Public School Choice Resolution Q&A

(print Q&A)

What would this resolution do?

Although the final version has not yet been vetted, the intent of the makers of the motion is to invite various "stakeholders," including outside-the-district entities such as charter school operators and "others" ((the Wal-Mart Zone of Choice?!) to bid on operating any of the 50 new schools opening in the next several years. Some newer drafts of the resolution also include PI 3+ schools.

What could this mean for students, parents, UTLA members and other school employees?

If passed, this resolution could put 50, perhaps hundreds of LAUSD schools in the hands of charter schools or other private operators with little or no accountability to the community or union protections for school employees.

Does the resolution set up adequate protocols and guidelines to ensure that school operators will serve all LAUSD students?

No. It mentions only that student composition of the new schools must reflect that of the overcrowded schools it is intended to relieve, but without any way to ensure that those students are retained and not pushed out of the school. Nor are there plans to address the needs of academically challenged students, English language learners, Standard English learners, or Special Ed students. Finally, there is no reauthorization process based on any performance criteria.

Does the resolution ensure that parents, students and teachers have democratic control over who will be their school operators?

No. As of now, there is little to no check on top down decision-making, such as a vote of the stakeholders or school site councils.

Does the resolution guarantee the rights of unionized LAUSD school employees?

No. If passed, this resolution could strip union rights and jobs from thousands of classified and certificated school employees by giving schools away to non-union charter or other private interests. New operators would not have to adhere to existing union contracts or recognize existing district unions. As currently written, it is, plain and simple, a union busting resolution.

Who are the main supporters of Yolie's resolution?

Green Dot, other charter operators, and the Mayor are the most visible supporters.

What is UTLA's position on this resolution?

UTLA is a strong advocate for urgent, authentic, bottom-up school reform. As such, we want the motion to reflect that position rather than simply call for a no vote and leave ourselves open to charges of obstructing school reform. We are working with the other district unions, the LA County Federation of Labor, several community based organizations, the LA Chamber of Commerce, and Board of Education members to recraft the motion so that it serves the needs of all LAUSD students as well as its school employees. Rather than giving schools away to non-union private entities that are not accountable to the community, we want a motion that creates a process for achieving true school reform that empowers all stakeholders, including:

• Admitting and retaining all neighborhood students
• Personalized student learning environment
• Student achievement plans prioritizing academically challenged, ELL, and special needs students
• Inclusive local processes for choosing school operators, including votes of parents and teachers
• Shared decision-making and inclusive governance
• Student discipline policy focused on dropout prevention
• Strong oversight plan
• Adherence to current collective bargaining agreements and collective bargaining units
• Putting the Superintendent, not a foundation hired hack, in charge of the process.

As the amendments are finalized, we are working to build a broad coalition of support that by the August 25 Board meeting will include a majority, if not all, school board members.

What is UTLA asking our members to do?

UTLA is asking UTLA members to attend and distribute flyers at the various town hall meetings planned by Cortines this coming week. We also are asking our members to call, email, and/or fax school board members urging them to support real reform on August 25. We are also asking members to go to the Board of Education on August 25 to show support for our coalition's amendments.

For more information or to get involved, contact:

Joel Jordan at (213) 637-5157, or email jjordan@utla.net

 

 

 

 

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