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SUBSCRIPT: Is Phillip Jackson's 'Black Star Project' joining Stand for Children, Advance Illinois, and DFER in Astro Turf attack on CTU and public schools?

Ever since he completed his stints as "Chief of Staff" for Chicago Schools CEO Paul Vallas (1995 - 1997) and then was put in charge of the early phases of "housing reform" (as head of the Chicago Housing Authority) by Mayor Richard M. Daley, we've been waiting for Phillip Jackson, head of Chicago's "Black Star Project," to explain how all those attacks on the poor and working class were carried out during those years. Instead, lucrative silence.

Now Black Star, which has always been less than transparent in its funding sources, has announced that it is moving to help create what it is calling the "Parent Revolution." This to teachers should sound suspiciously like the "Parent Trigger" (to create charter schools) that the group toyed with back when Rahm Emanuel was running for mayor.

Since he completed his loyal and lucrative service to former Mayor Richard M. Daley (Jackson was the "Chief of Staff" to Paul Vallas during the early year of mayoral control of Chicago's schools; he was then appointed by Mayor Daley to be head of the Chicago Housing Authority to oversee the massive displacement of CHA residents during "housing reform"), Phillip Jackson (above, during a media event at the Chicago Public Schools on August 27, 2008) has been in the limelight as a media created local entity much like Father Michael Pfleger. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.On May 26, Black Star announced its "Parent Revolution" with the following words. For now, Substance readers (and the majority of Chicago parents and teachers) can be on the alert for what comes next. But if Jackson shows up for a revolution near you, why not ask him first how he got and held those really high level (and well paying) jobs back during the founding days of "school reform" and "housing reform" under Richard M. Daley and Paul G. Vallas. Maybe there is an explanation. Or maybe this is just another iteration of corporate school reform, with a bit more energetic chanting thrown in.

BLACK STAR ON MAY 26, 2012:

Join Black parents from all over the United States working to improve the education of their children

Hear from parents who have created great schools for their children

Hear teachers discuss how working with parents is the key to educational success

Hear nationally acclaimed educators and thought-leaders discuss what works for educating Black students

Learn about public, private, charter, alternative, Catholic, Lutheran, Head Start and other school systems

Learn about the major educational movements in the world

Learn about how churches can support parents and students in their communities

During the same week, the three other main Astroturf groups claiming to represent Chicago parents and students got their moments in the sun thanks to the city's corporate media. On May 24, the Chicago Tribune noted that both Stand for Children and Democrats for Education Reform are against a CTU strike. What the Tribune failed to note is that Stand for Children is currently on its third Chicago chieftan in less than one year, and that the current top guy, Juan Jose Gonzalez, has no children in the city's public schools. "Democrats for Education Reform" are also being rushed into the limelight by the city's corporate media.

Below is the Chicago Tribune report on what Stand for Children said during the May 23 Board of Education meeting:

School reform groups urge no strike for Chicago

May 23, 2012|By Noreen S. Ahmed-Ullah | Tribune reporter

Stand for Children, an Oregon-based education reform group that helped pass legislation last year that makes it harder for the Chicago Teachers Union to strike, today joined another reform-driven organization from out of town to urge the union and Chicago Public Schools to continue negotiating and put aside talk of a strike.

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Stand's Chicago director Juan Jose Gonzalez called the union's polling of members on board proposals within the last month as "disingenuous."

"What we were pushing for (with the state education reform law) was a transparent process. We want that process to be fulfilled and both sides to act in good faith," said Gonzalez, speaking at a press conference before the district's monthly board meeting.

He was joined by parents who are members of his group and officials with Democrats for Education Reform, a Washington, D.C.-based group that came to Chicago four months ago.

Issues in the contract talks are now before a three-member panel that is expected to make recommendations on contract proposals in mid July. It's the first step in a lengthy process required under the new law before the union can stage a walkout.

With 1,400 teachers set to retire in June, the union has been considering whether to conduct a strike vote before the panel's findings are in.

