"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Parent Revolution in California Led by Steve Barr, Gates and Broad's Rottweiler

Back before the reputation of Green Dot Public School, Inc. began to crumble and before parents and students began to see the corporate writing on the walls of their schools and to feel the pepper spray on their skin, Steve Barr was CEO of Green Dot Public Schools, Inc.  There he developed his skills in exploiting poor immigrant parents by shuttling them into noisy astroturf groups for Green Dot, with bankrolling supplied by his patrons, Eli Broad ($10.5 million) and Bill Gates ($7.8 million). 

Now Barr is Chairman of the Board for another astroturf group and oligarch-funded outfit called Parent Revolution, and as you see by the website, it has the same feel as the Waiting for Superman "Get Involved" pages and the same layout as Michelle Rhee's corporate money-laundering outfit recently set up to provide tax breaks for oligarchs buying politicians who will vote to shut down public schools.  Small world.

All of this is significant because Parent Revolution represents a new attempt to undermine the democratic process by oligarchs whose patience has been exhausted by examples of real democratic outbreaks as in DC that threaten corporate ed reform's house of card.  If the morally bankrupt corporate welfare scammers cannot win the public's confidence with their hard-fisted Michelle Rhee tactics, then they will just buy the public--or so it would seem. 

As reported by the NYTimes, the new Gates-Broad strategy is at work in the first public demonstration of a new California "trigger law" to make it possible for 51 percent of parents to pull the plug on an urban public school via a petition.  With Barr pulling the strings of Parent Revolution, we are likely to see more of this kind money-managed mob action to take over public schools in California. 

At least one of the ironies in this sad, though predictable, development among the corporate ed thugsters, is that the parents' choices among the four school turnaround alternatives in Compton, or elsewhere, were derived from a select committee of insiders at Gates's U. S. Dept. of Ed., and none of these turnaround alternatives has ever been voted on by publicly-elected officials, and all of them have zero empirical evidence to support them as better alternatives to the malignantly-neglected public schools.  And thus, a fake democratic action to offer a non-public choice for purchased parents.  From NYTimes:
Organizers of the petition took dozens of parents to other schools run by Celerity, the group that will open the charter school to replace McKinley. Vielka McFarlane, Celerity’s executive director, said it was impossible to know how many of the teachers currently at the school she would hire, though “all of them would, of course, be welcome to apply.”[Note to reporter, J. Medina: your link is to the wrong Celerity.]
And who, pray tell, is Vielka McFarlane?  Well, she has an established history as a charter CEO, and she has earned the oligarchs' trust to culturally sterilize the poor children of L.A., while teaching them to work hard, be nice.  In 2007, she earned her corporate stripes during Black History Month with this racist insult and idiotic rationale for it:
Administrators [Exec. Dir. Vielka McFarlane] at a Los Angeles charter school forbade students from reciting a poem about civil rights icon Emmett Till during a Black History Month program recently, saying his story was unsuitable for an assembly of young children.

. . . .

Teachers and students said the administration suggested that the Till case — in which the teenager was beaten to death in Mississippi after allegedly whistling at a white woman — was not fitting for a program intended to be celebratory, and that Till's actions could be viewed as sexual harassment.

"Our whole goal is how do we get these kids to not look at all of the bad things that could happen to them and instead focus on the process of how do we become the next surgeon or the next politician," said Celerity co-founder and Executive Director Vielka McFarlane. "We don't want to focus on how the history of the country has been checkered but on how do we dress for success, walk proud and celebrate all the accomplishments we've made."

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