Sunday, April 8, 2012

UPDATE: Kaleem Caire Named to ALEC-Affiliated NACSA's Board

NACSA's new advisory board member, Kaleem Caire
UPDATE: An April 5th press release from the Urban League of Greater Madison announced that its President and CEO, Kaleem Caire  has been named to the National Advisory Board of the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA).

As documented at this site previously, the NACSA is very much a part of an effort to privatize public education and turn it over to education-for-profit operations. NACSA is also an affiliate of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

NACSA has been behind an effort to remove the authority of locally elected school boards to approve charter schools, and to place that authority under the control of governor-appointed state-wide authorization panels. Such panels would also be given the authority to approve "virtual" (online) charter and voucher schools that would draw funds from already-strapped public school districts.

ALEC is a national association of conservative corporate leaders, think tanks, foundations and legislators that prepare "model legislation" bills introduced primarily by Republican lawmakers across the country. Its various "working groups" have not only pushed "education reform" (meaning, school privatization) but have also been a source of such backward legislation as the "Castle Doctrine" and "Stand Your Ground".

Some of the very same foundations and right-wing think tanks standing behind ALEC have also supported the growth of the prison-industrial complex and the related criminalization of youth of color. That reality has consistently been neglected by proponents of privatized charter schools who sell such ventures to an unsuspecting public as a way to "save our kids most at risk"  and a way to seal off the "schools-to-prison pipeline".

Greg Richmond, the President and CEO of NACSA, speaking in regard to the appointment of the organization's new board members, stated that  “We are at a critical point in the evolution of charter schools.” Richmond went on to state “To make a meaningful difference in public education and increase opportunities for kids across the country, charter schools cannot be anything less than exceptional. NACSA welcomes the newest members of its National Advisory Board to help us make this goal a reality.”

Regarding Caire's appointment Richmond stated that, "Making this goal a reality will require the insight and bold leadership of thoughtful and innovative professionals like Kaleem. We welcome him to NACSA.”

Richmond, whom Caire previously brought to Madison, is a board member of the Illinois Charter School Commission, the state-wide chartering body created last year through the passage of ALEC backed legislation.


Anonymous said...

This would be semi-interesting if it didnt read more like "education bashing or perhaps it is Kaleem Claire bashing. I will be interested to find out how much fact is in the blog,that feel like there is a lot of information taken out of text!

Allen Ruff said...

Anon: The links are all there. Do feel free to check the sources on you own. I hope you do. (That's why they are linked) And feel free, of course, to get back to me if you think something is incorrect or misrepresented. -AR

Greg Richmond said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Allen Ruff said...

Thanks for the feedback and clarifications, Greg.

Steve Books said...

It seems that all of the work that's put into efforts for Charter Schools is a secondary effort. Why not just advocate for better Public Schools, or advocate for issues via the Public School Board. To me, Charter Schools and their funding don't make any sense when improvement with Public Schools could be made, with democratic control, not privatization.

Gareth said...

Greg Richmond said:

"NACSA is committed to improving the quality of charter schools, which includes closing those that are failing".

If you close the charter schools that are failing there won't be many left operating. It makes for a nice PR line, but in my opinion, your alliance with the Koch Industries funded ALEC belies the point.

The goal of ALEC, aside from the destruction of workers' rights in general, is the privatization of public education in the United States. To the extent that you work with them you are aiding their agenda. Yet we are supposed to believe that you are merely a well-meaning angel mingling harmlessly with the demons of predatory capitalism. But it's all for the children, right?

Allen Ruff said...

Just so we're all clear on a central important issue on the relationship between NACSA and ALEC, I suggest that anyone interested read the following "Charter School Growth with Quality Act," the "model legislation" jointly issued by the two organizations.

Note that the heart of the proposal calls for the creation of state-wide charter authorization panels, appointed and not elected, that would remove local school district and school board authority from the approval process. The proposal, as issued by ALEC & NACSA, if adopted by the Wisconsin legislature, would have eliminated the authority of the State Department of Public Instruction, as well! The initial bill introduced by Alberta Darling and others connected to ALEC would have done just that.

The Charter School Reform Bill (AB 51-SB2) jointly introduced by Alberta Darling in the Senate and Robin Vos (the "Wisconsin chair of ALEC") in the Assembly, would have done away with the limit on the number of pupils who may attend virtual charter schools, and weakened teacher licensure requirements. The proposal drew from a number of ALEC bills - the "Charter Schools Act" and "Next Generation Charter Schools" that included the idea of an authorizing board, making it easier to establish charter schools over the objections of school districts and other school officials. The ALEC "Virtual Public Schools Act" encourages the introduction and expansion of on-line charter schools.

When hearings on the the proposed enactment, SB 22/AB 51, were held before the State Joint Finance Committee a year ago, Mr. Caire gave his "full support" to the proposal as it stood. Also testifying in favor of the bill that day, while seated next to Alberta Darling, was David Hansen, NACSA's "Vice President of Policy and Advocacy".