Reform groups that passed the legislation say the new law's intent was the vote should not take place until the panel is done with its recommendation and the last best offers of both sides are made public.

The two reform groups have started petitions calling on both sides to continue negotiations.

Michael Butz, a parent at Disney Elementary who is a member of Stand for Children, said a walkout would leave parents scrambling to find child care or being forced to take time off work.

"It's now become a game of brinkmanship," Butz said. "As a Chicagoan and parent I'm frustrated and disappointed."



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May 26, 2012 at 8:11 PM

By: John Kugler

Class Ventriloquism

Parent Revolution: Straight Outta Compton?

http://editbarry.wordpress.com/2011/09/27/parent-trigger-straight-outta-compton/

Two stories of class ventriloquism jumped out at me last week. You probably heard about Mitt Romney’s delusions of middle class brotherhood. Romney, who has a net worth of at least $190 million, called himself one of “us.” (Which was, if you think about it, a nice acknowledgment that you ought to be if you’re going to attempt to represent “us.”)

Then there’s a story of political inauthenticity you may not have heard. It’s about an experiment in Compton, California, with a piece of legislation called the parent trigger. Here’s the story: ‘Parent Trigger’ Law to Reform Schools Faces Challenges.

Here’s some background, organized as a sort of Q & A.

What’s the “parent trigger”?

It’s a California law that “empowers” public school parents to do one of four things:

Allow a charter school nearby that is “doing better” than the local school to take it over. That’s called a charter school conversion.

Have half the staff fired, bring in new leadership, and get more local community control over making changes. That’s called turnaround.

Force the school district to find a new principal and make a few other small fixes. That’s called transformation.

Gain “collective bargaining rights” by collecting names on petitions.

(If this is raising questions in your mind about the person firing people, finding new leadership, and granting community control – or why you need a law to create a petition – we’re in the same boat. Grab a paddle.)

How do parents get their finger on the “trigger”?

First they find out if they’re school is failing. (Apparently, they might not know that.) Next, they organize more parents. “Parents” may be current parents, future parents zoned for the school, and parents whose children are set to feed into that school. Who calculates the total, I don’t know, but if 51 percent signs a petition demanding one of the four prefab options that the authors of the law built into it, bang. They’ve pulled the trigger.

Who drafted the parent trigger law, and who got it passed in California?

The parent trigger law was introduced by Gloria Romero, a former California state senator. She is now the director of the California branch of Democrats for Education Reform, or DFER. Ben Austin drafted the law. Austin is a former deputy mayor of Los Angeles and a policy consultant at Green Dot Public Schools, a charter school operator. Austin has a seat on the Los Angeles school board – California governor Jerry Brown dismissed him from the state education board – and he is the executive director of a nonprofit called Parent Revolution.

What’s DFER? And why should I care?

DFER is a political action committee run by hedge-fund managers and investment bankers. Closely tied to KIPP charter schools and Teach for America (the single largest donor to which is now the Walton Family Foundation), DFER’s aim is to close the “achievement gap” between students in poor black Harlem and their peers in rich white Scarsdale. To that end, the PAC raises money for Democrats who push an education agenda that includes the closure of “failing” public schools and the proliferation of charter schools. It’s an agenda shared by the Obama administration, and it’s being pushed by their education reform competition, Race to the Top.

In Baltimore, DFER has supported two candidates for public office (that I know of). One is Bill Ferguson, a Teach for America alumnus who worked for Baltimore City Public Schools CEO Dr. Andres Alonso before running for state senate. (You can watch him tell the story of how he got elected here. It’s cool.) He put forward a version of the parent trigger law called “The Parent Empowerment Act” this year. (You can see Senator Ferguson’s legislative agenda from February on his Facebook page.) It didn’t pass. DFER also backed mayoral candidate Otis Rolley, whose platform included mayoral control of the public school system, making charter laws more amenable to outside operators, and providing means-tested vouchers to children in the lowest performing middle schools. He didn’t win.

