The Charter Blog

California Charter Schools Association Responds to LA Times Oped on Public Education

Following the publication of an opinion editorial in the Los Angeles Times that directs a series of unfounded criticisms at public charter schools, Jed Wallace, president and CEO of the California Charter Schools Association wrote the following response:

Today the Los Angeles Times posted an op-ed written by Diane Ravitch in which she espouses the same incendiary messages we’ve heard from her before. Repeating the same messages over and over again doesn't make them true. Ravitch accuses charter schools of excluding students, but the data here in Los Angeles says otherwise. Independent charters in LAUSD serve 1 percent more English learners and 2 percent fewer students with special needs than traditional schools do. In other words, there's basically no difference in the students being served. It's also worth noting that both English learners and students with special needs perform better in local independent charters than in traditional schools.

Ravitch laments charter schools' lack of accountability, but charter schools are held to greater accountability standards than other public schools. How? Each charter school has to petition for renewal every five years; if it has failed to perform, it gets shut down. No other type of public school has to prove that it is actually helping students learn.

Ravitch also complains that charter schools have influence in Sacramento. Meanwhile, the California Teachers Association has long been the single most powerful and well-funded lobby in the Capitol by any measure. Ravitch's rhetoric is forceful, but it's not grounded in fact.

Even worse, Ravitch demonizes parents who exercise their right to choose the best education for their children. Ravitch seems to suggest that charter school students are traitors or second class citizens, and she seems intent on punishing them for seeking out learning environments that meet their needs.

Does LAUSD need a superintendent who shares Ravitch's polarizing, politicized views? No. LAUSD needs a superintendent who will advocate for all students, regardless of the type of public school they choose to attend.

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