The last thing our immigrant citizens need in coming to US is to face the same network of FAKE RELIGIOUS education almost always tied to OLD WORLD MERCHANTS OF VENICE GLOBAL 1% FREEMASONRY. No matter if CATHOLIC, MUSLIM, PROTESTANT, HINDI, JEWISH----but that is what global education corporations are------
As we see below it not only distorts again our religions and sanctuaries wanting to offer religious guidance-----it acts as part of the global human capital distribution system containment of global labor pool. Yes, US citizens are now being forced into these global neo-liberal K-CAREER corporate education structures that have existed overseas in Foreign Economic Zones.
REAL LEFT SOCIAL PROGRESSIVES do not want our immigrant students contained and controlled by those same 5% to the 1% LATINO/immigrant players that Americans are fighting ===white, black, and brown 5% players. DACA simply funded the building of these pre-K - career networks with millions of dollars yet again lost to fraud.
WHILE IMMIGRANT CITIZENS ARE FEARFUL OF ICE AND FEDERAL IMMIGRANT LAW ENFORCEMENT THEY ARE CAUGHT IN PRIVATIZATION OF US EDUCATION ====TURNING US SCHOOLS INTO THIRD WORLD HUMAN CAPITAL CONTAINMENT.
FBI Tracks Charter Schools
by Ruth Conniff
August 20, 2014
ExpandThere's been a flood of local news stories in recent months about FBI raids on charter schools all over the country.
From Pittsburgh to Baton Rouge, from Hartford to Cincinnati to Albuquerque, FBI agents have been busting into schools, carting off documents, and making arrests leading to high-profile indictments.
"The troubled Hartford charter school operator FUSE was dealt another blow Friday when FBI agents served it with subpoenas to a grand jury that is examining the group's operations. When two Courant reporters arrived at FUSE offices on Asylum Hill on Friday morning, minutes after the FBI's visit, they saw a woman feeding sheaves of documents into a shredder." --The Hartford Courant, July 18, 2014
"The FBI has raided an Albuquerque school just months after the state started peering into the school's finances. KRQE News 13 learned federal agents were there because of allegations that someone may have been taking money that was meant for the classroom at the Southwest Secondary Learning Center on Candelaria, near Morris in northwest Albuquerque ..." --KRQE News 13, August 1, 2014
"Wednesday evening's FBI raid on a charter school in East Baton Rouge is the latest item in a list of scandals involving the organization that holds the charter for the Kenilworth Science and Technology School.... Pelican Educational Foundation runs the school and has ties to a family from Turkey. The school receives about $5,000,000 in local, state, and federal tax money.... The FBI raided the school six days after the agency renewed the Baton Rouge school's charter through the year 2019." --The Advocate, January 14, 2014
"The state of Pennsylvania is bringing in the FBI to look into accusations that a Pittsburgh charter school [Urban Pathways Charter School] misspent tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars on luxuries such as fine-dining and retreats at exclusive resorts and spas." --CBS News, November 12, 2013
"COLUMBUS, OH--A federal grand jury has indicted four people, alleging that they offered and accepted bribes and kickbacks as part of a public corruption conspiracy in their roles as managers and a consultant for Arise! Academy, a charter school in Dayton, Ohio." --FBI Press Release, June 2014
What's going on here?
Charter schools are such a racket, across the nation they are attracting special attention from the FBI, which is working with the Department of Education's inspector general to look into allegations of charter-school fraud.
One target, covered in an August 12 story in The Atlantic, is the secretive Turkish cleric, Fethullah Gulen, who runs the largest charter-school chain in the United States.
The Atlantic felt compelled to note, repeatedly, that it would be xenophobic to single out the Gulen schools and their mysterious Muslim founder for lack of transparency and the misuse of public funds.
"It isn't the Gulen movement that makes Gulen charters so secretive," writes The Atlantic's Scott Beauchamp, "it's the charter movement itself."
Kristen Buras, associate professor of education policies at Georgia State University, agrees.
"Originally, charter schools were conceived as a way to improve public education," Buras says. "Over time, however, the charter school movement has developed into a money-making venture."
Over the last decade, the charter school movement has morphed from a small, community-based effort to foster alternative education into a national push to privatize public schools, pushed by free-market foundations and big education-management companies. This transformation opened the door to profit-seekers looking for a way to cash in on public funds.
In 2010, Rupert Murdoch, whose News Corp. has been an ALEC member, declared K-12 public education "a $500 billion sector in the U.S. alone that is waiting desperately to be transformed."
The transformation has begun.
"Education entrepreneurs and private charter school operators could care less about innovation," says Buras. "Instead, they divert public monies to pay their six-figure salaries; hire uncertified, transient, non-unionized teachers on-the-cheap; and do not admit (or fail to appropriately serve) students who are costly, such as those with disabilities."
Rebecca Fox Blair, a teacher who helped to found a small, alternative high school program in Monona, Wisconsin, says she was struck by the massive change in the charter school movement when she attended a national charter school conference recently.
"It's all these huge operators, and they look down on schools like ours," she says. "They call us the 'mom and pop' schools."
There are now more than 6,000 publicly funded charter schools in the United States -- a more than 50 percent increase since 2008.
Over that same period, "nearly 4,000 traditional public schools have closed," writes Stan Karp, an editor of Rethinking Schools. "This represents a huge transfer of resources and students from our public education system to the publicly funded but privately managed charter sector."
And all that money has attracted some unscrupulous operators.
