps Their Decision To Pursue This Course Was Informed By Confidential Information Obtained From Melvoin — It’s Hard To Imagine It Could Be Otherwise

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about an episode in January 2018 when the California Charter School Association actually drafted a resolution for then newly elected, then and now bought and paid for, LAUSD board member Icky Sticky Nicky Melvoin,1 to present to his colleagues on the school board. It was and is a complicated story, and I promised at the time to lay it on you in increments.2 That first post was about the CCSA-drafted resolution and how they passed it on to Nicky in January 2018.

Today we’re moving along to February 20, 2018. On that date Nick Melvoin, his senior advisor Allison Holdorff Polhill, and his policy director Danielle Tenner met with Cristina de Jesus of Green Dot Private Schools, Emilio Pack of STEM Preparatory Schools, Caprice Young of the creepiest cultiest charter chain, that is Magnolia Charter Schools, and Cassy Horton, Ebony Wheaton, and Jason Rudolph, all the last three from CCSA, all met to discuss the resolution.3

Also at that time, explained below, CCSA was suing LAUSD. And, amazingly, it seems that in this meeting Melvoin passed on a great deal of privileged information about LAUSD’s legal strategy to the charter advocates. He also agreed to intervene with LAUSD’s lawyers to further CCSA’s interests. This is on its face appalling behavior from an elected official, sworn by oath to faithfully execute the duties of his office, a violation of which oath this behavior pretty clearly is.4 As always, the details are complicated.

We know about this meeting from an email sent the next day, February 21, 2018, by the aforementioned Jason Rudolph to his co-conspirators de Jesus, Pack, Young, Horton, and Wheaton. This email is interesting in itself, and it is reproduced below in full. Much, much, muchmuchmuch more interesting, though, is the attachment to the email, consisting of Rudolph’s notes on the previous day’s meeting.5 This document is endlessly complex. I expect that the next four or five posts in this series will be on this document.6
Continue reading It Appears That Icky Sticky Nicky Melvoin Revealed Confidential Attorney Client Information From LAUSD’s Office Of The General Counsel To The California Charter School Association In A Secret Meeting In February 2018 — Having To Do With A January 2016 CCSA Lawsuit Against LAUSD Over Prop 39 Access To Facilities — In February 2018 CCSA Met With Melvoin About LAUSD Facilities Policy — At This Meeting Melvoin Told CCSA — The Adverse Parties In The Freaking Lawsuit — That LAUSD’s General Counsel Was “Confident In Lawsuit Position” — And Therefore Was Disinclined To Settle — Two Months Later CCSA Conceded And Dropped The Suit Without A Settlement — Perhaps Their Decision To Pursue This Course Was Informed By Confidential Information Obtained From Melvoin — It’s Hard To Imagine It Could Be Otherwise

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In January 2018 — Just Mere Months After Millions Of Dollars In Charter School Money Bought Icky Sticky Nicky Melvoin’s Election To The LAUSD School Board — He Asked The California Charter School Association To Draft A Board Resolution For Him — Outlining Proposal To Study How To Legally Sell Or Lease LAUSD Property To Charters — And To Take LAUSD Facilities Away From Public Schools And Give Them To Charters On The Basis Of “Performance” — And To List All Facilities So The Privatizers Would Know Which To Target — And To Put Prop 39 Co-Location Disputes In The Hands Of A Putatively Neutral Third Party — And To Work Some Incomprehensible Voodoo With Bond Money — And Then Melvoin Proceeded To Have Secret Meetings On The Subject With CCSA Flacks — And Other Privatizing Galaxy Brains — Like Emilio Pack — And Caprice Young — And Mark Kleger-Heine — And Cristina De Jesus — This Post Is Part One Of A Series Because The Whole Thing Is So Darn Complicated

We’ve already seen that LAUSD officials, both elected and appointed, have a sickening penchant for sharing confidential materials with Charter lobbyists, giving them advance input into official policy proposals, and so on. I’ve recently reported, e.g., on an episode from September 2018 where Austin Beutner allowed Cassy Horton and Jed Wallace of the California Charter School Association to vet an upcoming speech and also to talk in advance with his speechwriter to explain what they thought ought to be included. Convicted felon slash former schoolboard member Ref Rodriguez did the same thing in March 2018 with respect to a board proposal.

And it turns out that, beginning in January 2018, LAUSD Board member and charter school bootlicker Icky Sticky Nicky Melvoin1 was involved in a very similar scheme having to do with LAUSD policies on school facilities, a subject which sounds tedious but is actually bureaucratic code for real estate, a subject which is at the very center of the zillionaire plan to loot the public treasure-stores for their own gain.2

Basically the proposal, which seems never to have made it out of the secret meetings, would have called for LAUSD to list all its facilities so that the privatizers could choose which ones to target, to allocate facilities between charter schools and public schools based on excellence and student success rather than on need, to authorize a putatively neutral third party to settle disputes over co-location offers, to study how to sell or lease LAUSD property to charters, and to do something complicated with bonds used to fund facilities. It all seems incredibly shady, shady beyond belief.

Icky Sticky Nicky was elected to the LAUSD Board in May 2017 after having been endorsed by the Los Angeles Times, which delusionally called him an “independent thinker” and also claimed that “Melvoin, who has worked for reform-oriented groups, is decidedly aligned with that movement but in a more balanced way than, say, Monica Garcia.” The LA Times reported on his July 2017 swearing in, and was, by then, after the election was over and the information could no longer sway a single voter, willing to state the relevant facts more explicitly, noting that Melvoin was “elected with the help of millions of dollars from charter school supporters.” The Times also quoted from Melvoin’s speech at the ceremony:

Today is not about the results of an election but about the emergence of a new paradigm.
[I am a product of] the coalition that arose to implore us to lead with a simple yet radical maxim: Put kids first.

And today’s story concerns some ugly truth about Melvoin’s putative more-balanced-than-Monica-Garcia alignment with Charter school zillionaires and about what they bought from him in exchange for their zillions of dollars.3 About how these matters actually played out during his first year in office and, by extension, exactly how he interprets his “simple yet radical maxim: Put kids first.”
Continue reading In January 2018 — Just Mere Months After Millions Of Dollars In Charter School Money Bought Icky Sticky Nicky Melvoin’s Election To The LAUSD School Board — He Asked The California Charter School Association To Draft A Board Resolution For Him — Outlining Proposal To Study How To Legally Sell Or Lease LAUSD Property To Charters — And To Take LAUSD Facilities Away From Public Schools And Give Them To Charters On The Basis Of “Performance” — And To List All Facilities So The Privatizers Would Know Which To Target — And To Put Prop 39 Co-Location Disputes In The Hands Of A Putatively Neutral Third Party — And To Work Some Incomprehensible Voodoo With Bond Money — And Then Melvoin Proceeded To Have Secret Meetings On The Subject With CCSA Flacks — And Other Privatizing Galaxy Brains — Like Emilio Pack — And Caprice Young — And Mark Kleger-Heine — And Cristina De Jesus — This Post Is Part One Of A Series Because The Whole Thing Is So Darn Complicated

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In March 2018 Then-LAUSD-Board-Member Ref Rodriguez Shared A Top Secret Confidential Copy Of A Board Resolution With Cassy Horton Of The California Charter School Association — Before Anyone Other Than Richard Vladovic Had Seen It — And Cassy Horton Of CCSA Inserted Comments And Rewrote Language — And Arranged For Marcia Aaron of KIPP LA — And Parker Hudnut Of ICEF Charter Schools — To Meet In Her Company With Rodriguez And Aixle Aman Prior To Its Introduction To The Board To Discuss It — And Shared It With Christina De Jesus Of Green Dot Charter Schools — And Emilio Pack Of STEM Prep — For Their Comments — And Rewrites

Remember how in September 2018 universally-reviled-by-sane-people LAUSD superintendent Austin Beutner gave an advance copy of a major policy speech to the California Charter School Association for their comments, and even organized a conference call between Jed Wallace, then supreme commander of the CCSA, and Beutner’s speechwriter Shira Fine so that Wallace could pass along pro-charter propaganda to Fine for inclusion?

And then, when it got tweeted about, reprehensible CCSA shill Cassy Horton responded with a particularly mendacious claim that this kind of thing was just business as usual and everyone does it?1 Well, today’s story, about Horton getting top secret information from Ref Rodriguez in March 2018, may tend to support her claim that it’s just business as usual. But I still haven’t seen any evidence that anyone other than CCSA flacks is getting advance information out of LAUSD officials.

Before he was investigated by the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission, before he resigned in what passes for disgrace in municipal politics, before he pled guilty to a felony and assorted misdemeanors, before all that nonsense, former school board member Ref Rodriguez was famous for being the handpicked stooge of the CCSA. And, like his asshole buddy Austin Beutner after him, it turns out that Ref Rodriguez also secretly shared major policy documents, including at least one LAUSD board resolution, with CCSA flacks for them to revise to better reflect their interests.

The story begins with this email from Cassy Horton to four of the very creepiest of creepy charter creeps, which is to say Marcia Aaron of KIPP LA, Emilio Pack of STEM Preparatory, Christina De Jesus of Green Dot, and Parker Hudnut of Inner City Education Foundation Charter Schools.

