Sunday, January 29, 2006

CA: Norquist guy proposes to convert SD schools into charter schools

Via Schools Matter (scroll to January 26, 2006).
Raw Story:
Ron Nehring, protege of conservative strategist Grover Norquist, Vice-Chairman of the California Republican Party and former colleague of disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, has introduced a proposal to convert all east San Diego County schools in the Grossmont Union High School District into charter schools, RAW STORY has learned.

At a hearing Jan. 19, the Grossmont school board -- of which Nehring is a member -- voted 5-0 to begin preparing a district-wide charter petition. If approved, Nehring's proposal would make Grossmont the largest charter district in California.

Some educators believe Grossmont is being used as a petri dish to test privatization of public education as part of a national GOP strategy.

Recently, I wrote about Ron Nehring, a nationally known Norquist activist who was a key figure in disseminating state-level policy designed to thwart union influence. Today, among many other things, he's also a Schwarzenegger appointee to a CA board position. I see Nehring stays true to form as he continues his Norquist agenda, this time attacking public education from his post as a school board member.

I once wrote a post about the Dominionist strategy to use school boards to change public education, found in this excellent series researched by Frederick Clarkson.
Among the top Reconstructionists in education politics is Robert Thoburn of Fairfax Christian School in Fairfax, Virginia. Thoburn advocates that Christians run for school board, while keeping their own children out of public schools. "Your goal" (once on the board), he declares, "must be to sink the ship." While not every conservative Christian who runs for school board shares this goal, those who do will, as Thoburn advises, probably keep it to themselves. Thoburn's book, The Children Trap, is a widely used sourcebook for Christian Right attacks on public education.
San Diego appears to be another Norquist testing ground, as detailed in this important must-read (pdf!) by the Center on Policy Initiatives.

This report specifically outlines how a whole confluence of organizations such as ALEC, the State Policy Network which is the interconnected set of state level think tanks disseminating conservative policy, ATR, Norquist and local politics work in coordination. It's a glimpse at how the radical right-wing excels at getting their policy out into our lives at the local level.

Spend some time reading up on the slimy dark side of conservative policy making. We don't have a chance unless we can shine some light on these matters. And at the local level, I think it's time to pay more attention to who is getting elected to local school boards since the right-wingers have figured out this is a great avenue for making a difference via huge policy shifts.