• Nontcair

    It doesn’t matter who sits on the (Draft) Board. Even if Yee could be replaced by Jack Welsh. Nothing would change.

    Once again we see how public education is a rigged game; designed to entrench the status quo.

    Does anyone think the Board will pick someone who’ll shake things up? You know, maybe someone who would demand that OUSD close 125 schools instead of just 5?

    Of course not.

    In fact, the Board has signaled that it’s looking for someone who has “experience” in school district bureaucratic style activities. As if the Board hasn’t already picked a friend-of-a-friend

    If you think the Board deserves a pass because a State regulation dictates how Board vacancies are to be filled, well then once again we see how public education is dominated by regulations which make the institution IMPOSSIBLE to fix.

    I like how the Board has voted to require that replacement office-seekers be made of aware of OUSD’s Conflict-of-Interest policy. As if those clowns are so concerned with that sort of thing!

    Isn’t one “leading” member of the Board also an “enviromental consultant” to the government? Doesn’t that same person have kids in the public schools?

    Speaking of conflict, Yee himself is slated to go from a (subordinated) legislative position into an executive one which his former position was responsible for overseeing. Am I the only person in this town who sees a huge conflict there?

    It’s bad enough when public employees move from one government non-job to another. I am so *sick* of seeing career politicians jumping around from one branch of government to another.

    Yee should be *prohibited* from becoming OUSD Superintendent (temp or otherwise) for at least as long as it takes all the existing Board members to term-limit OUT or 8 years; whichever is greater.

  • Jim Mordecai


    Great Oakland Public Schools (GOPS) endorsed and financed the successful election of three Board members for the last election. If the person nominated by the Board is GOPS friendly, then GOPS will have a majority vote on the Board.

    Clearly the person that is appointed matters a great deal to GOPS in advancing their agenda.

    Jim Mordecai

  • Nontcair

    As I recall, GOPS politics for more (government funding for) charter schools.

    Holding a majority of Board seats could well be good news for GOPS (and bad for OEA), but it makes little difference to taxpayers which model of public education their money is wasted on.

    This GOPS thing is just another example of how the GOP fight is *not* the taxpayers’ fight.

  • J.R.

    Everyone has an agenda, be it power,money or lifetime security. The question is whether the working people(taxpayers)are stuck paying for it.

  • Jim Mordecai


    The decision of the Board not to hold an election but to appoint a person to fill Gary Yee’s District 4 School Board seat was both good and bad news.

    My thinking is it was good news that the Board decided to appoint someone to fill the District 4 seat because GOPS’s super-pac big money doesn’t come into play when there isn’t an election.

    The bad news is that to have a fourth GOPS supporter, and majority of GOPS supporters on the Board, GOPS and its supporters on the Board have only to get one of these three Board members vote to successfully appoint their GOPS friendly candidate: London, Kakishiba, Dobbins.

    Jim Mordecai

  • Jim Mordecai


    I believe your question of whether “the working people (taxpayers) are stuck paying for it” is an interesting take on the question of who pays for the government it.

    My first reaction to your question is that you seem to be implying that you can have government without paying for it.

    But, the question for most people is defining what government should spend the taxpayer’s money on. Our political process is the forum where the determination on how government makes its determination on how the taxpayers’ money is spent. Elections are held to determine who gets to decide how the taxpayers’ money is and/or was spent.

    I question that $30,000 should have been spent on a Sacramento consultant to revoke the American Indian Model charter school charters. I question that $50,000 should have been spent on consultant to jump start the 100 Black Men male students only charter school. I question that acting Superintendent Yee should be provided with a contract that pays the full amount of STRS retirement on $250,000 a year base salary when teachers have to pay half of the STRS retirement contribution. Unless I can find support from other Oakland taxpayers and add non-property owning voters to make up a majority of voters in school board elections that will vote out the Board majority, the Board will continue spending its taxpayers’ education money in what I believe is the wrong manner.

    I like the idea that democracy is the worst kind of process except all other kinds that have been tried.

    And, I like the idea of participating in the political process working to get the government policies and people I support.

