With so much billionaire cash sloshing around California to promote charter schools and to disparage public schools, it can be difficult to know which groups are real and which are Memorex.

Here is one that definitely is not a real parents’ group. It is called Speak Up and it is populated with people who are embedded in the charter sector. It recently chastised L.A. Superintendent Austin Beutner for not moving swiftly enough to clamp ratings on every school, the better to close them with and set them up for privatization. How will parents know how to choose a school if the district doesn’t give it a grade or a rating? They say he is in danger of “breaking a promise” to the parents of Los Angeles, who are longing to have their schools rated.

Schools should be evaluated based on such issues as their class size; the experience of their teachers; the resources invested by the district, such as: does the school have a library with a librarian? Does it have a school nurse? Does it have classes in the arts for all students?

But Speak Up seems to be interested mostly in test scores. Are they going up or down? Most people these days recognize that test scores measure the demographics of the students enrolled, not the quality of the school.

So who is this group?

Its founder and executive director is Katie Braude, a former KIPP executive. Until recently, she was on the Los Angeles County Board of Education, which has the power to overrule the LAUSD Board of Education on charter school decisions.

On Speak Up’s board of directors is Russell Altenburg, who is also connected to KIPP, was a program officer at the Broad Foundation, and a fellow at the NewSchools Venture Fund. And he was part of the “inaugural cohort” at the Pahara Next Gen Network.

Mary Najera was a founder of the Los Angeles Parents Union, now known as the Parent Revolution, which used the Parent Trigger law to try to convert public schools into charter schools. Parent Revolution was funded by Walton, Broad, Gates, Arnold and other billionaires. She is “chief community officer” at the Extera Public Schools charter chain.

Rene Rodman is another member of the board of directors of Speak Up. She is a also on the board of the Palisades Charter High School, where she served as president.

Aida Rodriguez is Vice President of Advocacy and Government Relations at Alliance College-Ready Public Schools, a charter school network. She too worked for Parent Revolution.

Speak Up is an organization led by charter school advocates. Twenty percent of the students in Los Angeles are enrolled in charter schools. Eighty percent are not.

Nowhere on Speak Up’s website does it list the names of its funders. One can only guess. Waltons? Broad? Hastings? Gates?

When you see a press release from Speak Up, remember that they are speaking up for Eli Broad, Reed Hastings, the Waltons, Bill Gates, and the charter industry, not for the 80 percent of students in the public schools.