Is the LAUSD Charter School Division Providing Any Oversight?

We look at their websites, not only at that time but in their oversight.

Our oversight is “proactive and responsive.

- Jose Cole-Gutiérrez, LAUSD Charter School Division

The LAUSD is “the largest district charter school authorizer in the nation, with about 250 independent and affiliated charter schools serving over 130,000 students.” The Charter School Division is responsible for ensuring that these schools comply with the law and their charters. Unfortunately, this oversight is not as thorough as it needs to be. On Tuesday, June 20, 2017, I brought this issue to the attention of the LAUSD School Board with the following public comment:

Good Morning. My name is Carl Petersen and I am here to follow up on the public comment that I made last week regarding Granada Hills Charter High School (GHCHS). Specifically, I’d like to respond to José Cole-Gutiérrez’ statement that the Charter School Division is “proactive and responsive” in their oversight.

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PRESS RELEASE: Holding Charters Accountable For the Public Funds That They Receive


The LAUSD’s Charter School Division claims to provide “proactive and responsive” oversight. The facts show otherwise.

 Last Thursday, with the unanimous passage of the following resolution, the North Valley Democratic Club became the latest organization to express concern about the enrollment practices at Granada Hills Charter High School (GHCHS):

The North Valley Democratic Club expresses concern with the following discrepancies in demographics between Granada Hills Charter High School (GHCHS) and Northridge Academy High School (NAHS): Special Education (2012-13) GHCHS 6%, NAHS 14%; English Learners (2012-13) GHCHS 3%, NAHS 8%; Homeless Students (2015-16) GHCHS 0, NAHS 7; Free and Reduced Price Lunch (2012-13) GHCHS 49%, NAHS 65%. We ask that the LAUSD report on what steps the Charter School Division has taken to ensure that GHCHS is properly following the rules governing enrollment.

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A Charter School Violates Its Student's Privacy to Shame Parents Into Volunteering

When work is required, it's not voluntary. It's wrong and unlawful to punish a child for what his or her parents can't or won't do.

- Hilary Hammell, Public Advocates attorney


In return for their receipt of public funding, charter organizations are not allowed to charge parents and guardians any type of fees for their students to attend these schools. This includes forcing them to fulfill a minimum quota of “volunteer” hours. As stated by the California Charter School Association (CCSA): “it is not legal nor appropriate for a student to be excluded from a charter school or a school activity because a parent did not volunteer or make a financial contribution to their school.” Still, a 2014 report by Public Advocates “found that 168, or almost one-third of the 555 charter schools [they] surveyed, explicitly require unpaid parent or family ‘service hours.’” Included in the report’s examples were two charters authorized by the LAUSD.

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The LAUSD Turns A Blind Eye as Charters Cherry-Pick Their Students

It is time to answer his question.

- Scott Schmerelson, LAUSD Board Member

As I have reported previously, Granada Hills Charter High School (GHCHS) has items on the enrollment page of their website that appear to violate the law and clearly violate their charter. During the past six months, I have been unable to get anyone at the school, the LAUSD Charter School Division or the State Department of Education to take the appropriate action to bring the school into compliance. On Tuesday, June 13, 2017, I brought this issue to the attention of the LAUSD School Board with the following public comment:

Included in the information that I am giving to you is a page from the Granada Hills Charter High School charter which states:

Granada Hills Charter shall not request or require submission of a student’s IEP, 504 Plan, or any other record or related information prior to admission, participation in any admissions or attendance lottery, or pre-enrollment event or process, or as a condition of admission or enrollment.

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Standing Up For Our Public Schools


Charters are publicly funded but privately managed and, like most privately run businesses, the schools prefer to avoid transparency in their operations.

- Bobbi Murray / Capital and Main

In the past five years, the LAUSD Board had denied nine charter renewals while renewing at least 162. The charter industry, therefore, considered the Board to be hostile towards charters and spent $9,695,351.00 on the last School Board election, purchasing seats for Board Members who will do their bidding. Now, with a majority secured, charters like Celerity (whose offices have been raided by the FBI) and Magnolia (which according to the California Charter School Association, operates academically inferior schools) can be assured that the pro-charter majority on the Board will see that these privately run schools are not held accountable at all for the public funds that they receive.

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What I Learned From Mandarin Class (Besides Mandarin)

By Sydney Thiroux/Granada Hills Charter High School

Syd.jpgI have been studying Mandarin since my freshman year at Granada Hills Charter High School (GHCHS). I am blessed to have had the most amazing Mandarin teacher throughout my high school career. Recently, my teacher, Ms. Chen, informed her four Mandarin classes that she would be leaving our school after the school year was over. She will be working at Geffen Academy, a grades 6-12 academy affiliated with UCLA, to build their Mandarin program.

Naturally, all of her students, including myself, were heartbroken. She was our favorite teacher. How could she just leave us? Learning Mandarin wouldn’t be the same without her.

Many high school students take a foreign language class just to fulfill a graduation requirement. Mandarin class became so much more than that to me. Here are a few of the things that I learned from that class, besides Mandarin:

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The Conman-In-Chief and His Unshakable Fans

I could stand in the middle of Fifth Ave. and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters.

-Donald Trump

Head_Scarf.pngAccording to Republican mythology, Barack Obama’s relationship with Saudi Arabia was a disaster. Right-wing critics said that by allegedly bowing to King Abdullah, he was “bending over to show greater respect to Islam" and, thereby, “belittled the power and independence of the United States". In 2015, Donald Trump complained that Michelle Obama had “insulted” her Saudi Arabian hosts because she had “refused to wear a scarf.” Then-candidate Chris Christie called it an “embarrassment” when Saudi Arabia pulled out of a summit scheduled for Camp David and complained that “we’re not listening to them”. When Obama was snubbed by King Salman on his last visit to the Kingdom, Trump said: “It’s called no respect.”

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What the school board shift could mean for Michelle King, who was just named Superintendent of the Year

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JUST IN: Steve Zimmer concedes in LAUSD board race, Kelly Gonez leading in District 6

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The Politics of Retribution

A plan for ensuring best and fair practices for charter operators, including results that indicate positive impacts on the achievement gap, inclusion of all students, fair labor practices, and parent engagement practices.

-Steve Zimmer, 11/13/12

 Betsy Devos, Eli Broad, and Michael Bloomberg have spent millions of dollars pushing to privatize our public schools with disastrous effects for school districts like the LAUSD. Much of this spending is not used to benefit students in any way, but to influence elections. This spending has swelled to the point where once again Los Angeles has broken the record for “the priciest school board race in U.S. history.”

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