BerniePDX: PPS Charter School Proponents Do Not Honor Sanders’ Values or Public Schools

BerniePDX in an independent, grassroots community and political organization committed to realizing the Social Democratic vision of former Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders. Social Democrats consider public education to be a cornerstone in the fight against racism, classism, ableism, and gender/sexual discrimination. We believe a functioning democracy depends on a robust public education system. These are the values that inform our endorsement process.

Charter schools are not a benign alternative to public education. We stand with hundreds of thousands of teachers, parents, students, and organizations across the country who understand the threat privately-managed charter schools pose to the fabric of public education in the United States.

Recently-declared candidate for Portland Public School Board, Jamila Singleton Munson, is a long-time member of the charter school movement. Munson is a former charter school principal at KIPP Charter Schools, and former senior-level official at the corporate-backed Teach for America (TFA). She continues work with TFA as a consultant. Her campaign for Portland School Board, Zone 4, has so far been funded by high-level officials at TFA and the anti-union organization Stand for Children. Munson’s support for charter schools couldn’t be more unambiguous. Despite these deep roots in the school privatization movement, Munson’s campaign website mysteriously omits her background.

As privately-managed entities, charter schools colonize public funding by diverting much-needed tax dollars out of public schools and into the coffers of private foundations and for-profit corporations. This trend is part of the wider campaign to privatize social and public programs, which is why conservative and far-right groups remain a bedrock source of private funding for charter schools and their lobbyists.

Teach for America plays a large role in this corporate education reform movement. TFA undermines educational equity by placing recent college graduates with a mere five weeks of training in schools located in low-income communities. The average time spent in these posts is two years or less, which further disrupts already struggling students. These are communities which desperately need experienced educators and support. TFA exacerbates the funding issue by pairing it with inexperienced teachers.

In addition to driving divestment of public schools, the charter school movement and Teach for America are ambitious union-busters. Senator Sanders has been emphatic about the rights of workers to form unions and the importance of unions in correcting a historic period of income inequality in America. Sadly, charter schools and TFA remain a potent enemy of unions and the wider working-class. Just this January, KIPP Charter Schools of New York unleashed a retaliation campaign designed to break their teachers’ union, after teachers complained about horrid working conditions and poor educational outcomes for students.

Earlier this year, President Trump named KIPP Baltimore Charter School founder Jason Botel to a senior advisor education position inside the White House. At a time when public education and workers face unprecedented attacks from President Trump, we must take a firm stand for the rights of working teachers and student educational equity.

Public education faces a coordinated, Walton Family Foundation-funded assault at all levels of government. According to The New York Times, the Walmart founders have spent $1 billion driving the school privatization movement. At BerniePDX, we cannot help but wonder what good that money could have done for public education.

BerniePDX harbors serious concerns about Munson’s candidacy for PPS School Board due to her history with and current involvement in the school privatization movement, as well as some of her campaign donors (as identified on ORESTAR). However, we are happy that her candidacy has motivated Portlanders to engage in a serious conversation about the future of charter schools and their impact in our city. We cannot in good conscience consider candidates for endorsement who advocate views that contradict Social Democratic values and vision.

In solidarity,

The BerniePDX Board

Media Contact: Dat Nguyen, Portland4Bernie@gmail.com

Share: http://www.blueoregon.com/2017/03/statement-berniepdx-current-campaign-discussions/

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Reading List

NAACP members call for ban on privately managed charter schools

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2016/08/07/naacp-members-call-for-ban-on-privately-managed-charter-schools/?utm_term=.d6699f450473

Former Charter School Principal Running for Portland School Board

http://www.wweek.com/news/schools/2017/02/16/former-charter-school-principal-running-for-portland-school-board/

A Walmart Fortune, Spreading Charter Schools

https://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/26/us/a-walmart-fortune-spreading-charter-schools.html

Ravitch: The Problem with Teach For America

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/answer-sheet/diane-ravitch/ravitch-the-problem-with-teach.html

Separating fact from fiction in 21 claims about charter schools

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2015/02/28/separating-fact-from-fiction-in-21-claims-about-charter-schools/?utm_term=.fbb15d7c021f

Gary Rubinstein: 25% of KIPP Schools in Texas Get an F Grade

https://dianeravitch.net/2017/01/14/gary-rubinstein-25-of-kipp-schools-in-texas-get-an-f-grade/

Bernie Sanders jumps into Massachusetts’s charter school fight, opposes Question 2 https://www.boston.com/news/politics/2016/11/02/bernie-sanders-jumps-into-massachusettss-charter-school-fight-opposes-question-2