    I see OEA and GOPS struggling over some policies and working together on other policies. And, you are correct J.R. that taxpayers pay for the policies that are implemented. The struggle of OEA and GOPS over education policy is part of the political process but that struggle is at the same time a struggle over how the taxpayers’ money is to be spent.

    Jim Mordecai

  • Nontcair

    An elegant argument in favor of the tyranny of the majority.

  • J.R.

    First of all, the founding documents outline what the governments role is, to protect the rights and freedom of its citizens. The government was not meant to be parent,nanny and job provider. As citizens at this time we are no more than forced wage slaves to the new political aristocracy(we work and pay taxes until death to pay for government workers health welfare and benefits). We are paying for services that are not needed by the people who pay taxes to benefit those that live off of government largesse. That includes government staff, vendors all the way down to public aid recipients. The government is way too large and out of control, and it is a dangerous situation. Rights and liberties are at stake, but people drinks from the governments well never see the problem.

  • Nontcair

    Democracy is adequate for deciding questions which nobody cares about. Like what colors should be on the state flag.

    Using the democratic process to decide more contentious matters is a recipe for endless conflict.

    Government *is* conflict.

  • Jim Mordecai


    Of course I agree that the public is paying for services “that are not needed by the people”.

    But, it is also up to the public to determine what services are needed. It is a political decision on what services are needed and what services are not needed because one person’s notion of what to pay for and another person’s notion will often differ.

    I believe that you and I would differ on where to draw the line on what government services should be provided. And, Nonclair would differ from both of us.

    Politics is the struggle over drawing the line on where to draw the line of governmental services. The political struggle between OEA and GOPS is about that line drawing.

    Jim Mordecai

  • Nontcair

    It’s one thing to have an opinion about what government services are needed. It’s a whole nother (and crazy) thing to let people actually *vote* on it.

    Only (non-dependent) adults who work in the private sector (*real* taxpayers) should have the right to vote. Woe to those who vote for some new government program.

    Those who take the affirmative step of actually signing up to participate in the program must surrender (attach) their voter id card with their submitted application (those not already disenfranchised).

    Hey, OUSD parents/teachers/staff. NONE of you should be allowed to vote.

  • Jim Mordecai


    Allowing the non-property citizens to vote is considered by most progress since the founding fathers only allowed white male property owners to vote. Seems you want to go back for the future. Your idea is not unheard of, but currently not all that popular.

    Jim Mordecai

  • Nontcair

    Traditionally, marrieds were seen as inseparable units. Voting rights should be limited to one per *household*. For example, polygamist families of 6 wives and 26 kids would get *one* vote.

    I also like the poll tax. $9/voter — around the price of a movie ticket — sounds about right.

    Only motivated electors would come out
    Special Interests would have to pay even more to buy an election (ie to motivate the above)

    Particular reasons aside, it’s a bit undemocratic to disenfranchise certain populations based solely on their race/religion, but the “majority rule” system that you seem to believe in would and does make such pffensive statutes perfectly LEGAL.

  • J.R.

    Very interesting word, I would assume lying about where tax money goes is very undemocratic as well.Apparently(democratic means) I must be forcibly required by law(taxes)to share monetary resources(instead of by choice). Governor Jerry wants to do this on a large scale statewide by giving(apparently) more prop 30 money to districts that impoverished students,and or English language learners. LAUSD and OUSD already get more per child than many districts that outperform them by wide margins, and the truth is that money is not the difference. The difference is in the home, and Mr Brown believes the state can fix anything if they just have more money, even families. I have news for the governor, kids spend way more time away from school than in it(and even less classroom learning time(this wont work).

    This is just a dog and pony show, and the taxpayers will pay heavily for it.

  • http://ousdblog mark

    I say, thank you to all the school board members. It is a tough time for them. They work hard, just look at what they do on the videos of each school board meeting. It is a very tough job that can ware on people because each decision has a lot riding on the choices they make as a team.

    I just wanted to say a thank you to all the board members.

    I sincerely believe it is a very tough job. I say anyone who complains here without constructive ideas, should run for the school board and experience it first hand to know the pressure and challenges.

  • Nontcair

    The school board can do *nothing* except to affirm the school policy crafted in Sacramento.

    The school board can no more change legislative policy than the draft board could change Washington’s war policy.

    Nor do they really want to.

    With only trivial differences they totaly AGREE with the spirit and the letter of the political policies they’re responsible for implementing at the local level.

    These various board members are basically Soviet commissars. Total political hacks.

    *Disgusting* people.

    Run for school board?! I’d sooner run for dog catcher.

  • Nontcair

    How many of these board members would refuse to run for dog catcher on the grounds that the duties of office involve cruelty to animals?!

  • Charlie at Bridge the Chasm


    You are right, the School Board is implementing the education policies of Sacramento, which, for the most part are the education policies of Washington. Because those policies are ineffective and often counter-productive, the only school board members that matter are those willing to educated effectively without respect to Sacramento/Washington policies.

  • Nontcair

    The government conducting its business behind closed doors shows how government, purportedly “by the people”, is intrinsically undemocratic.

    That it lies about its expenditures is government “transparency” at its finest.

    Regarding disenfranchisement of politically vulnerables, I should have used the word anti-democratic.

    Those willing to disregard Sacramento? While I’m sympathetic to the idea, the politicians already do what they want. OUSD (and every other PS district) needs a board which won’t deviate an *inch*.

    Let public education collapse under its own weight.

  • Tim Terry

    This is a statement released by Mike Hutchinson today:

    If the rumors are true and Jonathan Klein, Executive Director of GO, is appointed to Gary Yee’s school board seat, public education in Oakland will be in ever greater danger. Klein was brought to Oakland by former state administrator Randy Ward, who in his brief stay in Oakland was neither well liked nor respected. After working under Ward in the district, Klein, along with the heir to the Dreyer’s ice cream fortune, started GO (Great Oakland Public Schools) to advocate for school “reform”. GO is a pro-charter school organization and Klein’s wife has even helped to start a charter school in Oakland. In the last election GO’s PAC received $50,000 for the California Charter School Association, $50,000 from the Dreyer’s heir, and $50,000 from a venture capitalist who doesn’t even live in Oakland. These are unheard of amounts of money to spend for a school board race in Oakland. GO used this money to sweep the elections even though their candidates were not endorsed by either the Democratic Party or Oakland’s teachers. Torres, Hodge, and Harris were all GO’s candidates for the board. Almost all of their fundraising and election help came directly from GO. If Klein is appointed, a majority of the school board directors will be tied to and beholden to GO. GO is a pro-charter school, anti teacher union organization that is funded by charter corporations and conservative venture capitalists, whose leadership has limited ties to Oakland. GO’s most recent project was the NCTQ (National Council on Teacher Quality), in which the final report blamed Oakland’s teachers for most of the problems. If you research the origins of this report you will find that it was part of a national framework developed by among others Michelle Rhee. The California Democratic Party recently passed resolution 13-04.47, condemning Rhee and her organizations and asking elected officials not to work with them and to help “to dispel the false reforms”. The Democratic party and teachers statewide have stated that Rhee and the “reformers” like GO are not working in the best interests of public education and have asked their members to stand against them. Oakland’s School Board has a history of members having conflicts of interest, starting with our current board president Kakishiba. I don’t know if it would be illegal but it definitely seems a little unseemly that the man who ran and funded three of the board members campaign is now being appointed by them to the board.

    Oakland can and must do better. We should not have board members who are pro charter school. We definitely shouldn’t have board members who also serve on the boards of charter schools. And although we currently do, it is illegal to have board members profit from contracts with the district.

    Resolution 13-04.47

    WHEREAS, the so-called “reform” initiatives of Students First, rely on destructive anti-educator policies that do nothing for students but blame educators and their unions for the ills of society, make testing the goal of education, shatter communities by closing their public schools, and see public schools as potential profit centers and children as measureable commodities; and.

    WHEREAS, the political action committee, entitled Democrats for Education Reform is funded by corporations, Republican operatives and wealthy individuals dedicated to privatization and anti-educator initiatives, and not grassroots democrats or classroom educators; and.

    WHEREAS, the billionaires funding Students First and Democrats for Education Reform are supporting candidates and local programs that would dismantle a free public education for every student in California and replace it with company run charter schools, non-credentialed teachers and unproven untested so-called “reforms”;.

    THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the California Democratic Party reaffirms its commitment to free accessible public schools for all which offer a fair, substantive opportunity to learn with educators who have the right to be represented by their union, bargain collectively and have a voice in the policies which affect their schools, classrooms and their students;.

    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the California Democratic Party send this resolution to all elected Democratic leaders in California, publicize the corporate and Republican funding of these groups and work with the authors of this resolution to dispel the false reforms and support the real needs of the classroom: trained teachers, adequate funding, safe and clean facilities, diverse and stimulating curriculum and access to pre-school and higher education.

    Sponsored by the CTA, CFT, and CFA.

    Adopted by the California Democratic Party.
    At its April 2013 State Convention.
    Sacramento Convention Center April 14, 2013.

  • awoodall

    Thanks for posting the statement. As you all know, the board approved a $250K contract for Yee effective July 1. Stirring up a hornet’s nest, as money always does. Smith already makes that much or a bit more. So anyone taking the position would likely be paid as much or more. So why make the money an issue? I don’t mean this as a challenge. I am asking you the question in ernest.
    OTOH, the board seems to missing the point about objections and comments being made (their claim to an open process around the resignation and replacement is exaggeration at best. You would have had to be following OUSD very very closely to have known about half of what was going on let alone be part of it.)
    One such comment: Several people showed up to speak out about allegations that Tony Smith interfered with a police investigation into the shooting of Raheim Brown. I want to see a formal deposition instead of a draft claim before jumping into the story. I’ll post something tomorrow explaining what I’m talking about. It’s been a really long day and I have another story to try to finish tonight after this meeting.
    BTW, OUSD is taking applications for the D4 seat untl 5/17.

  • Nontcair

    We know that the Republicans are a complete disaster, but the Democrats are completely insane.

    While the Republicans certainly believe in VERY BIG Government, they see its raison d’etre as a vehicle with which to enrich themselves.

    They don’t care how destructive their policies are so long as it’s money in their pocket.

    The Democrats believe in GIGANTIC Government, and of course they too see its profit opportunities, but they actually believe that government can solve every problem in the world.

    They don’t care how destructive their policies are because they believe that sooner or later, government’s infinite resources will overcome whatever has frustrated them in the past and ultimately prove them right.

    We can’t afford to give power to the Republicans but giving it the Democrats instead is suicide.

  • oaklandedlandscape

    Who is Mike Hutchinson and why does his statement matter? If you read the materials posted on OUSD’s website, you will see the application window is very open.

  • Tim Terry

    If you don’t know who Mike Hutchinson is Oakanlandlandscape then your knowledge of Oakland’s landscape as far as school board issues are concerned is limited. That’s okay though. I published Mike’s statement because my observations on how this school board operates “the application process” could be a front for a political payback process. Jonathan Klein and GO played the key role in getting half the board their current seats through his funneling of charter school and pro privatization money. I hope I am wrong and they will do the right thing.

  • oaklandedlandscape

    @Tim Terry – Why would a school board sell out its own schools? It’s a serious question. Lastly, in California, what “private” charter entity thinks they could make $$ by running schools off of public funds? CA is a losing deal. You are much better off in the other 48 states that fund per pupil at higher rates.

  • Jim Mordecai


    You are right that California pays less than most states per student.

    Two Oakland principals lead their schools to convert to charter schools and the administration and board was passive after the two principals submitted the papers for their charters to the Oakland School Board. The Board signed contracts for services it sold to the converted charter schools. The Oakland School Board has become a seller of school services.

    Aspire, a charter management organization keeps creating new charters and each charter created is eligible for Obama administration’s half-million dollar incentive for creating charter schools. I have a friend who insists that long range the Aspire business plan will fold but it is still going strong and added a county Aspire to its inventory of Oakland charters. Aspire has over 30 charters across the state.

    When KIP Oakland was a public school and petitioned to become an Oakland Unified School District charter school the principal insisted that California did not pay enough to sustain its program.

