Wednesday, October 10, 2012

More Underbelly from the Ed Privatizer Movement

Curioser and curioser. A link from one of my crack researchers READ IT HERE has shed some interesting light on the recent warm, fuzzy Privatizer's Ball held at the Regal Theatre last week.  (did you know the right wing looney, homophobe Financer of Walden Media, Philip Anschutz, is also a major share holder in Regal? go figger...) Well it turns out Hannya and Friends were but the first stop on a nationwide tour of yet another fakeass grass roots group called Parent Revolution. According to Hannya Boulous the audience was Waaaaay into the screening of "Won't Flush Down."  "Activists supportive of the parent trigger called the Buffalo screening a success. "I heard a lot of clapping in the crowds, and people were crying and laughing especially at the end," said Hannya Boulos, executive director of Buffalo ReformED, which is organizing to pass a parent trigger law in New York." If anyone wonders why there was clapping maybe it's because you had to email Hannya at BuffaloReformEd to get your name on their list for free admission to the movie. I did but I never got a confirmation so I can't say for sure if I was welcome or not. I have my own suspicions about why anyone might have been crying in the audience - the lost hour and a half they will never get back ?

In typical privatizer fashion they stuffed the house with a nodding claque of bobbleheads then rolled out a party line "panel" to self congratulate, repeat privatizer talking points and by all means avoid like the plague any meaningful discussion that could contradict any of the happy horseshite the privatizers were spreading around to their congregation of the converted. You really have to admire their passive aggressive rhetoric too. After screening a film that portrays teacher's unions as uncaring, self interested and completely out of touch with the lives of the kids they are supposed to be teaching then propping up corporate privatization as the magic bullet to all that ails public education they roll out their talking head April Popescu, regional advocacy director for Parent Revolution who states with no hint of irony: "Our goal is to inspire. Our goal is not to spark a debate or create an issue or a fight."  No April dear of course not. Just like the movie weasel who says we can stop all the finger pointing after he ran out of digits to point at teachers and unions. It reminds me of an interaction I had once with Katie Campos on Facebook a few summers ago when I challenged her on the nasty anti teacher union commercials ReformEd was running on the radio. Her response to me was Why don't you join us? My response was why would I want to join a bunch of people who attack my union on the radio ? ...crickets... Yeah, nice try I guess. Another "friend of reform" used the same line on me in the comments of the Buffalo News once when I asked her where she got off pontificating about the situation in Buffalo high schools when it was obvious she hadn't set foot in one any time recently. She countered that her group had one member in one of the high schools for 2 days a week I think. And when I pointed out that my colleagues go in there every day and some stay well past quitting time on a daily basis all she could think of was to use the "why don't you join us?" bit. As if going to work in a career as a Buffalo teacher has no import or merit of its own but if I were to hitch my wagon to her stumbling bumbling band of reformers somehow my life and career would be magically infused with both gravitas and meaning. GMAFB.

So true to their nature the privatizers play their little games with the community trying so desperately to dupe parents and others into swallowing their trigger law nonsense. They claim they are not about blaming and finger pointing as soon as they finish blaming teachers and finger pointing at our unions. They enjoy a seemingly endless cash flow from their wealthy benefactors yet they love to play the Uriah Heep character with their  insufferable Umble act. Hard to be humble when you show up to the party with no teaching experience, no education background, no training in instruction, administration or even counseling yet you somehow have all the answers that people who have been working with kids for decades don't have. How many unsuspecting people were gulled into signing onto the privatizer's bandwagon at the Regal? Probably not many. But you can't say they don't try.  


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  2. I went to that free screening (which I heard about here, thank you very much)! I was interested in seeing WBD, but there was no way I'd actually pay for the privilege of watching their propaganda. I never got a confirmation email either, but I showed up anyway.

    There was at least one other Buffalo teacher in the audience that I recognized.

    The movie was interesting enough but totally unrealistic. In the movie Maggie Gyllenhall and Viola Davis need the support of at least 50% of the teachers in order to convert the failing school into a new school. And how they get these veteran teachers to give up tenure and join them is the completely unrealistic part. They promise the teachers they'll be able to teach whatever they want....and they all fell for that! WTH?!?

    After the movie was over, I'd say almost half the theater emptied. Most people were there for the free show not the chat afterwards.

    Before they started their panel discussion, one person clearly not sactioned by Buffalo Reform Ed went around and passed out flyers with the TRUTH on them about the Parent Trigger law (yay for the truth!!!)

