Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Charters Kill True Choice

The End of Representative Government...
...The Beginning of Global "Governance" 

Government of the people, by the people, for the people?! According to Reed Hastings of Netflix you only have 20-30 years of freedom left! Get out to vote now, because you won't have it in the future.

While many conservatives are out in the political world opposing the CRISIS of Common Core, few realize that the pre-digested, pre-determined SOLUTIONS being proposed and implemented by the powers-that-be (what Dr. Dennis Cuddy refers to as the "Power Elite") are out to eliminate grassroots America. Bye-bye grasssroots. Bye-bye elected representatives. Hello controlled "governance."

We already know from the New Orleans experiment that the charter parents are undergoing intensive re-education so that they will "buy into" a new structure of governance, which is top-down control. (read "The Deliberate Dumbing Down of the Village" for details). Now we know a little more of the story. Reed Hastings tells all.

Below is the complete transcript of the Reed Hastings address to the California Charter Schools Association posted on YouTube. Comments have been inserted to break up the text. All emphasis has been added so the reader can easily spot the highlighted points.

Netflix CEO. Reed Hastings
Keynote Speaker, CCSA Conference 2014
California Charter Schools Association
Published on Youtube Mar 4, 2014

Watch Reed Hasting by clicking on this link:

Charter schools are very challenging.  Has anyone watched season 2 of "House of Cards" yet?  Okay.  So, politics is a tough business, there's no question about it --- compared to what we see on "House of Cards," it's not that difficult.  Let's keep that in perspective.
All of you are warriors every day as leaders of charter schools, teachers of charter schools, advocates of charter schools.  It's very hard work; an everyday grind.  And, then you get to come to this conference. This a celebration!  This is a time for reflection.

In contrast, my life is incredibly easy. When you think about it, I go to some board meetings, I write some checks. People are nice to me.  I mean, it's very, very easy, I've gotta tell you!

But, it does give me a chance to talk with many of you and with your colleagues around the country in trying to understand more about this puzzle of charter schools; how do we succeed politically, why is it important, why do different constituents fight with us?  Why do school districts have such a difficult time?
And so I thought I would start by sharing some of those reflections with you. It starts with a love affair.  So, I fell in love 14 years ago with Roy Romer.  Roy Romer was the former governor of Colorado, a very sophisticated politician. He basically volunteered to become the superintendent of Los Angeles Public School District in June of 2000.   There was great excitement about how he was able to galvanize the philanthropic community, the political community, the business community, teachers.  He had a real touch for people and for 6 years, one of the longest runs ever for urban school districts, he put in place formative assessment and worked on professional development.  He did amazing work throughout those 6 years!  A lot of people contributed to this work, probably many people in this room.  Then what happened was the school board changed enough that he got thrown out!  Afterward well-intentioned people came in, Brewer and Cortines, and now Deasy.  Now there's almost nothing left of what Roy Romer did.  So it's kind of a puzzle because those were all good people.  They want the best things for the district.  So how is it that Governor Romer did all this work and then 6 years later it's all gone?"
Roy Romer, former governor of Colorado. His is a familiar name to those of us who opposed Outcome-Based Education 25 years ago. In his platform of the National Governors Association, he chaired the Education Commission of the States, and worked to further the agenda of education reform. In case the reader isn't up to date on Romer, here is his latest bio, which indicates he is still a major change agent in education reform circles, heavily financed by the Power Elite:
On June 7, 2000, he became Superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District, where he served for six years....

A May 8, 2006 Los Angeles Times article suggested naming a school after Romer. LAUSD announced that Roy Romer Middle School would open in 2008 in the eastern San Fernando Valley.
On April 25, 2007, Roy Romer began his service as the chairman and lead spokesman for Strong American Schools, a nonprofit project responsible for running Ed in 08, an information and initiative campaign funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Eli and Edythe Broad foundation, aimed at encouraging 2008 presidential contenders to include education in their campaign policies. (Source)
"Well, it started me thinking -- think about how hard it is to win election in LAUSD.  It's a big deal (right?) to win election to the school board!  Well, are you going to win election and then not try to create change?  No!  You've got a promise to your constituents -- you're going to create change! That's why you work so hard!  So, what happens in school districts which have big contested elections, not like Palo Alto or special well-off communities; but, your large districts have very contested elections.