What’s remarkable about DFER is less its political track record than its rhetorical strategy. DFER presents its interests as the interests of children. (In effect, its spokespeople have appointed themselves spokespeople for America’s mainly urban, mainly black and brown public school children.) DFER pits the interests of these children against the interests of unionized teachers, who are, in the DFER narrative, ultimately responsible for high dropout rates and abysmal performance on high-stakes standardized tests. DFER does not admit that lack of school funding or poverty is an important determinant of academic performance, citing academic outcomes at KIPP and Harlem Children’s Zone as evidence of what great instruction can do. DFER’s critics point out that the PAC has a stake in undermining the pull of teachers’ unions, the largest single source of funding for the Democratic Party, in order to wrest power and political influence in its favor. Many on the right support their aims. Indeed, their agenda was effectively authored by George W. Bush.

What’s the deal with Parent Revolution?

When Diane Ravitch warned her Twitter followers to watch out for “astroturf” parent groups, I bristled. How can anyone question the authenticity of parents who are organizing on behalf of their own children? But I didn’t understand what she meant by “astroturf” – a group that adopts the populist guise of a grassroots organization in the interests of parties that are neither populist nor grassroots. Independent bloggers at Solidaridad have been calling Parent Revolution “astroturf” for years. This story in a March 2011 article in Mother Jones magazine is more mainstream, explaining the group’s corporate ties.

Parent Revolution operates on a $1 million budget, funded primarily by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Wasserman Foundation, the Eli and Edyth Broad Foundation, the Hewlett Foundation, and the Walton Family Foundation. Education historian Diane Ravitch argues that the Gates, Walton Family, and the Broad Foundation combined invest far more funding in education reform than any foundations before them, with unchecked power to expand charters, vouchers, and other business-inspired reforms.

In Compton, Parent Revolution paid organizers from outside the community to gather signatures in support of a charter school conversion at McKinley Elementary School. Their second-in-command allegedly invented a group called “McKinley Parents for Change” and claimed on its behalf a desire to open under new management. The group never told the P.T.A. at McKinley that they were circulating a petition.

Volumes of news stories and opinions have already been published on the battles over the parent trigger law and its expansion across the country. (I particularly like California community organizer-turned-teacher Larry Ferlazzo’s take.) Ben Austin’s summary of the Compton results in that story I mentioned from the Times shows a level of awareness that ought to lead to a major course correction:

We came in with a prepackaged solution of a charter school and didn’t have enough of a deep buy-in from enough parents, and we didn’t develop enough leadership,” Mr. Austin said.

This year, he said, the organization will rely on the local parents’ unions to ask for the specific changes they want. In some cases, it may be as simple as more consultation from school leaders.

Now what?

DFER and Parent Revolution continue to organize “parent unions” across the country from the top down. The rhetoric pitting teachers against “kids” drones on. Billionaire philanthropists keep throwing money at a problem that they argue a shift of wealth from the top can’t fix. And Diane Ravitch keeps tweeting her fingertips ablister to keep concerned citizens up to date on the latest expressions of all this misguided reform.

Meanwhile, off the national radar, middle class parents like me are taking notes on cautionary tales like the one from Compton. We’re trying to learn how to breathe new life into local public schools that already have lives of their own.

May 26, 2012 at 8:17 PM

By: John Kugler

Poverty Pimp

The Battle Over Charter Schools

By Kristina Rizga | Thu Apr. 7, 2011

Meet the parents behind the nation's first "parent-trigger" school experiment in Compton.

Like all the houses on this block of southern Los Angeles, education reformer Oralia Velasquez's bungalow has bars on the windows and doors. I ring her doorbell one night as her neighbors—men in blue uniform shirts, kids carrying soccer balls—enter a few of the pastel houses that line the street, greeted by barking dogs and the wafting smell of dinner. We sit near family photos and statues of the Virgin de Guadalupe and discuss the complex national education debate playing out now at her daughter's elementary school.

