The Governor’s Task Force Report on Charter Schools Does Not #FixFailingSchoolsFirst

This week we got to see the report provided by the team assembled by Governor Newson after the LAUSD teacher strike and demand by the UTLA to take up the issue at the state level, or else.    

The first problem I noted was right at the beginning under the section entitled,  “Background” and reading it actually made me cringe because the task force seemed to adopt as facts that charter public schools take resources and money from traditional public schools. This is a fallacy.  How can public dollars for education be siphoned by another public institution? These are shared resources established for public education. Come on, this is not a difficult concept! After getting past that initial gut punch, I managed to get through the rest of the very straight forward report.

Basically, the task force got together several times within a very short period (between March 2019- May 2019 for 3-5 hours per week). They set a few topics then voted on some they felt were a priority to come up with their recommendations. There are four of these recommendations.

The big recommendations are:

  1. Providing school districts more discretion when authorizing charter schools, including taking “saturation” into account;
  2. Extend the timeline by 30 days for school boards to approve/deny new charter school petitions, create a statewide entity (bureaucracy) to develop standards used by authorizers for providing oversight to charter schools as well as an entity to provide training for authorizers;
  3. Include children transferring into charter schools in the Education Code provision to “hold harmless” for one year to account for net loss average of ADA (includes reimbursing schools for loss of ADA);
  4. Eliminates the CDE (California Department of Education) overseer responsibilities for charter schools approved by the State Board of Education.

Other items of consensus were the following:

  • Limiting the grounds for county offices of education to hear appeals of charter school denials;
  • Eliminating the right to the second level of appeal to the State Board of Education;
  • Allowing, for the first time, school boards to consider the financial impact that a charter school would have on a district. Along with the loss of state funding from students leaving to charters, the districts could consider other factors, including the disproportionate impact of charter schools on the district’s special education costs, the inability to proportionally reduce staffing and building costs, charter oversight expenses and costs from “marketing in a newly competitive environment;”
  • Prohibiting districts from approving charter schools that would be located outside of the district;
  • Enacting a one-year moratorium on the establishment of online or “virtual” charter schools, but not on other charter schools.                                                                                            

So, that in a nutshell is what the task force came up with. I am still left wondering where is the task force to #FIXFAILINGSCHOOLSFIRST.

The task force members are:

  • Cristina de Jesus, president and chief executive officer, Green Dot Public Schools California.
  • Dolores Duran, California School Employees Association.
  • Margaret Fortune, California Charter Schools Association board chair; Fortune School of Education, president & CEO.
  • Lester Garcia, political director, SEIU Local 99.
  • Alia Griffing, political director, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 57.
  • Beth Hunkapiller, educator and administrator, Aspire Public Schools.
  • Erika Jones, board of directors, California Teachers Association.
  • Ed Manansala, superintendent, El Dorado County and board president, California County Superintendents Educational Services Association.
  • Cindy Marten, superintendent, San Diego Unified School District.
  • Gina Plate, vice president of special education, California Charter Schools Association.
  • Edgar Zazueta, senior director, policy & governmental relations, Association of California School Administrators.
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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