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Friday, May 9, 2014

John Gooding: A Serious Person Presents a Serious Idea for the Emery School District

What Ideas Get Taken Seriously at 
Emery School District? 

Busting the Teacher's Union

Closing Schools

Quashing Citizen Dissent

And Now, 
Preparing Students to be Good Worker Bees

The School District here in Emeryville has to play the role of editor.  With all the various sundry and disparate ideas floating around for how best to teach our children, their job is to edit out the ideas not worthy of consideration and implement the good ones.  This is Step One in public education policy.  Unfortunately they've never publicly explained what they think constitutes a good idea but they've shown they know good ideas come from 'serious people' (with apologies to the economist Paul Krugman)....  people like Emery Education Fund president John Gooding, a man they've put their stock in over the years.  The School Board listens to John Gooding.
John Gooding: Serious Person (on left).
Serious people do things like present awards
to those who help disseminate serious ideas.
The Board again showed this dynamic when they invited Mr Gooding to impart his wisdom about the proper role of a school district in public education at their April retreat.  The Board and District officials sat enraptured nodding their heads up and down in agreement and back and forth in awe as Mr Gooding alerted them to an education crisis at Emery; the District is dropping the ball, falling short of their charge to produce competent worker bees for the private sector he told them.  Corporations need "workers that can add up a column of figures"  Mr Gooding repeatedly said, warning the assembled Emery power players that graduating seniors are not making the cut.  He went on and on reminding the Board their job is to transform students into workers for the corporate hegemony (to drive down wages).  He spiced up his presentation with a few always popular "for the children" cliches for dramatic effect, a perennial favorite of serious people.

Governor Pete Wilson:
Another Serious Person

Illegal children should
not receive benefit of 

a public education.
John Gooding is a businessman who knows business, he knows what businesses want.  He's a member of the Board of the Emeryville Chamber of Commerce and he lobbies for corporations through his political consulting firm the Quadric Group.  Whether fighting against Measure C, the 2005 initiative providing for a living wage for Emeryville hotel workers or bundling donations for business friendly candidates for Emeryville City Council elections through EmPac, the Chamber of Commerce's political action committee, Mr Gooding has for years devoted himself to making sure Emeryville City Hall works for business.
As the president of Emery Education Fund (EEF), John serves as the intermediary between the schools and the business community, accepting donations and after skimming off some for EEF expenses, doling out the remainder to the schools.  He's thus has made himself invaluable to the schools in Emeryville.
John's created a nice little eco system with this formula (even as high level corporations have not been co-operating recently as they've scaled back their donations to the Ed Fund).

This serious man with his serious policy proscriptions for Emery is the same John Gooding who donated money to California Republican Governor Pete Wilson to help fight for Prop 187, the 1994 initiative that would have denied public education to the children of undocumented immigrants.  It's the same serious man who brought his lofty position of Emeryville power broker to bear against the workers at Emeryville hotels by attempting to keep wages low and workloads harsh.  He warned us at the time that if Measure C passed, if the hospitality corporations had to pay higher wages, Emeryville hotels would leave our town en masse, a prediction that has not come fact a new hotel is opening in 2015.
Regardless of the Measure C loss (loss for the corporate forces, win for the workers), John Gooding has been a good lobbyist for his business clients.  He's continuing to represent their interests now as he uses his powers of persuasion on the Emery School Board.

Another serious person as seen by this School District is the former Superintendent Tony Smith.  Mr Smith, revered by the Board is a well known practitioner of an Oakland pogrom of "cut, shut and charter", a public school disempowerment vision popular at Emery.  Also seen as serious by this Board of course is former Superintendent Debbra Lindo, who believes school teachers are the problem with education and their union must be destroyed (a sentiment shared by Tony Smith).  Non-serious people here would include citizen dissenters and teachers.

John Gooding is serious but he's wrong.  The School Board is wrong.  We'll risk a lawsuit from Mr Gooding (he's threatened us before) to argue for the real reason why we educate our children.  Public school is meant not to produce compliant workers for corporations.  Rather the proper role of public school is to create good citizens; adults who can think critically and who value the joy of learning.  
These are ideas not associated with money, they're not forwarded by the corporate sector, they're not delivered by a serious man, rather they're embraced by what the Emery School District would characterize as the non-serious among us.  But these are ideas we'd like to see taken seriously at Emery Unified School District.


  1. Now is the time for Boss Hog to go. EEF is a firewall between the school's and businesses. Now they want the EUSD to pay for half the salary of another EEF employee so they can do more fundraising. Oh by the way there is a 5% to 10% kickback for each new client they bring to the table. Guess who gets that money? Not EUSD.

  2. There's no conflict between thinking critically, valuing the joy of learning, being good citizens, and learning the class material, (boring as it can sometimes be). It's important that graduates know enough to hold down a job and/or go on to higher education. It's harder now for low performers to get into the military, and street crime leading to imprisonment is a terrible option.

  3. It's accepted that high school graduates that have learned to be good citizens, think critically and love learning will be by definition, good employees, if that's what they want to be. Of course they may not choose to be employees and to them a rich and fulfilling life awaits as well.