California's parent trigger law: Say an elementary school like McKinley fails to make "adequate yearly progress" for four consecutive years, according to state markers measured using standardized test scores. If 51% of the school's parents sign a petition, they can request significant changes: closing the school, bringing in a charter school operator to run their school, or replacing the principal, teachers, or other administrative changes. The current version of the law doesn't require that public forums discuss all of the rights and options before or during the petition process, either. This is the first of 75 "parent triggers" allowed [1] to take place in California's schools, and Compton is the first district in the country where this law is going through a test run.

Until the nation's first "parent trigger" law passed in California, news coverage of Compton was often reduced to gang violence and drive-by shootings. But the flatlands are also dotted with graceful, dilapidated homes: reminders of a golden era when Compton held middle-class union jobs in the auto, steel, and rubber industries. Like Detroit, the death of industry left blight in its wake, and today there are more liquor, party-supply, and 99-cent stores here than parks, playgrounds, or libraries. Fewer than 1 in 10 [2] residents have college degrees. School dropout rates are high [3]. School test scores are among the lowest in California.

So when someone from a nonprofit called Parent Revolution [4] knocked on Velasquez's door last fall to talk about "the possibility of change" and how California's newly-passed [5] "Parent Empowerment" law could help Amie, her fifth-grade daughter, learn to read better at McKinley Elementary School, she was sold. She's been hearing about "change" from the school district since she was a teenager; why not try a charter school run by the Celerity Group [6], the operator Parent Revolution suggested, instead? "Whenever I tried talking to previous [McKinley] teachers about Amie's struggles, they'd say, 'She is fine. She is well behaved.' But I'm not worried about her behavior. I want her to get high grades and go to college," she tells me. Aware that only one in five charters [7] succeed, she visited one in person. "The atmosphere at Celerity is totally different. Everyone said good morning to me. There are more staff supervising the kids, and children are really concentrating." Velasquez is now among 15 parent leaders in a group called McKinley Parents for Change, which helped Parent Revolution's paid canvassers gather parent signatures to turn McKinley into a Celerity school. The group claims they gathered more than 60 percent of parents' signatures and delivered them to the Compton Unified School District in December, but the transition is now in legal limbo. Despite court orders, the district has been stalling the verification process for months, and the controversial methods used to gather parent signatures have fractured the school community.

Like Compton itself, McKinley is a test case for the "parent trigger" law, which essentially boils down to 480 hastily approved words that give parents the option of turning low-performing public schools like McKinley into charter schools of various stripes. The bill, backed by Parent Revolution and other charter school believers, squeaked through the state legislature last year and was opposed fiercely by teacher unions. (California Teachers Association [8]'s Frank Wells argues that it was an ill-considered, last-minute attempt to qualify California for federal Race to the Top [9] funding, which the Golden State didn't win.) Similar legislation is now popping up in at least five other states [10], and it's no exaggeration to say that what happens here could someday be mirrored across the country. So how exactly did Amie's school get tapped for the role of guinea pig?

Parent Revolution Executive Director Ben Austin tells me that when the paid canvassers of Parent Revolution [4] and 15 Compton parent volunteers went door-to-door telling parents about the new law and asking them which schools needed the most improvements, McKinley came up most often. Opponents of Parent Revolution refer to the Los Angeles based nonprofit as an "astroturf [11]" organization fronting for outsiders who want to privatize public education, and McKinley as a school chosen because it's already improving. Robert Skeels [12], who writes for the Daily Censored [13] online news site, demonizes the nonprofit as "a poverty pimp and privatization pusher collecting a check from plutocrat foundations."

Austin rejects these accusations. "This law is about giving parents collective bargaining rights, that sense of entitlement that middle class parents take for granted," he tells me. During his stints at the White House, the California State Board of Education, and as deputy mayor of Los Angeles, he says he realized that parents and students didn't have real political power in negotiations around schools. Besides, he adds, the parent trigger law is unpopular among charter operators. If a charter school is created in a public school site, it has to take all of its students; it can't cherry-pick the high-performers as some charters do in California.

