Ignoring the Failing Schools in Her District, Senator Durazo Authors Anti-Charter Bill

I used to have respect for labor leader Maria Elena Durazo. I mean she endured all the scandals that her husband, deceased Miguel Contreras caused, up to and including the odd circumstances of his death. She was tough. She also seemed to care about working-class families and the poor. That was then. She recently was elected to the California Senate. Turns out she was quick to throw her people under the bus. Literally.  

Durazo has authored one of the nastiest bills to hit the halls of the state capitol and her own communities and constituents regarding Charter Schools. Ironically, she is attempting to regulate the growth of school choice for parents even though as a parent she herself did not entrust her own children to the public schools in her neighborhood.  So it’s another hypocritical act against Charter Schools, this time from a woman who exercised school choice for her own children (with the means to make that choice parochial school) but clearly doesn’t want the same for yours.

Durazo’s Senate district consists of many of the Los Angeles neighborhoods that have choices in education. It also happens to house some of the district’s persistently failing and lowest-performing schools for decades! Many of those schools were recently highlighted in our List of Shame schools. Durazo’s district includes Boyle Heights, El Sereno, Highland Park, Eagle Rock, Glassell Park, Mt. Washington, Cypress Park, Lincoln Heights, Atwater Village, Elysian Valley, Arlington Heights, Echo Park, Silver Lake, Los Feliz, East Hollywood, Little Armenia, Thai Town, Larchmont, Koreatown, Pico-Union, Westlake-MacArthur Park, Historic Filipinotown, Chinatown, Little Tokyo, Arts District, Civic Center, City Terrace, and East Los Angeles.

So why would this “progressive” champion for the poor working families in her district decide to author SB 756, a bill that ends the establishment of charter schools in California? Does she even realize that her district has hundreds of these failing schools that are not educating the children of the very workers she used to represent? Is she now so out of touch with her district that she would author this regrettable bill? I think she is.  

SB 756  would (among other things) prohibit the establishment of any new Charter School until June of 2024. Here is one example of the ignorance in this bill:

“Statewide and school district charter school caps shall be established that create reasonable limits in order to preserve the viability and success of existing schools of a school district.”

Well, I am so sorry to have to be the one to explain this to Senator Durazo, but the viability and success of existing schools in the state of California are exceedingly neither viable nor successful and particularly in HER district! There are literally hundreds of failing traditional schools in her district. Where is the bill addressing that problem?  Where is the resolution condemning the decades of educational damnation that the children of her district are forced to endure? Where is the bill demanding accountability for the chronically low performing schools in her district and all over California that have been consistently ignored? Where? Is there a plan to fix these failing schools?

I’ll tell you where. Out of sight and out of mind…the same place the rest of the legislators that take CTA money put their concern for kids. And in the case of Durazo, there may even be another motivating factor for her to double down on the dirty way she wants to treat charter schools and the kids in them. That something could point to former State Senator Gloria Romero, who is an education reformer and educator. I am simply asking the question. Is this some kind of vendetta bill?

There is no good reason for Durazo to have authored this bill during a time when there is currently a moratorium and study being conducted by the office of the Governor regarding charter schools.  I know I speak for many when I say that I sincerely hope this bill will be defeated.

What do you think?
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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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