3/17/17 Defend Public Education Now Meeting In Richmond
Friday, March 17 Richmond Public Library, 4:30-6:30
325 Civic Center Plaza, Richmond, CA 94804
Emergency Meeting on Education. Come and learn about the attack on public schools in WCCUSD. There are currently five charters schools applying to start or expand in our district. They lack transparency and accountability, they do not hire union labor to build or maintain their schools. Some have questionable discipline policies. The teachers and staff are not union either. Yet, they are using public money. Ultimately, they will bankrupt the school district. Come find out why the NAACP and others have spoken out against them, and learn how we can fight back! See you there.
For more information
(510) 506-4493 DefendPublicEducationNow [at] gmail.com https://www.facebook.com/DefendPublicEducationNOW/
Richmond UTR Members/ Parents & Community Protest Vulture Capitalist Caliber Charter Boss Ron Beller
"Doing Good" In California? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kk9n36VzQ14
Vulture capitalist and privatization advocate Ron Beller who runs the Caliber chain of charter schools in Vallejo and Richmond is trying to get a new school location in Richmond on a hilltop for $60,000. Parents, United Teachers of Richmond UTR union members and public education advocates on May 10, 2016 spoke out and demanded answers from Ron Beller, his operatives and the West Contra County School Board officials and lawyer who are pushing a secret deal for the charter school in the community. Beller is planning to get $20 million from the State of California through Proposition 39 to build a school on the former Adams Middle School site which is on an earthquake fault. Proposition 39 was not only supported by the California Charter Association but the California Teachers Association CTA and California Federation of Teachers CFT. Beller wants to bring 800 students to the already crowded neighborhood with many other k-8 schools.
The meeting was held at the Mira Vista school in Richmond which is one of the schools that would be affected. Vulture capitalist Ron Beller was called a "hit man" when he was hired by union busting anti-labor NYC Superintendent Joel Klein. " Reforms were needed, but went too far, spearheaded initially by consultants from McKinsey and later by Ron Beller, a former Goldman Sachs partner who was considered “their hit guy,” said the former DOE cabinet member, who worked with Beller during the reorganization. “There’s nothing like a trader at an investment bank for the sharp, bright edge of the marketplace – a brutal clarity, applied to the school system.” At the Richmond school meeting Beller said he was working for free and had no ulterior motives than the right of the children to have "choice" like he had.
Beller and his wife Jennifer Moses have contributed tens of thousands of dollars to the California Charter School Association which has been pushing charters as well as fighting unionization by charter school teachers.. Community speakers charged that he had personally profited from speculating on housing mortgage loans while he was with Goldman Sacks where he was former chief of now-collapsed hedge fund Peloton Partners. The Beller run fund collapsed resulting in the loss of some $17 billion to the investors and investors sued for compensation.
His early claim to fame was a secretary at Goldman Sacks who stole millions of dollars that he and his wife did not know as missing. "Not all Goldmanites avoid the headlines. An abiding tale of the boom years is how three London executives, Jennifer Moses and her husband, Ron Beller, and Scott Mead, had so much cash they did not notice when an assistant, Joyti De-Laurey, stole more than £4m from their accounts." The collapse of his fund Peloton happened on the last day of the quarter and it figures in the book "House of Cards". In the case it also came out that Ron and Jennifer had spent £500,000 on her 40th birthday weekend in Italy but after 2001, the couple decided to put their energy into "doing good” according to their friends.
While at Goldman Sachs, Beller also had a reputation as a workplace bully. "Mr. Beller's intense demeanor sometimes caused friction. He berated secretaries, and poor-performing traders kept quiet in meetings to avoid being humiliated by him, according to people familiar with the situation."
Richmond community and labor member also challenged him at the meeting for opposing unionization at charter school and using non-union labor in the construction of the public funded privately run charters. There are now 6 charter schools in line to get constructed in Richmond while other poor public schools are being starved of funds. Charter school supporter and non-union builders Steve and Susan Chamberlin have given large donations to charter supporters on the West Contra School Board who denied at the meeting that they received contributions for Charter supporters.