Parent Revolution operates on a $1 million budget, funded primarily by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Wasserman Foundation, the Eli and Edyth Broad Foundation, the Hewlett Foundation, and the Walton Family Foundation. Education historian Diane Ravitch argues [16] that the Gates, Walton Family, and the Broad Foundation combined invest far more funding in education reform than any foundations before them, with unchecked power to expand charters, vouchers, and other business-inspired reforms.

Austin notes that Parent Revolution went to funders asking for support in giving parents collective bargaining rights, not charters. Charters are difficult to scale up—and there aren't that many good ones, he says. As a state Board of Education member, Austin even led an effort to close the worst performing charter schools [17] in California. "Going forward, only a very small sliver of transformations will involve charters. Eighty percent of parents will probably organize to bargain collectively around reforms within their own schools."

The organization is working on school reform campaigns with parents in dozens of schools, at their request, says Parent Revolution's communications director, Linda Serrato. It is not yet clear how many of these parents may end up using the "parent trigger" law to implement change.*

As I approach McKinley Elementary School, Pastor Lee Finnie introduces me to his oldest son Josiah, a sweet second-grader who was recently diagnosed with a high-functioning version of autism. Finnie has become a de facto leader of what he believes is a sizable opposition [18] to the "parent trigger" law in Compton. "We just don't like to have outsiders come in here and give us only one charter school as an option," Finnie tells me in McKinley's PTA room [19]. Mostly he's upset with the way the process was handled. Why didn't Parent Revolution have a public meeting where they clearly explained the rights of the parents? Or allow public questions? "Are lunches free at Celerity? Do they have a school that serves the same demographics and succeeds? How do they work with special needs students?" Finnie wonders aloud. These are the kinds of things he thinks maybe his neighbors didn't ask the canvassers before picking up a pen to sign the petition.

He didn't think to ask these questions either when he transferred Josiah to the Barack Obama Charter School [20] near Compton, which turned out not to be set up to work with special needs students. Josiah was there for five months before he got "kicked out for behavioral issues." And test scores at Obama charter were lower than McKinley's in 2010 [21].

Is McKinley a great school? Not really, Finnie says. "To tell you the truth, some teachers have been nicer since the petition. But it's not like we are not coming out of the ditch by ourselves," he explains. Things have been improving at McKinley for the past two years, he says. He's not opposed to charters or parent empowerment, but he wants an open discussion in the community, led by parents, not Parent Revolution. Finnie insists that many parents who signed the petition didn't fully understand what they were signing, or realize that teachers and the principal would be fired when Celerity comes in. He says some parents told him they thought they were agreeing to "beautify" the school, or signed the petition just to get the canvassers to go away.

Finnie, like most opponents of Parent Revolution I talked to, also doubts that Parent Revolution organizers gathered 51 percent of signatures from actual parents. But when I asked him and a few McKinley teachers to put me in touch with parents who felt duped, they weren't able to do so. Finnie thinks the fight has become so divisive that parents are now afraid of talking to outsiders about it at all. "They don't want to fan any more flames," he says.

Compton Unified School District didn't respond to numerous requests to connect me with McKinley teachers. After school hours, I found a few teachers willing to talk on record, and they share Finnie's sentiments. Regina Powell, who teaches first grade at McKinley, says she is not against charters. "My son, who is in the 12th grade, goes to a public charter. It's the sneaky Parent Revolution process that I don't like." David Gilmer, who teaches third grade, agrees. "I don't like this top-down, authoritarian process. This is America, and we believe in choice and informed decisions."

Gilmer notes that McKinley has already been making progress. Thanks to a state improvement program, teachers now have group meetings every week where they come together to look at grades, test scores, and adjust strategy collectively.

