“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.
“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
- Eli Broad, William Gates II, The Walton Family, Reed Hastings, Donald Fisher, et al. [↩]
- 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. [↩]
- “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. [↩]