A Good Idea

This is an unalloyed good:

  • It makes it more difficult for bad actors, and there are lots of them in the school privatization ecosystem, to loot their schools.
  • It adds a level of accountability to administrators.
  • Since the boards are publicly elected, it means that he proceedings, AND THE FINANCES of Charters must be made available under California’s tough Freedom of Information act.

Needless to say the Wall Street looters making money off of this will scream bloody murder:

Taking aim at the majority of charter schools in the state, the California Democratic Party has included language in its platform declaring that these schools should be overseen by publicly elected boards, in contrast to the self-appointed boards that run most of them.

The new language, adopted at the state party’s annual convention in Long Beach over the weekend, was promoted by the 120,000-member California Federation of Teachers and strengthens an already strongly worded section of the California Democratic Party’s platform on charter schools.

It is especially significant because it comes from a state with by far the largest number of charter schools in the nation, enrolling just over 10 percent of all the state’s public school students. It also underscored the ongoing divisions within the party over charter schools, which have become about one of the most contentious issues on the nation’s education reform agenda.


He said that according to the California education code, charter schools are public schools and therefore “should reflect the communities where we work and serve.” “One of the best ways to reflect the community and be accountable to the community is to be elected by the community,” he said.


The new language also calls for charter schools to adopt “fair labor practices” and respect labor “neutrality.” That means that if charter school teachers and staff want to join a union, school administrators should stay “neutral” and refrain from either supporting or opposing the unionizing effort.

This may be an even bigger deal.  At the core of many school privatization efforts is an attempt to destroy, or at least emasculate, teachers’ unions.

As a result of a bill signed by Gov. Jerry Brown a year ago, California has already banned for-profit charter schools,

I missed this.  It’s a good start.

The California Charter Schools Association, which represents most charter schools in the state and supported the for-profit ban, pushed back against the tougher language in the Democratic Party platform.

Mandy Rice-Davies Applies (MRDA), “Well, they would say that, wouldn’t they?”


But coming just weeks after the California Legislature approved major legislation endorsed by Gov. Gavin Newsom revising the state’s 25-year-old charter school law, it’s unlikely that there’s much appetite in Sacramento for making further major changes, at least in the near term.

There is no reason that charters cannot be subject to the same accountability and same disclosure requirements, as public schools. 

Absent this, they turn into a morass of corruption and self dealing.

H/T Diane Ravitch.

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