The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

LA School Board Election:
Billionaires Partially Defeated

Mar 18, 2013

Los Angeles School Board member Steve Zimmer successfully defended his seat in the March 5 election. Zimmer faced, and defeated, an extremely well-funded campaign to unseat him. The so-called “Coalition for School Reform,” which supported candidates in three school board elections, got huge donations, including one million dollars from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and $250,000 each from fellow billionaires Rupert Murdoch, Eli Broad and A. Jerrold Perenchio. The organization headed by Michelle Rhee, former head of Washington D.C. schools who fired hundreds of experienced teachers there in 2010, also donated $250,000 to the “Coalition.”

Zimmer’s sin, in the eyes of the billionaires and their cronies, was to suggest that the L.A. school board stop issuing new charters until it develops a monitoring system for charter schools. These big bosses are against any oversight of charter schools, because they want public education funds to be there for their own, unhindered profit.

This election result alone doesn’t mean an end to more and more public schools being handed over to private companies. In the other two elections for school board seats, for example, one candidate backed by the “Coalition” got elected (against candidates endorsed by the L.A. teachers’ union with words, but not with money), and another is up for a runoff. And the billionaire “Reformers” will certainly continue to push for the privatization of public education.

What Zimmer’s win shows, however, is that these “Reformers” don’t have the support of parents and community, as they claim.