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The Struggle To Defend Public Education, Privatization, Union Democracy & Education Workers
by Labor Video Project
Monday Apr 17th, 2017 8:14 AM
A emergency education conference was held on April 15, 2017 to discuss and debate the attacks on public education including the growing privatization and outsourcing of education. Also the conference discussed and debated the idea of reforming charters which is being pushed by the CTA/NEA and CFT/AFT.
The Struggle To Defend Public Education, Privatization, Union Democracy & Education Workers

On April 15, 2017 an emergency education conference was held at UCB to discuss the attack on public education and the fight against privatization from charters to outsourcing.

The conference also discussed the fight for democratic unions that are critical to challenge the assault on the right to public education. The panel also discussed the pernicious role of privatization and charters and the fight to repeal the California charter school law.

The opening speakers at the conference included:
Blanca Misse, San Francisco State CFA member
Kristyn Jones, UTR Member and Delegate To 2017 NEA Convention
Beezer De Martelly UAW 2865 UCB
John Penilla Undergraduate Workers Union UCB
Nina Deerfield, Parent DFPN

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Education Democracy, Privatization & Charters CFA, CTA & CFT

An California emergency education conference sponsored by Labor Rising Against Trump was held on April 15, 2017 at UCB. One of the worships was on "Organizing to Build Power: How to Prepare for a Strike in your Contract". Two of the speakers at the panel Ann Robertson who is a California Faculty Association member at SF State and Joel Jordan who is with UTLA Special Projects gave presentations and attendees raised questions about democracy and the role of the bureaucracy in the CTA and the CFA.

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Presentation by Kristyn Jones, UTR Delegate To 2017 NEA Convention

Kristyn Jones UTR Anti-Privatization Organizer & DFEN Richmond Opening Plenary Speech At CA Emergency Education Conference At UCB 4/15/17
Opening Plenary Speech At
4/15/17 UCB
Emergency CA Education Conference & The Fight To Defend Public Education
Blueprints for a Future: Transforming Education Conference

Charter schools are the biggest threat to public education right now. Betsy Devoss, and the threat of vouchers are looming just around the corner, but the dog on our heels presently are the charter schools. Which are not a product of the far right or even the Republican Party but have been championed by California Democrats.

Jerry Brown in fact owns two charter schools in Oakland.

Every piece of legislation, sponsored by Democrats to make charters more accountable or transparent. Has been vetoed in fact by Jerry Brown.
But the fact is charter schools are wrong on principle. They are wrong because they are taking pubic money and diverting it into private hands. They are using public money and even call themselves public schools but are not under the governance of the publically elected school board. Instead their boards are often made up of folks form the business community.

They are wrong because they use public money but do not have to take all students. They in fact cherry pick the best and brightest students. They often don’t take their fair share of special education students and when they do take them they are often students with mild disabilities such as speech impediments, rather than the severly handicapped or learning disabled.

They are wrong because they use public money but do not hire union. Charter schools in the state of California have spent billions of dollars of non union construction with tax payer money. There was a charter school built near Hilltop Mall in Richmond California that flew in non union labor from Nevada.
Charter schools are taking money away from public schools and threaten to bankrupt districts.

The Cost of Charter Schools- LA Unified Report, charters cost LA unified a half billion dollars last year.

OUSD- Has announced a spending freeze. There will be a 25 million dollar budget deficit this year.

WCCUSD-There are about ten charter schools serving about 4,000 students. There numbers are increasing . Old schools that need to be rebuilt have been left to languish. The jury is still out on the financial impact. A new charter called Voices was just approved this past Wednesday, former Trustee Tod Groves said, “By approving Voices, the BOE cemented a $10 million revenue loss, equivalent to the Measure T parcel tax.

We need to have straight talk about the effect on remaining students. $10 million will hurt deeply. ELD and SPED populations are not shrinking and rightfully will consume ever greater shares of diminishing funds, as will pensions.

Charter expansion is creating a fiscal crisis while in no way offering new solutions to educating our most needy students. This conversation must happen”
So, can charter schools be reformed? The answer is no. If something is wrong on principal it cannot be reformed, it must be destroyed completely, abolished. Imagine if people like Jim Brown, Frederick Douglass had tried to reform slavery by making the hours shorter or the food better, that would have been ridiculous! Likewise it is ridiculous to try and reform charter schools, we need a movement for abolition.

I see several paths towards abolition, First place to start are Calls for moratorium. We need to get unions and cities to pass moratoriums.
The NAACP in fact has called on a moratorium. We are calling for a moratorium on the expansion of the charter schools at least until such time as:
(1) Charter schools are subject to the same transparency and accountability standards as public schools
(2) Public funds are not diverted to charter schools at the expense of the public school system
(3) Charter schools cease expelling students that public schools have a duty to educate and
(4) Charter schools cease to perpetuate de facto segregation of the highest performing children from those whose aspirations may be high but whose talents are not yet as obvious.

