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Will the bullies back off?

Posted: August 24, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: August 24, 2014 2:00 a.m.

In response to the column “Superintendent bullying needs to be stopped” published in the Aug. 18 issue of The Signal: I’ve been wondering about the apparent persecution of the Albert Einstein Academy.

Thanks to Rabbi Mark Blazer and Dr. Jeffrey Shapiro for exposing it for what it appears to be. Is it that superintendents are afraid of competition, or more simply only greed?

Wouldn’t you think that educators would welcome charter schools because they expand the learning experience?

They obviously don’t.

Or is the more base interpretation that they resent the rights of parents and students who prefer to have a choice?

More simply, each student they lose costs them money.

Now that all this is out in the open, do you think the bullies might back off?


itzreality: Posted: August 24, 2014 3:44 p.m.

I find it totally amazing that when Einstein Academy decided to come into the SCV all this hoopla started. Meanwhile I as a resident did not hear this same uproar when SCV International Charter School, Santa Clarita Valley Chinese School, Sequoia Charter (oops I forgot they are operated by Hart School District!) and a few others!

So this get me thinking if there was no up roar with the ones above could all these actions be racial actions because it is backed by a Jewish Organization?? I hate to think that because I thought that this valley was compromised of open minded sensable folks!!!

Nitsho: Posted: August 24, 2014 6:06 p.m.

Really? Race card? Professional victim much?

itzreality: Posted: August 24, 2014 9:32 p.m.

Nitsho: My only question is why none of the others were met with out any oppostion??????

Nitsho: Posted: August 25, 2014 9:11 a.m.

You made an assumption (no up roar) with a racist connotation.

Own it.

AlwaysRight: Posted: August 25, 2014 10:37 a.m.

I may be mistaken, but I don't think that AEA "played the game" correctly. They went ahead and bulled their way in using an out-of-district charter that really ticked some folks off.

I don't think it has anything to do with race. Its more a matter of being politically clumsy and ignorant of local school politics.

Lotus8: Posted: August 25, 2014 1:52 p.m.

The people running the school have ignored proper protocol in filing necessary forms on time, tried to construct a school site before permits were obtained, and basically wanted folks to recognize the brilliance of their vision and bend rules for them. Rather than looking at those other schools that have opened and wondering if AEA was picked on due to religious reasons, just look at it from the reverse perspective. All of those other institutions probably followed the rules, played the game, etc. It was easy enough for them to do. All of this focus externally when it should, at least in part, be turned back around at leadership of AEA and why they couldn't follow the path that these other schools did.

I think AEA is a fine idea and, if executed properly, would be a bonus to our community. But you have to realize that we live in California (LA County to boot) and there are a zillion regulations that have to be respected. Instead of pointing out how some rules seem silly or even wrong and bulldozing through the front door, blend in and keep your eye on the ultimate goal.

I am really tired of AEA folks crying about people in this valley being anti-Jew. There are tons of Mormons in this town and they are a credit to the community. Good people of all religions are welcome here, regardless of what flying spaghetti monster they choose to pray to. Just be a good neighbor and nobody cares, honestly.

Nitsho: Posted: August 25, 2014 4:15 p.m.

"I am really tired of AEA folks crying about people in this valley being anti-Jew"

Yep. When in doubt, go victim status and toss in the race card.

Makes you wonder what they teach if the militant race mentally is used to cast aspersions so freely and without regard for the real meaning.

bobforte: Posted: August 26, 2014 3:57 p.m.

I am glad Newhall District is moving forward and supporting Senta Bill 1263. AEA moved into the old Pinecrest location in another district, not the one that approved them.

I hope this bill passes and AEA will be forced to follow the rules that the other charters did.

Funny how parents were so upbeat about this school last year, but not supportive enough to drive their kids to Aqua Dulce. All of a sudden a charter school education wasn't that good.

LStaedtler: Posted: August 26, 2014 8:41 p.m.

I agree with the others on here. It is not the charter school itself but how the organization is being run by the CEO. It might be wise to get a new CEO who knows how to better run the organization. There are thousands of charter schools in the US. AEA has had problems opening almost every elementary school. Just today there is an article in a Florida paper where AEA is trying to open a school but the property they are trying to acquire went into bankruptcy by the current owner who has no legal right to sell the property. Essentially AEA has been working for months on acquiring this property from the owner who had no legal standing to sell it. It is moves like this that puts the CEO's ability to run the organization into question. Maybe the solution is to get a capable CEO.

SCF: Posted: August 27, 2014 2:56 p.m.

The Bill is a pre-text. The local districts claim that they are worried about oversight, without any real evidence that oversight is an issue. After all, AADUSD is just 15 minutes away and has dedicated itself to oversight of AEA and the other charters it has sponsored. It is nothing more than supposition to argue they will not do an adequate job or that Newhall can do a better job doing so.
--- The districts claim AEA and other charter schools cannot adequately provide for low performing students. There is no evidence of this.
--- Marc Winger of the Newhall School District has stated before the education committee that he felt he was best qualified to determine what is best for the children in his district. That is offensive to me as a parent. I am the best person to decide what is best for my children!
--- In a recent publication, Mr. Winger admitted he is no fan of charter schools. He was quoted saying, “It’s a mistake to bring any charters into the Santa Clarita Valley.” . . . “Charter schools like Einstein are siphoning off white middle-class kids.” One only need look at the demographics of AEA to see the diversity at the school. It is clearly more than just a bunch of privileged white kids. Further, it's almost laughable given the demographics of some of the schools in his district. He seems to be saying he doesn't want to be left with nothing but non-whites. What a horrible position to take.

It seems to me that the Newhall District is more concerned about the money it and the other local districts stand to lose. For parents it's about seeking what we want in an education for our children. Nobody is forcing those who like the local schools to attend a charter. The local districts story that they are concerned about anything other than lost ADA is preposterous. Rather than pass a bill with far reaching and unintended consequences, I would rather see AEA and other charter schools thrive or fail on the merits rather than engaging in costly legal and political battles. If my decision to send my kids to AEA turns out to be a mistake it should be my mistake to make.

JMasonmail: Posted: August 27, 2014 4:11 p.m.

Lotus8 -- You wrote, "all religions are welcome here, regardless of what flying spaghetti monster they choose to pray to." That comment, to many people, is blasphemous. Flippant and condescending remarks like that do not make people with deeply-held religious beliefs feel welcome.

Nitsho: Posted: August 27, 2014 4:17 p.m.


"--- In a recent publication, Mr. Winger admitted he is no fan of charter schools. He was quoted saying, “Charter schools like Einstein are siphoning off white middle-class kids.”"

(above quote was edited for the question

While I am no fan of Marc (My sister is Debra) Winger, I would like to see the source of this comment. Only thing I found was a mention on, surprise, the AEA facebook page.

Get over it. You do not have the right to be offended everytime you don't like something someone says. Let me guess..You think everyone against the AEA are jew haters too....oh and by the way, Winger is jewish too.

Nitsho: Posted: August 27, 2014 4:20 p.m.

JMAsonmail...Funny how you didn't have offense to this comment posted...

Posted: August 24, 2014
12:44 p.m.
"So this get me thinking if there was no up roar with the ones above could all these actions be racial actions because it is backed by a Jewish Organization??"

Guess you either are a bigot (not racist since being jewish isn't a race) or it doesn't fit your victim narrative.

projalice11: Posted: August 28, 2014 12:32 a.m.

Jewish isn't a race it is one's religion believing in Judaism.

One's race is a "group of person's of or regarded as of common ancestry."

One's nationality is a "membership in a nation."

JMasonmail: Posted: August 28, 2014 10:47 a.m.

To Nitsho, the Mind-Reader: I wasn't trying to address every offensive comment in these postings. But characterizing God as a "flying spaghetti monster" seemed to me to be worthy of being singled out.

Your response to "So this get me thinking if there was no up roar with the ones above could all these actions be racial actions because it is backed by a Jewish Organization??" was...

"Really? Race card? Professional victim much?"

How sympathetic. Should we jump to conclusions about your frame of mind regarding anti-Semitism based on that response?

JMasonmail: Posted: August 28, 2014 10:57 a.m.

By the way, Nitsho, you said: "You do not have the right to be offended every time you don't like something someone says." So please don't take offense at what I wrote because you don't have the right.

philellis: Posted: August 28, 2014 11:09 a.m.

Lois made a truthful statement that was on topic. Congratulations, Lois!!!!!!!**********

Nitsho: Posted: August 28, 2014 1:59 p.m.


Nice try to backtrack because you didn't want to defend one of your bigot friends.

choiceisgood: Posted: September 1, 2014 11:48 a.m.

First, let's be clear about the real inaccuracy of itzreality's initial statement. AEA is not backed by a Jewish organization, nor does it have any religious affiliation whatsoever. It's a public charter school that teaches several world languages to it's students starting in kindergarten.

Because one of the languages happens to Hebrew, does that mean it's "a Jewish school"?

They also teach Mandarin. Since they're teaching Chinese, should we now also assume that they're backed by communists?

