The Dark Knight - A Congressman Votes Against the Interests of His Constituents
As 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.Read more
Jackie 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.
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.Read more
CHARTERS AND CONSEQUENCES: An Investigative Series by the Network for Public Education
"Carl J. Petersen was a candidate in the 2017 LAUSD District 2 board election. He became a public education activist while fighting for his two daughters who are on the autism spectrum. Petersen had this to say about the influence of CCSA in Los Angeles:
The California Charter School Association (CCSA) and their allies poured nearly $2.3 million into last year’s LAUSD election, helping to make them the nation’s most expensive school board election. Given this influence, is it any surprise that the LAUSD Charter School Division, which is responsible for overseeing the largest charter system in the country, is headed by a former staff member of the CCSA or that the District has only revoked one charter in the past three years?"Read more
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:Read more
Should students assigned to Granada Hills charter school be able to opt out of partially-online program?
"Walker isn't the only parent to raise a complaint about iGranada. At least nine parents have sought the help of the officials at the L.A. Unified School District who oversee and regulate charter schools, saying their children deserve access to Granada's traditional, brick-and-mortar classes, according to emails obtained via public records request and provided to KPCC by local public education activist Carl Petersen (who's long been a thorn in Granada's side).
'They look at themselves as a private school,' Petersen said of Granada. 'We don’t care that we get public money, we're going to do it our way.'"
Senate Education Committee Informational Hearing: Charter School Authorization in CA
My testimony at the Senate Education Committee Informational Hearing: Charter School Authorization in CA on October 23, 2017:
Los Angeles: Charter-Controlled School Board Eases Rules for Charters
At its meeting on November 7, the LAUSD board showed who is boss: the California Charter Schools Association.
The LAUSD Continues to Reward Failure
The California Charter School Association (CCSA) paid millions to purchase the LAUSD School Board, but their narrow majority is in danger. Not only is Ref Rodriguez, one of their hand-selected Board members, facing criminal charges related to his campaign, but the charter school chain he founded has accused him of having a conflict of interest while he was their Treasurer. This, in turn, exposed the charter organization’s lax financial controls. All of this has caused a rare sense of unity across the education divide; both the Los Angeles Times and United Teachers Los Angeles have both called for Rodriguez’ resignation.
Having reintroduced the chaos back into the District that has been missing since the departure of Deasy, the charter industry played their next hand by blackmailing the District in an attempt to remove language that the LAUSD requires in each charter. If they did not get their way, 13 charters would move to the county or state where even less oversight is provided. Judging by the line of news trucks lined outside the Boardroom on Beaudry, the media was prepared for the November 7, special Board meeting to be full of drama.Read more
Parents Against Accountability
“As a school of CHOICE, you CHOOSE to be here and are expected to productively and respectfully resolve problems. You have options. Clearly, you are either a very satisfied customer who appreciates the roles you have as an employee, union steward, parent, and committee member, or….”
- Johnathan Williams, The Accelerated Schools
Like the “America, love it or leave it” crowd in national politics, charter supporters will venomously attack anyone who dares to criticize the operations of these schools. This was exemplified by Los Angeles County School Board President Alex Johnson who defended the academic failures of one of the Magnolia Charter Schools by accusing me of being “against high-quality education for black and brown students”. The same false claims of racism were also used against former LAUSD Board Member Bennett Kayser, along with attacks based on his medical condition. A parent who is a frequent critic of the Accelerated Charter Schools was told that she should start “looking at the glass, the kids, the School as half full, and appreciating the asset and building on it”. Instead of complaining, she should “see the light and begin to operate with in [sic] it.” Life is much easier if you join the cult.