I will protect your pensions. Nothing about your pension is going to change when I am governor. - Chris Christie, "An Open Letter to the Teachers of NJ" October, 2009

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Does DFER Support Pitbull-Zulueta Values?

Kevin P. Chavous is the board chair of Democrats For Education Reform and a staunch reformy-type, proudly working with politicians on both sides of the aisle to bring "choice" to public schools. Chavous has written before about how concerned he is with women's rights:
Every day in this country, scores of children persevere against incredibly negative odds. Their struggles are virtually unnoticed: their accomplishments are unheralded. But they survive and many succeed. In my new book,Voices of Determination I share the stories of ten young people who endured and overcame significant challenges in order to obtain their education. Each story is heart wrenching and inspiring. And each kid exemplifies that innate human quality found in all of us: the will to do better and to be better.
Among the kids I feature is Zina, an amazing young woman from Afghanistan, who migrated to the states with her mother and siblings once the Taliban took over the country in the late nineties. The Taliban killed her father and grandfather and took away her mother's college professorship. In fact, the Taliban instantly changed Afghanistan from a country with progressive views toward women to a country in which women were relegated to sexist policies found hundreds of years ago. All of the women in the country had to wear full body burkas and none could go to school or work outside of the home. [emphasis mine]
Good on Chavous for bringing us this story of courage in the face of rampant sexism. I think we can all agree that women should not be treated as objects, right, Kevin?

Room Service
She like that freaky stuff
Two and the O, 1 in the eye,

that kinky stuff, you nasty,
but I like your type
and like T.I. its whatever you like.
Bring your girls,
its whatever tonight,
your man just left,
I'm the plumber tonight,
I check your pipes,
oh, you're the healthy type.
Well, here goes some egg whites.
Now gimme that sweet, that nasty gushy stuff,

The Anthem 
She told me that her mama's Latin, her dad Asian
Abuela está loca, abuelo Hatian
Y yo soy Cubano and I'm impatient
So do me a favor, let's skip conversation
I just wanna taste ya ASAP
Take ya ASAP, to the room ASAP
Zoom zoom ASAP, boom boom take that
Ooh, I like that when you fight back
According to Kevin P. Chavous, board chair of DFER, the man who performed these lyrics is "incomparable."

That's one way of putting it...

As I detailed earlier, Pitbull is opening a new, taxpayer-funded charter school in Miami in partnership with Academica, the company owned by another man in this picture, Fernando Zulueta. The Miami Herald ran a terrific series on Academica and Zulueta, Cashing In On Kids, detailing how he and his brother have made millions through rental and management fees paid by ostensibly "non-profit" charters, all while working a variety of political connections.

I have not been able to determine Pitbull's financial relationship to this charter, although "Mr. Worldwide" is well-known for marketing himself and endorsing a variety of products. He has worked in the past with Walmart; no surprise there, because the Walton family is one of the largest supporters of the charter "movement" in the country. In fact, DFER's sugar daddy, Whitney Tilson, admits John Walton was an "inspiration" for Chavous's organization.

Together, Pitbull and Walmart worked a big marketing campaign for Energy Sheets, a caffeine-laden product that health professionals warn is unsafe for children, even though it's sweet and resembles candy:

 Given all this, I'll ask Mr. Chavous:

- Do you think the values that Pitbull espouses in his lyrics are values appropriate for a taxpayer-funded school?

- Do you think the taxpayers of South Florida are well-served by Academica and the Zuluetas?

- In the interests of transparency, will you call for Pitbull, Academica, Mater Charter Academies, and all other involved parties to fully disclose their financial dealings and release copies of all contracts as relates to the SLAM Charter School?

DFER says they are all about "choice." Fine - but a good "choice" requires information, does it not? Shouldn't parents and students have a full accounting of the dealings behind charter schools before they make their "choices"?

ADDING: Looks like Twitter has already answered my question:

Well, OK then...

I want, I need, I like to get
Money, money, money, money
I want, I need, I like to get
Money, money, money, I like

"Juicebox" by Armando "Pitbull" Perez, rapper and charter school founder

1 comment:

Mrs. King's music students said...

Meanwhile, in Camden, the principal that saw fit to terminate me because I was "non responsive" to HER suggestions also saw fit to hire me full time for both Summer Programs - one endorsed by the RACs and the other by my school. But NOT to teach music. The scads of kids who signed up for music (and a piece of my time) are now the latest casualty of a broken school system.
On the bright side, I've been given a very challenging group of kindergartners (bad kids) and trained according to RACs to get these kids ready for first grade. Predictably, it turns out the 'bad kids' are also the smart kids and want the same things my music students want! So that worked out.
On the Pitbull thing, having been chastised by my Camden County Uniserve ( a female) for not knowing better than to "out perform" the men I worked for in Pine Hill - I would rather 'shush' Pit Bull all day than be held to the extremely low standards set for me by the NJEA.