Monday, November 2, 2020

Is School Privatization on the Los Angeles DA Ballot? - LA Progressive

Is School Privatization on the Los Angeles DA Ballot? - LA Progressive
Is School Privatization on the Los Angeles DA Ballot?

Big money for pro-charter school board candidates, picks George Gascón for DA

Los Angeles’ school district used to have sleepy school board races. But those low budget, pedestrian races – like that for LA County’s District Attorney – are bygones. Between the SCOTUS Citizens United ruling codifying limitless lobbying and independent campaign support, and the ascendency of “school choice” as a stalking horse for privatization of the public sector within the education arena, LAUSD’s school boardroom has become a surrogate battlefield for neoliberalism, public-private partnerships and the leveraging of public goods for private gain.

So, too, it would seem might the race for LAC’s District Attorney (LAC-DA) signal a new incursion on privatization in criminal justice.

And given such a grand ideological tussle, it is little wonder that formerly obscure school board elections of local and narrow interest should have become worth astonishing amounts of money to a select few with special interest in (eg, profit, systemic change, ROI extracted from) the political insurgency. Such an influx could concern underlying motivations surrounding next Tuesday’s LAC-DA race.

An explosion of this trend was marked in 2013, when the mayor of New York City 3000 miles away, saw fit to drop one million dollars over the metaphorical backyard fences and literal mailboxes of west LA in order to influence a school board race so very, very far away, and seemingly removed, from him. But in retrospect it is clear that the Education sector provides a goldrush of opportunity for privateers. And the shock and awe of unprecedented outside spending bears witness to the large stakes in play.

When a parallel insurgence of resources from away infuses the formerly esoteric and narrow LA County’s District Attorney race questions of parallel opportunism arise.

Reed Hastings and the Bros from away

Indeed some of the same high-rollers in the world of ed reform are anteing up for candidate George Gascón’s campaign and independent expenditure committees (see table 1 below). In particular note that the largest – and earliest – of Gascón’s contributors, Reed Hastings, matches as largest contributor to the recently hyperactive “Charter Public Schools PAC”, just one of the charter industry’s dozens of PACs intended to influence, and recently deployed in the current LAUSD board member races (detailed here). What about the experience of ed reform might be reflected today in the world of criminal justice reform?

Today our public school system in the age of “school choice” is bifurcated into parallel and CONTINUE READING: Is School Privatization on the Los Angeles DA Ballot? - LA Progressive