Monday, May 5, 2014

Local Accountability and Astroturf: Local Control without the Local Control | Cloaking Inequity

Local Accountability and Astroturf: Local Control without the Local Control | Cloaking Inequity:

Local Accountability and Astroturf: Local Control without the Local Control

Screen Shot 2014-05-06 at 2.43.29 AM
How can we banish No Child Left Behind’s top-down and narrow paradigm? Local control has been a bedrock principle of public schooling in America since its inception. NCLB sent us in the opposite direction of this traditional notion. A return to a traditional locally based educational policy can be again realized via a multiple measures approach to accountability that is democratically decided on the community level. See all posts on Community-Based Accountability here.
One of the biggest dangers to Community-Based Accountability, and Community-Based Reform in general is astroturfing (See for example Parent trigger laws: Wolves in sheep’s clothing and astroturfing). Robert D. Skeels talks about the issue in the context of the new implementation of Local Accountability in California. For Community-Based Accountability to work in California and the national context we will have to address this stealth hegemony.

Shortly after my brief article on the recent United Way astroturf episode ran, my friend Anthony Cody reached out regarding how Professor Julian Vasquez Heilig had done some work in the past on proposing a Community Based Accountability framework that seemingly informed California’s Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF)—at least in part. He asked me to send my thoughts on what that looked like on the ground in Los Angeles. He also sent me links to Vasquez-Heilig’s posts Accountability: Are you ready for a new idea? and D.C. are you listening?: A New Local, Community-Based Approach for Accountability. I responded, and was then asked if it was okay to publish my commentary. I requested that I be given a chance to clean the comments up. I decided that rather than make revisions, I would instead annotate my original response. 
First I want to say that I support the idea of a Community Based Accountability framework in principle. The micromanaging of everything from curricula all the way to assessments by both the Bush and Obama administrations has been astonishing, and has failed students in every regard. I believe that community based accountability could work in cities where genuine community and parent engagement is present. In Los Angeles we have a very different reality. I was reminded yesterday of the seemingly inexhaustible resources the neoliberal corporate education reformers have while covering an event contrived by the Walton Family Foundation funded Parent Revolution to push their candidates for Los Angeles Unified School Board and State Superintendent of Instruction. We have a local 
Local Accountability and Astroturf: Local Control without the Local Control | Cloaking Inequity:

 Beware of AstroTurf Ed Reformers 

Just Like Michelle Rhee's Students first only BETTER

Astroturf lobbying refers to political organizations or campaigns that appear to be made up of grassroots activists but are actually organized and run by corporate interests seeking to further their own agendas. Such groups are often typified by innocent-sounding names that have been chosen specifically to disguise the group's true backers