Despite the fact that parents and students were on the outside looking in when it came to the high-stakes contract negotiations in Los Angeles, the teacher strike drew much-needed attention to public education and secured small but meaningful steps toward providing schools and teachers with more resources, including academic counselors, librarians, nurses and a small reduction in class sizes. We are hopeful that this will lead to better outcomes for students at Los Angeles Unified schools.
However, in the midst of these negotiations, the district and the teachers union apparently cut a backroom deal resulting in a proposed LAUSD board resolution supporting a quality-blind ban on new non-profit public charter schools. This late-night transaction was made with no transparency, no public debate, and no input from the students and parents it would impact most.
Now the board is rushing to jam through this backroom deal. It may benefit special interests and the district bureaucracy, but could deny educational opportunity to tens of thousands of low-income students and students of color trapped in systemically failing district schools.
We have long spent far more than most taxpayer funded school districts (now nearly $20,000 per student), yet we’ve tolerated disastrous reading results for decades.