Tag Archives: Keith Della’Aquila

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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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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The California Charter Schools Association Is Not Just An Insidious Privatizing Pro-Zillionaire Lobbying Group — They Also Evidently Facebook-Stalk Anti-Charter Folks On Social Media And Then Distribute Their Findings To Their Members — Like Memes About How Damn Much Money These Charter Bosses Make — And Icky Sticky Nicky Melvoin’s Staffer Allison Holdorff Thinks Normal Political Speech Is “Disconcerting”

My new charter school project is starting to pay off to some extent. Just this morning, for instance, Ms. Dr. Pam Magee, well-esteemed and intensively bowed-down-before head honcho of that otherworldly bastion of zillionaire privilege known to the world as Palisades Charter High School sent me a big pile of emails between her profusely respected self and the Los Angeles Unified School District in some date range that’s presently escaping me. And for your viewing pleasure I popped the whole steaming pile up to Archive.Org and you can take a look at it right here.

And as expected, for such is the nature of CPRA-fueled public interest voyeurism, most of it is tedious chaff. But as is often the case there’s a little bit of gold to be found in there. And the text for today’s sermon is this anxious little exchange between Keith Dell’Aquila, who’s some kind of lobbyist with the California Charter Schools Association, and various “charter leaders” flipping out over a meme he found on the internet about how much charter bosses get paid. He sent the first email on January 18, 2019. Right in the middle of the strike.

And man! Keith Della’Aquila is not just upset by the meme. He’s getting ready for bread riots, for the last charter school director being strangled with the guts of the last zillionaire, and so on. These privatizers were really worried that the UTLA strike was the beginning of the freaking revolution. Here’s what El Dude had to say about it, and then turn the page for a transcription of the rest of the conversation, including a really unprofessional comment from Icky Sticky Nicky Melvoin’s senior advisor Allison Holdorff Polhill:

From: Keith Dell’Aquila <KDellAquila@ccsa.org>
Date: Friday, January 18, 2019 at 2:16 PM
Cc: Cassy Horton <chorton@ccsa.org>, Chris Copolillo <ccopolillo@ccsa.org>, Jason Rudolph <jrudolph@ccsa.org>, Luis Figueroa <lfigueroa@ccsa.org>
Subject: Your Organization Featured in Online Posts

Good afternoon, Charter Leaders,

We wanted to let you know that the names of your schools and reported salaries of senior leaders are being circulated in UTLA-aligned online communities (Twitter and Facebook groups). This post does not appear to have been shared widely and does not appear to have been shared by official UTLA accounts or reflected in any media coverage. Still, we want to flag it for you in case it get gains additional traction or if your organizations receive additional attention.

Please let us know if you need any support or if you and your schools have been targeted in any way.

Thank you for continuing to serve LA students and families well during this challenging time.

Keith Dell’Aquila

Director, Regional Advocacy, Greater Los Angeles
213-864-6310 | kdellaaquila@ccsa.org

Continue reading The California Charter Schools Association Is Not Just An Insidious Privatizing Pro-Zillionaire Lobbying Group — They Also Evidently Facebook-Stalk Anti-Charter Folks On Social Media And Then Distribute Their Findings To Their Members — Like Memes About How Damn Much Money These Charter Bosses Make — And Icky Sticky Nicky Melvoin’s Staffer Allison Holdorff Thinks Normal Political Speech Is “Disconcerting”

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