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Los Angeles: The Charter Empire Strikes Back

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Author: dianeravitch

On Thursday, the Los Angeles Times published an article I wrote (at their request) about what the next superintendent should do. I contended that he/she should be a cheerleader for public schools, should restore confidence in them by reducing class sizes and restoring a full and rich curriculum to every school, especially the arts. I also hoped the next superintendent would audit charter schools regularly and impose a moratorium on their growth (there are more charter students in L.A. than any other city). The superintendent’s mission should be to lead and improve public education, not to abet those who want to privatize it.

The response from the powerful charter industry came swiftly. Accustomed to pouring millions of dollars into school board races to capture control of the district, the charter lobby could not tolerate a direct challenge. Here is its response. The charter champion insisted that I was “polarizing” the situation by standing up for public education and opposing privatization.

Last October, KIPP announced plans to more than double its enrollment, from 4,000 to 9,000. Moody’s, the bond rating service, reacted by saying that the KIPP expansion would have a negative impact on the LAUSD bond ratings. This article, specifically about Los Angeles, reflected a warning by Moody’s in 2013 that charters posed a significant risk to some older urban districts because competition weakened the district by drawing away students and resources.

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