Pro-charter school philanthropic group says it will give to traditional schools too, but not yet
The Los Angeles-based Great Public Schools Now announced on Thursday that its first batch of grants totaling $4.5 million would go to a charter school, an after-school program and the teacher preparation program Teach for America.
The group took over a proposal that came to light last year to double the number of charter schools in Los Angeles. L.A. philanthropist Eli Broad promoted the plan. But at the grant announcement, the group’s leaders said non-charter schools will also benefit from its private philanthropy.
“Regardless of whether they are charter schools or pilots or magnets or traditional district schools, if it’s working, we will be there to support,” said Myrna Castrejon, director of Great Public Schools Now.
The group is planning to fund education efforts in ten L.A.-area neighborhoods, including Boyle Heights, Pico Union, and the city of South Gate. Residents of these areas, the group said, are low income while schools have high drop out rates and low test scores.
Funding will go towards community outreach and engagement, training teachers and administrators, finding and building school facilities, and replicating successful schools.
The group is raising funds from individuals and groups. Donors include the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, the W.M. Keck Foundation, and the Walton Family Foundation. Great Public Schools Now is not saying how much it has raised, nor will it say which individuals are donating to the effort.
The initial $4.5 million in grants will be split by the L.A. charter school Equitas, the L.A. branch of Teach for America – which places beginning teachers in charter and public schools – and the after school program Heart of L.A., which serves traditional and charter school students in L.A.’s MacArthur Park area. All three will use the funds to help grow their programs.
The group’s promotion of charter schools has been criticized by United Teachers Los Angeles and L.A. Unified’s school board president. Both said an increase in charter schools would siphon students and money that could lead to the school district’s bankruptcy.
Teachers union officials said they don't see the group’s goal to include of traditional Pro-charter school philanthropic group says it will give to traditional schools too, but not yet | 89.3 KPCC: