The Network for Public Education has endorsed Bennett Kayser for re-election to the Los Angeles school board. Kayser is a retired educator. He is a strong supporter of public education. He has fought for reduced class sizes. He opposes efforts to deny due process to teachers. He opposes privatization of public education.
He is enemy number one to the California Charter Schools Association Advocates, the political action arm of the wealthy charter industry.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the charter lobby has far outspent Kayser in its effort to defeat him with a pro-charter candidate.
The charter association has distributed malicious flyers falsely implying that Kayser is a racist and anti-Latino. The flyers feature a picture of Governor Jerry Brown, falsely implying that the popular governor endorsed their candidate (he did not). Their TV ads have ridiculed Kayser’s disability (he has Parkinson’s). The anti-Kayser campaign has been scurrilous and shameful.
The LA Times says:
“Through Wednesday’s campaign filings, the charter group had spent $699,688 to support [its candidate] Rodriguez. UTLA had spent $384,109 for Kayser. Those totals far surpass donations directly to the candidates as well as the spending totals for the other contested board races.
“Since September, the donors to the charter PAC include Netflix Chief Executive Reed Hastings ($1.5 million), former New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg ($450,000), Jim Walton of the Wal-Mart founding family ($250,000) and local philanthropist Eli Broad ($155,000). All are longtime charter school backers with a broad interest in education.”
These billionaires have a specific interest in education: they want to replace public schools with charter schools, and in the case of Walton, with vouchers. They also believe in disruption as a strategy for change. Disruption is not good for children or education.
Billionaire Reed Hastings told the charter association that he looks forward to the day when local school boards are gone and almost all schools are charters.
Bennett Kayser wants to improve the public schools, not replace or destroy them. Every high-performing nation in the world has a public school system, not a system of privately managed schools.
That is why the Network for Public Education endorses Bennett Kayser for re-election to the Los Angeles school board.