In Los Angeles, nobody has been more adept at stuffing public money into their pockets via charter-voucher sector windfalls than Caprice Young. Her early career showed a trajectory of opportunism and greed that would place her in ever more lucrative positions as time progressed.
As a young Coro Fellow she worked under Republican Mayor Richard Riordan like fellow education privatizer Ben Austin. Deep pocketed interests aligned against public education saw her as the perfect privatization minded candidate and backed her successful campaign for the Board of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). Her mean spirited anti-community and even stronger anti-labor stripes couldn't have been more apparent during her corporate reform oriented tenure. Voters soon saw her true intentions and clear motives, hence she promptly and ignominiously lost her position on the LAUSD Board after a single term.
Young was then approached by the racist, bigoted, anti-immigrant nativist Steve Poizner and the two of them founded the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) in order to grow charter-voucher market share and create more profitable opportunities for their fellow privatizers. She did so at a dizzying pace, boasting of nearly doubling the number of lucrative privately run charter schools in California during her tenure. Poizner and company compensated Young quite handsomely:
"Jed's predecessor, Caprice Young, made over $250,000 for her work at the CCSA. Check out the cast of characters on CCSA's board of directors. Until recently, a Broad COO, Kevin Hall, and Kevin Johnson served on the groups board as well." — Kenneth Libby (Schools Matter)
Shortly after she did a stint working for predatory capitalist and junk bond felon Michael Milken at his highly profitable Knowledge Universe. Young is also closely associated with the Broad Residency Program.
Young's husband, Mark Dierking, is no stranger to making boatloads of cash from the dwindling trough of the public commons either. He's the Director of Real Estate Planning/Strategy at Knowledge Learning Corporation, a firm with revenues of $8.4 Billion. How big is the charter-voucher school real estate bubble? Big enough to attract big names like Goldman Sachs, Andre Agassi, Citibank, and Richard Riordan to the lucrative land grab ventures. Big enough that Gloria Romero was rewarded with a cushy six-figure job as CEO at Democrats for Education Reform in California for her servile gift the privately managed charter industry called SB 592, which hands public school property over to charter corporations. That's a Kids first agenda.
Young went on to found a K-12 equivalent of predatory for-profit colleges like Kaplan, University of Phoenix, and American Career College. Her successful swindle was called KC Distance Learning, which she sold off in the Summer of 2010 to fellow flimflam artists K12 Inc. for an astonishing $63.1 Million. That decision, like every move in her entire calculated career, was for the kids and the kids alone. Young's old buddy Dick Riordan then tapped her to try to save the sinking ICEF ship, but she was replaced by fellow privatizer Parker Hudnut in short order.
Given how busy Young has been, and how wealthy she has gotten over the years, one would think she would take a break. Yet it turns out her insatiable lust for money and power never ceases, nor does her hatred of educators and organized labor. A reader sent me an email about her latest venture, and their analysis says so much about Young and the corporate school privatization putsch's designs on deprofessionalizing teaching altogether.
I looked up Caprice's new job.... "CEO" of a newly-formed company... "EnCorps".
I'm trying to piece this together, but it appears that the charters in L.A. and San Francisco are hard up for Math and Science teachers, but the bosses don't want to have to deal with fullly-credentialed teachers, and their accompanying demands for a decent wage, decent benefits, decent job conditions, etc.
They want desperate, compliant, cheap labor that can teach those hard-to-place subjects of Math and Science.
Enter... EnCorps... a sort of Teach for America for career-changers with Math and Science backgrounds in the private sector, and who are desperate for any kind of work.
The FAQ's page seems strikingly familiar to TFA... i.e. the questions being asked of candidates, are almost identical to the TFA application. Here it is:
What's bothersome is that having a teaching credential... not just in California, but anywhere in the country... ELIMINATES YOU FROM EVEN BEING CONSIDERED TO BE AN EnCorps FELLOW ???!!
It's like an organization is out to recruit people to staff hospitals that are desperate for qualified doctors and nurses, but they then say that anyone with an M.D., or a B.S/M.S in nursing is then disqualified from being recruited into that same organization.
Check this out: (bold highlighting is mine, NAME REDACTED)
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How do I know if I am eligible for EnCorps?
EnCorps Educators come to us from a diverse range of backgrounds. In order to meet basic eligibility requirements, a candidate must meet the following criteria:
· Must be a science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) professional
· Fully eligible to work in the United States
· Able to pass a background check
· Have a Bachelor’s degree with a GPA of 2.50 or higher
· Not be in possession of a teaching credential (in California or any other state with a reciprocal agreement)
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A little farther down, it has the following FAQ's:
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If I already have a teaching credential can I apply?
No. Our program is designed to assist math and science professionals in their transition to teaching careers. If you are already a credentialed teacher, you are Not eligible to apply.
If I am credentialed in another state can I apply?
No. California has reciprocal credential agreements with nearly all other states.
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And that's a bad thing? I mean there are thousands of fully-credentialed MATH/SCIENCE teachers without a job right now in California.
I'm at a total loss to come up with a good, defensible reason why an organization whose "mission" —to use their own words—is "focused on closing the achievement gap by recruiting math and science professionals" to teach "in high-need schools in low-income communities as our mission dictates" would then turn away those "professionals" most qualified and able to do so.
When you read on, however, you start to get an idea as to why. The goal of EnCorps'"Boot Camp" training program is to produce teachers who are "CEO's of their classrooms".
Ay carumba! as Bart Simpson would say.
There's the market-based model at work.
However, if you're a parent in a low-income community—or any community, for that matter—do you want your kids to be taught by:
1) fully-credentialed Math/Science teachers with possibly years/decades of actual teaching experience;
2) totally inexperienced, uncredentialed people just out of a dubious, short "Boot Camp" that trained them into being "CEO's of their classrooms"?
I don't know about you, Robert, but that's not a close call. Any fully-informed parent would be irate that their principal procured their Math/Science teachers from EnCorps instead of hiring the countless experienced, fully-credentialed teachers who are out there available to work at that parent's school.
"CEO's of their classrooms" indeed.
No experience required? No, it's required that you have no experience. We wouldn't want the bevy of fully qualified experienced professionals applying for their old jobs back now would we? After all, these days all it takes is five weeks to become a master at anything. Right?
The board of the vile EnCorps, Inc. features the usual suspects, including charlatan Ted Mitchell of NewSchools Venture Fund. None of EnCorps board members or staff are strangers to the profitable school privatization faction. They are all about educating poor kids on the cheap.
Celebrated education professor and author Dr. Diane Ravitch once said:
"The Obama administration is using its unprecedented billions to advance a strategy of deregulation and deprofessionalization."
It should be much more clear now who he's doing that for.