Cartel of public school privatization education reformers has
intensified its coordinated efforts to dismantle America’s
public school districts in every state in the country. It has
recruited both Democrats and Republicans, present and former public
school employees, elected officials at every level of government
(from local school boards to the Presidents of the United States,
Democrat and Republican), and civic and religious leaders of every
sect and denomination. In addition, the Cartel has been skillful in
bringing high profile majority and minority Americans into its fold.
last week’s column, we examined the attempted takeover of the
Montclair Public Schools (MPS); this week, we focus on the parallels
between the similarities in the attack on Montclair schools and three
other districts that have been targeted by the Cartel. Montclair
continues to be under siege as the Cartel persists in heavily
influencing two of the seven Montclair School Board (MSB) members,
David Deutsch and Robin Kulwin.
only needs two more disciples to regain operational control. Deutsch
and Kulwin were instrumental, along with former Board members, Shelly
Lombard and Leslie Larson, in the hiring of the disgraced former
superintendent, Dr. Penny MacCormack, who is now chief academic
officer at ACUE (Association of College and University Educators), a
Cartel-funded entity designed to push privatization into higher
education. MacCormack was placed there by the Cartel that shuffles
its devotees around to other school districts and/or nonprofits which
they have funded after their surrogates’ privatization
shenanigans have been brought to light and they are forced to leave.
The process has created a revolving door from coast to coast.
D.C. underwent a similar attack on its public schools in 2006 after
the election of the Cartel-funded Adrian Fenty as Mayor. With power
over the D.C. schools, he immediately appointed Michelle Rhee, the
Cartel’s choice, as Chancellor of the Washington, D.C. Public
Schools (DCPS) without conducting a search. Her administrative
experience and credentials were modest at best.
came in like gangbusters, declaring teachers as marginally competent,
and negotiated (with the full cooperation of the local Washington
Teachers Union (WTU) president, George Parker) an alleged lucrative
contract for teachers that included a controversial evaluation system
that prevented the overwhelming majority of teachers from ever
receiving its financial benefits. Rhee then fired hundreds of
teachers and removed dozens of principals. (Time
Magazine featured her
on its cover with a broom sweeping so-called bad teachers and
principals out of the district.)
she declared the district to be in a financial deficit and dismissed
more than four hundred teachers and education support personnel.
Shortly after their elimination, Rhee miraculously discovered that
she did not have a fiscal exigency after all. So she replaced the
terminated personnel with hundreds of new Teach for America (TFA)
hires whom Dr. Leslie Fenwick, dean of Howard University’s
School of Education, has labeled as “…
anthropology and communications majors masquerading as teachers.”
Few have cultural or social competency with the low-income students
of color to whom they are assigned to oversee.
Rhee was forced to resign in 2010 after the election of a new mayor,
she established a national pro-choice, pro-privatization nonprofit,
Students First, with a billion dollars in funding from the Cartel and
established local chapters throughout the country. One of her early
consultant hires was WTU president, George Parker, who served as her
wingman while she devastated his membership. (Parker was defeated in
his reelection bid in 2010.) The Cartel also sent Rhee to Montclair
to establish a Montclair chapter of Students First when the Board
launched a strike on the Montclair Cares About Schools (MCAS) and
Montclair Education Association (MEA) leaders, Dr. Michelle Fine and
Gayl Shepherd, respectively.
Baltimore City Schools are undergoing a similar experience that is
equivalent to both Montclair and Washington, D.C. Mayor Stephanie
Rawlings Blake, whose election was largely funded by the Cartel, also
has appointing power for the superintendent. She selected Dr.
Gregory Thornton as Baltimore City superintendent in 2014. He is the
former superintendent of the Chester Upland School District (CUSD) in
Pennsylvania (2007-2010) and the Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) in
Wisconsin (2010-2014). While in Chester Upland, he created so many
charter schools that the district eventually ran out of money to pay
its teachers, and the state had to step in with extra funding. In
Milwaukee, he promoted district-operated and corporate charters.
Thornton’s last act before leaving MPS was to propose turning
over twenty five low-performing schools to Milwaukee’s
corporate chieftains so they could experiment with improving
achievement for poor African American and Hispanic children. It was
vehemently opposed by the teachers’ union and rejected by the
Milwaukee School Board, but the proposal was passed into law by the
Wisconsin legislature in 2015 with no limits on the number of schools
that could be turned into corporate charters. After one year on the
job, he has been severely criticized by the Baltimore City school
board and numerous local leaders for his lack of a coherent plan and
strategy to improve the schools.
Thornton remains a Cartel favorite as he has been wildly successful
in turning the three public school districts he has headed over to
the corporate sector. The Cartel will surely find another place for
him after he is run out of Baltimore.
Chicago has been consistently mauled by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his
handpicked lackey school board and rogue superintendents. He has
gone through two Cartel-backed superintendents (CEOs) since he took
office in 2011: Dr. Jean Claude Brizzard (2011-2012), who had
increased the number of corporate charters and the privatization of
school services in the Rochester, New York Public Schools. He was
run out of town by the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) during the 2012
teachers’ strike for closing an excessive number of schools and
refusing to settle, at the Mayor’s direction, the teachers’
was followed by Dr. Barbara Byrd-Bennett (2012-2014), who awarded
numerous unapproved contracts to Cartel corporations and nonprofits
and took millions of dollars in kickbacks. She had engaged in
similar behavior during her tenure as superintendent of schools in
Cleveland, Ohio and as chief accountability officer for the Detroit
Public Schools. She was indicted in Chicago and is being
investigated by the U.S. Justice Department for her Detroit
escapades. Byrd-Bennett is currently preparing to go to jail to
serve a seven and a half year prison term.
CPS is being managed by a political hack, Forrest Claypool, Mayor
Emanuel’s long-term political flunky, who carries out any task
he is assigned since he has no background in K-12 education.
Collectively, the three CEOs have driven the school system into the
ground, and Claypool is trying to balance the budget that he, his
predecessors, and the mayor have raped and pillaged on the backs of
teachers by cutting their salaries via furloughs, and raiding their
pension system. The latter effort has been recently blocked by a
CTU president, Karen Lewis has led a valiant effort to keep the
schools public and to fight for resources and the dignity of
teachers. She has called for a one day strike on April 1st
as a way to send a message to the mayor and the governor that
teachers will not go down without a fight.
are perilous times for K-12 educators across America as the Cartel is
geared up to eradicate public education. Montclair is being targeted
in the same way as the aforementioned school districts but in a
slightly more civil manner. However, the Cartel is positioning
itself for a frontal assault with its lead school board soldier, at
the moment, David Deutsch, who was integral to the demise of Lehman
Brothers, the Wall Street financial services firm, where he served as
a vice president during its collapse.
the Cartel can get two of the three upcoming mayoral appointments to
the Montclair School Board later this month, it will be back in
business. Public education stakeholders in Montclair need to make
certain that this does not happen.