Major changes could come to L.A. schools after charter school movement's big win
Supporters of charter schools appeared to win control of the Los Angeles school board Tuesday, a watershed moment with huge implications for how students are taught in America’s second-largest school district.
The charter school movement has long been a major force in Los Angeles school circles. But the victory Tuesday night by pro-charter forces — who dramatically outspent rivals in what was the most expensive election in school board history — gives them the opportunity to reshape the district.
The election marks a defeat for teacher union forces, who have long been a power center in L.A. school politics. With their new majority, charter school backers can press their campaign to expand such schools across the city. Charter forces have long been critical of how the LAUSD is run. Now they will have to show they can steer the massive, often frustrating, bureaucracy better.
Some key takeaways:
1) More charter schools for L.A.?
L.A. Unified has more charters and more charter students than any other school system, but they still account for only about 16% of enrollment. With a majority on the board, charter forces could significantly increase those numbers.
Easier to open more charter schools: A charter-majority school board would most likely put up less resistance to new charter schools and could make it easier for existing charters to have their five-year operating agreements renewed. Charters also could get increased access to district-owned classrooms and to school construction money controlled by L.A. Unified.
Charter supporters say these schools offer high-quality choices to parents whose neighborhood campuses are plagued by low student achievement and other problems. Charters have proved popular with many parents and some have waiting lists.
Charter critics question the claims of success and assert that the loss of students (and the funding that comes with them) imperils the ability of the district to offer full services to parents of children in traditional schools, including those with moderate to severe disabilities.
Big push for more charters: This debate comes at a critical time.
Charter backers, including philanthropist Eli Broad, in 2015 circulated an ambitious, confidential $490-million plan to place half of the city's students into charter schools over the next six years.
They later said that plan, which was disclosed by The Times, had been just a draft for discussion purposes. Still, more of the pieces now are in place for rapid charter expansion.Major changes could come to L.A. schools after charter school movement's big win - LA Times: