By Robert D Skeels
“There’s never a short supply of People of Color willing to tokenize themselves, and prosper, at the expense of marginalized millions.” — Professor Khaled A. Beydoun, Critical Race Theorist
The Deasy (LA) School Report blog posted an entry in which Ref Rodriguez tries to distance himself from California Charter Schools Association’s widely condemned campaign literature. His equivocating quotes deserved a response. Here is an edited version of my commentary on that post.
The well-heeled Refugio “Ref” Rodriguez’s PUC Corporation Charter Schools have been dues paying members of the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) since their founding. In fact, CCSA lists 14 of Rodriguez’s lucrative PUC schools as CCSA members. Moreover, Rodriguez is close friends with nearly all of the CCSA’s board members, including their Secretary, Ana Ponce of the CNCA Corporate charter chain. So when Rodriguez talks about “the sponsors” of the reprehensible mailer attacking the Honorable Bennett Kayser, he isn’t talking about some third party organization doing an Independent Expenditure (IE) that he has no relationship with. Instead Rodriguez is talking about an organization that he is a long standing member of, that his corporate charter chain pays dues to, and that is comprised of his business colleagues and close friends.
Rodriguez’s weakly worded “criticism” of his trade association’s repugnant and reprehensible mailer is nothing more than crocodile tears. How dishonest is it of him to pretend like he has no ties to the CCSA? His inaction in this regard amounts to a tacit endorsement of CCSA’s mailer.
The only good faith means by which Ref Rodriguez could disassociate himself with his CCSA’s IE is by following the example of the Honorable Dr. George McKenna. Namely, McKenna’s principled and unequivocal condemnation of the mailer and the CCSA’s SuperPAC, the demand that they withdraw their endorsement, and the demand that his name not be used in any more CCSA/Rodriguez campaign materials. Only then can Rodriguez claim that he opposes the deplorable and dishonest messaging his colleagues are mailing out to voters.
About California Charter Schools Association (CCSA)
Some background information on CCSA, the trade industry organization Rodriguez’ schools belong to.
- The California Charter Schools Association was founded by bigoted nativist Steve Poizner. Poizner is on record as saying he wanted to “resurrect Prop 187”, and a quick perusal of his campaign materials from his failed gubernatorial bid reveals a platform not unlike that of the Minutemen or the Klan. Poizner served on the CCSA Board of Directors for many years, if I recall correctly, right up until he ran for governor.
- The UCLA Project for Civil Rights has found that charter schools have revived Jim Crow style segregation. Los Angeles charter schools are particularly egregious in this regard.
- The LAUSD Office of Independent Monitor (OIM) has found repeatedly that students with disabilities are “significantly underrepresented” at Los Angeles charter schools.
- CCSA’s Board Vice Chair is Carrie Walton Penner (her late father, John Walton holds an “In Memoriam” seat). These, of course, are the Waltons of Walmart infamy, an oppressive enterprise whose record on race issues is spotty at best.