Tuesday, June 20, 2017

New LA school board member says his election was not about ‘the proliferation of charters’ | EdSource

New LA school board member says his election was not about ‘the proliferation of charters’ | EdSource:

New LA school board member says his election was not about 'the proliferation of charters'



he May runoff election for two seats on the Los Angeles Unified District school board has resulted in a new majority backed by charter school advocates.  In addition to incumbent Monica Garcia, who won re-election in March, the two new board members who won in the May runoff are 28-year-old Kelly Gonez and 31-year-old Nick Melvoin. Both will join the board in July.  
As a public service, EdSource is publishing an edited transcript of interviews we conducted with both of them about their priorities. Despite charter school advocates spending millions of dollars on their behalf through independent expenditure committees, both candidates say they will not be pushing for a significant expansion of charter schools in the district. Below is our interview with Nick Melvoin, who previously taught at L.A. Unified’s Markham Middle School and Loyola Marymount University, and was director of policy at Great Public Schools in Los Angeles. The interview was conducted on May 18, before the current board voted to extend Superintendent Michelle King’s contract to 2020. 
EdSource: Can people expect to see a major increase in charter schools in LAUSD as a result of this new board majority? 
Melvoin: I think people can expect to see an amplification of what works in public education and a replication. I was an LAUSD teacher, I obviously was supported by charter supporters, but we were very clear with our messaging from the start that this wasn’t about the proliferation of charters. It was not about an artificial number of new charters. It was about looking at what works within the district and replicating that. I don’t think districts like LAUSD have learned lessons from the charter movement the way that it was initially intended. I’ll ask charter principals, “Has the district come and asked what’s working and how to replicate it?” They laugh, as if that’s a crazy question, given the political climate. I’d like to see an increase in schools that are serving kids. I’m much less interested in whether that is a district school or a charter or a magnet school. I’d like to see us cross-pollinate, New LA school board member says his election was not about ‘the proliferation of charters’ | EdSource: 

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