So, inevitably, superintendent changes rapidly.  So, in the last eight years we've had 3 different ones in LA Unified and that's not unique.  That's typical across the country.  What happens then is the school district has a very hard time making long-term plans, making long-term changes because the school board is rapidly changing---so the superintendent changes, so the staff changes.  That is the essence of why school districts cannot get to sustained excellence.

School districts are filled with good people trying to do good work; but, the governance of a school district is relatively chaotic, especially in large urban districts where elections are expensive to get to win.  Because of that turnover, they basically oscillate instead of improve.  So you'll see a district improve steadily for a couple years and then it goes, then it comes up and then it goes down.  We mistake those oscillations for real improvement.

There's been some substantial improvement in New York over the last ten years with Bloomberg and Joe Klein.  The question is, how much of it will last over the next 10 years.  So, this political process is very disheartening because it makes it very hard for a school district to do longterm change.

Now, in contrast, ASPIRE today is much better than it was 5 years ago, 10 years ago and 15 years ago  KIPP today, is much better than it was 5 years ago, 10 years ago, 15 years ago.  And, all of your organizations that are 10 years plus, are experiencing the same thing.  You are a learning organization.  You continuously get better. 

I look at Netflix.  Netflix is 15 years old.  It's gotten better every year.  How is it that ASPIRE and KIPP and GreenDot and Netflix and other organizations steadily get better; but, school districts get better and worse and better and worse, and don't really make substantial change? 

Well, that all comes down to governanceA charter school is generally non-profit and the board-members pick the new board-members.  It's called "self-perpetuating governance."  They're not elected by the general public.  Because the board-members pick the new board-members, when you join the board of a non-profit you join to help.  You're not necessarily going to create change, you didn't have to run an expensive election to get there.  You're not trying to go from there to city council.  You're just trying to help the organization.

So, that non-profit self-perpetuating governance is very healthy.  Because of it you can have leadership change like Don Shalvey started ASPIRE; but, James Wilcox has been running it for the last 5 years and it's been relatively smooth in continuous improvement.   Marco is not the founding CEO of GreenDot; but, he's been there 7 years now and it's continuously gotten better.  So, you can have leadership turnover without radical change in direction when you have a board, a non-profit board.  That's not only true in non-profits, that's also true in for-profits.  So, for-profits are basically self-perpetuating, board-members pick new board-members and then the organizations compete."

What is Reed Hastings really saying here? Well, he is using a classic technique for creating CHANGE via manipulation. He is downgrading our elected representative form of government by citing all of the PROBLEMS with it that he can think to list. Many of us would agree that there are problems. However, he is saying that citizen-elected school boards are not "healthy." He is talking about what a disaster it is when DULY ELECTED LOCAL school boards, representing citizens in each school district, have changeover each election. What?!

Local citizens may not LIKE how any duly elected school board member acts, and so they vote to throw them out of office the next election. This is America's representative form of government. Messy it may be, but it is freedom. This is the EMPOWERMENT of American citizens. WE have a voice. WE have a vote. WE can go to the polling booth and CHOOSE who we want to represent us. WE have TRUE CHOICE!

But in the Reed Hastings universe, notice what he calls "healthy." SELF-PERPETUATING boards!!! Self-anointed, self-appointed, self-elected boards that act like good-old-boys clubs and pass the baton to the next board member WITHOUT any VOTE! He says that a charter school's board of directors gets to choose the next members of the board. This means that you the PARENT and YOU the CITIZEN have absolutely NO CHOICE in the matter! Even if your children are enrolled in the charter school, you have NO CHOICE over who gets appointed to the board.

The implications are staggering. Charter school "choice" is an utter sham! 

Read on. Reed Hastings is talking about a top-down military-style control organization. What's so good about the military? "Controlling their training," he says. This is "essentially the charter school way." Wow....
"If you think about it, it's also true in the military branches.  Remember when we used to think that it was inefficient to have an  army and a navy and an air force?  By the way, the navy's got planes and the army's got boats.  They're all sort of overlapping, right?  But, in fact, each branch trains and promotes -- they have their own governance, they have their own schools for developing their officers.  They have their own theories.  Then when the top of the government wants great warriors, they sometimes pick different branches.  For example, the navy seals (remember they're the swimmers, right? ) got picked for the mission to go hunt down Osama Bin Laden at 11,000 feet in Pakistan.  There's not a lot of sea there, not a lot of ocean there.  So why did they do that?  Well, because they're really just different branches of the military competing. Of course, when the president and the joint chiefs picked the navy to do that, of course the air force  doubles down on their training, the army Rangers are inflamed, "why not us?  We're better than them."  And, they improve their training.  So, this model of the army controlling their training; the air force, the navy, the marines doing their training -- separate organizations  -- they compete for missions is the right way. (sic)  And that's essentially the charter school way.

