California Educator

May / June 2017

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Charter schools' lack of accountability and transparency has led to financial gains for for-profit corporate charter operators and the billionaires who invest in them, but has too often been disastrous for thousands of California students and has cost taxpayers millions of dollars in waste, fraud and abuse. Kids Not Profits ( is a coalition of educators, parents, and civil rights and community groups. Get the facts, figures and latest news about the impact current laws have on our students and communities. Instead of subsidizing corporate charter schools run by for-profit companies with taxpayer dollars, we should be using the money to strengthen our local neighborhood public schools for all California children. Public education should be about kids, not profits. Take Action at Should Be About Kids, Not Profits TOP FUNDERS OF THE PRO-CHARTER AGENDA California's privately managed for-profit charter schools are championed by a group of billionaires who want private corporations to be able to profit from public education. JOHN ARNOLD made a fortune at Enron and at his own hedge fund. He supported antipublic school candidates in 2014, and with his wife LAURA has been a big donor to efforts to privatize public schools and cut secure retirements for working families. BILL BLOOMFIELD, Baron Real Estate, donated money through the Koch brothers' political network to influence California elections in 2012. That same year he spent more than $7.5 million of his own money on a failed congressional bid. ELI BROAD, developer and entrepreneur, also donated money through the Koch political network to influence California campaigns. He has given more than $7 million to antipublic school candidates and causes. DORIS FISHER of The Gap and her family are major funders of the corporate charter movement, funneling hundreds of thousands of dollars into PACs and lobbying efforts to weaken public schools. REED HASTINGS, Netflix CEO and former president of the State Board of Education, has given huge contributions to antipublic school candidates and offered $100 million to promote tech charters. He has said that elected school boards are obsolete, and wants to replace democratically elected school boards with nonprofit corporations and appointed members. ARTHUR ROCK, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist, has supported school voucher campaigns and is a big supporter of privately managed charter schools and procharter candidates in California. WalMart heirs JIM WALTON, ALICE WALTON and CARRIE WALTON PENNER (not pictured) have spent millions supporting charter schools, private school voucher schemes and antipublic school candidates. BUYING INFLUENCE In the 2016 election cycle, more than $27 million was spent by six political action committees (PACs) to influence legislative, school board and county office of education elections in California, where key decisions about charters are made. Money from 10 wealthy donors (see column at right) was moved into the following PACs: • The EdVoice Independent Expenditure Committee received more than $8 million. • The California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) received more than $9 million. • The CCSA PAC also moved more than half its money into a separate PAC, misleadingly named the Parent Teacher Alliance, which has been confused with the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) and has led to deception over candidate endorsements. • Parents and Teachers for Student Success. • Govern for California Action Committee. • Students for Education Reform. 25 May / June 2017

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