Why Would LAUSD Intentionally Want to Mislead Parents When it Comes to School Choice?

As a graduate of a district school, the mother of a LAUSD-charter school student and a community activist, I can’t believe LAUSD would spend millions of dollars and lots of staff time to create an application process for parents that would intentionally keep parents from having all the information they need about public schools in their community. The new process excludes Charter Schools. Why would LAUSD want to mislead parents?

Yesterday, Education Week reported that Detroit and Los Angeles are creating single application systems for school choice for parents and students. However, Los Angeles is excluding charter schools.

Because I am both a survivor of LAUSD and someone who has worked hard to improve the district, so students can succeed, I shouldn’t be surprised that they would be so backwards to believe that it would be okay to keep parents from having information about what school choices they have available.

LAUSD tried to justify the new application process by stating that it will improve their internal process. But that shouldn’t be the focus. Public school systems need to be focused on how they can better communicate with parents—and that involves including information on charter schools that LAUSD deemed strong enough to approve.

You can’t claim that you want parents to have information about public schools for parents and not include information about charter schools when they are such an important part of the school system here. Many of the charters are where people cannot afford to pay private school tuition. These families really do not have other options that people who pay for private schools have.

This is about the tired “us vs. them” mentality that has been around since parents started opting for charter schools. It’s about resources—every time a parent leaves a traditional LAUSD school, about $9,000 a year leaves that school.

When 150,000 Los Angeles parents have chosen charter schools, it is a loud and powerful message: Parents want choices.

They also want information.

Not only does the LAUSD have a responsibility to give parents the necessary information to make choices, they have a responsibility to provide high quality schools so that each and every child receives a great education.

But it is irresponsible to say that LAUSD wants parents to know their school options and then deny them information about them. Do they see charter schools as a threat?

Schools belong to parents, students and other taxpayers who fund our schools. Give us information. All of it. We can handle the truth.

Treat us like human beings who can think for ourselves and make the best decisions for our children. Is LAUSD afraid of us doing so?

What do you think?

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Alma V. Marquez

Alma V. Marquez

Alma V. Marquez is the founder of LaComadre.org and is the founder and CEO of Del Sol Group, a communications and public affairs firm focusing on Strategy, Outreach and Leadership in Education, Voter and Civic Engagement. She specializes in parent education, politics and community organizing. She is a proud product of California public schools. She is a graduate of Huntington Park High School in Southeast LA. She also completed her all of credit recovery classes at Maxine Waters Occupational Center in Watts in order to graduate from high school. She attended East LA College and transferred to Occidental College where she earned a Bachelor's degree in English and Comparative Literary Students and Politics. She earned a Master of Arts Degree in Urban Planning at UCLA. Her daughter is a junior in a charter school, chartered by LAUSD. She decided to start the LA Comadre blog because she wanted to create a platform for Latinas and education.

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