“The idea [Ethnic Studies], brought forward by Board of Education members Bennett Kayser, George McKenna and Steve Zimmer, is aimed at narrowing the academic gap between minority students and their white and Asian peers by pushing students to achieve through the exploration of different perspectives in literature, history and social justice. More than 90 languages are spoken in the district.” — Stephen Ceasar, Los Angeles Times.
So impressed with the Honorable Councilman Gil Cedillo’s statements in support of the Honorable Bennett Kayser this past weekend . Cedillo, at an event that also featured fellow Kayser supporter the Honorable Henry Gonzalez—Mayor of Southgate, went on record saying “First we fought for immigration reform, then drivers licenses, then the Dream Act, and Bennett Kayser has been with us every step of the way.” Mayor Gonzalez took a swipe at the Steve Poizner founded California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) and the revenue minded Refugio “Ref” Rodriguez camp when he said “Racist attacks are by those who have nothing else to offer.”
Bennett Kayser’s longstanding record on supporting civil rights, communities of color, and immigrant rights is unassailable. That’s why every time I challenge the CCSA and Rodriguez’s supporters to back their reprehensible claims on their mailer with citations, references, evidence, or any credible substance, they produce nothing. The claims are malicious and reckless fabrications, intended to protect the revenues streams pouring into the lucrative charter school industry. One look at the CCSA’s President/CEO Jed Wallace’s annual compensation package of over $335,600.00  should make it clear just whose interests Rodriguez and his charter school allies support. I’m sure it’s all about a “kids first agenda,” not the $.3-million salaries and lavish galas at the Disney Concert Hall with Elise Buik and Eli Broad that fuels those in the charter school sector.
The Honorable José Lara, Vice President of El Rancho Unified School District Board of Education, has spoken truth to the CCSA’s power on these issues. First he called out Rodriguez on Twitter: “Shame on @DrRefRodriguez for Race baiting in #LAUSD school board Race!!! We need leadership not hate.” Lara has also has been very forthcoming about Kayser’s latest achievement: “Bennett Kayser of Board District 5 authored the historic LAUSD Ethnic Studies Resolution!”
One thing I know for absolute certain, because I worked on the Ethnic Studies campaign myself, is that neither charter king Ref Rodriguez, nor the CCSA’s Carlos Marquez lent any support to our important struggle. Not so much as a personal endorsement for the research proven policy of providing culturally relevant curricula from those two. Perhaps if there was a resolution pushing respectability politics 101, or self colonization studies, we’d see those CCSA mailer creators jumping on board.
Kayser’s leadership has provided a beacon of hope to those that want schools to be run by the community. Moreover, his principled support for Students with Disabilities (SWD) has made him unpopular with the charter school industry, which eschews SWD at every opportunity in order to protect their bottom lines. This is a widely, and carefully documented fact . Combine that with the vile ableist slurs the CCSA and Rodriguez’s proxies have been aiming at Kayser, a man with disabilities himself, and one gets the impression that the charter school industry’s long record of open discrimination against SWD and their rank ableism are structural oppressions that will never change until the charter sector is abolished.
It is somewhat ironic that this Rodriguez, who made his fortunes in the charter school industry, can run for the public school board, but no members of the public can run for charter school boards, like those of his PUC empire. Sounds just the way the one percent likes it.
I support the Honorable Bennett Kayser for LAUSD School Board.
 2012 Form 990 Part VII §A.
 (cf. “SWD are disproportionately under-enrolled at charter schools”, and that “low incidence disablities enrolled at LAUSD charters are significantly under-represented”)
Office of the Independent Monitor. Pilot Study of Charter Schools’ Compliance with the Modified Consent Decree and the LAUSD Special Education Policies and Procedures., Los Angeles: Modified Consent Decree., 2009.