Washington State Outlaws Charter Schools

The Washington State Supreme Court Recently ruled that charter schools are in violation of the state’s constitution and therefore cannot receive public funding. This is a huge blow to the education privatization movement and a tremendous victory for public education!

Must Read Articles on the Washington State Supreme Court’s Ruling: 

Washington State Supreme Court Decision

From the Washington Post:
A Perfect Education Storm in Washington State   by Valerie Strauss with a post by Wayne Au, an associate professor at the University of Washington Bothell and an editor for the social justice education magazine, Rethinking Schools. He was also a  plaintiff in the charter school legal challenge, along with organizations including the Washington Education Association and the League of Women Voters.

From Salon.com:
Washington Supreme Court expels charter schools from state public school system 
Charter School Proponents are Reeling in the Wake of the Court’s Landmark Ruling 

(originally published on Alternet) by Steve Rosenfeld

From EdWeek:
Washington State Supreme Court Will Not Reconsider Charter School Ruling by Arianna Prothero

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Hands Off Jose Fragozo

Stop Retaliation Against Elected Defenders Of Public Education

Media contact
Rebecca Nutile
rnutile@gmail.com
Voices Against Privatizing Education

December 8, 2015

Escondido, CA

Voices Against Privatizing Education, a grassroots coalition seeking to repeal California’s Charter School Act of 1992, announces our support of Escondido Unified School Board member, Jose Fragozo. On December 2nd, EUSD Superintendent Luis Rankins-Ibarra, along with three staff members, filed paperwork to obtain a temporary restraining order (TRO) against Mr. Fragozo. This TRO prevents Mr. Fragozo from attending school board meetings on district property or visiting any district property, both of which are part of the job he was elected to do as a representative of the citizens of Escondido. The TRO and accompanying declarations do not back up the claims that Jose is “hostile” or that he threatened harm.

Unless more compelling details come to light, these allegations appear to be political, much in line with other treatment received by Mr. Fragozo from the board majority who have the authority to direct Mr. Ibarra and staff. All elected members of the school board except Mr. Fragozo are members of the local Republican organization and all have either direct ties or have expressed strong support of the local charter schools. The board majority continues to support these privately-run schools at the expense of the public schools they are elected to run. Mr. Fragozo is the lone Democrat and has spoken out repeatedly about many issues particularly the district’s need to better serve students who are English learners.

In 2012, Jose Fragozo was elected to the EUSD school board with 61% of the vote. He is a strong advocate for the children of Escondido’s public schools and has been vocal in his frustration over what he sees as a lack of action in serving the district’s English learners. Likely he has embarrassed the administration.  Mr. Fragozo has a long history of activism and community involvement. He is the past president of the EUSD Parent Advisory Committee, and served on the EUSD Independent Citizens Oversight Committee on bond expenditures.  Mr. Fragozo has repeatedly spoken out against the administration’s lack of action on the West Ed report as well as their lack of action in addressing other pertinent issues.

The board majority’s recent decision to change the method in which the board’s officers, including the president, also points to politics at play on the school board. The system for choosing officers had been in place for over 20 years and was based on rotation, meaning Mr. Fragozo was due to become the next President of the EUSD board. However, the board majority recently voted to change the way the officers are chosen – deciding instead to choose by a majority vote. This change will obviously mean that Mr. Fragozo will NOT be the next president of the EUSD. Mr. Fragozo would have been EUSD’s first Latino board president.

Additionally, the board majority recently approved a new charter for a second location of one of the lowest performing schools in the state of California that uses the controversial techniques of the “no excuses” charter schools. This school will serve primarily low income, “at risk” children and will likely divert approximately 18 million dollars of the next five years away from our public schools which have much higher test scores, Field Act compliant facilities, and unionized teachers. Mr. Fragozo did not receive his information packet in time to review the materials prior to the vote on approving the charter school and abstained from voting.

Voices Against Privatizing Education offers our support of Mr. Fragozo. We will continue to fight beside him and others who are fighting the good fight FOR the public school children and against those who would deny the public their right to be represented by their elected officials.

