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Los Angeles public schools open doors to ‘corporate brand identity’

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This algebraic equation, brought to you by Coca-Cola?

Absurd as it may sound, that will soon be a figurative reality for many students in Los Angeles county, as public school officials there have announced a plan to solicit corporate sponsorship to help grow their budgets and retain staff.

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In a unanimous vote, the board decided yesterday to allow “corporate brand identity” proliferation throughout the facilities of the Los Angeles Unified School District. The district’s policy would allow corporate donors to earmark what programs they’d like their money to support, be they sports, arts or academic.

While not the first school district to do so, Los Angeles is certainly the largest, according to The New York Times. The move comes amid one of the state’s worst budget crises ever.

The discussion of private money being diverted to aid public schools is not a new one and is not without controversy, but there are reasonable advocates on both sides of the issue.

When two Sheboygan, Wisconsin high schools changed the names of their cafeteria kitchens to “the Kohler Credit Union kitchens” in 2006, critics lined up to attack the plan as indicative of America’s social decline. But the schools took in $45,000 for the re-namings, according to USA Today, and promptly put the cafeterias up for sponsorship next at $300,000 apiece.

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That translated into more teachers, higher salaries and newer books, supporters said.

Similar words were echoed by Los Angeles school board members, according to the Times.

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“This is really our way to be responsive to that reality; we need to look for other sources of revenue,” Melissa Infusino, the district’s partnerships director, was quoted as saying. “As uncomfortable as it may be for folks, it’s less comfortable to get rid of programs or go through more layoffs.”

The board also agreed to shorter summers, with students leaving classes on June 1 and starting again on Aug. 15.

Los Angeles public schools served nearly 700,000 students in the 2007-2008 season, according to district figures.

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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Trump-loving “hate group” leader struggles to defend chauvinism during CNN interview on Portland chaos

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Portland, Oregon on Saturday was the scene of another far-right mobilization by groups such as the Proud Boys and Patriot Prayer.

CNN's Sara Sidner interviewed Enrique Tarrio, who succeeded Gavin McInnes as the chairman of the Proud Boys. The group is listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Tarrio had traveled from Miami to take part in the far-right rally in Portland and appeared to be wearing body armor.

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‘Go back to Harlem!’: Florida woman has n-word laced meltdown after bumping black woman’s shopping cart

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On Saturday, the Atlanta Black Star reported an incident in Florida, in which a white woman screamed racial slurs at a black woman at a Publix supermarket in Miami after their shopping carts jostled each other.

After the woman allegedly banged into Nicki Johnson's cart, she refused to apologize, saying, "I didn't hit you with my cart, and f**k you,  you f**king n****r."

Johnson whipped out her cell phone camera, and began recording the incident, saying "You, why don't you call me a n****r again?"

"You thinking I'm sorry?" snapped the woman. "Let me tell you something, I don't have to call you anything. Get away from me, I will call security and there are surveillance videos. Get away from me!"

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‘I’m a nurse, what are you?’: Tennessee lawmaker humiliates anti-choice activists in brutal public grilling

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Anti-choice activists in Tennessee were unprepared for the grilling they got from a Democratic Party lawmaker when making the case for a bill that would outlaw abortion before many women knew they were pregnant.

One of the speakers in favor of the fetal heartbeat bill was Baptist Pastor Randy Davis, who was questioned by state Sen. Katrina Robinson (D-Memphis).

"How many women executive pastors do you have in your convention?" Robinson asked Davis. "Or senior pastors."

"None," Davis replied.

"So is it the same ideology that restricts access to women being able to lead a congregation that leads you all to support women not being able to make a medical decision about their body?" Robinson asked.

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