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Green Dot Charter Schools and Freedom of Speech

The Green Dot charter franchise has been bandied about in the state of Washington as a charter school candidate due to the misguided hype of the corporate media. If charter schools were allowed in our state, what is happening in Los Angeles would be occurring in Seattle.

Danny Weil has provided a great description of these schools in the following article that was originally published in The Daily Censored:

Los Angeles students and teachers need your help fighting Green Dot Charter Schools

I have written extensively about Green Dot Charter Schools, an educational retail charter chain that gained a foothold in Los Angeles and a step-ladder into the public consciousness due to favorable publicity by the charter charlatans and their corporate allies.  You can read about the detestable Green Dot and its takeover of some of Los Angeles schools, with the help of the political coordinating class that comprises what can only be called corrupt politics, in an article I wrote back in 2010, Green Dot model homes for sale : Education-R-Us.

Los Angeles educator, writer and activist Robert Skeels has done a better job than I have in covering the corruption that is endemic to the Green Dot syndicate and you can find his scathing look at the retail charter racket at: Political Patronage for Green Dot Public Schools’ Chief Propagandist.

Now, Green Dot, the retail chain that poses as an institution of education is facing new charges of gross misconduct: political repression of both students and retaliation against one particular teacher as well as Constitutional violations of the law.

As I explained and forecasted in my book: Charter school movement: history, politics, policies, economics and effectiveness (2009) the growth of charter schools was designed to lead to such autocracy, among other things.  The whole enterprise is a power grab by Wall Street and the financial sector and they are deeply implicated in school closures, land grabs, zoning, gentrification, commodification of education and the robbing students of their ability to develop their critical thinking skills through dummied down curriculum, union busting, racism, eventual moves for nationwide privatization, all while creating the new school-to-prison pipeline.  They are the darlings of the right wing.

These ‘obedient schools’ or ‘commodity schools’ were sold and marketed to mostly black and Latino parents whose children were not faring well in underfunded, under-performing schools.  Charter schools were advertised as the answer to inequality and schooling under capitalism just like tonic was sold from Connestoga wagons by roaming grifters traveling from town to town.  It worked.

Now we find that charters are not the elite boutiques that will compete with traditional public schools, thus raising all boats, an idea that Albert Shanker of AFT had when he came up with the idea (and one propagated by reactionaries as prevarication), but instead they are dank, dark dungeons of despair designed to serve low-income, students of color who they prey on under the auspices of providing a service.  That is why they have mushroomed like Pawn shops throughout major cities.  They serve what their Board Chairman would never dare say publicly but believe personally – sub-prime kids.  These are the disposable youth that will constitute the society of surplus labor where jobs are low-paid and increasingly automated.  A society where there may be no work at all – a permanent surplus population society.

Most people think that charter schools are public schools when they are not; they are publicly subsidized.  Many labor under the assumption that if they are non-profit then they must be ‘ok’ for you can’t skim money if the schools are non-profit, right?  Wrong.  Too many residents believe that charter schools have a legitimate seat at the table, when in fact they are the first step towards total privatization of education and work as a Trojan horse for vouchers, as I explain in my book.

The whole thing is made more insidious due to capitulation of teacher union leadership to the existence of charters.  Randi Weingarten and the decrepit leadership of NEA, AFT and their locals all accept charters as legitimate partners in education.  This would be like the banking industry accepting shy-lockers as legitimate business partners in money lending.  But wait: the banking industry is now the shy-locker of choice just like the charter schools are replacing traditional public schools as the schools of ‘choice’ while public school closures are carried out in broad daylight.  What were once odious and even illegal practices: the privatization of education and loan sharking, are now cornerstones of the emerging fascist America.

It doesn’t help, of course that we have a rancid political class that embraces charters as innovation and reform and are all too ready to assure that they get funds to carry out their commodified business plans.  Jerry Brown is pushing a ‘Millionaire’s Tax’ which is hardly a millionaire’s tax (it raises the sales tax for working people as well) but what it does do is explicitly allow for any revenues gained by its passage to be divvied up with the 96 charter schools that exist in California.  The bill also does not distinguish between for-profit charters and non-profit charters, giving credence to the fact they are hardly distinguishable.  This is the ‘trade-off’ that corporate democrats come up with.  If not for corporate democrats the right wing reactionaries in this country would never be able to put into place programs they have conceived decades ago.  It takes the smiling face of the corporate democrat to assure implementation of the seedy charter schools.

Green Dot ANÍMO High School

This is what the following is about, the suspension of laws and the use of oppression to silence political resistance.  If we don’t, then we can only look to sink faster and deeper to the bottom as the predator class gains the upper hand.  Green Dot states that they are an alternative to traditional public schools that have failed when the actions of their staff teach students authoritarianism, anti-constitutionalism, unethical behavior, disdain for other points of view, and denigration of the Bill of rights and violations of the law.  This is the Green dot curriculum.

Danny Weil continues:

Students,   parents, staff & teachers are engaged in a campaign to protest the   planned firing of Science Department Chair Mr. Friedman.  Friedman is well respected and a “fabulous   teacher” according to GD Human Resources Director Kelly Hurley. He has   brought many science programs, scholarships to Anímo and has helped hundreds   succeed and go on to college.

Anímo   Leadership students’ Constitutional Rights were violated by the on campus   seizure in early May (by Principal Murcia) of student petitions collected   outside school to protest the firing of History Department chair Sonia Del   Pino.  Students were called into the   office, intimidated, forced to sign statements & petitions confiscated.   This violated CA Education Codes 48907 & 48950, US Supreme Court Decision Tinker vs. Des Moines and the US   constitution. In response, Mr. Friedman called the American Civil Liberties   Union & National Lawyers Guild to help protect students’ free speech   rights. He helped organize a student/parent/ staff committee to defend their   rights, the teachers’ contract & fight the Del Pino firing.

Of   course for all this he became a Green Dot target for termination. Both   organizations are defending Friedman & the students. A June 8 ACLU letter to Green Dot CEO Petruzzi said:

“Given   the recent illegal interference with students’ expressive activity, and Mr. Friedman’s   support for those students’ expression, the school may be engaged in   impermissible retaliation against Friedman.”

Buyer beware.

Dora

One comment on “Green Dot Charter Schools and Freedom of Speech

  1. John Foster
    June 21, 2012

    Making people aware that there is really no difference between “non-profit” and “for-profit” charters is crucial. A so-called “non-profit charter” usually hires a principal (that they call a “CEO”) who gets paid usually over $300,000 per year and doesn’t even have any experience in education! They then pay for other “school executives and consultants” by paying young and inexperienced “teachers” a pittance with poor benefits and zero job security.

    It’s a major scam, using our tax dollars to fund it all. It’s time to end it. Everywhere!

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This entry was posted on June 20, 2012 by in Green Dot and tagged .
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