Let me tell you why local districts are paying more attention to this school. First, this school is a real threat because it's a more traditional college preparatory school which attracts the mainstream student population. They offer rigorous academics with projects based learning applications, credentialed Art and PE teachers, multiple languages taught K-6, small classes, focus on math, science, technology, etc. This is a threat to the local districts.

They also provide an opportunity to outstanding educators to teach in an environment that's not restricted by a Union. Like private industry, teachers are rewarded for being good rather than being senior. And job security is based on performance not tenure. This is a threat to the local unions.

Look at the demand. The secondary that just started its 5th year has a waiting list of close to a thousand students. And the elementary school, which is at the center of all this fuss, has 650 students and a waiting list of close to 500. You think the local districts may be a little concerned?

Add the fact that Dr. Winger believes that he is entitled to "sovereign" control of the students within his boundaries. Add the fact that he told the founder of AEA several years ago that he would "never open a charter school in (my) valley". And how about the new frustration of having look directly at the AEA school from his office window.

Seems to me the issue is one of power, greed, fear, and ego.

Lotus8: Posted: September 2, 2014 4:13 p.m.

JMason - What is behind much of the current strife in the world? Or let's even go back a thousand, two thousand, or even more years. Religion and tribes. Nobody can prove that a god(s) exists or does not exist. That is why it is called faith. Churches/religions are constructs of man, led by men, who are fallible.

Look, I think there is something out there that created the universe. But I don't feel that I need to make up some rules that this entity wants us all to follow and then persecute others who don't follow those rules. Organized religion was/is useful in enforcing societal rules and controlling a population/tribe. If someone breaks or questions the rules, you persecute them for disobeying/questioning god. Then it isn't the responsibility of the leaders or populous as to whether actions are right or wrong. This type of thinking leads to "cleansing" and dictators, be they Muslim ruling clerics or Catholic popes from many centuries ago.

So if you find the flying spaghetti monster blasphemous, is that because this particular depiction of a deity conflicts with yours? You can't prove the existence or shape or will of whatever god may or may not exist anymore than I can, so if you take offense to me stating this fact then that is more of an issue concerning your relationship with scientific truth.

Many people want religion back in schools, in the pledge of allegiance, etc. Well that is all fine and dandy until one day a religion other than the one you subscribe to becomes the dominant one. Are you ready to call this one nation, under Allah? Or even perhaps the almighty Spaghetti Monster?

AlwaysRight: Posted: September 3, 2014 4:12 p.m.

Was not aware that Winger sent a letter to all AEA parents telling them that the school would soon be shut down and he is merely "competing" for students. If I am not mistaken, the money to pay for that effort would have come from school district funds?

A bit concerned that this has crossed an ethics/morality line. A public entity is attacking a local, private business. Sounds like the basis of a lawsuit?

writergirl: Posted: September 8, 2014 2:40 a.m.

bobforte, you wrote, "Funny how parents were so upbeat about this school last year, but not supportive enough to drive their kids to Aqua Dulce. All of a sudden a charter school education wasn't that good."

For the record parents DID drive their children to Aqua Dulce. And to Acton. The facility in Acton is no longer available, and there is not enough room in Aqua Dulce for all of the school's students. This is why AEA has located a portion of its students to the SCV campus.

For the record, MANY parents still are driving their kids to Aqua Dulce. So, to correct your statement, the charter education IS still THAT good.

It's funny to me that in a clearly conservative town that competition is looked down upon when it comes to education.

For the record the student population at AEA is incredibly diverse--much more so than my children's neighborhood elementary school. That is just one more reason why so many parents are interested in the AEA model.

And AEA is NOT backed by, nor affiliated with, any Jewish (or other faith) organization. Religion is not a part of the curriculum. Of course, the fact that many of the school's founders happen to be Jewish has been brought up more than once with respect to the charter. If you think this is make believe, go back and have a look at some of the school board meeting notes (SUSD in particular).

In point of fact, the multicultural makeup of the student population helps students connect with children from numerous backgrounds--not simply the "white, middle-class kids" who seem to be coveted by the local districts. And yes, Winger DID say that. ''

And no, I did not find this on the AEA web site. Easy enough to Google.

citizenal: Posted: September 19, 2014 6:35 p.m.

these attacks on Winger are so hypocrital. AEA is not in SCV to be inclusive, tolerant and blah blah blah. They are here because they know the students in this district will test well on state tests. If AEA was really interested in diversity, tolerance, and inclusion it would be located in and teaching to the students of the district it (in name only) belongs to, Agua Dulce. Spin it and race card it all you want, but we know the truth. You want to be welcomed, play by the rules. Lying, cheating and manipulation does not friends make.

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