California School Accountability Report: The tide is turning on charter schools

 

Here’s our pick of recent news about the ongoing effort to privatize public education in California. Want these straight to your email inbox? Sign up here.

 

“Your proposed plan would devastate Mountain View’s public schools.” An open letter signed by a broad coalition of parents in the Mountain View Whisman School District calls on a charter school to drop plans to expand into there. The letter, sent to Los Altos’s Bullis Charter School, argues that the school’s leadership has “failed to understand the culture and the needs of Mountain View Whisman students, and that planting a charter school in the district would further segregate schools and harm the low-income and minority students it seeks to serve.” Mountain View Voice

Nurse shortage in Oakland getting worse.Oakland school nurse Natasha Williams has to divide her time between three schools because of a dire shortage of school nurses in the district. “I have so many alarms set close to each other I’ll turn one off because I think I already did that and then, ‘Oh no!’ It turns out that was the alarm for someone else. Sometimes schedules get way off,” she says. When school started this year, 10 of Oakland Unified School District’s 30 nurse positions weren’t filled. The culprit? Tight budgets, which aren’t helped by the growing costof the state’s unlimited charter school growth. KQED

Corporate tax breaks cost U.S. schools billions of lost revenue. A new report has found that, in fiscal 2017, public schools lost $1.8 billion across 28 states through corporate tax incentives over which most schools themselves had little or no control. Calfiornia was not included in the analysis, however, in case you didn’t know, the state terminated its tax increment financing (TIF) program in 201, giving Sacramento enormous budget relief because it was reimbursing school districts more than $2 billion annually for their TIF-generated losses. Reuters

Here’s why communities of color are increasingly rejecting charter schools. Education writer Jeff Bryant: “For decades, a wave of state takeovers of school districts overseeing tens of thousands of students has stripped elected school boards in [African American and Latinx] communities of their governing power and denied voters the right to local governance of their public schools. These state takeovers have been happening almost exclusively in African American and Latinx school districts—many of the same communities that have experienced decades of economic decline, high unemployment, and underinvestment in schools.” Alternet

The tide is turning on charter schools.“As Democrats flipped seven governor seats to bolster their numbers to 23 across the country, the incoming governors in California, Illinois and New Mexico have all said they want to take the rare step of putting a temporary halt on new charter schools. New governors in Connecticut, Kansas, Maine and Nevada also are expressing less enthusiasm for charters than their predecessors.” Associated Press

Privatization is part of the ongoing assault on democracy.In the Public Interest Executive Director Donald Cohen writes, “When corporations take control of public goods like water, transit, and schools, we give them the ability to make decisions that should be made democratically by us, the public.” For example, “Total alleged and confirmed fraud and waste in California’s charter schools has reached over $149 million, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Due to little transparency and oversight, an untold amount of the $6 billion spent annually on the state’s charter schools is being lost each year.” In the Public Interest