Sometimes it helps to solve a mystery when you put it out there for public review. Like posting photos of the “Ten Most Wanted Criminals” in every postoffice. Tips come in.

An hour ago, I learned the identity of the person who named the members of the Task Force that is supposed to propose reforms to the state’s notoriously weak charter law. Seven of the 11 members of the Task Force are connected to the charter industry. The choices are so brazen that the chair of the board of the charter lobbying group (California Charter School Association) was named to the Task Force, along with another CCSA employee.

A tip came in. It makes perfect sense.

Governor Newsom’s chief of staff Ann O’Leary selected the Task Force.

O’Leary served as a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, which is unflinchingly pro-charter school.

She was education advisor to Hillary Clinton during her campaign in 2016. Early in the campaign, Carol Burris and I met with her at the Clinton headquarters in Brooklyn. We tried to persuade her that Clinton should oppose charter schools because they are the first step towards privatization. We mustered all our evidence about the dangers to public schools, the risks of deregulation of public money, persistent corruption, suspicious real estate deals, profiteering, etc. She was unmoved. She was insistent that Hillary would not oppose charters. We came back for a second meeting, and the best we could get was that Hillary would oppose for-profit charters. Hillary would not oppose charters.

During the campaign, while in South Carolina, Hillary was asked about charters, and she spontaneously spoke critically about charter schools, saying that they don’t accept everyone. O’Leary must have gotten loud complaints from some funders, because she quickly wrote an article for “Medium” walking back Hillary’s mild critique and reassuring readers that yes, indeed, Hillary supports charter schools, just like Arne Duncan.

Don’t worry, California charter lobbyists and billionaires, corporate charter chains, and entrepreneurs! Ann O’Leary will protect your charters!