They have also given $2.4 million to the WCCSD for more TFA students to weaken the schools.
WCCSF Trustee Cuevas at the meeting vehemently denied taking any money from charter supporters but was strongly challenged on this since she had taken money from charter non-union builders Steve and Susan Chamberlin. These developers build charter schools non-union and then lease them back to the charters for profits.
Now Beller and his wife Jennifer are supporting privatization schemes in education in the US and the UK and Caliber is one of their hot ventures. Their work in helping to kick off the 2008 collapse by the speculation on mortgage securities may now be repeated in the speculation by charter operators in California and throughout the country.
For additional information: http://citylimits.org/2009/06/01/the-education-business-teachers-missing-at-the-top/ http://www.forbes.com/2009/06/30/goldman-couple-london-markets-equities-streetwise.html http://www.cnbc.com/id/100569798 http://www.caliberschools.org/who-we-are.html http://www.nysun.com/opinion/for-whom-beller-tolls/79427/ http://www.law.harvard.edu/programs/corp_gov/MediaMentions/11-8-09_SundayTimes.pdf http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/14/books/chapter-house-of-cards.html?pagewanted=all http://richmondconfidential.org/2014/10/30/pro-charter-school-pacs-flood-west-contra-costa-school-board-elections-with-spending/
Production of Labor Video Project http://www.laborvideo.org
Richmond "philanthropists" Chamberlins helping to destroy public education in West Contra Costa County http://www.eastbaytimes.com/richmond/ci_27817167/richmond-philanthropists-helping-change-education-west-contra-costa
Richmond philanthropists helping change education in West Contra Costa County
By Theresa Harrington tharrington [at] bayareanewsgroup.com
POSTED: 03/30/2015 06:11:40 PM PDT | UPDATED: ABOUT A YEAR AGO
Steve and Susan Chamberlin are photographed at Summit Charter School in El Cerrito, Calif., on Friday, March 20, 2015, where they are restoring the former Chung Mei Home for Boys historic building. The self-made millionaires, who met in high school and have been married more than 40 years, are ...
Photos: Chamberlins support West Contra Costa education
• Mar 31:
• Chamberlin Family Foundation contributions in West Contra Costa County
RICHMOND -- Steve and Susan Chamberlin built their fortune as a developer and an architect, and now they are spending tens of millions to improve education for kids who live within West Contra Costa's low-performing school district -- in some of the poorest areas of the county.
"We began to read about K-12 education and to educate ourselves," Susan Chamberlin, 72, said. "And as we did, we came to realize the school district we lived in was not doing a very good job of educating the kids who live here. I would say it's true in general and certainly true with kids of color."
The Chamberlins, who met in a public high school in Hawaii and have been married 48 years, started the Chamberlin Family Foundation in 2006. They followed that with the not-for-profit Education Matters last year.
Christina Foust, left, examines an experiment with students, from left, Isaac Prado, 12, Laura Sanders, 13, and Shaniece Newman, 13, in Foust's seventh grade science class at Summit K2 charter school in El Cerrito on March 23, 2015. (Kristopher Skinner/Bay Area News Group)
While many parents and educators appreciate the couple's commitment of their vast wealth to the well-being of West County children, their largesse has created a quandary for some in West County education circles. And their fervent support for charter schools and political spending during the November election drew criticism from some district trustees.
"There are some people who think we have an adversarial relationship with the district," Susan Chamberlin said. "But, we're putting a lot of money into programs in partnership with them. It's not just about charters. We're trying to focus on improving academic quality."
Since its beginning, the Chamberlin Family Foundation has invested about $5 million in West Contra Costa public K-12 education, including school district and community organizations that support students. It provides small grants to teachers and has helped fund several large initiatives, including one that provided books to all kindergarten classrooms in Richmond and San Pablo. The foundation also brings Teach for America educators to the district, and helps fund a leadership program that trains district teachers to become principals.
