Educate All Students: Larry Miller's Blog

May 15, 2017

Diane Ravitch on Los Angeles School board Election

Filed under: Ravitch — millerlf @ 6:47 am
Will the Trump-DeVos Alliance Win Control of Los Angeles Public Schools?

“In the Public Interest,” an organization that keeps track of privatization of the public sector, points out that Trump and DeVos have a lot riding on the outcome of the school board election in Los Angeles on May 16.

Their allies have invested millions of dollars in gaining control of the school board so they can turn students and schools over to private hands.

If they can defeat Steve Zimmer and Irma Padilla in run-offs, they will be able to divert public funding to charter entrepreneurs and corporate charter chains. They will squash democratic control of public schools. They will send tax dollars to corporate entities that are neither accountable nor transparent. They will widen the reach of an unregulated industry that has been marred by scandal, theft, fraud, misappropriation of funds, and self-dealing.

Citizens of Los Angeles. Stand up for democracy and public education! Vote for Steve Zimmer and Imelda Padilla!

Peter Dreier: Who Are the Corporate Plutocrats Trying to Defeat Steve Zimmer in Los Angeles?

Peter Dreier, professor of political science at Occidental College in Los Angeles, warns that a cabal of billionaires are trying to defeat Steve Zimmer in order to take control of the public schools and privatize them. The vote on May 16 is in the national spotlight.

Can a handful of billionaires buy control of the nation’s second largest school district?

Before naming names, Dreier writes:

Some of America’s most powerful corporate plutocrats want to take over the Los Angeles school system but Steve Zimmer, a former teacher and feisty school board member, is in their way. So they’ve hired Nick Melvoin to get rid of him. No, he’s not a hired assassin like the kind on “The Sopranos.” He’s a lawyer who the billionaires picked to defeat Zimmer.

The so-called “Independent” campaign for Melvoin — funded by big oil, big tobacco, Walmart, Enron, and other out-of-town corporations and billionaires — has included astonishingly ugly, deceptive, and false attack ads against Zimmer.

This morning (Friday) the Los Angeles Times reported that “Outside spending for Melvoin (and against Zimmer) has surpassed $4.65 million.” Why? Because he doesn’t agree with the corporatization of our public schools. Some of their donations have gone directly to Melvoin’s campaign, but much of it has been funneled through a corporate front group called the California Charter School Association.

To try to hoodwink voters, the billionaires invented another front group with the same initials as the well-respected Parent Teacher Association, but they are very different organizations. They called it the “Parent Teacher Alliance.” Pretty clever, huh? But this is not the real PTA, which does not get involved with elections. In fact, the real PTA has demanded that this special interest PAC change their name and called the billionaires’ campaign Zimmer “misleading,” “deceptive practices,” and “false advertising.”

These out-of-town billionaire-funded groups can pay for everything from phone-banks, to mailers, to television ads. Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez described the billionaires’ campaign to defeat Zimmer, which includes sending mails filled with outrageous lies about Zimmer, as “gutter politics.”

As a result, the race for the District 4 seat — which stretches from the Westside to the West San Fernando Valley — is ground zero in the battle over the corporate take-over of public education. The outcome of next Tuesday’s (May 16) election has national implications in terms of the billionaires’ battle to reconstruct public education in the corporate mold.

The contest between Melvoin and Zimmer is simple. Who should run our schools? Who knows what’s best for students? Out-of-town billionaires or parents, teachers, and community residents?

Bernie Endorses Steve Zimmer and Imelda Padilla

The critical runoff election for school board in Los Angeles is Tuesday May 16.

There are two crucial races. One is Steve Zimmer Vs. Nick Melvoin. Melvoin has received millions from leaders of the charter industry, such as Eli Broad, Alice Walton, Michael Bloomberg, and Reed Hastings. He is the beneficiary of millions from people who do not live in Los Angeles.

The other is Imelda Padilla vs. Kelly Fitzpatrick Nonez. Nonez is a charter school teacher.

Steve Zimmer has been endorsed by Eric Garcetti, the Mayor of Los Angeles, and other current city officials.

He has also received the endorsement of Senator Bernie Sanders.

If you live in one of their districts in Los Angeles, please vote on Tuesday. The future of public education in Los Angeles depends on your vote.

 

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