Then bringing a law suit against Prop. 39. What is prop 39 you might be wondering? It is the cornerstone of this charter school sham in California. Charter schools were granted rights to public school facilities through Proposition 39, which was passed by California voters 12 years ago. This means that public schools have to share facilities with charter schools. There are some schools in Oakland and Richmond that actually house two different schools, a charter school and a public school. Independence High in San Jose’s Alum Rock School district actually has 3 charters in one public high school. this is a recipe for disaster that is right of the playbook of Betsy DeVos.

Proposition 39 is unconstitutional.

1. It prevents school districts from taking action to protect their financial integrity by requiring approval of charters regardless of the financial impact. This violates the California constitution which requires fiscal integrity of governmental agencies.

2. Proposition 39 violates equal rights to protection of California students by allowing charters to opt out of the Field Act in protection of public school students. This is discriminatory for charter school students who deserve the same protection as public school students at non-charters.

We need to get unions and school boards and city councils to protest these illegalities and to support legal and action to repeal prop 39 and the California charter law. The other thing is that the Washington State NEA chapter actually sued in the court against the charter laws and won and we need to demand that the CTA and CFT take the same stance We need to united parents, students and teachers statewide against the damaging policy of co-location which steals room, facilities and land from public schools to bring in more charters.

The other path forward is preparing to in fact repeal the charter school law in 2018. We need 200 committed people to collect 2,000 signatures to get this on the ballot. This is the only way we can get rid of the charter school parasite once and for all.

So, clearly we need the unions on board. The problem is that the unions are top down anti-democratic tools of establishment politics and not worker run institutions. The unions for the most part have not educated their members about the threat of charter schools to public education. For example at the National Education Association conference last year I tried to bring a resolution asking for NEA to stop referring to charter schools as public schools and to investigate the financial impact of charter schools and I was blocked by my own California Caucus. Terry Jackson, a member of United Teachers of Richmond, CTA,NEA told me that in fact charter schools are public school because they take public money. There were many other resolutions brought to the NEA last year and all of them were referred to committee. So, NEA affectively sidestepped making any major policy decisions on charters last year. However this year the issue will be remerge in Boston in a major way.

My local United Teachers of Richmond UTR did however pass a resolution calling on an end to the expansion of charter schools in our district and in the nation, and effective moratorium. This resolution was passed by the 1600 members though our rep council. Resolution emerged from struggle and dialogue among members of the E board and our rank and file. It is a beautiful shining product of dialogue and struggle. It will forever live on in history as a testament to labor power and unity. It a talks about poverty, calls out charters for being anti-union. However, this resolution was suppressed, a substitute resolution was posted on the website and members were never educated about the threat of charters. Our union leadership in fact rather than promoting our rank and files resolution aligned with the California Alliance for Community Schools. This group put out a platform to reform charter schools. They claim to have the support of 50,000 teachers statewide. But it is a top down paid organizer inititative. The platform is weak and in distinguishing private and public charters, under regulated versus regulated charters, confuses people into thinking there are good charters and bad charters. No, we need to stop all charters.

So, there is a fight against charters, and a fight within our unions to make them more democratic. There needs to be a political education campaign in not just education unions but all unions and among all working people about the cancer. This is the fight that I have taken on, that my group Defend Public Education Now has taken on. We are a group of workers who are on the battlefield for real public schools, and are committed to staying there until we win. Today lets start a statewide campaign to expose the pernicious affects of these co-locations. Those who say that DeVos is somehow different from the California Charter School Association and we can make these privatizes are politically disarming the real fight against charters and privatization and we need to tell the truth about the financial conflicts of interest which are inherent and also the systemic corruption which is being covered up by politicians like the California Attorney General and most District Attorneys. They are stealing money from our kids and schools and they need to be prosecuted and jailed. So, we ask that you join us!

One of the obstacles is the need to organize politically against charters and privatization and that is what DPEN has been working on statewide.

Kristyn Jones
United Teachers Of Richmond UTR Delegate To 2017 NEA Convention
Defend Public Education Now Richmond
DefendPublicEducationNow [at]
§SF State CFA Member Ann Robertson At Education Conference
by Labor Video Project Monday Apr 17th, 2017 8:14 AM
SF State CFA lecturer Ann Robertson talked about the top down process of how the union negotiates and prepares to defend CSA faculty and students.
§Joel Jordan of UTLA Special Project Discusses Alliance Campaign
by Labor Video Project Monday Apr 17th, 2017 8:14 AM
Joel Jordan, with UTLA special projects talked about how the UTLA was uniting locals to organize for next year bargaining. He also discussed why he was against the repeal of California charter laws.
§Participants at Emergency Education Conference
by Labor Video Project Monday Apr 17th, 2017 8:14 AM
Some of the audience at the CA emergency education conference at UC Berkeley of Labor Rising Against Trump on April 15, 2017
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