Monday, July 25, 2016

Tax Spending Without Representation - Change The LAUSD

Tax Spending Without Representation - Change The LAUSD:

Tax Spending Without Representation


-California Charter School Association
As Eli Broad prepares to implement his plan “to reach 50 percent charter market share” within the LAUSD, now is the time for Angelenos to begin asking what this privately controlled system would look like. While Broad claims that his takeover of public education will bring an “expansion of high-quality charter schools in Los Angeles,” is there any proof that existing charter schools have reached this standard of excellence? Do charter schools help to “ensure that no Los Angeles student remains trapped in a low-performing school,” or would this expanded network of publicly funded private schools continue to cherry-pick the easiest to teach students who are more likely to increase their school’s reported test scores. Most importantly, do these schools actually want “parents [who] are effectively engaged” or will their right to elect representatives to the governing boards be revoked once these schools are established?
The LAUSD “already has more than 200 charters, the most of any school system in the country,” which provides plenty of examples of how these types of schools are operated and what should be expected from Broad’s private school district. One example is Granada Hills Charter High School (GHCHS), which bills itself as “the largest single education reform effort in the country.” The school shows its willingness to play loose with statistics when it says that it “serves nearly 4,500 families.” The official school profile states that it only has 4,300 students, so unless it bans siblings from attending the school together, the claim of 4,500 families seems to be exaggerated.
While the California Department of Education reports that the LAUSD has164,349 English Learners or 25.4% of its total enrollment of 646,683 students, GHCHS has 146 or 3.4% of its population. This is down from the  291 English learners it served when it converted to a charter in 2003. The California Charter School Association says that “charter schools understand their responsibility to serve all students and are committed to serving students with exceptional needs.” GHCHS serves 301 of these students, or 7% of its population, including those with 504 plans, who usually “spend the entire day in a general education classroom,” but require an accommodation to deal with a disability. By comparison, the LAUSD serves 82,759 special education students or 12.7% of its total population. GHCHS is also run by a governing board that is no longer democratically elected and, therefore, does not give parents, teachers or community members a formal say in how the school operates.
When GHCHS was first converted from a LAUSD run school to a charter it was done so with the promise of allowing the “community to be more actively involved.” In its first charter renewal application, it was able to legitimately state that its “governing structure is designed to foster participation by all stakeholders,” as these stakeholders were represented on a democratically elected governing board. As described in their charter, this board consisted ofTax Spending Without Representation - Change The LAUSD: