Charter Schools under attack
Charter schools in California are under attack and they are not under attack from Gov. Jerry Brown or the state Legislature. They are under attack by the powerful California Teacher’s Association.
Charter Schools are gaining in popularity. There are three in Porterville, including Harmony Magnet Academy and Summit Charter School and Summit Charter School Redwood Campus and are spreading throughout America.
Charters are public schools that are allowed wide latitude to work outside the traditional public-school model, much like private schools. Commonly, they’re not unionized.
California charters number 900 and serve about 200,000 children.
Their future could be in doubt if Assembly Bill 1172 becomes law. The summary of the bill, by Assemblyman Tony Mendoza, D-Artesia, says it “[s]pecifies that a chartering authority may deny a charter petition if it makes a written factual finding that the charter school would have a negative fiscal impact on the school district.”
The bill is sponsored by the powerful California Teachers Association. The union argued on its website, “This bill is necessary to ensure the fiscal solvency of school districts, and restore local control to elected school board members.” Mr. Mendoza is a former CTA official.
There are few people in Porterville who would argue against the success of our charter schools. A story in this newspaper just recently told of a family that lives in Lemoncove that drives their daughter all the way to Strathmore every day because they believe she is getting the best education possible at Harmony Magnet Academy.
Charter School students in both the Porterville Unified and Burton District excel and they excel because charter schools are not held back by state regulations or union rules.
Despite the success of charters, the union is not happy unless it can get its foot into the door and get those schools unionized, secure tenure and other protections given teachers, those good or bad.
The CFT union last year sponsored AB401, by Assemblyman Tony Ammiano, D-San Francisco. It would limit the number of California charters to 1,450 until 2017. It was not passed last year, but remains an active bill.
As to AB1172, it passed the Assembly on Jan. 30, on a 41-27 vote. It’s currently in the Senate Rules Committee.
The governor might veto AB1172, but it shouldn’t come to that. The Senate should defeat it.