Its subject alone tells quite a story: “<DO NOT SHARE OR FORWARD> Authorizing Resolution for Review and Feedback”. But the whole thing is essential reading. What’s at stake in the resolution is how charters should be authorized by LAUSD, how their performance should be evaluated, and so on. Not, sane folks might think, something which ought to be written by the very industry it’s meant to regulate. Evidently Ref Rodriguez disagreed. Here’s a transcription of the email:
Continue reading In March 2018 Then-LAUSD-Board-Member Ref Rodriguez Shared A Top Secret Confidential Copy Of A Board Resolution With Cassy Horton Of The California Charter School Association — Before Anyone Other Than Richard Vladovic Had Seen It — And Cassy Horton Of CCSA Inserted Comments And Rewrote Language — And Arranged For Marcia Aaron of KIPP LA — And Parker Hudnut Of ICEF Charter Schools — To Meet In Her Company With Rodriguez And Aixle Aman Prior To Its Introduction To The Board To Discuss It — And Shared It With Christina De Jesus Of Green Dot Charter Schools — And Emilio Pack Of STEM Prep — For Their Comments — And Rewrites

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Green Dot Charter Schools CEO Cristina De Jesus Served On Gavin Newsom’s State Charter School Task Force Earlier This Year — According To Tony Thurmond The Point Was To Identify “what is truly best for kids” — But De Jesus Told Her Colleagues That Her “Representation On The Task Force” Gave Green Dot “The Ultimate Voice” — And She Used Her Knowledge Of Task Force Meetings To Shape Green Dot PR Messaging On Charter School Controversies — None Of Which Sounds Like Thinking About What’s Best For Anyone Other Than Green Dot — Oh And Also It Seems That In Early 2018 De Jesus And The California Charter School Association Were Just Sitting Around Waiting For Michelle King To Die — So They Could Start Manipulating The Choice Of Her Replacement — Which As We Now Know They Ultimately Managed Really Well — At Least From Their Infernal Point Of View — And Making Insensitive Remarks While They Waited — Which Is Not A Good Look For A Bunch Of Privatizing Vultures — Especially Given How Their Hand-Picked Dude Is Working Out

Earlier this year Governor Gavin Newsom asked State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond to convene an expert task force to study some aspects of charter schools in California and to issue a report by July 1, which task they duly completed. Here’s what Tony Thurmond had to say about what all these experts were going to get up to:

I am excited that we have this incredible assembly of experts from all sectors to help lead this charge, to take a deeper look at the impact of charter schools. We plan to research data and facts, and will review the fiscal impact and authorization process of charter schools. But more importantly, we are going to do this with thoughtful intention and through the lens of identifying what is truly best for kids.

And one of the putative experts appointed thereto was Cristina De Jesus, mostly famous for being the supreme commander of behemothic privatizing charter school organization Green Dot California. And even though Tony Thurmond thought the task forceers were going to think about the kids, well, as might be expected by the cynical,1 it turns out that, as shown in some emails I recently obtained via the California Public Records Act, De Jesus had very, very different ideas about her role on this expert body.2

The story begins on March 27, 2019, when Anna Phillips published a story in the Los Angeles Times, privatizers-into-a-tizzy-throwingly entitled How a couple worked charter school regulations to make millions. And into a tizzy indeed were thrown the privatizers, especially their ministers of truth.3 Thus did Green Dot commo-king Sean Thibault write an email to his Supreme Commander CDJ,4 proposing a response, perhaps to be submitted as a letter to the editor, which Thibault refers to as an LTE because of course he does.

This proposed LTE is incredibly worth reading for its crackpot accusation that “ideological charter critics” essentially caused Clark and Jeanette Parker to steal all that money from Today’s Fresh Start Charter School because they “have focused their legislative proposals on areas that already have healthy public scrutiny” rather than what, according to Sean Thibault, they ought to have been doing, which is “partnering to update charter laws and regulations to help catch bad apples.” But what we’re really interested in here is Thibault’s summing-uppery, directed at his boss CDJ:
Continue reading Green Dot Charter Schools CEO Cristina De Jesus Served On Gavin Newsom’s State Charter School Task Force Earlier This Year — According To Tony Thurmond The Point Was To Identify “what is truly best for kids” — But De Jesus Told Her Colleagues That Her “Representation On The Task Force” Gave Green Dot “The Ultimate Voice” — And She Used Her Knowledge Of Task Force Meetings To Shape Green Dot PR Messaging On Charter School Controversies — None Of Which Sounds Like Thinking About What’s Best For Anyone Other Than Green Dot — Oh And Also It Seems That In Early 2018 De Jesus And The California Charter School Association Were Just Sitting Around Waiting For Michelle King To Die — So They Could Start Manipulating The Choice Of Her Replacement — Which As We Now Know They Ultimately Managed Really Well — At Least From Their Infernal Point Of View — And Making Insensitive Remarks While They Waited — Which Is Not A Good Look For A Bunch Of Privatizing Vultures — Especially Given How Their Hand-Picked Dude Is Working Out

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