There's despicable, then there's despicable, then there's Ben Austin.
Highly paid school privatization advocate Ben Austin has been lashing out publicly with ever more vitriol since he ignominiously lost his seat on the California State Board of Education and his supposed moment of triumph in Compton, chronicled in Jill Stewart's trashy masseuse and porn ad pennysaver became mired in controversy and very real accusations of his organization's malfeasance.
The foppish millionaire from Benedict Canyon, Austin, and his minions like Gloria Romero, Gate Rose, and the ultra-reactionary troll Anthony Krinsky have been attacking community members, teachers, administrators, reporters, and anyone else willing to speak truth to their power with an hereto unknown degree of hate speech. Using language that precisely mirrors that of Sarah Palin's tirades, these corporate charter-voucher sector employees have reached an all new degree of hyperbole and bombast. Like the teabaggers and Palin, their vicious attacks and language are a sure path to violence and community strife. Of course there isn't a dime's worth of difference between the DFER, CCSA, Parent Revolution and the teabaggers to begin with.
One of the best essays I've seen so far addressing this trend is Martha Infante's Words Matter on the InterACT blog. She takes on the importance of our word choices and the focuses on how the dominant narrative about teachers has taken on the same character. Of note is her closing paragraph:
As we left our board meeting, with heavy hearts, the significance of the mass shooting began sinking in. I thought about the power of words and imagery that so many throw around carelessly. I thought about words and phrases such as "trigger," "dropout factories." I think about former Senator Gloria Romero comparing Compton educators to "batterers" and wondered whether the writers of those words ever stop to think about the consequences of their prose. Has the moment arrived where enough is enough? Because it is impossible to believe that continuing down the road of uncivil, polemic rhetoric can in any way enhance or improve our educational system, on which our democracy is built.
In all fairness I am somewhat of a polemicist myself, and can be quite vicious attacking wealthy school privatization pushers and poverty pimps. The difference of course is that they hold all the cards, where we community activists have little more than our polemics. After all, in their corner they have the wealthiest people in the world, The POTUS and Secretary of Education, Oprah, the entire corporate media, high profile filmmakers, a host of astro-turf 501C3 proxies, and so on.
Back to Austin and his corporate entourage's verbal war on the community. In a recent Huffington Post op-ed entitled McKinley Elementary Parents Continuing Their Fight for Change, Austin, a man with NO SCHOOL AGED CHILDREN of his own and who lives in the exclusive Benedict Canyon region of Beverly Hills makes outrageous and inflammatory accusations towards the parents of McKinley. Namely he smears Pastor Lee Finey, a parent of three children enrolled in McKinley ES and a member of the Parent Teacher Association. Finey, father to a special needs child who he had to withdraw his child from a local charter-voucher school that wouldn't educate his child, found refuge at McKinley — a real public school obligated to educate every child. Not fooled by false promises that Celerity and Austin hold out about special education , Finey and many other parents have resisted the hostile take over of their school by the wealthy charter interests. Austin goes so far as to accuse Pastor Finey and the PTA of "underground, secretive, unethical, unregulated, and possibly even illegal" activities. Such unconscionable accusations are reprehensible, repugnant, and revolting.
Here are my comments that appear after Austin's unbelievably insensitive and hostile attacks on the McKinley ES community:
Not a peep about how Parent Revolution's deputy director, Gabe Rose, created a fraudulent group called McKinley Parents for Change posing as a Compton parent? Your staffer, Yuritzy Anaya admitted that to the community.
Update on the veracity of McKinley Parents for Change
Nothing on the trigger law's proposed regulations barely mentioning admitting all students within an attendance boundary, having no language discussing charters being REQUIRED to fully accommodate special education, SWD, or ELL? The closest thing appears in §4806 under "Permissible activities. LEA may also implement comprehensive instructional reform strategies, such as: ... (C) Providing additional supports and professional development to teachers and principals in order to implement effective strategies to support students with disabilities in the least restrictive environment and to ensure that limited-English-proficient students acquire language skills to master academic content;"
In other words, programs for children with special needs are entirely optional — not required. The charter-voucher industry has found yet another way out of the obligation to educate every child!
Astroturf Spawns Ever More Astroturf, Plus Parent Revolution Lies about Celerity Special Education Again!
Amidst vicious and unfounded accusations of deception and dishonesty towards McKinley parents like Pastor Finey, there's no mention that your staff may have destroyed important documents pertinent to the Attorney General's investigation of your organization?
Seems the above mentioned incidents are "underground, secretive, unethical, unregulated, and possibly even illegal" activities being omitted from your narrative. Must be the $15,000 a month the Walton and Gates Foundations pay you Mr. Austin.
Austin and Krinsky are both close friends and fellow Ayn Rand and Milton Friedman acolytes. Krinsky noticed his BFF Austin wasn't receiving any love on Huffington Post and had to chime in. In his accustomed third grade screed he accuses the PTA of being "accessories" to the teacher unions' "nefarious agendas." He calls hard working dedicated teachers "crooks who simply won't let our [sic] children go." Since Krinksy has NO children of his own, the "our" is way beyond disingenuous, it's an outright lie.
My follow up comments to Krinsky:
So by Mr. Krinsky's "logic" the PTA, a grassroots organization where parents have actual organizing power is nefarious, while the the entirely astro-turf Parent Revolution funded by the Walton Foundation, The Gates Foundation, and in the past by the Broad Foundation, Annenberg Foundation, Reed Hastings and other plutocrats, somehow cares about the same victims that their funders' relentless pursuit of wealth and avoidance of paying taxes made poor? Hate to break this to you Mr. Krinsky, but Atlas Shrugged and the Fountainhead are fictional accounts, as is your 'logic' supporting your well heeled friends at LAPU/Parent Revolution.
For a refresher on Parent Revolution's (neé LAPU) founding, see the infamous Annenberg Document:
Green Dot Public [sic] Schools & Los Angeles Parents Union
 See Astroturf Spawns Ever More Astroturf, Plus Parent Revolution Lies about Celerity Special Education Again! for more on this. Also know that Celerity Educational Group farms out, or outsources, the special education and students with disabilities in order to cut costs and pay their executive's bloated salaries. This separates children from both their siblings and peers, further marginalizing them.