Whack-A-Mole: The Los Angeles Approach to Charter Regulation

Our oversight is “proactive and responsive.”

- José Cole-Gutiérrez, LAUSD Charter School Division

Last June, I informed the LAUSD School Board that a charter school under their jurisdiction was violating the privacy of their students by publishing “Parent Volunteer Hours” reports on their website that included student names. The charter’s Chief Development Officer defended the practice by saying that even though the list included the names of students and not volunteers, it was “a way to recognize and congratulate those who are involved.” No mention was made of the obvious violation of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).


Clicking the link that used to provide access to the “Parent Volunteer Hours” reports now returns a “404 Page Not Found” error. It is reassuring that going forward the privacy of these students is no longer being violated. However, quietly removing this information from the website does not change the fact that the students’ privacy was already violated. It also leaves questions unanswered, including:

  • The LAUSD Charter School Division (CSD) has stated in the past that “We look at their websites, not only at that time but in their oversight.” Did they miss this violation or purposely overlook it?
  • Why did the administration of the school not realize that their actions were a violation of federal law?
  • Were parents notified that their children’s privacy had been violated?
  • What steps have been taken to ensure that other charter schools are not engaging in the same practice?
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LAUSD Stakeholders Are Not Reading From An Open Book

Access to information concerning the conduct of the people’s business is a fundamental and necessary right of every person in this state

- California Government Code

When LAUSD Superintendent Michelle King first disappeared from the halls of the Beaudry Building “some insiders said she injured herself in an accident while on vacation with her family.” In October, “a district spokeswoman downplayed the effect of the medical issue” saying that she would return the following Monday, but that did not happen and the medical leave was made indefinite. A District spokesman then announced that “the superintendent planned to return January 22.” This was proven incorrect when four months into her leave King announced that she will not “return to her position and plans to retire later this year”. She “also ended months of speculation by announcing the condition that prompted her medical leave: she has been receiving treatment for cancer.”

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If Money Continues to Talk, We're Screwed

In the congressional races in 2008, the candidate who had more money won more than 93% of the time. Our representatives don’t serve us; they serve the people who pay them — their corporate funders.

- Cenk Uygur

The Republicans passed a tax bill despite the opposition of 55% of Americans. Now in an ass-backward move, they will now rely on conservative groups to plan “a multimillion-dollar effort to sell the GOP’s tax cut law”. These efforts include the Koch brothers launching “a multimillion-dollar push next year”, a GOP super PAC spending “$10 million to protect House members” and the Committee to Unleash Prosperity spending “the majority of its $1 million annual budget selling the tax plan”. The success of this plan relies on the American people forgetting that the law could add “$2.0 trillion to $2.2 trillion (before interest)” to the deficit, purposely punishes the citizens of Blue States, and is crafted in a way that “nearly two-thirds of the benefit [go] to the richest fifth of Americans in 2018.” The key to enabling this amnesia is the (perhaps inflated) reductions to withholding rates that will take effect in February, distracting the middle class from the fact that by 2027, 53% of Americans will pay more taxes under the new tax scheme.

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An Administration Built on Blackwhite

BLACKWHITE...a loyal willingness to say that black is white when Party discipline demands this. But it means also the ability to BELIEVE that black is white, and more, to KNOW that black is white, and to forget that one has ever believed the contrary.

- George Orwell, 1984

Net_Neutrality.jpgThe Right-wing has spent a good portion of this year complaining that their First Amendment rights are under attack. Considering the vast amount of speech that now occurs on the Internet, it would seem that they would, therefore, place a priority on protecting Net Neutrality rules that ensure a level playing field for all content providers on the web. Unfortunately, this is the era of Trump and protections that “prevent Internet access providers from blocking content, websites and applications, slowing or speeding up services or classes of service, and charging online services for access or fast lanes to Internet access providers’ customers” are now labeled as “oppressive”. Welcome to the corporatocracy where “restoring freedom to the internet” requires you to allow your Internet access provider to decide what information you are allowed to receive.

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The Dark Knight - A Congressman Votes Against the Interests of His Constituents

Steve_Knight.jpgAs multiple fires burned out of control throughout Southern California, including the Rye Fire in Santa Clarita, Congressman Steve Knight used his Twitter feed to provide his constituents with vital information. However, the help needed by the victims of these disasters cannot be delivered on social media, they will need their governments to provide them with an actual safety net. Unfortunately, the tax bill voted on by Knight last month eliminates one way that this assistance is already provided as it “would phase out the ability to deduct personal casualty losses from wildfires and earthquakes...but keep the deduction for damage from hurricanes and floods like those in Florida and Texas this year.” Knight’s “yes” vote helped to pass the bill.

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Luis Lopez

Jackie_Goldberg.pngJackie Goldberg, Assemblymember (ret.)

Dear Neighbor in Northeast and Eastside L.A.—

I speak from experience when I say it’s wise to support public schools AND wonderful to have local classroom teachers on your side.

Luis Lopez has earned the endorsement of United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA). It’s another reason I’m proud to support Luis s our next Assemblymember. I hope you join me in voting for Luis this Tuesday, Dec. 5.


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A Very Different Definition of Choice

Further, as the CSD is aware, iGranada is a well-designed independent study option, wherein most students are on campus daily, actively engaged in 1-on-1 and group learning.

- Brian Bauer, GHCHS

The inclusion of a statement in each independent study agreement that independent study is an optional educational alternative in which no pupil may be required to participate. In the case of a pupil who is referred or assigned to any school, class, or program pursuant to Section 48915 or 48917, the agreement also shall include the statement that instruction may be provided to the pupil through independent study only if the pupil is offered the alternative of classroom instruction.

- California Education Code

In the most basic of ways, Granada Hills High School has always been a school of choice. As noted by one researcher, “the choice among public schools has been linked to the family's decision about where to live, a decision that gives wealthy families more choice than poor families.” Unlike in economically disadvantaged portions of Los Angeles, many families in the surrounding neighborhoods of Granada Hills had the ability, and, therefore choice, to move within the boundaries of Granada Hills High School, “one of the highest-achieving schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District”, even before its conversion to a charter in 2003. While the charter industry promotes itself as a way for parents to have more choice, Granada’s conversion had more to do with the school’s ability to choose its students.

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CHARTERS AND CONSEQUENCES: An Investigative Series by the Network for Public Education

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Depriving the LAUSD Board of Ignorance

At the Los Angeles Unified School District, our goals are...5. School safety


Given the vastness of the LAUSD bureaucracy, there is no guarantee that the members of the School Board knew that Granada Hills Charter High School (GHCHS) had been cited for making unauthorized modifications to their District owned campus that threatened student and staff safety. Therefore, I used my three minutes of public comment at the LAUSD  November 14, meeting to make the board members aware of this situation:

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Should students assigned to Granada Hills charter school be able to opt out of partially-online program?

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