By Besha Rodell
By Patrick Range McDonald
By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
Another force behind Senate Bill 92 appears to be United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA). In last Wednesday’s Sacramento Bee, veteran political columnist Dan Walters suggested that Green Dot — the charter group that has lured nearly 4,000 kids from failing schools in L.A. — is also targeted by the proposed law, because of Núñez’s “very close political relationship” to UTLA.
Núñez’s office says Walters is wrong. And A.J. Duffy, president of UTLA, played dumb when contacted by the Weekly, saying, “I don’t know about that bill” — an extreme unlikelihood given the union’s deep tendrils in Sacramento, where the Democrats do not move education bills out of committee until UTLA has weighed in.
When the Weekly asked Duffy why UTLA was suspected of ghostwriting the anti-charter bill, Duffy said he needed to “talk to my issues people” and promised to call back. The union chief never did.
Roger Magyar, executive director of the state Board of Education, says there’s a good chance the governor will veto Senate Bill 92, even if that means a loss of $18 million in special funding for rental assistance, which would earn Schwarzenegger negative headlines on that issue. “He wants to protect the option of statewide charters,” says Magyar.
Larson, meanwhile, says the Democratic majority in Sacramento has continually changed the rules that govern charter schools so they don’t perform well, but despite those efforts, charters are “flourishing” — with an estimated California enrollment of 219,720 students. “We have to stop the turf battles,” he says.
Michael Piscal at Inner City Education Foundation couldn’t agree more. “SB 92 is a punitive law that punishes successful organizations,” he says. “It is also punishing the poor.”
In September, his group will open two middle and two high schools in South Los Angeles that are expected to lure 2,000 students away from LAUSD. And if the politicians and unions don’t get in his way, Piscal expects to open more schools, and has a waiting list of 5,021 students.
The reason for the jammed waiting list is the success of Inner City Education Foundation’s flagship school, View Park Preparatory Charter High in Crenshaw.
In June, the prep graduated its entire class of 71 students — all African-Americans. Sixty-five of them are headed to four-year universities and six to junior colleges. That’s not what normally happens to black kids in Crenshaw, home to terrible schools that churn out functionally illiterate dropouts. And that’s why the happenings at the Capitol deeply disturb Piscal.
“I’m a Democrat,” he says, “but, overall, I’m appalled by the power of the CTA and how it wants to stop charters. That’s what this stuff is all about.”
On August 20, the Assembly will return to Sacramento from a monthlong recess. Speaker Fabian Núñez can either keep pushing his bill or he can remove the bill’s poison-pill aspects — the only action that would prove to Michael Piscal that Núñez really does support charter schools.
Find everything you're looking for in your city
Find the best happy hour deals in your city
Get today's exclusive deals at savings of anywhere from 50-90%
Check out the hottest list of places and things to do around your city