Why Hedge Funds Love Charter Schools

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2014/06/04/why-hedge-funds-love-charter-schools/?utm_term=.f9641a1b0f79

I Quit Teach for America

https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2013/09/i-quit-teach-for-america/279724/

ENDORSEMENT POLL: Valdez Bravo for PCC Board Zone 5

ABOUT VALDEZ:

• First generation college student
• Would be the first Latino to ever serve on the board
• Army veteran
• Attended PCC as a student
• Former PCC adjunct instructor
• Bernie Delegate at 2016 DNC
• Works as a Healthcare Administrator at the VA

MAIN ISSUES:

• Keep PCC affordable and champion efforts to reduce barriers to access
• Support fair pay and job security for faculty
• Support PCC’s status as a sanctuary school

Click Here to read Valdez’s candidate statement and cast your vote!

Tuesday, February 21, 7-9pm: 2017 Bernie PDX Local Candidate Endorsement, DNC Race, Events!

– Come meet the first candidate seeking a Bernie PDX endorsement in 2017!

Former Bernie delegate Valdez Bravo is running for the PCC School Board! He would be the first Latino to ever serve on the board. Valdez attended PCC as a student, worked there as an adjunct, and served on an advisory board. Come ask him your questions and find out more about Valdez! After the meeting we’ll email a poll to Bernie PDX members so you can vote on an endorsement!

– We’ll also discuss Bernie-endorsed Keith Ellison, who is currently running for Chair of the DNC, and ask our Oregon DNC members to vote for him!

– We’ll discuss what to expect at the FULL DAY of activist & organizer trainings on Feb. 25, and hear from people who attended the previous day of trainings Jan.

– We’ll talk about the Healthcare for All Oregon Blues Fest, and tons of other upcoming events and ways to be involved in continuing the Political Revolution!

RSVP Here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1344264365635890/

Location: 5040 SE Milwaukie Ave., Portland (Watershed PDX)

Tuesday, January 31st @ 7-9 pm: Bernie PDX Meeting

We’ll get a recap on the Mulnomah County Democrats leadership elections (go Berniecrats!). Bernie PDXer Leigha will report back about attending the Women’s March in DC! We’ll discuss local upcoming actions and events, including the Bernie Valentines Day event we’re planning, and talk about the airport protests that happened over the weekend!

We’ll talk about ways to support and fight for progressive causes on a local level and for national impact. More agenda items and speakers to come!

Location: Watershed Building, 5040 SE Milwaukie Ave., Portland

RSVP: https://www.facebook.com/events/250763448696695/

Tuesday, January 17 @ 7-9 pm: BerniePDX Art Night + info on ranked choice voting initiative

Inauguration time has come – are you ready? Join us this Tuesday evening for an art night: we’ll be making signs for upcoming rallies, maybe we’ll be knitting pussy hats. Please bring art and sign-making supplies if you can (markers, poster board, cardboard, stencils, glitter…) We’ll also hear about an initiative to introduce ranked choice voting here.

Location: Watershed Building, 5040 SE Milwaukie Ave., Portland

RSVP on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1869223493364840/

Tuesday, January 10th @ 7pm – J20 & 1/15 Medicare/Medicaid Rally Planning & Discussion w/ BerniePDX

Hear from organizers of January 20 Rally and March and volunteer! Show up to organize against Trump and for Our Revolution! We’ll also discuss the Jan. 15 Medicare Rally put on by Senator Merkley at Bernie’s request, and the full day of upcoming trainings on Jan. 14!

Get support, announcements/calendar items as always posted and discussed.

Location: Watershed, 5040 SE Milwaukie Ave., Portland

RSVP to BerniePDX here: https://www.facebook.com/events/666991296814522/

RSVP to 1/15 Our First Stand Rally here: https://go.berniesanders.com/page/event/detail/rally/gplqsl

RSVP to J20 Rally here:  Rise Up and Resist Fascism

Tuesday, Dec. 20 @ 7pm – BerniePDX Meeting: Discuss Plans for Future Action

Join Bernie PDX to discuss how to carry on Bernie’s values and goals in this new political environment. We’ll have breakout discussions and come up with proposals for future Bernie PDX activities!

If you came to the meeting on 11/29, now’s your chance to join another breakout discussion — or attend the same breakout group to flesh out some concrete next steps!

Bring your ideas and positive energy. Announcements of upcoming events will be shared at the end of the meeting.

RSVP Here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1223133507754423/

Location: Watershed, 5040 SE Milwaukie Ave., Portland