"If you look at grades—not test scores—what you'll see is that students who are not proficient are moving along," says McKinley Principal Fleming Robinson, while Ron Suazo, the district's communications official, sits next to him. "While they haven't reached proficiency yet, they are improving," he explains.

What about the health of McKinley's school culture and relationships between teachers and parents? I ask Robinson. About average, he reflects. "Sometimes, the first time parents hear from a teacher is when the child is struggling," he tells me. "That's not the best way to start a dialogue."

Powell, Gilmer, and teachers who didn't want to talk on record believe that the current "parent-trigger" process is not open and transparent, and it harms the community. Most teachers know which parents signed the petition, Powell explains, and now some teachers are less engaged with their kids in the classroom. Gilmer often talks to parents on the streets about their kids if he sees them. "That's now over with the parents who signed the petitionm" he says. "They don't say hello, and they avoid me."

Gilmer is also worried about the long-term impact on racial tensions. Although Compton is still often thought of as a primarily black community, Latinos are now the largest ethnic group [22] in the city and most of Compton schools. With these changes have come tensions that often emerge as groups redefine relationships and power. African Americans continue to dominate local politics and the Compton school board. There has never [23] been a Latino on the city council, and there are no Latinos on the current school board. LA Weekly's Patrick McDonald reports [5] that out of 15 early McKinley Parent for Change organizers, only one was African American. Linda Serrato with Parent Revolution says that's changed and is now more in line with city demographics.

There have been numerous accusations of harassment and intimidation tactics on both sides. The PTA complained that canvassers petitioned parents aggressively even after parents declined to sign. McKinley Parents for Change also claimed [24] deportation threats from charter opponents and accused McKinley teachers of badmouthing petition supporters in front of their children at school. The California Board of Education has urged attorney general to investigate the accusations. Finnie and the teachers I spoke with all agreed that the best way to avoid community wars is to have an open, public process where all sides can be heard and everyone has a chance to make their case. "When an outside entity comes in like that, it sparks fire. It divided and conquered us," Finnie said.

When we talk about the negative impact of this process on the community, Austin offers, "I don't have any regrets, but it's an ugly situation. This law has never been tried before, and we are going to do this better next time. Moving forward, it's going to be a slower, more organic process."

I called Pastor Finnie a few days ago to ask what he'd like to see happen now, while the future of this law and of McKinley are being debated by the lawyers, judges, and the Compton District officials. "We will be raising our children here together for the next 10 years, and we have to find a way to cooperate and live together," he answers. "I would be very open to sitting down with McKinley Parents for Change, and figure out a way to move forward, and let the healing in the community begin."

Velasquez tells me it doesn't make sense to have a community forum until the Compton Unified follows the court orders and verifies the signatures on the petition. Without that, it's hard to have a meaningful conversation based in facts, she says. Amie is graduating from McKinley this year, but Velasquez will continue her work with McKinley Parents for Change: "Even though Amie won't be at McKinley next year, I'm doing this for my community. I want children in this community to have a better school experience than Amie and I did."

*[Correction: This article originally stated that Parent Revolution is working on 15 parent-trigger campaigns. The organization clarifies that they are working on school reform campaigns with parents in dozens of schools, but it is not yet clear how many of these parents may end up using the "parent trigger" law to implement change.]

Source URL: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2011/03/parent-trigger-compton-NCLB

Links:

[1] http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=edc&group=53001-54000&file=53300-53303

[2] http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/06/0615044.html

[3] http://bit.ly/hJQBWe

[4] http://parentrevolution.org/

[5] http://www.laweekly.com/2010-12-09/news/Californias-Parent-Trigger/

[6] http://www.celerityschools.org/

[7] http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2010/nov/11/myth-charter-schools/

[8] http://www.cta.org/

[9] http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop/index.html

[10] http://parentrevolution.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/WSJ-The-Radical-School-Reform-Law-Youve-Never-Heard-Of.pdf

