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.

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