We ask that all who value public education join us in showing your support of Mr. Fragozo by attending the school board meeting, writing the EUSD school board or contacting your area and state representatives.

EUSD School Board Meeting on Thurs.  12/10/15
7 p.m. 2310 ALDERGROVE AVE. ESCONDIDO, CA 92029


Contact information for Escondido Union School District Board Members:
President
Paulette Donnellon
pdonnellon@eusd.org
(760) 420-2472

Vice President
Jose Fragozo
jfragozo@eusd.org
(760) 644-1415

Clerk
Joan Gardner
jgardner@eusd.org
(760) 489-2663

Member
Dr. Gary M. Altenburg
galtenburg@eusd.org
(760) 975-1657

Zesty Harper
zharper@eusd.org 
(442) 777-2052

Repeal California Charter Schools Movement Grows & Gains a Celebrity-Activist Endorsement

Repeal California Charter Schools movement grows and gains a celebrity-activist endorsement

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“Choice rhetoric contemplates the sphere for reformed education as a “market.” The commodification of education in this way has prompted no shortage of critique identifying the ways in which the conditions for a properly functioning education market are difficult—if not impossible—to cultivate. Problems with an education market, however, go beyond the mere absence of ideal market conditions. Rather, the problems extend to the ways in which race and racism warp the market, undermining the possibility that an education market could ever genuinely optimize educational outcomes for marginalized students and families in that market.” —Osamudia R. James

Voices Against Privatizing Public Education protesting billionaire school privatizer Mark Zuckerberg

The nascent movement in California to repeal its charter school laws, which were foisted on the state in 1992 by profit hungry billionaires Reed Hastings and Donald Fisher, is growing and gaining more support. The list of key endorsors is maintained on their online petition:

  • AFT Local 6161 (Palomar Faculty Federation)
  • North County Labor Alliance
  • Escondido Public School Advocates
  • Wellstone Progressive Democrats of Sacramento
  • Chicano Latino Caucus of the California Democratic Party
  • Labor Council for Latin American Advancement – Sacramento chapter
  • Danny Glover – Actor and Activist
  • Bill Freeman – NEA Board member California
  • Alita Blanc – United Educators of San Francisco President
  • Julian Nava – Former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico
  • Wayne Johnson – Past President of California Teachers Association (CTA)
  • Francisco Martinez- KPFK Radio Producer (Los Angeles)

The latest additions being California Teachers Association (CTA) Past President Wayne Johnson, and Actor/Activist Danny Glover. A decade ago I had the good fortune of seeing Glover’s moving performance in Howard Zinn’s Voices of a People’s History of the United States live in Los Angeles.

Glover discussed his experiences and opinions regarding the privately managed charter school industry on San Francisco KPOO Judy Drummond’s show “Connecting the Dots” on September 24, 2015. The show features Drummond interviewing Glover and Steve Zeltzer. Of interest is how Glover mentions that he was once involved in a community based charter school in New York, but changed his stance on the charter industry having witnessed the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina:

“New Orleans had the oldest teachers union in the Deep South. Specifically to raise the pay of Black, African American teachers. That’s what it was. It’s the oldest. It’s been dismantled, it’s been eviscerated, it doesn’t exist anymore.”

Glover’s observations are spot on. In addition to beingprofit-driven, the neoliberal corporate charter school project is racist to its very core. Partly because charter-voucher schools are a brainchild of the John Birch Society and other fringe-right foundations, and partly because of the resurgence of “school choice” segregationists, the charter school project is aptly described by civil rights experts as representing “apartheid schools.

Not considered public schools by the courts or any other entity requiring precise legal definitions, every attempt to regulate or hold the privately managed charter school industry accountable has been rebuffed. The activists behind Voices Against Privatizing Public Education‘s slogan of “Any attempt at reforming the charter school industry is like putting a band-aid on an incurable disease!” is a very astute observation indeed. It’s time to shut down the failed corporate charter experiment and focus on our public school system.

Sign their petition, like their facebook page, visit theirwebsite, and join the struggle against the corporate takeover of public education.