Los Angeles: Karen Wolfe Unravels the Unified Enrollment Scam

Karen Wolfe is a parent activist in Los Angeles who fights for public schools against the behemoth that is the California Charter Schools Association and even against the Los Angeles Unified School District.

She recently discovered that the school district was considering spending $24 million to install a Unified Enrollment system. She became curious and began digging. After all, Los Angeles was the district that (almost) committed to spend $1 billion on obsolete iPads loaded with Pearson content.

The decision will be made on Tuesday at a board meeting.

Karen smelled a scam in the making. She was right.

The first thing she learned was that a common enrollment system is being pushed hard by the charter lobby, because it puts public schools and charter schools on an equal footing. The cheerleading for unified enrollment, where students have “one-stop shopping,” was funded by the Walton Family Foundation in New Orleans and Denver, which tells you almost everything you need to know.

The next thing she learned was that in a unified enrollment system, the school makes the choice, not the student. This also works out well for the charters.

Third, the OneApp system (as it is called in New Orleans) increases inequity and segregation.

Karen did research and wrote three posts. You should read all of them. The third post in the series has links to the other two.

Perhaps most alarming, Karen learned that the unified enrollment proposal was being pushed by insiders who were connected to the Broad Foundation and the Walton Foundation.

She writes:

In this post, as promised, we’ll introduce the privatizers who have infiltrated the school district to advance the interests of the charter lobby.

Conspiracy theory? Hardly. This just looks like the new business model. Since the iPad scandal, privatizers have had to find new ways to move their agenda. The scandal made direct corporate lobbying behind the scenes too risky. But there’s no need, if you have managed to plant your sales force inside the school system itself.

The District personnel pitching the Unified Enrollment scheme are not just any LAUSD employees. They are Broad and Walton acolytes, trained and placed in the school system to move the corporate reform agenda forward from the inside.

Peter Greene wrote about these “cyber shenanigans” here.

Just goes to show that you can neither slumber nor sleep when the charter industry is seeking a new angle to legitimize privatization and money.

Great job, Karen!

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