    After that we heard from Radford and a couple of his cronies. No time for questions or comments from the audience (surprise, surprise). Radford's message was "We're not going to let job security stand in the way of our kids getting an education." Back to laying the blame at the teacher's Naturalizers. Le sigh.

    One of the main points in the movie was the parents achieved reform by winning over the teachers. Clearly Radford missed that plot point.

    At the end they passed around a petition to bring the Parent Trigger law to Buffalo. I'm not sure how many signatures they ended up with b/c half the theater was empty at that point and the rest of us had the truth on a flyer in our hands

  3. I am duly impressed on several fronts, Schoolteacher. That you got the information here is good for my pathetic ego especially when I get home from the gym at 11:30 and start trying to grind out one of these posts before bed because I know if I don't do it I will have to do it the next afternoon. Kudos to you for going and not hurling all over radford;s turtleneck or Hannya's beret. I appreciate too the way you have them sized up, the non interactive panel, the no requests from the peanut gallery meme and radford typically missing the point about true collaboration. There are a lot of embarrassed corporatists who thought they were going to drive a wedge between teachers and parents in Chicago when the strike was called. God bless the lady who passed out the TRUTH leaflet too here's what a lady in attendance at the screening said today at the Board of ed meeting as reported by the Liveblog in Bflo News :

    Next, Ina Ferguson Downing, grandparent: I'm here to talk about solutions, not suspensions.

    AQE and Citizen Action has been working with Dr. Keresztes to change the code of conduct. In the past two weeks, there was a viewing of "Don't Back Down," a movie to get parents excited about parent trigger. I wasn't excited about it. I also didn't sign the petition asking to change Waterfront and East into charter schools.

    Mary Pasciak: Downing: Everybody doesn't know the facts about parent trigger. The parent trigger would unite more problems. It's a dream. It would not happen.

    A grandmother showing up at a movie screening and a board meeting in the same week, essentially backing the teacher's point of view. Not bad,

  4. Here is a little bit from the Pasadena Sun newspaper:

    "Parent Revolution? Not really. The organization was founded by a group of charter school operators led by Green Dot Public Schools, which already operates several schools in Los Angeles. Green Dot’s founder, Steve Barr, also served as chairman of Parent Revolution’s board of directors.

    With funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Wasserman Foundation, the Eli and Edyth Broad Foundation, the Hewlett Foundation and the Walton Family Foundation, Parent Revolution has more than enough dinero to keep up the rhetoric and the supporting antics. But that obscures real educational issues and keeps their followers from asking about the group’s real agenda, which unfortunately is all about charter schools."

    So, just a quick following of the money uncovers some of the usual suspects behind Parent Revolution, not forgetting to mention ALEC.

    Anyway, none of this bothers Sam Radford who stated after the film showing:
    "My issue is not to judge who comes to help,"

    "Radford, who heads a parent organization which has coalesced around the parent trigger as its main legislative campaign, sat on the post-film panel and did his part to encourage folks to get involved with their upcoming legislative fight."

    Now isn't that just like Sam Radford to encourage parents to close schools? Yes, close them! I would think that his role would be to encourage parents to support their schools.

  5. Here is a quote from Ben Austin, Executive Director of Parent Revolution:

    "The idea of the parent revolution is to say fuck you." this one sided pro-privatization article quotes Austin as saying "The idea of the parent revolution is to say fuck you." While we already knew that was how Austin felt about our communities, poor people, and people of color, to hear it coming from the wealthy white charter profiteer's mouth was quite startling. This footnote was first published in Ben Austin's Biography.

  6. Why doesn't Radford send his kids to a charter school if he's so unhappy with BPS? I, for one, would like to never hear from him again.

  7. Diane Ravitch today..." Box Office Flop: Won't Back Down."
    Check the Comments. First commenter , Mark Collins...Buffalo showing is discussed at length in the site he posted.

    You beat them to the punch, Sean..Very Nicely done!

  8. Sam Radford must think he is some sort of "star" because he has had his face in the News and on TV.
    The poor guy is being used by the ReformEd group. They are experts at influencing folks who are not well informed about how salesmen/women are trained to "close the deal". Add the hope of some reward in the future and you have a "Dupe in action".
    They use these well-meaning folks and drop them when the "campaign" is over.
    I think that may be the definition of "Con-Artists" ...privatizers, chameleons, Rheeformers ect.