Friday, March 23, 2012

California’s Endangered Charter Schools

Speaking of CA, here's Larry Sand again, on the teachers' union's attempts to kill charters in California:

But the union wolf is always at education's door in the Golden State, and in late January, the state assembly voted 45 to 28 to approve Assembly Bill 1172. Authored by state assemblyman and former teacher's union activist Tony Mendoza, and sponsored by the CTA, AB 1172 would allow local school boards to block the creation of a new charter school if it would have a "negative fiscal impact" on the school district. Trouble is, the bill doesn't clearly define what that means. California's charter law already provides several clearly defined reasons why new petitions may be denied. Mendoza's bill would only obscure the existing law. And besides, charter schools get less funding than traditional public schools. According to the nonpartisan California Legislative Analyst Office, new charters received $721 less per pupil in 2010-11 than traditional public schools. The bill currently awaits a vote from the state senate's rules committee.

AB 1172 doesn't merely threaten to kill new charters. Jed Wallace, president of the California Charter School Association, argues that hostile school districts could broadly construe "negative fiscal impact" as an excuse not to renew existing charter schools after the statutory five-year period. The only other way for a charter to be granted would be for an operator to appeal to a county board or the state board of education. But these entities don't have the manpower to take on all charter-authorization duties. Thus, if AB 1172 passes, the number of charter schools in California could plummet within a few years.

Governor Jerry Brown is the great unknown here.


California's Endangered Charter Schools

The state's powerful teachers' unions want to regulate charters into submission.

13 March 2012

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