CCSA and Market Share: Setting the Table for Vouchers

Soviet style elections” — Ben Austin in response to parents and communities choosing community school plans over corporate charters.

You’d think that the overarching goal of the California Charter Schools Association would be to contribute to the social fabric by providing a quality education to all the students its member schools serve, but instead it’s all about market share.

To wit:

“Ultimately the Association gauges its success by tracking the growth in the number of children attending high-quality charter schools in California.” — Rick Piercy (Board Chair CCSA 2009)

This imperative of increasing market share — an imperative shared by all the billionaire backers1 of charters, pressing through their proxies like Ben Austin — is ultimately aimed at union busting and bankrupting public school systems.  AEI’s (American Enterprise Institute — an extreme right wing think tank) Andy Smarick, Ben Austin and Marco Petruzzi’s reactionary ideological muse, writes the following in a far right wing journal sponsored by the Hoover Institution and Fordham Institute.

“As chartering increases its market share in a city, the district will come under growing financial pressure. The district, despite educating fewer and fewer students, will still require a large administrative staff to process payroll and benefits, administer federal programs, and oversee special education. With a lopsided adult-to-student ratio, the district’s per-pupil costs will skyrocket.”2

This is of course, the exact methodology that Austin and his fellow CCSA operatives follow in Los Angeles — a right wing roadmap, so to speak. While they’ve been helped greatly by the policies of the current administration, particularly by Arne “Katrina Schadenfreude” Ducan, these machinations have been in place for many, many years. After charter schools have displaced and bankrupted public schools entirely, the employing class’s long time dream of vouchers is in reach.

This dovetails with what celebrated educator and author Jonathan Kozol states is the real purpose behind the so called charter “movement:”

‘In the long run, charter schools are being strategically used to pave the way for vouchers. The voucher advocates, who are very powerful and funded by right-wing foundations and families, recognize that the word voucher has been successfully discredited by enlightened Americans who believe in the public sector. So they’ve resorted to two strategies. First, they no longer use the word “vouchers.” They’ve adopted the seemingly benign phrase “school choice,” but they are still voucher advocates.’ — Jonathan Kozol

So too, says the Walton Family watchdog site “WaltonInfluence.com” which discusses under the subheading The Walton’s’ Agenda: Vouchers and Charter Schools.

“Since the late 1990’s, the Walton’s have donated millions of dollars to various causes across the country “including the start-up funding that allowed the national private-school voucher movement to get off the ground more than a decade ago.”

Charged with growing corporate CMO charter market share, Ben Austin’s Green Dot Public [sic] Schools subsidiary LAPU/Parent Revolution has allegedly just received a large grant from the voucher oriented Walton Foundation. For more examples of millions of ideologically charged dollars flowing into Green Dot corporation and LAPU/PR, see Sharon Higgens’ latest expose on the nefarious relations between the charter-voucher camp and their billionaire bankrollers.3

  • Special thanks to Sarah Knopp and Dr. Danny Weil for pointing me in the market share direction.
    1. Eli Broad, William Gates II, The Walton Family, Reed Hastings, Donald Fisher, et al. []
    2. Andy Smarick, “Wave of the Future,” Educationnext, Winter 2008. Notice too, the paragraph reveals the deliberate charter-voucher intention of not educating special education children. While the CCSA and charter-voucher proponents try to skirt this issue, their own ideological documents shamelessly contain their malevolent tenets and firm commitment NOT to educate every child. []
    3. The ‘Parent Trigger’ and its connections to the phoney LA Parents Union, Green Dot, Steve Barr, and Eli Broad,” The Perimeter Primate, 21 February 2010. []

    Robert D. Skeels is a social justice writer, public education advocate, and immigrant rights activist. He lives, works, writes, and organizes in Los Angeles with his wife and cats. Robert is a U.S. Navy Veteran, and a proud member of Veterans for Peace. He attended Glendale Community College and is currently attending the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), majoring in Classical Civilization. Robert is a committed member of CEJ, PESJA, SCIC, and the Trinational Coalition To Defend Public Education. In addition to advancing working class struggles, Robert is an adherent of Liberation Theology. He devotes much time towards volunteer work for 12 step, church, and homeless advocacy. Robert’s articles and essays have appeared in publications including Schools Matter, CounterPunch, Dissident Voice, Daily Censored, Echo Park Patch, and The Los Angeles Daily News. In 2013 Robert ran for the LAUSD School Board against a billionaire funded corporate reform candidate, finishing second in a field of five, with over 5,200 votes. Read other articles by Robert, or visit Robert's website.

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    1. bozh said on February 28th, 2010 at 8:34am #

      God Bless an Idyllic Society in which there wldn’t be private schooling nor rating of meat.
      Al meat wld be equal and if one wants to add a bit of salt or pepper for taste, that wld be wonnerful.
      Who is ‘designated’ the ‘smartest’ pupil wld be a top secret; even her/his mom and dad wldn’t know.
      Still, nevertheless, in running or walking we wld have to divide pupils according their height!
      Winter ‘olympics’ wld be happily abandoned by 99.999% of all kids. Summer ‘olympics’ also!
      School rooms wld be rounded structures and not to mention parliaments. Classes wld be held ouside as much as possible. Teachers wld not only teach they wld also learn.

      Classes wld be small; let’s say 15 kids and have more than one teacher. If kids now want flags in the classroom or a garden, that wld be up to them.
      But first they wld need to know that the flag stands for mutual respect, one for all-all for one tenet.
      Picture of a president or prime minister wld not be displayed in classroom.
      No kid wld be left behind; all wld ‘graduate’ [whatever this label now means, beats me!]
      And we wld surely have rebirth of humanity! tnx