Cartel of advocates for the privatization of public education is
placing corporate charter schools on steroids. It
is moving at warp speed to turn urban public school districts into
all or majority corporate charter in its present wave of education
reform. As noted in previous columns, the Cartel has already
converted New Orleans to 91percent charter, and Detroit, Washington,
D.C., Flint (where Michigan’s governor, a Cartel Member, has
simultaneously poisoned the drinking water with lead that has
negative impacted the cognitive functioning of thousands of school
children), and Cleveland are approximately 50 percent corporate
charter as of 2016. These showcase districts have paved the way for
a national corporate charter takeover of public school districts.
the Cartel’s minister of education, Eli Broad, has boldly
announced that he plans to transform 50 percent of the Los Angeles
Unified School District into corporate charters by 2023.
previous focus on voucher schools and education management companies
has been superseded by an emphasis on corporate charters and charter
management organizations (CMOs), the latter owned by the Cartel
and/or its private-sector acolytes. With the assistance of President
Obama and the Cartel-developed legislation, Race to the Top (RTTT),
which Obama signed into law, the Cartel is off to the corporate
charter school races. It is now systematically targeting large,
medium-sized, and small school districts for “corporate
charterization.” A few examples are discussed below.
and Camden, New Jersey public schools represent the current approach
to increasing charter enrollment employing a “universal student
enrollment system” which registers students for both charter
and traditional public schools. The recent superintendents of the
Newark Public Schools, Cami Anderson (2011-2015) and Chris Cerf
(2015-Present), who hired Anderson when he was New Jersey’s
Commissioner of Education from 2011 to 2014, are also Cartel
were placed in their positions for the expressed purpose of
significantly increasing the number of corporate charter schools and
privatizing public school services. Cerf and Anderson (who worked
for Cerf in the charter school office when he was deputy chancellor
of the New York City Schools) were wildly successful in carrying out
their assigned agenda. Within five short years, they have more than
doubled the number of Newark charter schools; have transitioned
hundreds of millions of dollars in school services into the private
sector, and the corresponding jobs; and have lain off hundreds of
traditional public school teachers. In addition, they plowed through
the $100 million grant from Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg,
without any appreciable educational outcomes other than to line the
pockets of a bevy of education consultants.
their charter accomplishments accelerated, Cerf and Anderson
conspired, with New Jersey’s Cartel-backed Gov. Chris Christie,
to place her deputy superintendent for innovation in Newark, Paymon
Rouhanifard, who had been her direct report in New York, in the open
Camden, New Jersey superintendent’s position in 2013. (He was
brought to Newark as a member of Anderson’s education reform
team.) Rouhanifard’s educational credentials and experience
were modest at best: bachelor’s degrees in economics and
political science, two years as a Teach for America (TFA) teacher in
the New York City Schools (NYCS), and as a staff member in the NYCS
charter school office. He possessed fewer academic qualifications
than 55 percent of the teachers under his administration in the
Camden City Schools.
like his mentors, Cerf and Anderson, he was skilled in turning
traditional public schools into corporate charters, converting five
of the twenty-six Camden schools into corporate charters during his
first year in office, and transforming another seven to corporate
charters since 2014, pushing the school budget into a deficit. These
administrative actions enabled him to lay off hundreds of teachers
and support staff.
Newark Public Schools’ finances also had a shortfall in 2014
and 2015. In an unprecedented joint letter to Gov. Christie on
February 1, 2016, a group of Newark pro-corporate charter and
pro-traditional public school civic and elected leaders (89 percent
of whom were pro-corporate charter) begged him to provide
transitional aid to rescue the school district from its budget gap.
To make their case, they cited the Camden City Schools which is in
similar straits. Both situations were caused by the payments to
charter schools whose rapid increase had negative fiscal impacts in
the pro-corporate charters and pro-traditional public schools letter
writers failed to mention that the major culprit in these situations
is the “universal student enrollment system” employed in
the respective school systems. In order to select their child’s
school placement, all parents are mandated to choose from a list of
corporate charter and traditional public schools. Individual schools
are also required to take part in community fairs to market
themselves with data on school facilities and outcomes.
requirements place under-funded, low-wealth, and low-performing
traditional public schools at a distinct disadvantage. In addition,
the Newark and Camden superintendents and their staff “place
their thumbs on the scale” in favor of corporate charters by
manipulating the selection process and publicly proclaiming the
merits of corporate charters.
parents have chosen and/or have been forced into corporate charter
schools in droves, driving up charter funding and depleting the
budgets of traditional public schools. In order to encourage Gov.
Christie to provide the transitional funding, the Newark Public
Schools (NPS) volunteered to make additional cuts in its operational
costs to place its fiscal house in order. The corporate charters
only committed to continue taking the money. What is occurring here
is that the NPS is essentially agreeing to commit long-term, district
suicide in an effort to secure short-term economic relief.
new strategy is being implemented and/or being pursued in
Indianapolis, Indiana (with the full cooperation of Mayor Joe Hogsett
and Superintendent Dr. Lewis Ferebee), the State of North Carolina,
Washington, D.C., and a host of other school districts throughout the
nation. It is being promoted by both Republican and Democratic
elected officials and championed by previous and current Obama U.S.
education secretaries, Arnie Duncan and Dr. John King, respectively.
Thus, the Cartel is quietly achieving its corporate charter
objectives by enlisting its targeted school districts in the
facilitation of their own annihilation. “You cannot make this