March 14, 2011- Corporate America sees a big untapped profit center: dismantling free public education and replacing it with a way to enrich themselves, like they're doing with the prison system. The attack on public employee unions (mostly teachers) is part of this initiative. And where's President Obama? On the wrong side of history… again. Back from some of the best Middle East reporting anywhere, Nick Kristof wrote an OpEd for the NY Times yesterday. But before we look at that one, let's look at one front-line battleground over for-profit charter schools: Compton, California. An acrimonious bid to take over McKinley Elementary School by Celerity Group was unanimously turned down by the Compton School Board. I've been following the battle closely because a friend of mine teaches there and another friend, Micah Ali, is a School Board member. Micah and I had dinner this weekend and we talked about some of the details that weren't part of the L.A. Times report.
After two months of controversy, the Compton school board Tuesday rejected a petition by parents aiming to use a groundbreaking state law to turn over their struggling elementary school to a charter operator.
Board members with the Compton Unified School District voted unanimously, 7-0, to return the petition to parents at McKinley Elementary, saying it failed to include information required by state regulations. District officials also found that parents cited the wrong education code section and failed to provide evidence that they had selected their desired charter operator, Celerity Educational Group, after a "rigorous review process" as required by state emergency regulations.
…The closely watched case represented the first test of a new law giving parents the power to petition for major reforms of low-performing schools, including shutting them down, changing staff and programs, and turning the campus over to a charter operator. Charters are independently run, publicly financed schools.
Under the law, valid signatures representing parents of half the school's students are required to trigger the reforms. In Compton, the petition campaign was organized by Parent Revolution, a Los Angeles-based educational reform group and charter school ally. The group said it submitted parent signatures for 275 of 438 McKinley students, or 62%.
Charter school ally indeed! Behind the effort to bust the teachers unions are a sleazy bunch of self-serving fake "reformers" enriching themselves by shilling for avaricious big corporate interests, the Chamber of Commerce and even, disgracefully, a rival union.