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Public Core is an organization of West Contra Costa County parents, teachers, community members, and school staff who fight for public control and accountability in our schools. We believe that public schools, open to all, are essential to the health of a democratic society. Our goal is high quality, inclusive public education for all students. We believe that the proliferation of privately-operated schools using public money will increase inequalities in education and in our society. We are dedicated to informing the public about the impact of publicly-funded, privately operated schools on our community.

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Education Matters

Education Matters
This organization is a pro-charter political action committee. They have an arrangement with the reporters at the East Bay Times (formerly the Contra Cost Times) to never call them anything but an “advocacy organization” or “a non-profit.” See our Story of Pro-charter Money in the 2014 election for details.

Their paid staff joined forces with the critics of the bond program to demand a > $1 million dollar forensic audit that had cost overruns of its own. The drive behind it was to find potential wrongdoing by a long-gone board member and other staff, most of whom have moved on. Meanwhile, even while the district undertook the audit, a paid Education Matters representative appeared at every board meeting in the 18 months it was happening to use public comment time to refresh accusations of fraud. The final report was met with yawns. All of the recommendations were repeats of recommendations made to the Board in the 2014 and 2015 routine performance audits that cost less than a 10th of the Forensic Audit. To be clear, the role of this Forensic Audit (or any forensic audit) was never more than to (Phase 1) identify processes that put the district at risk, and to (Phase 2) figure out the best ways to modify risky processes going forward.

Interestingly, Education Matters’ concerns about transparency and fiscal stewardship only extend so far as it concerns district schools. They were silent about the secrecy and extra-legal qualities of the potential Adams sale.

Further, while spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in 2014 to support the candidates they think they can control, Education Matters offered tiny grants to public school teachers for their classrooms, and asked for a PR blurb in exchange. While spending almost $400,000 to support charter PACS and candidates in 2016, Education Matters gave a mere $15,000 to help pass Measure T, the critical funding needed for traditional public school students in WCCUSD to pay for libraries, counselors, and sports.

We conclude, based on observing words versus actions, that the role of Education Matters seems to be to cut the district off at its knees, so it can’t serve kids as well as the nearby charter schools.

In 2016, Education Matters held an endorsement meeting to evaluate potential candidates for the two open WCCUSD Board seats for the November 2016 election. The panel, which was dominated by charter interests, which made a recommendation to Steve and Susan Chamberlin, and then Education Matters made an endorsement and a grant of $10,000 each to the two pro-charter candidates.