[11] http://perimeterprimate.blogspot.com/2010/02/parent-trigger-and-its-connections-to.html

[12] http://dailycensored.com/author/robert-d/

[13] http://dailycensored.com/

[14] http://www.greendot.org/

[15] http://www.newamerica.net/publications/articles/2009/instigator_13230

[16] http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/03/diane-ravitch

[17] http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/07/29/MN6E1EL9GL.DTL#ixzz1HXIUIBmK

[18] http://blogs.laweekly.com/informer/2010/12/parent_trigger_charter_school.php

[19] http://motherjones.com/mixed-media/2011/03/painted-guns-toys-gun-control

[20] http://www.barackobamacharter.org/

[21] http://api.cde.ca.gov/AcntRpt2010/2010GrowthSch.aspx?allcds=19765470118760

[22] http://projects.latimes.com/mapping-la/neighborhoods/neighborhood/compton/

[23] http://www.npr.org/2011/01/18/133012346/Latinos-Want-Comptons-City-Council-Elections-Overhauled

[24] http://articles.latimes.com/2010/dec/16/local/la-me-1216-compton-charter-20101216

May 26, 2012 at 8:26 PM

By: John Kugler

Vile Extreme Right Wing Reactionaries

Parent Revolution's mendacious minions to appear with The Heartland Institute reactionaries

Thursday, March 17, 2011

http://rdsathene.blogspot.com/2011/03/parent-revolutions-mendacious-minions.html

Renowned journalist and Parents Across America co-founder Caroline Grannan just wrote an inspiring essay entitled: Parent trigger misfires by disrupting and dismantling local schools. In the piece she outlines some of more egregious problems with the so-called Parent Empowerment Act in California [2]. Grannan, an expert on Parent Revolution, points out the organization is "not a parent group but was founded by charter school operators, backed financially by billionaires and corporate interests."

Surprisingly, Parent Revolution’s paid staffer Linda Serrato attempts (unsuccessfully) to argue with Grannan’s article. Her overarching assertion is that her plutocrat funded 501C3 somehow isn't in service of the charter-voucher school industry. The comments were so mendacious and outrageous, that I penned a Daily Censored article entitled:

Catching Parent Revolution's Linda Serrato in a lie

There's more.

We've seen over and over how Ben Austin and the Parent Revolution are guided by the ideas of far-right extremists and organizations like The Cato Institute, American Enterprise Institute, The Hudson Institute, and the Hoover Institution. We've documented that AEI's Andy Smarick is Ben Austin and Marco Petruzzi's reactionary ideological muse in CCSA and Market Share: Setting the Table for Vouchers, and by Austin's own admission on his blog post entitled On Moulding Consensus. I've also documented other instances too numerous to list here.

However, the foppish millionaire from Benedict Canyon and his Parent Revolution has taken their teabbaging friendly privatization message to a whole new level! This coming Monday, March 21, 2010 the plutocrat funded Parent Revolution is hosting an event next week with the vile extreme right wing reactionaries of The Heartland Institute.

For those of you that don't know, The Heartland Institute is essentially the John Birch Society with a budget.

The event will feature the following right wing reactionaries:

Ben Austin Executive Director of the Parent Revolution

Bruno Behrend Director of the Heartland Center for School Choice

Ben Boychuk managing editor of Heartland Center for School Choice School Reform News

Larry Sand president of the California Teachers Empowerment Network

Word is that David Duke, Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, and Glenn Beck aren't able to attend, but know their "ideas" will be represented amply.

For details on the event, there's a page on some school privatization site.

Here's how Parent Revolution's Ben Austin's rhetoric stacks up with the fringe right:

"[O]ther education providers to COMPETE with public schools for the opportunity to educate children." — The Heartland Institute (Bigoted Reactionary Right Wing "Think Tank")

"There's nothing the matter with teachers that a little less unionization and more COMPETITION couldn't cure." — Ann Coulter (racist reactionary right wing pundit)

"It would force the district to learn how to run great schools by forcing them to COMPETE." — Ben Austin (Executive Director LAPU/PR)

Can't tell the difference? Neither can I.

