Doris Fisher, who is a KIPP Charter School founder, and her sons (Robert, John, and William) are currently using their money to dismantle the public school system in San Francisco and take public land in Oakland. The main people affected by the Fisher’s privatization are low-income minorities.
The billionaire Fisher family from San Francisco is part of a dark money group known as “Americans for Job Security” that supported Republicans with millions of dollars in the 2010 midterm elections and the 2012 presidential election. Other prominent donors to the fund include right-wing supporter, Charles Schwab, who has donated significant funds to back Donald Trump and pay Trump’s legal fees, as well as the DeVos family. Betsy DeVos, Donald Trump’s Secretary of Education, is well known for her strong support of the charter school movement across the country.
This month, KIPP sued the already cash strapped San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD), with officials stating that they want more space at Malcolm X Academy, a K-5 public school in San Francisco. In 2018, KIPP Bayview Elementary began appropriating space for transitional kindergarten and now seeks to overtake more space for second, third, and eventually fourth grade classes, a move that takes resources from students at Malcolm X. Malcolm X Academy is a school historically devoted to serving low-income students (95% of the school population), including African American, Latinos and Pacific Islanders. Like other charter schools, KIPP drains the public school system, depleting funds and physical space for students most in need at Malcolm X.
Both the Black Lives Matter and the NAACP have raised alarms about charter school growth in California and elsewhere, emphasizing how charter privatization of schools in the US is a deep problem for social justice.
In the meantime, Doris Fisher’s son John is head of a movement to turn the Port of Oakland into thousands of $1 million dollar condos to finance a project known as the Howard Terminal Project. That project includes construction of a new ballpark for the Oakland A’s. John Fisher owns the A’s. The Port of Oakland includes miles of waterfront property with public parks traditionally serving Oakland, a city and community with a large minority population.
The Juneteenth event in Oakland this coming Friday 6/19 is devoted to stopping police terror and ending systemic racism, as well as to stopping privatization of our public spaces, including the Port of Oakland. Racism is about physical violence to human bodies. But it is also about the insidious ways in which the wealthy steal land and resources from minority populations.