Information You Need to Have Before You Hit the Polls or the Ballot in the May 16 LAUSD School Board Race

A few key things: One, The California Department of Education (CDE) published its Golden Ribbon Schools list. On the list, you will find that charter schools in LAUSD are quite prominently represented. Two, US News just released its National High School Rankings for 2017. Again, on this list you will find that not only were charter schools represented extremely well throughout the nation, but particularly in California and specifically in LAUSD.  And three, graduation rates have increased at LAUSD, largely in part because of the high percentage of graduates from, you guessed it, charter schools. None of this is my or anyone’s opinion. This is verifiable data. Additionally, graduates from charter schools have a higher UC acceptance rate as well.  Take a look at the numbers for LAUSD.  In case you choose not to click on the hyperlink, here is part of what you’d find.

“In Los Angeles Unified, charter students apply at a rate that is 7.3% higher than traditional schools and get admitted at a rate that is 4.8% higher. Charter schools in LA also perform 2.6% higher than charter schools across the state.

Why does this happen? Why do charters in Los Angeles perform better than those across the state?

I think the reason comes down to one set of schools: Alliance College Ready Public Schools is a beast when it comes to UC admittance. 29% of their students get admitted to UCs. And their success is consistent – all of their schools are above a 14% admittance rate. Without Alliance, the LAUSD Charter admittance lowers from 19.5% to 17%, which would essentially be a similar result to the statewide level.”

We cannot ignore and not consider the findings at a national level, which conclude that the charter school phenomenon is not just within LAUSD, but nationally.  Kids are thriving all over the nation.    

“U.S. News & World Report released their annual rankings of the best public high schools in the country, of which nine of the top 10 schools are charter schools, including California’s very own Pacific Collegiate Charter in Santa Cruz which was ranked number 10 in the nation and number 1 in California. California charter public high schools represented nearly 20 percent of the rankings’ 2,600 schools.”

So, it seems true enough that “The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) is home to the strongest performing charter school network in California, and perhaps in the nation.” In fact, 24% of the students enrolled in LAUSD attend charter schools.

And again, what is a charter school?  Charter schools are simply tuition free, public schools of choice that serve all students. It seems easy enough to understand and support this concept.  But it hasn’t been. Despite these great gains and student success, LAUSD still has board members that insist on keeping the issue political and divisive. Many are simply unable to find the courage to stand up for students rather than the political organizations that support their candidacy.  

It’s time to support the kind of people that support student success, no matter what school they attend. That can only be said of candidates who support quality education and more specifically those candidates who support charter schools. The same cannot be said about candidates who are put up by the very anti-charter school people. When you have a union, in this case UTLA, constantly trying to control everything the board member does, it becomes impossible to be a champion of education.

Let me give you a recent example. Sunday night, a forum between candidates for District 4 was held.  During that forum, Board President Zimmer expressed his support for charter schools.  But is he? Has he been? The answer is no.  You cannot say out of one side of your mouth that you support something while out of the other you have been plotting to investigate, interfere with, and actively trying to sabotage charter schools.  This kind of doublespeak is insulting.

The answer is simple. We need school board members who support traditional schools and will fight to improve them. We need school board members who support charter schools that have proven their track record for years. Essentially, vote for board members that truly want to represent kids and education!  

We have seen that candidates who are beholden to CTA are not allowed to have a positive opinion of schools that are succeeding if they happen to be a charter school. Let’s just wrap our minds around that notion for a moment. Admitting that charter schools are producing results in Los Angeles is not allowed, or else these leaders face the wrath of UTLA!  

So this May, take that factor out of the equation. The Board of Education is there to implement policy and promote policies that are both fiscally prudent and that provide positive outcomes for kids. Look at the undeniable data. Traditional schools are falling short. We need more accountability from traditional schools to really understand why that is. Stop ordering audits of and investigations of schools like the districts most effective and successful, Alliance College-Ready Public Schools and instead work to see how their success can be replicated in other high schools.

Time to face the reality that the findings in these recent lists and achievements have a common theme: charter schools are outperforming (in many areas) traditional schools and are leading the way.  And well, we all know that saying…lead, follow or get out the way!
Vote may 16th, 2017 like your kids future depends on it!

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Leticia Chavez-Garcia

Leticia Chavez-Garcia

Leticia Chavez-Garcia is a Mother, Grandmother, former Middle School Teacher, former Member of a School Board of Education and an Education Advocate for hundreds of parents and students in the Inland Empire. Having become a mother at 15, Leticia knows what it’s like to be a single mother trying to navigate the education system. Leticia received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Political Science and Public Administration from California Baptist University and a Masters’ Degree in Education Technology from Cal State Fullerton in her 30’s. Leticia has used her knowledge and experience to help hundreds of families as an Education Advocate in the Inland Empire and currently works as an Education Specialist.

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