    Wal-Mart foundation had supported KIPP Charter as an experimental KIPP school in a public school district. When the principal of KIPP petitioned to convert his KIPP Public school to a charter school, he testified he couldn’t afford to continue as a public school on the underfunding from the state of California.

    KIPP as a charter school then became eligible for charter school grant money. Actually as an existing public school KIPP Oakland wasn’t eligible for start-up money, but the powers to be in the form of the State Administration ruling the Oakland Unified School District overlooked the technical/lawful point that KIPP was a conversion charter and not a start-up charter and the State Administrator granted KIPP a start-up charter. KIPP as a start-up charter was then in a position to accept Federal and State grant money as well as loan money.

    However, the State/Federal grant/loan money is running out and KIPP Oakland is going to face the problem how to sustain its program on what California pays per student to charter schools. Unless KIPP foundation subsidies its Oakland charter school, the Oakland KIPP is in financial trouble again.

    Jim Mordecai

  • J.R.

    Why do we always have to re-visit these misleading statements,”California schools are underfunded”. The truth is that some districts are underfunded, and many others are not( they are considerably above the national average(LAUSD, and OUSD for example). The largest component of district budgets(by far) are pay and benefits, and by state statute(prodded and paid for by unions) the outlines of those benefits are codified into law, and will not be coming down. Here we go once again:

    Theft and graft of public money happen everywhere, even with supposed oversight, thats just human greed and avarice at work. The shortcomings of the charter system is not in its structure, but in the nature of the people that run it(some are good , and some not). The public system is different, it is deeply ingrained with protections(and moreso when more senior) that it may or may not foster an apathetic learning climate.

    Anyone is capable of stealing from taxpayers(and we are being robbed blind), either directly or indirectly, by not fulfilling the mission of educating students.

  • J.R.

    The sad truth is, in general public schools(LAUSD and OUSD are examples that come to mind) were no better when they had all the money to themselves before charters came into existence(of course there are exceptions).

  • Nontcair

    Charter school grant money.
    New charter school funds vs conversion funds.
    USG funding.
    CAG funding.

    This is all one big waste of taxpayer’s time/money.

    Wal*Mart is the kind of firm which would consider the idea of opening elementary schools at the sites of its stores.

    It has the financial resources, the customer goodwill, convenient locations and operating hours, and so forth.

    As services go, education is little different than the vision centers and automotive repair businesses it currently operates on-site.

    It could start-up/operate/manage its schools without external funding and keep all the profits.

    Of course its classrooms would have viturally unlimited supplies of paper, pencils, and computers. Its sports teams would be equally well endowed.

    So why won’t it?

    Protectionist government regulations. You know, little nuisances like:

    (1) the statutory, 180d, 6+ h/d school “year”.

    Wal*Mart would be the first to recognize that even its *adult* customers are “burned-out” after only an hour or so in the store, once per week. It knows that it would never be able to keep kids occupied prouctively for six or more. It’s not Six Flags (if you dare call theme part attendance “productive”).

    W*M might be able to come with a rational way to offer one hour per day of “real”, in-store (classroom) instruction and then five hours+ of babysitting, but then it would run up against regulations that kids have to be “in school” during the day (as if kids in public school aren’t actually in preventive detention).

    (2) One-size-fits-all-formulae which spell out space requirements, necessary insurance coverages, and so forth.

    Wal*Mart is expert at laying out its stores to generate the maximum revenue per square foot. It is certainly NOT ready to deal with government bureaucrats who stand ready to penalize it severely ($$$) for, say, offerring fewer unisex bathrooms than Sacramento feels is necessary, or not having enough wheelchair accessible, earthquake-proof desks in each classroom (plus the extra reserved space such desks would require).

    Left to its own devices, W*M could provide education services in a competent and low-cost manner, with a high degree of customer satisfaction — and still make a nice profit on them.

    Like it does with all of its other enterprises.

    But since W*M would drive the traditional public (government) schools positively OUT OF BUSINESS (along with its union workforce), the crooked politicians have enacted all sorts of protectionist regulations to make it impossible for W*M to ever get such schools off the ground.

    It’s even more nefarious and disgusting than how the government puts up roadblocks to keep W*M from opening new stores in areas (poorly) served by existing mon-&-pop and unionized stores.