Think about churches.  The cardinals pick the pope, the pope picks the cardinals – another form of self-perpetuating governance.  If you look at all of the innovation in churches over the last 50 years it's really impressive; the wraparound services and technology, just really amazing amounts of innovation because you've got all these different branches.  You can call it competition; but, they're all trying to serve people's spiritual needs.  Okay? But, each one controls it's own destiny, each church, and then they all serve the general population. 

Then of course, political parties --the democrats pick the democrats, the republicans pick the republicans and then they compete.  Basically, every sector of our economy; politics, religion, the military, for-profits, non-profits, they've got their structure that each organization controls their own destiny and then you compete with other organizations  Sometimes you compete very gently, like the churches compete, or the different military branches, or non-profits how they compete, or how universities compete.  Sometimes you compete with great intensity like Netflix vs Blockbuster, Netflix vs HBO.  But, the most intense is in politics!  I mean they're really trying to kill each other!  Okay?

So, you've got all different models of competition; but, the basic structure is unique.  So, the fundamental problem with school districts is not their fault.  The fundamental problem is they don't get to control their board.  And, the importance of the charter school movement is to evolve America from a system where governance is constantly changing and you can't to long-term planning to a system of large non-profits that develop and have great professional development and training and they look like the breadth of, say, military branches, churches, universities, non-profits, all trying to outdo each other to serve the children."

Next, Reed Hastings mentions New Orleans. Of course! The New Orleans charter school experiment which we've written about often on this blog. No voter representation. No true freedom of "choice." Everyone is part of the charter "hub" system. And John Ayers and his "choice" buddies are busily re-training the parents to accept this new form of "governance." (Read "Using Crisis to Control 'Choice'")
"We're getting little glimpses of this when we look ahead, when we look at New Orleans which is now about 90% charters.  The overall results in New Orleans across the whole city is amazing!  They're rapidly rising much faster than anywhere else in Louisiana and soon going to pass the state average which is amazing given the demographics considering the state.  So, it's very impressive.  And again, that's because they pioneered this form where nearly all the schools are charters, organized into networks of all different sizes, some single schools, some big networks and they all learn from each other.  But, the most important thing is that they constantly get better. Every year they're getting better because they have stable governance.  They don't have an elected school board.  That's the real tough issue here."

What a stark admission! He says that the self-anointed, self-appointed unelected CHARTER school board is better! Better for WHOM? The citizens, who have just lost their voice? The voter who has just lost his true grassroots power? The children who now have an unelected board governing their daily lives -- people who are NOT accountable to their parents, not accountable to the local citizens? Not accountable to ANYONE but themselves?!! Really? Read "The 3-Legged Stool of School 'Choice'"

"Now, if we go to the general public and we say, "Here's an argument of why you should get rid of school boards," of course, no one's going to go for that.  School boards have been an iconic part of America for 200 years.  So, what we have to do is work with school districts to grow steadily. And, the work ahead is really hard because we're at 8% of students in California whereas, in New Orleans they're at 90%.  So, we have a lot of catch up to do.  We've got a lot of work of adding more schools and serving children better and better. 

School districts would like to learn from charters; but, the problem is they get a superintendent who says, "let's learn this new thing that charters are doing."  Maybe it's around technology, and it goes for 2 or 3 years.  Then the school board changes and that superintendent is out and the new one comes in with a different set of ideas.  So, school districts would like to learn the  practices.  They do in a couple of cases; but, as a general rule, they are prisoner to their governance, to the elected school board changing so rapidly.

So, what we have to do is just to continue to grow and grow.  People say, "What about the kids now?  I mean, we're only serving 8% of the kids!  What about 92% of the kids?"  It's going to take 20 or 30 years to get to 90% charter  kids.   And the answer is, "Yeah, it is.  It's going to take 20 to 30 years." 

