SES Professor Emeritus Charles Kerchner Weighs In on L.A.'s 'Charter School War'


With charter school advocates the majority on the La Unified School District Board of Education, what does the near future hold for the nation's second-largest school district? Does it become simpler to approve new charter schools? Will L.A.'s school system wind up dismantled?

Is this the end-or the continuation-of the Charter School War?

School of Educational Studies Professor Emeritus Charles Kerchner, inside a recent Los Angeles Times article, weighed in around the long-running, contentious issue.

\”If the charter school advocates' expectations will be to simply increase market share and create a deregulated environment on their own, they will be disappointed, plus they ought to be,\” he explained. \”The big issue is whether the brand new 'reform' board continues what I've called the Charter School War or ends the war and claims the large peace dividend.\”

Charter schools are a special class of public schools that are privately run and operated just like a nonprofit within a school district. Proponents say charters provide families with alternatives and allow these to select a school that matches their children's needs, among other benefits. Opponents cite accountability issues and argue that public funds that support charters could be put to better use in public schools.

Los Angeles has more charter schools and students than any other school system in the united states.

The debate continues in the wake of the election of Nick Melvoin and Kelly Gonez, both backed by charter school supporters and school district critics, to the board. Backers and opponents of Melvoin and Gonez-who, along with two charter-friendly incumbents around the board, form a majority-spent as many as $15 million throughout their campaigns with what is now considered the costliest school board election in Usa history.

And with the L.A. district capable of produce change, Kerchner suggested a new goal: \”How to design a twenty-first century school system instead of if the old system should be charter-friendly or not.\”

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