Online learning shouldn’t be an excuse to privatize public education

Here’s our pick of recent news about the effort to privatize public education in California and the families, students, and teachers fighting back.

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Online learning shouldn’t be an excuse to privatize public education. Scientist and professor Lis Kenneth Regula wants universities and colleges to be intentional about online learning during and after the crisis. As city officials across California are asking Gov. Gavin Newsom to suspend or delay numerous state laws—including those concerning procurement and transparency—the same should be said about K-12 public schools. “While having more options for students to access higher education is good, these hasty shifts to online teaching may become an excuse to further inject privatization into U.S. higher education.” The Hechinger Report

Reed Hastings spends big. Netflix CEO and staunch charter school backer Reed Hastings contributed over $4 million to pro-charter PACs and politicians in the first quarter of 2020. Hastings once said he wanted charter schools to educate 90 percent of California’s students. California Globe

LA teachers call for limits on charters. Citing coronavirus risks, the United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) has called for a moratorium on new charter school approvals and a halt to new campus-sharing arrangements with charters. Los Angeles Times

Why the pandemic could weaken the school privatization agenda. In a hopeful tone, the Independent Media Institute’s Jeff Bryant writes: “The mounting fallout of school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic is forcing politicians and policymakers to acknowledge the importance of schools as vital community institutions that need resources and support rather than fiscal austerity, privatization, and punitive accountability—the pillars of the market-based education movement.” LA Progressive

And from outside California… Schools are confronting a wide range of potential problems around student data privacy as they scramble to put technology tools for virtual instruction in place. EdWeek | And… Charter schools and testing were supposed to right historic wrongs. Now they’ve run out of political steam. What happened? The Washington Post