In addition, the Chamberlins are spending more than $35 million -- including land, design and construction costs -- to purchase properties and build school campuses for high-quality charters in El Cerrito and Richmond. They donate the properties to Education Matters, which, the Chamberlins hope, demonstrates that they will not reap any financial rewards from an influx of charters in the district.
"I think they've made some significant and innovative investments in local education," said district resident Ben Steinberg. "They've made investments in both traditional public schools and charter schools that help provide access to good education for every child. I think that has been a really important commitment that no one else in our community has been able to match. I think we're very fortunate, and I hope they can find ways to get our community to engage more deeply in public education." But some district officials have expressed concerns that the spread of new charter schools will further erode an already dwindling population in traditional district schools along with the state money the district receives to educate students. And the couple's recent foray into political spending to sway the school board election has concerned others.
The Chamberlins contributed heavily on behalf of successful candidates Elizabeth Block and Val Cuevas in the November election, both directly and through a political action committee sponsored by Education Matters. The PAC spent more than $87,000 on behalf of Block and more than $59,000 on behalf of Cuevas; the Chamberlins each contributed $2,500 directly to Block's campaign, and Susan contributed $2,500 to the Cuevas campaign. The PAC also spent more than $30,000 on campaign literature opposing incumbent Trustee Madeline Kronenberg, who was re-elected, and more than $5,000 to oppose unsuccessful candidate Peter Chau.
Construction of two new schools is underway at a site across from Hilltop mall in Richmond on March 20, 2015. Steve and Susan Chamberlin, self-made millionaires who met in high school and have been married more than 40 years, are committed to spending their money to help the children who live in the low-performing West Contra Costa school district. (Anda Chu/Bay Area News Group)
During the election, Chau complained about "millionaire spending" on the campaign that he said he would not be able to match.
Current board President Todd Groves, who accepted a $500 election contribution from Steve Chamberlin during his election campaign two years ago, said Thursday that he shares the Chamberlins' passion for helping students succeed and appreciates their commitment and contributions to district programs to improve teaching and help children. But he said he was concerned about the amount of money spent in the November board election -- including thousands of dollars to oppose candidates, and he disagreed with their vision of charters as a solution to district woes.
"I don't share that certainty that charters are going to promote a more efficient system as a whole," Groves said. "It's complex. And it is possible to do damage. That's my fear. The district system is not robust right now. It's surprisingly fragile. I don't want to accelerate decline. We've got more charters than anybody else in the county right now. I've studied this, and there's a lot of peril in any direction you take."
The Chamberlins disagree, pointing to charter schools such as Summit that match the demographics of the district, yet are seeing more positive results. They also defend their campaign contributions, saying they helped tip the scales away from candidates supported by contractors and others who benefit from the district's $1.6 billion bond construction program, which has diverted attention away from academics.
The Chamberlins said long waiting lists for local charters convinced them more are needed in West Contra Costa to meet student and parent demand.
They purchased the historic Chung Mei home for boys in El Cerrito on property that also houses modern buildings leased by the Summit K2 Charter School. They recently completed renovations on the historic building, which they hope to lease to Summit as needs grow.
The Chamberlins are also in the process of constructing two new school buildings on property near the Hilltop mall in Richmond specifically for charters. One will be leased by the Aspire Charter School and open in the fall; the other building is not yet leased, Steve Chamberlin said.
"What we came to realize was that if you had a facility, you could attract the very best schools here," said Steve Chamberlin, 72. "You'd be hard-pressed to find a better school operator in the state than Summit. They were interested in being here, and we were interested in having a great school."
Susan Chamberlin mused that some West Contra Costa residents may be tempted to pretend they live outside the district so their children can attend better schools.
"What if one day people would lie about where they lived so they could get into a West County school?" she said. "Why can't that be a goal? We can do it."
Theresa Harrington covers education. Contact her at 925-945-4764 or tharrington [at] bayareanewsgroup.com
. Follow her at Twitter.com/tunedtotheresa.