Thursday, July 6, 2017

New LAUSD board has its first meeting today, with charter school backers in the driver's seat - LA Times

New LAUSD board has its first meeting today, with charter school backers in the driver's seat - LA Times:

New LAUSD board has its first meeting today, with charter school backers in the driver's seat



After the most expensive school board election in U.S. history, charter school backers on Thursday will formally assemble their first-ever majority on the Los Angeles Board of Education with a mixture of high expectations and significant challenges.
Charter forces for years have criticized the mammoth school district as blocking needed reforms, pandering to employee groups and simply failing to significantly improve the education of L.A. students. Now, they will be in their best position ever to bring about change, and that brings both pressure and opportunity.
Near the top of the pro-charter agenda is likely to be an easier process for approving new schools and renewing existing charters, which advocates have long decried as too difficult. They also want charters to take over more space on district-owned campuses.
Some hardcore charter backers have favored a more radical agenda: a massive charter school expansion or even using charters as the vehicle to dismantle the school system entirely.

A closely watched agenda


But the new board, which meets for the first time Thursday, must also confront familiar limitations, including vastly underfunded retiree health benefits and steep increases in mandatory payments to state pension funds. Like the old board, this one still has a traditional school district to run, the second-largest in the nation. And continued charter growth exacerbates district finances, because when students exit the district, they carry with them state and federal funding.
For better or worse, the district bureaucracy, which at times has fought to limit the growth of charters, remains entrenched. The outgoing board helped see to this in June with a contract extension for Supt. Michelle King.
“If the charter school advocates’ expectations are to simply increase market share and create a deregulated environment for themselves, they will be disappointed, and they should be,” said Charles Kerchner, professor emeritus and senior research fellow at Claremont Graduate University’s School of Educational Studies. “The big issue is whether the new ‘reform’ board continues what I’ve called the Charter School War or ends the war and claims the very large peace dividend.”
Kerchner suggested a new, nonpartisan goal: “How to design a 21st century school system New LAUSD board has its first meeting today, with charter school backers in the driver's seat - LA Times:

Latest News and Comment from Education

LATEST NEWS AND COMMENT FROM EDUCATION

LATEST NEWS AND COMMENT FROM EDUCATION
EduBloggers