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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 9/4/21

Selling Her Political Soul For Charter Schools

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"Women know less than men about political issues, economics, and current events." - Larry Elder

According to a lawsuit that Gloria Romero filed against Scholarship Prep charter schools, the former California State Senator has personal experience with gender discrimination in the workplace. During a meeting that I had with her last year, she explained how she had been forced from her position at the charter chain she helped found due to what she called "gender bias." According to her description, she had been warned against being "too bossy" with those she was managing and when she did not tone it down she was removed from her leadership role. She was firm in her stance that a male with the same management style would not have been criticized and that she had been discriminated against for being a powerful woman.

'Top California Dem'? She has been out of office for almost a decade
'Top California Dem'? She has been out of office for almost a decade
(Image by Gloria Romero)
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Given this experience, I was surprised to read this week that Romero made national news by endorsing Larry Elder in the September 14 recall election. Her chosen candidate has denied the existence of the glass ceiling and claimed that "women exaggerate the problem of sexism." Does Romero feel that she is exaggerating her case against Scholarship Prep? Does she agree with his recent assertion that the "government should not be intruding into the relationship between employer and employee"? This would seem to indicate that he feels that Romero should not be asking the court system to order her former employer to pay her for the damages that she says that she has suffered.

On her Twitter page, Romero refers to herself as a "Feminist." This seems inconsistent with the endorsement of a man who says that "hell, yes" there are "legitimate business reasons for a venture capitalist to ask a female entrepreneur whether and when she intends to have children". In fact, he says that "regular ol' employers" should ask the same question as a way to protect their investment.

If a woman does not "intend" to get pregnant, but does accidentally find herself in that predicament, Elder's ultra-libertarian views suddenly disappear. While he believes that the government should not get involved in protecting people from discrimination, he does feel that it has a place in regulating women's bodies. He has said that states should have the right to outlaw abortion, which he believes should be classified as "murder," and has called Roe vs. Wade "one of the worst decisions that the Supreme Court ever handed down."

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Elder appears to feel that Romero, as a mother who once held a powerful position, either sacrificed her responsibilities to her child or to her office. He is quoted as criticizing a female governor with children by saying that "to tell women they can run a state, have family and children, and be equally attentive to all - is a lie." It is unclear why he believes that fathers can balance these responsibilities.

Romero says that she is endorsing Elder because "I believe in charter schools and school choice; so does Larry Elder, but not Gavin Newsom." Her willingness to put her feminist values aside might seem a little more logical if Newsom was an outspoken critic of charter schools, but he has never shown himself to be a die-hard supporter of public schools. During the gubernatorial campaign, he declared himself to be agnostic on the issue of charter schools. In fact, supporters of charter schools are among the largest financial supporters of the campaign against the recall effort.

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Romero's support of a Trump-Republican like Elder should not come as a surprise to anyone. One only has to look at her Twitter feed to understand how ingrained she is in the culture of right-wing conspiracy theories. Like Nick Melvoin and Kelly Gonez on the LAUSD School Board, she calls herself a Democrat because there is no way that she could have been elected in her district as a Republican. The truth is that there is little difference between the education policies that any of these career politicians promote and those of Betsy DeVos. Out of office for almost a decade, Romero now has the benefit of not having to pretend to care about other Democratic values.

Carl Petersen is a parent advocate for students with special education needs and public education. He is an elected member of the Northridge East Neighborhood Council and serves as the Education Chair. As a Green Party candidate in LAUSD's District 2 School Board race, he was endorsed by Network for Public Education (NPE) Action. Dr. Diane Ravitch has called him "a valiant fighter for public schools in Los Angeles." For links to his blogs, please visit Opinions are his own.

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Carl Petersen is a parent, an advocate for students with special education needs, an elected member of the Northridge East Neighborhood Council, a member of the LAUSD's CAC, and was a Green Party candidate in LAUSD's District 2 School Board race. During the campaign, the Network for Public Education (NPE) Action endorsed him, and Dr. Diane Ravitch called him a " (more...)

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