_____

NOTES

[1]http://blogs.uscannenberg.org/neontommy/2010/03/trigger-law-gives-parent-revol.html this one sided pro-privatization article quotes Austin as saying "The idea of the parent revolution is to say fuck you." While we already knew that was how Austin felt about our communities, poor people, and people of color, to hear it coming from the wealthy white charter profiteer's mouth was quite startling. (I first published this footnote in Ben Austin's Biography)

[2] Parent Empowerment Act is often refered to by its co-author as the Parent Trigger — since the wealthy Ben Austin, who lives in an affluent area that is "87.5% white and the median household income is $169,282," is blissfully unaware of how culturally loaded, and frankly racist, the word trigger is to use in conjunction with low income areas like Compton). This isn't the first time Austin has proven himself a bigot.

May 29, 2012 at 2:50 PM

By: Phillip Jackson

The Black Star Project's Parent Revolution

Mr. Schmidt,

Thank you for your great promotion of The Black Star Project's Parent Revolution! Several people who saw your article have called to join the revolution.

While we are not associated or affiliated in any way with Stand for Children or Democrats for Educsational Reform, we reserve the right to collaborate with anyone who is interested in educating Black children or willing to support Black Parents becoming the major, dynamic educational force in the Black community.

Please continue to promote our work on the Parent Revolution, which has nothing to do with the "parent Trigger Law" in California. Our parent revolution is quite simply organizing, supporting and encouraging parents, especially Black parents, to be the first, best and most important teachers and advocates for their children.

Thank you for the great work of substance over the years. The Black Star Project wants to become a dues paying supporter of the Substance work.

We look forward to a long and mutually beneficial partnership between Substance and The Black Star Project.

Educate or Die!!!

Phillip Jackson

The Black Star Project

773.285.9600

May 31, 2012 at 9:26 PM

By: Phillip Jackson

The Black Star Project's Parent Revolution

Mr. Schmidt,

Thank you for your great promotion of The Black Star Project's Parent Revolution! Several people who saw your article have called to join the revolution.

While we are not associated or affiliated in any way with Stand for Children or Democrats for Educsational Reform, we reserve the right to collaborate with anyone who is interested in educating Black children or willing to support Black Parents becoming the major, dynamic educational force in the Black community.

Please continue to promote our work on the Parent Revolution, which has nothing to do with the "parent Trigger Law" in California. Our parent revolution is quite simply organizing, supporting and encouraging parents, especially Black parents, to be the first, best and most important teachers and advocates for their children.

Thank you for the great work of substance over the years. The Black Star Project wants to become a dues paying supporter of the Substance work.

We look forward to a long and mutually beneficial partnership between Substance and The Black Star Project.

Educate or Die!!!

Phillip Jackson

The Black Star Project

773.285.9600

June 3, 2012 at 4:48 PM

By: Phillip Jackson

The Black Star Project's Parent Revolution

Mr. Schmidt,

Thank you for your great promotion of The Black Star Project's Parent Revolution! Several people who saw your article have called to join the revolution.

While we are not associated or affiliated in any way with Stand for Children or Democrats for Educsational Reform, we reserve the right to collaborate with anyone who is interested in educating Black children or willing to support Black Parents becoming the major, dynamic educational force in the Black community.

Please continue to promote our work on the Parent Revolution, which has nothing to do with the "parent Trigger Law" in California. Our parent revolution is quite simply organizing, supporting and encouraging parents, especially Black parents, to be the first, best and most important teachers and advocates for their children.

Thank you for the great work of substance over the years. The Black Star Project wants to become a dues paying supporter of the Substance work.

We look forward to a long and mutually beneficial partnership between Substance and The Black Star Project.

Educate or Die!!!

Phillip Jackson

The Black Star Project

773.285.9600

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