Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? Save the Date for Oct. 17th!

Consecration of the Emperor Napoleon I and Coronation of the Empress Josephine in the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris on 2 December 1804, by Jacques-Louis David


Like brazen Napoleon crowning himself in the above art piece, the Oregon Business Association will honor/anoint Sue Levin, Executive Director of Stand for Children as their Statesman of the Year.  As OBA Board President Ryan Deckert states:

"Levin is being recognized for her hard work and leadership throughout the session around PERS and revenue reform in a herculean effort to ensure a bright future for Oregon's children."

 If one was ever in doubt as to the close and cozy ties between the OBA, Stand for Children, and the current corporate education policies and union bashing we now have in place, this event seals the deal.
OBA Board President Ryan Deckert said Levin is being recognized as a Statesman for her hard work and leadership throughout the session around PERS and revenue reform in a herculean effort to ensure a bright future for Oregon’s children - See more at: http://stand.org/oregon/blog/2013/08/28/oba-names-sue-levin-2013-statesman-year#sthash.nJnUaYZR.dpuf
OBA Board President Ryan Deckert said Levin is being recognized as a Statesman for her hard work and leadership throughout the session around PERS and revenue reform in a herculean effort to ensure a bright future for Oregon’s children: 
“Sue is a natural-born leader who showed uncommon courage standing for children and working diligently to keep these difficult discussions around PERS and revenue at the forefront of the session. Without Sue’s tremendous efforts, we would not be as close as we are today to achieving a sustainable revenue future for this state. She stood in the face of tremendous pressure and didn’t back down, won’t back down as we continue moving forward to solve big issues affecting Oregon and our citizens. She is truly dedicated to serving Oregon’s kids.”
- See more at: http://stand.org/oregon/blog/2013/08/28/oba-names-sue-levin-2013-statesman-year#sthash.nJnUaYZR.dpuf
OBA Board President Ryan Deckert said Levin is being recognized as a Statesman for her hard work and leadership throughout the session around PERS and revenue reform in a herculean effort to ensure a bright future for Oregon’s children: 
“Sue is a natural-born leader who showed uncommon courage standing for children and working diligently to keep these difficult discussions around PERS and revenue at the forefront of the session. Without Sue’s tremendous efforts, we would not be as close as we are today to achieving a sustainable revenue future for this state. She stood in the face of tremendous pressure and didn’t back down, won’t back down as we continue moving forward to solve big issues affecting Oregon and our citizens. She is truly dedicated to serving Oregon’s kids.”
- See more at: http://stand.org/oregon/blog/2013/08/28/oba-names-sue-levin-2013-statesman-year#sthash.nJnUaYZR.dpuf

When looking at the Oregon Business Plan Policy Playbook and its education policies, they are closely aligned to the agenda of Stand for Children.  Stand, who was once considered a real grassroots education advocacy group, has fallen victim to the lure and influence of the dollar signs their ties with corporate money now brings.  

Once Stand understood that they could no longer count on asking for more money as one of their goals, they instead turned to policy making that dramatically effected the way our schools and teachers are run.  Out went trust for our public school teachers and in came the language that planted the seed of the idea that our schools and teachers are "bad" and "failing."  They pushed for new teacher evaluations that tied worth to test scores.  They pushed for pension reform even if it would break long-held contractual agreements.  They pushed for charter schools.  They pushed for continued high-stakes testing that values kids as data points rather than human beings.  They pushed for alternative pathways to becoming a teacher.  They pushed for proficiency-based teaching and grading.  They pushed for Common Core State Standards.  They pushed for getting rid of the State Superintendent of Schools as an elected positions.  They pushed for the OEIB.  They pushed for the NCLB Waiver.  They pushed for more funding on the backs of public workers.  The OBC, OBA and Stand were in lock step.  Stand has several current or former supporters in position of influence at the state level of the OEIB as well.   So, it should really not be a surprise when the OBA announced their desire to honor Sue Levin, after all, without Stand, the corporate education reform model as well as pension/PERS reform, would most likely be non-existent.

Jonah Edelman, Chief Executive Office of Stand for Children, in the infamous Aspen video, openly bragged about the goals of Stand and how they strategized to take down the Chicago Teacher's Union and ultimately spread their gospel all across the nation.  Of course Stand has lots of money to market their message with carefully crafted words to sound agreeable and "good for kids", but when one reads between the lines, it is all about busting teacher unions and running our community schools under a business model, not a human model.  Destroying our public schools is destroying the foundation of our democracy.

Luckily, Edelman underestimated the power of parents and teachers working together to take back their schools.

Several former Stand members, now jaded about what Stand was really about, helped start up Oregon Save Our Schools.  We saw our public schools slowly being sold to the corporate model that wanted to measure, account, and micromanage every part of public education, not for the children, but to line their own pockets.  After all, once our public schools are no longer public, and when teacher unions are gone, then the profiteering can begin.

Stand for Children also has influence with the Oregon Education Investment Board as Oregon Business Council leader, Duncan Wyse was asked by Governor Kitzhaber to put together a group of those with interests in education to give their input to Learnworks.  Several Stand supporters were chosen to give input.  Oregon Save Our Schools has shown how the public was left out of this process and those in Learnworks were chosen to help push and legitimize a corporate education reform model.  The Oregon Business Plan has been in place for years, and when our economy tanked, they teamed up with Stand and others to strike while the iron was hot.

What is glaringly obvious, is that those who know best about our kids and our schools are repeatedly ignored and left out of the decision-making table.  After two years of work, Oregon Save Our Schools has attending every OEIB meeting only to find that Governor Kitzhaber never stays to listen to public testimony.  The public outcry at the various Strategic Investment meetings were ignored.   These are our schools and it is time to challenge the corporate takeover of our community schools. 

Does business have a role to play?  Donate money to help schools without strings attached? Sure!  Pay their fair share of taxes to provide quality neighborhood schools? Absolutely! Write education policy?  No way.  Instead, that should be left to the experts: teachers, parents, and students.

We the people want our schools back.  Please join us Thursday, October 17th at 5:30 at the Oregon Convention Center.  We will be there to protest the corporate takeover of OUR public schools.  While the rich celebrate their new power and influence over OUR public schools at a fancy exclusive dinner, the people will be out demanding our voice be heard at the public's dinner table instead.  We hope to see you there!

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