Michael Sharpe, the disgraced CEO of the FUSE charter school in Hartford, admitted in court to faking his academic credentials and hiding the fact that he was a two-time felon who had been convicted of embezzlement and served five years in prison as a result. When he was indicted he was living in a Brownstone paid for by his charter school management company, where he kept a tenant whom he charged rent.
Scott Glasrud, the CEO of Southwest Learning Centers in Albuquerque, a group of four schools including an elementary school and a flight academy, was earning $210,000 a year, as well as additional compensation for a contract he made with his own aviation company to lease planes to the flight school he administered.
But these are small-time operators compared with Ronald Packard, the CEO of K12, Inc., the scandal-plagued online charter school company. Packard's salary was $4.1 million in 2013.
K12 has been charged with attempting to falsify records, using unqualified teachers, and booking classes of more than 100 students by state investigators in Florida.
Education reporter Jennifer Berkshire, aka EduShyster, shared Morningstar data on her blog showing that between 2012 and 2013, executive compensation at K12 grew by $11,399,514. In 2012, executives at K12 earned a total of $9,971,984 in compensation. Last year that figure jumped to $21,371,498.
"According to a lawsuit filed in US district court this spring," Berkshire writes, "Packard knowingly inflated the value of K12 stock by making *overly positive statements* about the company, its performance and its prospects, then cashed out, causing his personal numbers to add up to the tune of $6.4 million large." A spokesperson for K12 said Packard had done nothing wrong.
As a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), K12 has helped pushed legislation to replace bricks and mortar classrooms with computers and replace actual teachers with "virtual" teachers, generating enormous profits from its taxpayer-financed schools.
ALEC added K12 to its corporate board of directors just before its national convention in Dallas at the end of July.
At the Dallas meeting, ALEC also trumpeted the launch of a new charter school working group. Among the measures the group discussed:
* Legislation to exempt charter school teachers from state teacher certification requirements, and allow for charter schools to be their own local education authority.
* A bill to give charter schools the right of first refusal to purchase or lease all or part of unused public school properties at or below market value, and avoid taxes and fees.
* A controversial measure proposed by Scott Walker in Wisconsin to create a statewide charter school authorizing board, bypassing local authority over charter schools, even as charters drain funds from local districts.
New Orleans, the nation's first all-charter school district, is the testing ground for charter school expansion.
Buras, the author of Charter Schools, Race, and Urban Space: Where the Market Meets Grassroots Resistance, has been engaged in research on New Orleans for the past decade.
"Charter advocates claim that education 'reform' in New Orleans is a glowing success and should be replicated nationally," says Buras. "What the public really needs to know is this: Charter school reform in New Orleans is a hustle, a sham."
When the state-run New Orleans Recovery School District assumed control of New Orleans public schools, veteran teachers were fired and their collective bargaining agreement was nullified. Since 2005, Buras says, the scale used in Louisiana to assess public school achievement has been manipulated "in an attempt to contrive charter school success."
In Detroit, another seat of school privatization and austerity, charter schools have also meant lucrative contracts for private operators, and austerity for teachers and kids, says Tom Pedroni, associate professor in the college of education at Wayne State University.
The Detroit Free Press published a series of articles on waste of tax dollars and questionable financial dealings by charter school officials and boards.
"One school bought useless wetlands. Others overpaid -- by a lot -- for their school property. And another gave its administrator a severance worth more than a half million dollars," the Free Press reported on June 22, 2014.
Michigan's largest charter-school management company charges jaw-dropping rents to its schools, the Free Press reported -- as much as $1 million a year for schools in financially strapped Detroit. Two-thirds of the National Heritage Academy schools across the state "pay as much in rent as tenants in Detroit's Renaissance Center, with its expansive views of the Detroit River," the paper found.
"In Michigan, 80 percent of charter schools are run by for-profit educational management organizations," says Pedroni. "Charter school authorizers -- typically universities, community colleges, and public school districts -- build very close and financially lucrative relationships with these organizations."
"Whistleblowing, or even mildly questioning, board members typically are quickly dismissed by the charter authorizers," says Pedroni. "In the end, private interests and authorizers do quite well. Children, their communities, and teachers do not."
Riding the wave of pro-privatization, rightwing propaganda that public schools have "failed" and need to be turned over to private business operators, charter school lobbyists, working with ALEC, have been able to get legislation passed to allow them to open schools all over the country that take public funds but skip the kind of oversight that regular public schools must submit to.
The results are being collected as evidence by the FBI.
In every case as with US city charters in our low-income black and white communities------we see the same 5% exploiting what should be a DREAM ACT FOR OUR IMMIGRANT STUDENTS.
Remember, these same 5% CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA spent these few decades fleecing our DREAM ACT for black and white low income citizens, disabled citizens, veterans, so why would we think these same global Wall Street pols were not using DACA to do the same to our immigrant students.
These Obama-era policies were meant to push Latino/immigrant families against public schools---against teacher's unions -----in order to attend the charters sold as addressing those immigrant students' special needs.
DO YOU HEAR IMMIGRANT ADVOCATES SHOUTING FOR EQUAL OPPORTUNITY AND EQUAL RIGHTS IN HAVING PUBLIC SCHOOLS IN THEIR COMMUNITIES FILLED WITH STAFF DOING JUST WHAT THIS 'CEO' WANTS?
On February 22nd, YES Prep’s CEO, Mark DiBella, along with leaders from other high-performing charter leaders, met with Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. Semiannually, charter school leaders from across the country gather in Washington D.C. to advocate for issues important to our schools and communities. On this occasion, charter leaders were advocating for continued funding of the CSP, a highly-competitive charter school program grant, which is awarded to high-performing charter schools that are replicating and expanding. The grant has been a major part of YES Prep’s expansion strategy. The group of charter school leaders was also advocating for DACA protections. We spoke to DiBella about the meeting.
Can you give us an overview of the meeting with Secretary DeVos?
I was selected, along with four other charter leaders, to meet with Secretary DeVos for 45 minutes. We started the meeting with an explanation and brief history of our charters, the scope of our impact, and our growth plans.
We spoke to her about the Title IX executive order about trans students, which had been implemented as a joint order with the Department of Justice and the Department of Education. We asked her specifically about the impact on transgender students, and she agreed that it was important for her to protect the safety of all kids and their identities.
We also shared why DACA is so important to us. Her response was cordial but non-committal. She talked about how it was not part of her jurisdiction.
Finally, we discussed our desire for her to continue to reserve federal funds for charter schools. Philosophically, Secretary DeVos believes that the states should have as many rights as possible and that the allocation of federal funds is one of those rights. We asked that the allocation of that funding stays centralized, as part of the Department of Education. This would ensure that charter schools that are in less charter-friendly states can still apply for those grants and that funds would not get embroiled in state-level politics. Based on our growth plans, we encouraged her to work with members of Congress to approve at least 100 million (growing to 150 million over the next couple of years) to be carved out for charter school expansion and replication.
What are some of your takeaways from this conversation that you want to share with the YES Prep community?
Many conversations lately about Secretary DeVos and the current administration have lumped charter schools in with voucher programs under the broad heading of “school choice.” I want to emphasize that YES Prep believes in public school choice with accountability. My biggest concern with school vouchers is schools that would receive public funding without the associated public accountability. The growing body of research, including work from the Education Trust, shows that, on the aggregate, student achievement actually regresses in schools that are funded by vouchers and that the vast majority of vouchers currently go to religiously-affiliated schools. Another thing that is worth emphasizing is that with or without vouchers, YES Prep has to remain wholly committed to making sure families choose us.
Lastly, I want our staff and families to know that we are not alone in this advocacy work. YES Prep, along with other Texas charter schools, work with Texans for Quality Public Charter Schools, a non-profit that lobbies on the behalf of our students, families, and schools. Additionally, over 100 leaders of organizations from across the country (myself included) signed a letter that was hand-delivered to Ivanka Trump in support of DACA. We have reason to believe that the broad show of support for DACA from these organizations is one of the reasons that this executive order has not yet been rescinded.
What do we know about the new administration’s approach to policies for and impact on our work?
There is still far more that we don’t know than what we do know. We do know that the administration is committed to significantly expanding choice—especially for children from underserved communities. We also know that the administration has an expressed antipathy towards “government-run” schools. This means that we can expect a significant push to privatize educational options for children. It should be noted that in Secretary DeVos’s home state of Michigan, 84% of all of the charter schools are “for-profit” charters. We also know that the administration is committed to deferring to states and local communities on as many things as possible, including control of public schools. Finally, we currently have no clarity about the administration’s commitment to civil rights responsibilities in our schools.
How will the new proposed budget impact our work?
First and foremost, it’s critical to note that the administration’s proposal is just that—a proposal. As with all previous proposed presidential budgets, this budget will go through significant revision as it’s finalized. Therefore, all of my conclusions are based on what is in the proposal, which will certainly change. If approved in its current state, the proposed budget would 1) gut Title 2 funds; 2) add significant support for schools of choice, including charters; 3) seriously cut higher education student aid programs (e.g. Pell grants); and 4) cut Medicaid and other healthcare programs that provide funding to districts who serve children with specific medical needs.
What are the next steps?
We will be closely monitoring upcoming legislation that will impact our students such as SB6, which is being called “the bathroom bill.” There are also two separate house bills that involve facilities funding. Last summer, the Texas Supreme Court even said that the school funding system has “immense room for improvement,” so I want to make sure that the Texas legislature hears the message that we believe that the school finance system in Texas desperately needs broad reforms and also needs specific charter reforms. Over the next few months, I’ll be traveling to Austin frequently in order to testify for facility funding and protections for our students.
This is to where REAL LEFT social progressives are placed in impossible stances in order to REALLY PROTECT our immigrant students-----we do not want immigrant students taken from schools---we don't want a Federal ICE agency tracking immigrant students through these community school registrations----but that is exactly the goal of DACA----below we see PRITZKER====global 1% extraordinaire behind the Obama campaign and yes NOBLE NETWORK is one of the biggest GLOBAL/NATIONAL CHARTER CHAINS. They expanded using DACA funds that should have gone to PUBLIC SCHOOLS TO STAFF ESL IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS.
Our immigrant students do not know WHY PUBLIC SCHOOL education is vital for freedom, liberty, justice, and for being CITIZENS----they simply want to get a good job.
DACA WAS FROM THE START---ONE WORLD ONE GOVERNANCE ONE COMMONER CORE NEO-LIBERAL EDUCATION -----
Noble -- The Billionaire's Charter School Network - Schooling in...
schoolingintheownershipsociety.blogspot.com/2015/09/noble-billionaires-charter-school.html Sep 4, 2015 ...
The Noble Network of Charter Schools founded by Milkie, a former ... Now CEO of the Noble Network, Milkie says he understands how to talk ... Billionaire hedge -fund fraud and charter school patron gave $1M to Trump inaug.
'Charter schools illegally testing applicants? Horizon and Noble academy "diagnostic" tests raise questions'
'The Pritzker scholarship is run by Aidé Acosta, the Dreamers Support Manager for the Noble Network of Charter Schools. Created in 2015, her office works with a school liaison to distribute updates and event information on DACA and immigration issues to the network's 12,000-plus students'.
Noble Charters, CTU Take Steps to Protect Undocumented Students
Matt Masterson | January 19, 2017 5:04 pm
Noble Charter CEO Michael Milkie is urging urge local and national officials to mainain the DACA program and support undocumented students. (Chicago Tonight)
Educators across Chicago have continued their calls this week for undocumented students to be protected from deportation and discrimination leading up to President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration ceremony Friday.
Noting deep concerns expressed by families and the community, the head of Noble Charter Schools said this week he “wholeheartedly affirm(s)” the network’s commitment to students included in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
To that end, Noble Superintendent and CEO Michael Milkie issued a statement Wednesday, which read:
“Our DACA students are an inseparable part of our school community, and they deserve our love and support. In Chicago and across the country, many families are deeply concerned about national rhetoric that threatens the status of DACA residents. As a public school leader in one of our country’s largest cities, I wholeheartedly affirm Noble’s commitment to our undocumented students and their families.
“Given the positive contribution these students have made and can continue to make to our nation, I urge local and national elected officials to continue the DACA program and support these students. Now is the time for our national leaders to make that commitment.”
Trump has pledged to reverse the DACA program, which allows immigrants brought here as children to apply for a protected status.
Part of that commitment from Noble includes maintaining the Pritzker Access Scholarships for Dreamers – the title given to those who qualify under DACA. The scholarships offer up to $12,000 in tuition to Noble seniors who have a protected immigrant status and have been accepted to a four-year college.
Within that network, the number of DACA students entering college has jumped since that aid was created, from about 25 percent before the scholarship up to 75 percent for the first group of recipients in the class of 2015. The exact number of Dreamers within the charter network isn't available, but Acosta estimates there are at least a couple hundred.
The Pritzker scholarship is run by Aidé Acosta, the Dreamers Support Manager for the Noble Network of Charter Schools. Created in 2015, her office works with a school liaison to distribute updates and event information on DACA and immigration issues to the network's 12,000-plus students.
Acosta also helps DACA students apply for a two-year renewal, but planning for that in 2017 has been on hiatus because “we just don’t know what direction this is going to go.”
“The goal is to continue those kinds of supports,” she said. “It’s going to depend on wherever we’re at next week or where we are after (Friday).”
Currently the network has 113 students (48 sophomores, 65 freshmen) receiving the Pritzker scholarship. Earlier this week, the 17-campus charter school network also hosted an immigration forum along with a handful of local community organizations to talk over any student and family concerns.
Once any announcement is made on the future of the DACA program, Acosta said her office will be there to offer immediate support in any way possible to continue those students' path to college.
Following the election, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and other U.S. mayors delivered a letter to Trump urging protection for the 700,000 to 800,000 Dreamers. Approximately 40,000 Dreamers reside in Illinois, with a majority of those around the Chicago area.
In December, the Chicago Board of Education passed a Welcoming District resolution prohibiting the “unlawful discrimination or harassment on the basis of immigration status” within Chicago Public Schools programs, services and activities.
CPS officials also planned to provide resources to principals, counselors and teachers within in the district to help students through any “strong feelings” they had following the election.
On Thursday, members of the Chicago Teachers Union held “walk-in” protests at schools across the city demanding, among other things, that all CPS schools become “sanctuary schools” to protect undocumented students.
“I am here on behalf of those 26,000 teachers and educators,” CTU Vice President Jesse Sharkey said outside Seward Elementary on Thursday, referencing the union’s total membership, “to say that we stand with our students, we stand with our parents. Immigrants are welcome here.
“We are a country that is built on immigration. We say no to every politician who tries to attack our schools or attack our students or attack our parents. We will fight to defend you and on that you have our word.”
We KNOW all Democrats in Congress are CLINTON/OBAMA global Wall Street neo-liberals as well as all Republicans being global Wall Street neo-liberal or neo-con. They all want ONE WORLD ONE GOVERNANCE and they all want TRANS PACIFIC TRADE PACT MOVING FORWARD ONE WORLD.
Congress pretended to be fighting TPP because of 2016 elections----both right wing voters and left wing voters do not want TRANS PACIFIC TRADE PACT. Obama was raging TPP once elected President as too will be Trump.
THIS IS ALL KABUKI THEATER ALLOWING TRUMP TO POSE CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICAN.
So, what is that solution Trump is telling Congress to advance as a solution to DACA? TRANS PACIFIC TRADE PACT-----TPP will state that US FOREIGN ECONOMIC ZONES cannot keep global education corporations pre-K- career out of US cities and DACA these several decades simply pushed DEREGULATION OF OUR PUBLIC K-12 to make way for global neo-liberal education corporations already existing overseas.
Every 5% to the 1% global Wall Street pol and player KNOWS this is the goal-----so groups fighting Trump and supporting DACA while saying nothing about EXISTING US CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS----are FAKE ALT LEFT.
'to give Congress time to enact a legislative solution for the 800,000 young immigrants it protects from deportation'.
"Thus, in effect, I am not going to just cut DACA off, but rather provide a window of opportunity for Congress to finally act," Trump said in the statement'.
'Dreamers' could begin losing permits as early as March 6 — here's what Trump's phase-out of DACA looks like
- Sep. 5, 2017, 1:57 PM
Diego Rios, 23, of Rockville, Md., rallies in support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA, outside of the White House, in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017. Associated Press/Jacquelyn Martin
President Donald Trump on Tuesday rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, announcing his administration would begin phasing out the program over six months to give Congress time to enact a legislative solution for the 800,000 young immigrants it protects from deportation.
If Congress is unable to agree on a solution, some DACA recipients will begin losing their authorization to work in the United States legally within six months — on March 6, 2018.
According to a statement released by Trump on Tuesday, new DACA applications are no longer being accepted. The government will, however, continue to process applications that have already been submitted. All existing DACA permits will be honored until their expiration date, up to two full years from Tuesday, the statement added.
Renewal applications will also be processed for those DACA recipients whose permits are "facing near-term expiration."
US Citizenship and Immigration Services said DACA recipients whose permits expire before March 5, 2018, would be allowed to apply for renewal — they must do so before October 5, 2017, however.
"Thus, in effect, I am not going to just cut DACA off, but rather provide a window of opportunity for Congress to finally act," Trump said in the statement.
Addressing the widespread concerns that DACA recipients with expired permits will now be vulnerable to deportation, Trump said in the statement that DACA recipients "are not enforcement priorities unless they are criminals, are involved in criminal activity, or are members of a gang."
"Our enforcement priorities remain unchanged. We are focused on criminals, security threats, recent border-crossers, visa overstays, and repeat violators," he said.
DACA is TRANS PACIFIC TRADE PACT------as we see below Obama and Congress funded job training structures and tied them to RACE TO THE TOP-----the entire goal of ONE WORLD ONE GOVERNANCE MOVING FORWARD with Trans Pacific Trade Pact is to have a ONE WORLD education structure from pre-K to career with vocational tracking----in the US---we have none of this---we have a PUBLIC K-12 EDUCATION structure so DACA created those funds needed in moving a few billion global labor pool into US cities deemed FOREIGN ECONOMIC ZONES. Global 1% does not care who operates these schools-----they don't care about equity, opportunity, -----they simply want a global standard to move global labor into jobs in any Foreign Economic Zone.
If Trump and Congress pass TRANS PACIFIC TRADE PACT----as we have shouted was always the goal for Trump=====that policy will require those ONE WORLD ONE EDUCATION ----COMMONER CORE. This means ELS for global immigrants ---this means online lessons-----this means pre-K registration of all immigrants inside US with the start of MEGA-DATA collection on that foreign student.
Our LATINO nations as too our Asian nations have already signed on to TPP -----as capture to global neo-liberalism is strong ------so this is why we don't hear PROTESTS AGAINST WHAT WE KNOW IS COMING ----DACA IS TRANS PACIFIC TRADE PACT.
Remember, corporate pre-K - career charters are simply job training apprenticeships and these structures are critical in TPP goal---especially for global 1% and their 2% bringing their 99% global labor pool to enslave in US Foreign Economic Zones as they do overseas.
Know who hates TPP as much as US citizens? ALL GLOBAL LABOR POOL 99% of immigrants around the world.
States will LOSE MORE revenue than they can gain by accepting the FastTrack/TPP job re-training offer.
Jun. 16, 2015 7:28 pm
No surprise there. This whole Fast Track/TPP is nothing but pumped-up continuation of the past 30 years of Government policy that has driven America and America’s 99% in to the pooper. And in the end, State Tax Revenue will bear the brunt of it all.
What’s more did you catch Obama’s ultimatum? Josh Ernst briefly referred to it and Ron Kind pretty much stated it out right. It sound like Obama is bullying Congress: “either you [Congress] take the job re-training offer and give me [Obama] FastTrack/TPP or else the Republican Senators and I [Obama] will give you [Congress] an even worse trade deal.”
And the whole extending the time period in which to vote is nothing more than Obama giving Lobbyists six more weeks in which to buy some more votes from your Congresscreature.
Raw greed is ugly.
NPR: announces movement of funds for job training required by the TPP has already taken place.
Jun. 11, 2015 2:03 pm
By telliottmbamscWhich is bologna, because our economy is going to shrink after the TPP and there will be less other jobs ...it won't matter if you're trained for them or not!
And here is a pleasant thought, under the TPP and the Democrats 2 other Trade betrayals Corporations, like Nestle, could sue California government(s) to continue their bottling of the remaining CA water supply.
We want to emphasize -----most of the global 1% and their 2% being recruited to US CITIES DEEMED FOREIGN ECONOMIC ZONES are from those nations having already installed a form of DACA----a system of receiving global labor pool, orientating them to that particular nations' global corporations----constant job training and vocational tracking ----with NO EDUCATION for those not having an average or above aptitude.
Whether our Asian global 1% bringing their 99% global labor pool immigrants----or our Latin American global 1% bringing their 99% global labor pool ----they already have embraced global neo-liberalism ----NAKED CAPITALISM----and they all want to install this global system of JOB TRAINING PRE-K - CAREER.
'But according to recent IDB figures, Caracol has so far created around just 7,000 full-time jobs. Wages for those workers range from $3.50 to $5.00 per day; many have to support between five and seven family members, and find it hard to even pay for lunch'.
As we see in EVERY FOREIGN ECONOMIC ZONE in developing nations-----our 99% of global labor pool immigrants are NOT COMING TO US FOR MORE OF THIS SAME EDUCATION POLICY----they want a REAL American public education filled with choices and opportunity as do WE THE PEOPLE THE 99% AMERICAN CITIZENS.
Inside the Corporate Utopias Where Capitalism Rules and Labor Laws Don’t Apply
Our reporters gained access to three of the world’s “special economic zones”—and found paradises for corporations and wastelands for workers’ rights.
By Matt Kennard and Claire Provost
AUGUST ISSUE | July 25, 2016
Under Cambodian law, the right to organize is supposed to be ironclad. No employer, government agent or citizen may impede union activity. Inside the walls of Cambodia’s largest special economic zones (SEZs), however, In These Times’ reporters saw a system designed to tightly control the workforce by keeping workers fenced in and unions out. More than a dozen workers and labor activists confirmed that, while it's not easy to independently organize anywhere in Cambodia, the law is flagrantly violated in SEZs. The result is seething discontent.
Over the past 50 years, more than half of the world’s countries have carved out pieces of their territories to hand over to foreign investors as SEZs. The International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates that more than 66 million people--most of them young migrant women—work in the world’s more than 3,000 SEZs.
After World War II, countries from Ireland to South Korea set up these zones in bids to attract foreign capital and create jobs. In the 1980s and 1990s, states in every region of the world followed suit. Today this model is experiencing a fresh surge in popularity, with countries from Burma to Cuba racing to open new zones.
“Any country that didn’t have [an SEZ] 10 years ago either does now or seems to be planning one,” the World Bank’s Thomas Farole told The Economist in 2015. But while the success of such zones is often gauged by how much foreign money they attract, or how much economic growth they generate, the voices of the millions of workers that power these spaces are seldom heard. This is the story of SEZs from workers’ perspectives.
Typically, the carrots offered investors are special tax and tariff breaks, as well as cheap land, water and electricity. In some countries, such as Pakistan and Namibia, these enclaves also confer exemptions to national labor laws. But even when this is not the case, these zones have become hotspots for workers’ rights violations.
In Shenzhen, China, one of the world’s oldest and largest SEZs, In These Times witnessed the second chapter of the SEZ story. SEZs offer the tacit—if not explicit—promise of a steady supply of cheap, biddable labor. Once an SEZ’s workforce mobilizes and begins to make demands, companies can simply move on to a new frontier. The ILO calls SEZs “a symptom of the race to the bottom in the global economy.” In Shenzhen, factory closures and redevelopment are leaving migrant workers jobless, homeless and desperate.
The no-strike zone
Early SEZs, such as those established in the Philippines in the 1960s and 1970s, were “almost like labor camps,” says Jonathan Bach, associate professor and chair of the global studies program at the New School in New York. “They were separate from the cities: You would bring in the workers, you’d house them in dormitories, you’d sort of use them up and get rid of them and then get new ones. And then if the cost of doing business got too expensive, or too problematic—if there were protests or something—then you would just pack up and move somewhere else.”
This is still the model in many SEZs today. In some countries, governments have sweetened the pot by giving investors in these zones formal exemptions from national labor laws. In Pakistan, workers are forbidden to strike or take other industrial action in these enclaves. In Togo, government labor inspectors struggle to enter the zones because of laws restricting their access. The website of the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority declares: “There shall be no strikes or lock-outs for a period of 10 years following the commencement of operations in the zone ... and any trade dispute arising within a zone shall be resolved by the Authority.”
But even where there aren’t these formal exemptions, local authorities in SEZs are regularly accused of turning a blind eye to labor rights violations.
Harder in SEZs
On the outskirts of Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital, lies the Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone (PPSEZ). In a nation whose main development model is to sell itself as a reserve of cheap labor and low taxation, the PPSEZ exemplifies the new economy the government is trying to build.
The nine-mile drive from the capital is a crawl along chaotic roads that stand still for 20 minutes at a time. When you turn off the dusty street and head through the zone’s imposing front gate, you enter another world: 1.4 square miles of paved roads with factories fanning out on either side.
In These Times is the guest of the public relations firm Brains Communication, which represents PPSEZ to international investors and journalists. Brains Communication chauffeurs us in an air-conditioned Mercedes with leather seats, well-insulated from the 104-degree heat.
From the August 2016 Issue
This reporting was made possible by a grant from the Leonard C. Goodman Institute for Investigative Reporting. Victoria Albert contributed research.
Hiroshi Uematsu, CEO of Phnom Pen SEZ, stands outside his offices on April 4.
In keeping with the ethos of corporate control, the zone is not administered by the government but incorporated as a private company. We are going to meet Hiroshi Uematsu, the zone’s Japanese CEO.
PPSEZ’s founding mission was to attract Japanese investors to Cambodia, Uematsu says. Almost a decade later, it has succeeded in drawing 44 Japanese firms, as well as 32 companies from 13 other countries. Yamaha operates a factory there, and Coca-Cola is currently building one. Other factory names—garment manufacturer Kingmaker Footwear, diamond polisher Laurelton Diamonds—are obscure, but they are listed as suppliers or subsidiaries of some of the most famous brands in the world: Timberland, Puma, Apple, Old Navy.
Uematsu is happy in Cambodia. “I feel safe in this country,” he says. “I sometimes face [sic] directly with labor union activities … in the Philippines I have to be very careful, with smoked glass and security.”
Indeed, it’s hard to imagine a boss feeling unsafe in the pristine zone, where the chaos of the surrounding city gives way to an incongruous calm. Elsewhere in Cambodia, the landscape is very different. While we were talking to Uematsu, police clashed with about 100 protesters across town and left two activists with bad head wounds. The crowd amassed outside Cambodia’s National Assembly as it passed a new trade union law restricting independent labor organizing. The government of Hun Sen—the prime minister of Cambodia for the last 31 years, who runs a de facto one-party state under the Cambodian People’s Party—was spooked by a national strike in 2013 and moved to restrict this pole of political opposition.
Most of Cambodia’s labor force is represented by “yellow unions,” which are linked politically to the ruling party and effectively represent the government and employers, rather than workers. Cambodia’s bloc of independent unions is relatively small, but it scares Cambodia’s powerbrokers. Union leaders have been beaten, imprisoned on trumped-up charges and murdered. On January 22, 2004, Chea Vichea, the founder and leader of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia and a supporter of the opposition Sam Rainsy Party, was shot in the head and chest while reading a newspaper in the street.
Garment workers gather just outside PPSEZ's gates (L to R): Pich Sophal, 29; Sophen Leng, 29; Seng Sovirak, 26; Pheakdey Phom, 36; Sem Visal, 26.
When we return to the zone two days after our visit with its CEO, we’re traveling in a tuk-tuk with a translator from the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union—an independent union group.
This time, we’ve come to meet five workers who were dismissed from the Evergreen garment factory inside the zone two years ago. The workers maintain the layoffs were retaliation. “They dismissed all the two unions’ members,” says one worker, Pich Sophal, 29, a former button-hole puncher at Evergreen.
While it is hard to organize anywhere in Cambodia, every independent union member who spoke with In These Times said it is even harder inside an SEZ.
“If the employer knows that I work for or am affiliated with the union, it means they will find any means to dismiss me,” says Sophen Leng, 29, who worked in Evergreen’s packaging department.
“After I was dismissed from Evergreen, I applied to work in another factory. The first contract is usually a short-term contract. They realized that I had union ties and dismissed me when the contract expired.”
Ou Tepphallin, deputy head of the Cambodian Food and Service Workers’ Federation, told us that SEZs also pose a challenge to independent unions simply by walling off workers.
“It’s not easy for a union leader or activist to go inside,” she says. “To coordinate [with workers], we need to make an appointment.” Even intercepting them after work is difficult, she says, because special buses wait outside the SEZ to take them to their homes.
Firing workers for organizing is illegal in Cambodia. So is hindering organizing efforts. In These Times identified eight multinationals whose products are reportedly made in Cambodian SEZs, including PPSEZ and Manhattan SEZ. Six, including Apple and Puma, have corporate codes of conduct supporting union rights.
Asked if they were aware of these apparent legal violations—and, now that they had been made aware, what they would do—only two responded by deadline. Skechers wrote that it complies with the factory operation guidelines of the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America, which affirm the right to unionize. But it did not address any specific labor violations, and would neither confirm nor deny whether it manufactured goods in the Manhattan SEZ, as its profile on the GMAC website indicates. Levi Strauss denied that it sources products from SEZs, although a PPSEZ jeans factory lists Dockers, a Levi Strauss subsidiary, as a buyer.
Union-free by design
According to a source in civil society consulted by lawmakers in the planning stages of the 2005 SEZ Act, the Cambodian government was initially trying to carve out exemptions from labor law. The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, tells In These Times that lawyers “were approached by the Ministry of Commerce for technical advice and one of the things was, well, how can we make the zones union-free?”
Tola Moeun, executive director of the Center for Alliance of Labor and Human Rights, also in Phnom Penh, confirms the government was planning to exempt the zones from labor law: “No freedom of association, no freedom for collective bargaining and so on. No right to strike. But after the reaction from the unions, from the development partners, from the import countries—like Europe and the U.S. and so on—then the government stepped back their plan.”
Instead, with strict control of who can enter an SEZ and impunity for organizer layoffs, it seems Cambodia simply made them de facto union-free.
81 cents an hour
The obstacles to organizing have not stopped the rise of worker militancy in Cambodia. The main complaint is not working conditions—though some unions have demanded things like fans and clean water—but rather, low wages.
At the end of 2013, thousands of workers joined a national strike to demand a minimum wage increase from $85 to $160 a month. The government eventually increased the wage to $140 to staunch the uprising.
Sin Rlot, 39, a packaging worker, meets with organizers at a cafe just outside the walls of Manhattan SEZ on April 9.
One of the main foes of a higher minimum wage is the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC). In GMAC’s Phnom Penh offices, In These Times met with its famously irascible Secretary General Ken Loo, who believes the new minimum wage of $140 a month (which, for a 40-hour work week, works out to about 81 cents an hour) has already blunted foreign investment. The numbers indicate otherwise: According to World Bank data, foreign direct investment in Cambodia dipped slightly in 2013, then rose back to previous levels. The figures are not yet out for 2016, the year the wage hike went into effect.
“I don’t believe in a minimum wage; I believe in market forces,” says Loo. “Hardworking workers … could be earning a lot more, but … they have to subsidize the lazy bums.” He declined to say how much he is paid.
The so-called lazy bums tell a different story. “$140 a month is not enough for us, but we still do [it],” says Sokha Khan, a 36-year-old garment worker who supports her husband and children. Other workers tell In These Times that $140 a month is enough to cover one person’s living expenses, but not a family’s.
“If there was a union inside the factory, it would be good because we could demand something,” Sokha says.
It’s no accident that women are 95 percent of Cambodia’s SEZ workers. The Asian Development Bank, which promotes SEZs in the region, made explicit the logic of hiring women in a 2015 report: “It is said that females possess the nimble fingers and patience with routine tasks required by the labor-intensive processes generally occurring in the zones and that they are also less likely than males to strike or disrupt production in other ways.”
That logic does not always hold.
Unorganized labor, wildcat strikes
A four-hour drive east from Phnom Penh and across the Mekong River, on Cambodia’s eastern border with Vietnam, sits the region of Bavet. This area was the among the most bombarded in Operation Menu, the secret 1969-1970 campaign in which the United States dropped a greater tonnage of bombs than it had on Japan during the whole of World War II.
Now Bavet’s lush fields and wide roads are home to three huge SEZs. The Manhattan SEZ opened in 2006 and has been at the epicenter of worker actions—violent and nonviolent—ever since. There are no independent unions inside its gates, and without any organized channel for worker unrest, the place is a powder keg. We get through the gates by mentioning the name of the managing director of the SEZ whom we had emailed. He’s not there, but it’s enough.
Inside, workers walk down a long thoroughfare that cuts through the SEZ, some to take their lunch break outside, others on their way home. Everyone we stop is reluctant to speak—about their work, unions or the recent militant actions.
This conversation with Daly Cayva, a 34-year-old garment worker, was a typical one:
“Where do you work?”
“A garment factory.”
“How much do you get paid a month?”
“Between $140 and $150, based on the section I work in.”
“Is that enough to live on?”
“We can say it is affordable.”
“Are you a member of a union?”
“I don’t know about the union.”
“Wouldn’t a union make it better for you—you could get more money?”
“I don’t know about the union here.”
“Is it dangerous to join a union here?”
“I don’t know about that.”
“Is it dangerous for you to talk?”
“It is hot and I have to go home.”
Ath Thorn, president of the Cambodian Labor Confederation, is not surprised that no one wants to talk about unions. In February 2012, three women were shot at a protest for higher wages in the Manhattan SEZ. The incident happened in front of the Taiwanese-owned Kaoway Sports factory, whose clients include Puma. Since then, Thorn says, “They are really strict. Now they do not allow our union to organize over there.”
But making independent organizing impossible has had unintended results. “From time to time, this zone is very interesting,” says Thorn. “If they want to increase their salary, they mobilize without a leader and join together. If they want to do something now, they will strike in the whole zone. But when we are not allowed easy access inside, it’s not managed there, so violence happens during every protest.”
As worker grievances have fewer avenues of expression, and government crackdowns get harsher, many predict more explosions of frustration. Warehousing workers within walls only works for so long.
The poster child for SEZs
Although China didn’t open its first SEZ until 1980, its zones are among the most famous. Today, China contains as many as 40 million—almost two-thirds—of the world’s SEZ workers.
The Shenzhen SEZ, in southern China along the border with Hong Kong, was the country’s first. It was opened in 1980 by the leader of the Communist Party, Deng Xiaoping, as the leading edge of his sweeping economic reforms. Jonathan Bach notes that Shenzhen always had different ambitions than most SEZs: It was “more about importing particular ideas about the market and labor and capital, and using those ideas to influence the rest of the country.”
At the time, Shenzhen was a relatively small tract of land carved out of an otherwise rural area devoted to farming and fishing. Shenzhen has since expanded to cover almost 800 square miles. The megacity’s total economic output is equivalent to or greater than that of Ireland or Vietnam. Its tens of thousands of factories have produced millions of iPhones, handbags, jeans and more for export around the world.
Ath Thorn, president of the Cambodian Labor Confederation, at the offices of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers' Democratic Union on April 5.
In 2010, Shenzhen celebrated its 30th birthday with fanfare and fireworks. China’s President Hu Jintao traveled to the city and hailed it as “a miracle.” Many of the policies pioneered there, like short-term labor contracts and performance-based wages, have since been rolled out nationwide. The SEZ model has been credited with driving China’s industrialization and explosive, manufacturing-based economic growth.
To entice foreign investors into Shenzhen, the central government gave the zone the power to set its own tax and other business incentives. But Shenzhen had something else to offer foreign firms looking for cheap places to make their products: a labor force of millions of migrants from rural China.
China’s hukou system of household registration, introduced in the late 1950s to curb urbanization, severely curtails these migrants’ rights. Hukou ties access to services, such as subsidized healthcare and education, to place of permanent residency. Migrant workers can rarely get that place altered.
To supply factories with a constant stream of labor, migrant workers were issued temporary resident permits—but only if they had a job. With their legal residency tied to their employer, losing their job meant exile—or a risky, undocumented existence. Anita Chan, a researcher at Australian National University, likens Shenzhen under the hukou system of the 1990s to apartheid in South Africa under the pass system.
Some factory bosses devised strategies to tighten the screws, requiring workers to pay “security deposits,” or seizing their identity documents. Many workers lived in housing tied directly to employment, in what Pun Ngai, a professor at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, has called a “dormitory labor regime.”
In the 1990s and early 2000s, Shenzhen became almost synonymous with sweatshop globalization, with reports of workers toiling incredibly long hours in unsafe factories to make things like Mickey Mouse books, Teletubbies and Reeboks. Wages were not necessarily lower inside the SEZ, but conditions were often dire. Mandatory and unpaid overtime were commonplace.