And, if we succeed over the next 20 or 30 years, that will be one of the fastest rates of change ever seen around the world for a large system.   It's hard!  (applause)

We have to have a steady discipline of every year, more schools, better funding, better facilities access, more freedom.  It's a lot of hard, steady work.  But, we are making great progress.  Again, it's not because the people in school districts are bad.  Most of them we want to pull into the charter school movement where they can see what a great public school is that doesn't have the chaos inflicted by the rapid turnover of a local school board." 

Like many of the corporate management gurus, Reed Hastings is a futurist. He seems to hold to a utopian view of the future where all children will perform perfectly in a perfectly controlled system. But all of these utopian management types, the father of whom was Peter Drucker, also advocate for a new form of governance. In reality, in its actual workings, this form of governance (which is global in scope) is totalitarian. It is a top-down management control structure, driven by performance-based objectives, with pre-set standards and criteria, along with continuous quality improvement requirements and assessments. Those who do not perform up to par are penalized. Those who conform to the system are rewarded. One can see the beginnings of this onerous system in the No Child Left Behind Act. Read "Peter Drucker's Role in Education Reform."

Below is where Hastings explains how you lose your right to vote. Note Hastings' convoluted history. He could stand to go back in the classroom himself. In fact, this raises an interesting question. Just WHAT are charter schools teaching students about the American REPRESENTATIVE form of government? Are they even teaching the American Constitution? Somebody needs to start investigating charter school curriculum.

Hastings presents skewed history in order to make his case that the VOTE must GO! He arrogantly introduces "Our idea" -- which is the charter school industry's "authority and regulation and accountability" as a newer, better, improved model of governance that should replace democracy. Democracy is old-fashioned and obsolete. He likens charter governance to a "rocketship." He seems to be condescendingly saying, "We elites are all so modern and high tech, we have evolved to the point of having a higher form of governance now, you poor peons.... give up now. or sometime in the next 20-30 years we will take it away from you...." 
"Now, some ideas like this take a long time.  They can be frustrating, and unless you put it in perspective, it can seem like it's very daunting.  So, let's go back about 400 years ago.  At the time in Europe was "divine rights of kings."  That was the overall theory; kings had the divine right to rule and that gave them their moral authority.  Then along came a number of thinkers like that nutty John Locke, a Scottish minister, talking about the basis; the legitimacy of government was derived from the consent of the governed.  That was a radical idea at the time when you had divine right of kings!  And there was Rousseau and a lot of talk.  And then, in the American Revolution, finally, you have a major nation with democracy! 

So, the thing is done after 200 years of thinking, finally we have democracy!  Consent of the governed!  Only, it's landed white males that can vote.  It took another 50 years until Andrew Jackson for poor, unlanded white males to be able to vote.  Then, you have to go another 50 years to 1863 Emancipation Proclamation for African American males to nominally be able to vote.  Then you have to go another 50 years until 1920 for women to be able to vote.  And, another 50 years until the Civil Rights Movement for African Americans to vote in practice.  So, 400 years on a very simple idea, the consent of the governed, one person and one vote.  So, we human beings, it takes a lot to change us.  We just have to recognize --- 400 years for a simple idea. 

Our idea is a little more complicated; the chartering authority and regulation and accountability.  So really, when I think about the last 20 years, in 1994 there was just a dozen charter schools -- 10,000 students.  The progress that we've made between 1994, 2004 and 2014, it's like a rocketship compared to even basic ideas like democracy taking hold.  So, you all should feel incredible about the achievement in this movement.  It is hard!  I mean, we've got a big political battle coming in the fall, potentially some ballot initiatives we're going to have to fight.  We've got constant legislative battles.  We have school district battles.  We have zoning restrictions.  There are very many problems. 

But then, what's life really about?  It's about making a contribution and working with great people.  And how lucky can we be?  We have some of the greatest people in the state here in this room.  We get to work together on this epic mission for the next 20 or 30 years to grow charter school capacity, to have everyone be able to have good working conditions because they work in a good, healthy organization.  And we get to do that in, basically, one lifetime ---20 years past, 30 years to go!  Much better than having to wait 400 years! 

So I just want to thank all of you for the incredible work you do.  It's a great journey and we're going to do it together, next 10 years, next 20, next 30, because WE ARE RELENTLESS!  Thank you everybody!"
Had enough of Reed Hastings' vision of the future yet? Bone up on the facts. Read the following posts which will bring you up to speed on the entire problem with charter schools and phony "choice."