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LAUSD’s Huntington Park Considers Charter School Moratorium

October 14, 2016

Los Angeles is the center of a major push by billionaires Eli Broad and the Waltons to expand the charter school sector.

However, a new, potential complication to the billionaire will for charter schools for non-billionaire children is the sensible idea that public servants might choose to officially put a hold on charter expansion until they can study the issue.

In other words, local officials might vote for charter school moratoriums.

Such is the case in Huntington Park, a city located within the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), as KPCC reports:

The turf war over the expansion of charter schools in the sprawling Los Angeles Unified School District has found an unlikely new battleground that measures exactly 3.1 miles square: the tiny city of Huntington Park.

On Tuesday, city council members there will vote whether to extend a temporary, city-wide moratorium on building new charter schools through early September 2017 — a “timeout” that would give city planning officials an additional 10 months and 15 days to study whether and how to allow new campuses to locate in a small city already packed with 22 schools.

As one might expect, the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) doesn’t like the idea. CCSA is known for fabricated “grass roots” support in favor of charter school expansion– and CCSA is threatening to make a show of their power at the Huntington Park meeting on Tuesday. As KPCC continues:

Mayor Graciela Ortiz said the ordinance does not stem from political opposition to charter schools.

In an interview, she said Huntington Park does not have enough parks, shopping centers or healthy grocery stores, but does have enough schools — and whether they’re charter or district-run, she noted public schools don’t generate sales tax revenues. …

“Our kids have options,” Ortiz said. “So now we need to address other quality of life issues … We’re looking at ways of bringing in revenues and, more than anything, focusing on what our community wants and what our community needs.”

CCSA maintains that the city’s moratorium would violate state law regarding school choice. As such, CCSA is “considering legal action.” The question becomes one of the boundaries of the state to have a law on school choice versus the city’s right to govern itself, including deciding how to implement a state law in a manner that allows the city to make its own decisions over the zoning of its property.

For those who are local, the vote on the moratorium will be at the

  • Huntington Park City Hall meeting
  • Tuesday, October 18, 2016
  • 6 p.m.
  • City Hall Council Chambers, 2nd floor
  • 6550 Miles Avenue #145
  • Huntington Park, CA 90255

time-out

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Released July 2016– Book Three:

School Choice: The End of Public Education? 

school choice cover  (Click image to enlarge)

Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of both A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education and Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?.

both books

Don’t care to buy from Amazon? Purchase my books from Powell’s City of Books instead.

 

From → Broad, Charters, Walton

2 Comments
  1. What a darn shame that that meeting will take place at the same time that several charter schools will be voted up or down at the LAUSD board meeting. If only my evil twin were available.

  2. Ima C.I. permalink

    “…fabricated “grass roots” support…”: that’s exactly what’s happening in Colorado, now… a new frontier for the Walton Family Foundation. Huge Walton $$ and attention are being directed into an ECE that submitted an application, in August, to operate an elementary school in Jefferson County: Great Work Montessori. The 29 year old James McNabb Walton (youngest child of Jim C. Walton, and grandson of Sam Walton) founded the non-profit that spawned the prospective Montessori school. James financed the development of the vision, bankrolled efforts to create the perception that the school arose from the community, and purchased the property that will bring him high long term returns on his “urban renewal” investment while taxpayer $$$ flow his way as soon as the charter begins to pay the rent. Yet the young philanthropist’s name appears not once in the 738 page charter application (http://www.jeffcopublicschools.org/business/charter_schools/).

    Why should that be so? Even if we believe in the potential of charter schools to promote innovation, we must insist on transparency. In order to make an educated decision about whether or not to entrust to a private corporation the sacred responsibility for educating our children, the public must get a complete and honest accounting of the history and intentions of the prospective school’s founders.

    Great Work Montessori’s charter application completely obfuscates the relationship between the prospective school and its parent organization (Great Work Inc., which has in the last 6 months backpedaled – from being the originator … of the principal’s and first teacher’s “consulting” contracts, of the original growth plan, of the original business model, and of the marketing and branding for a complex cluster of businesses legally but opaquely intertwined at great expense, with James M Walton serving as president of the board – to its current manifestation as an independent and loosely organized network bearing the same name as the school, with James receding safely to the shadows). Also worrisome is the fact that the charter application demonstrates clear and practical gaps between the promises of the Executive Summary and the details of the Implementation section, providing scant reassurance of true accountability or quality control.

    Nevertheless, the Jefferson County Board of Ed appears to be fawning over the young team of charter novices that “amazingly” secured a WFF planning grant, and swooning over the potential for district fame and fortune – blithely heedless of the ideology of the WFF, which envisions a completely privatized education industry unhampered by the inefficiencies of democratic government (http://cashinginonkids.com/brought-to-you-by-wal-mart-how-the-walton-family-foundations-ideological-pursuit-is-damaging-charter-schooling/).

    Young James M. Walton’s crusade to bring Montessori into the public sector capitalizes on the proven effectiveness of the Montessori model and the evident public appetite for more humanistic forms of education, and should prove to be a truly effective tactic for begetting large numbers of charters quickly. No longer will we have to wait for the drip, drip, drip of innovative programs that arise out of the creative thinking of talented and high minded local teams. Montessori education provides a formula for writing up a charter application that will readily pass muster. And corporate-funded experts are standing by to provide support in drafting those applications: just add local detail. This is a cut-and-paste template designed to fuel rapid charter growth, untroubled by the reality that current accountability policy, nationwide, is fundamentally hostile to the conditions that make sound Montessori implementation different from the run-of-the-mill. Nonetheless, hungry Montessori groups all over the nation cry out for funding, neighborhoods celebrate the potential influx of child-centered teaching in diverse, multi-age classrooms, and the WFF can rub its hands together in glee for having created the perfect, socially-sensitive-sounding invitation for districts to write the tickets for their own undoing.

    The Jeffco board votes in early November. Won’t somebody unmask these folks? Few in the Denver area will speak out against this wave of Walton interest, because so many stand to benefit financially from simple, silent acquiescence. But supporters of public education must take a vocal stand: choice does not necessitate privatization. Education of democratic citizens demands that the voices of the weak and the meek be protected and legitimized. If we want child-centered schools (and surely we do), let’s create the space and the support for them: within our democratically governed districts. If the Waltons want to improve public schools, let them provide support for various models of education to flourish in the sheltering arms of democracy and social justice rather than behind the unstoppable engine of capitalism or under the dehumanizing efficiency models of the captains of industry.

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