This is another brilliant post by Sara Roos, known as Red Queen in LA.

She read the report of the leaked emails among charter advocates. She notes their double talk, their rhetorical legerdemain, their organizations that pop up like mushrooms, then morph into new organizations.

Behind this seeming chaos is a steady purpose: to disrupt and destroy public education.

Behind the chaos is the steady flow of millions from the billionaires who despise the commons.

The connect between the chaos and the billionaires are outstretched hands for hire.

She begins:

Charter schools in California band together as an embattled group, agitating for hostile takeover of the Public Commons. They serially convene, dissolve and reform a plethora of working groups to bombard public schools with “messaging” and disinformation.  The groups as well as charters themselves of course, drain resources from schools, necessitating capital (monetary and human) defending what should be protected by the people, for the people.

One of these itinerant ideologues is Ben Austin, founder of the “Parent Trigger”, who in 2014 resigned from his astroturf group to foment a new one, Kids Coalition. A collection of emailsmade public by the municipal-transparency site uncovered a set of strategies developed among this cabal, reported by Howard Blume at the LATimes hereand here.

The collusion, as one of them explains elsewhere, is “all about the messaging”. And the message revealed in aggregate over 5000+ emails, lays out a very stark code-shift. The catchy phrase, “kids first”, is a logical fallacy. Iterated unceasingly by charter advocates, it simultaneously casts aspersions on a presumed alternative (‘a time or place when kids were not first’) even while kids in schools have always been “first”. But consistent with the ideology of long-standing and now charter-mega-fundersKoch and Walton (among others), that term “kids first” effectively codes for “anti-union”. Because if formerly it were true that kids were not first, it would be the fault of the system that transposed their status, their teacher’s union. ‘If the proper order of kids is not upheld, it must be the fault of their teachers’ is the sly message.

Likewise there is a constant drum-beat against “bureaucracy” and “adult issues” but that too is simply code for “anti-regulation”. Charter schools aren’t really about finding a better way around bureaucracy. It is reviled incessantly, but the rules they denounce are precepts of democratic transparency, safety, efficiency, equity – cumbersome perhaps but the tenets of our republic. Instead the path they forge is of non-accountability: government funding without regulation. And this, even while the maxim “another day another charter school scandal” has been commonplace for decadesnow.