October 23, 2016Press Release
Los Angeles, CA – In an ad in today’s edition of the LA Times, United Teachers Los Angeles calls out the California Charter Schools Association to a public debate on key educational issues relating to equity, access and accountability. A Spanish version of the full-page color ad also will run later this week in Hoy and La Opinion.
On page B7 of the California section, today’s ad is written as an open letter to parents and challenges CCSA — a front group for billionaires — for its indefensible tactics, such as trying to shield charters from financial accountability and lobbying to defeat a bill protecting charter students from unfair expulsion.
“CCSA previously declined our request for a public debate,” said Alex Caputo-Pearl, UTLA President. “We believe it is time for the community and parents to hear CCSA explain why they oppose financial transparency, student equity and access, open meeting laws and a democratically elected oversight body in schools that are funded by taxpayers.”
While charter schools use taxpayer money, they are privately run. This has led to documented cases of financial malfeasance, self-dealing and profiteering. CCSA, as the charter industry lobbyist, has promoted an environment that is rife with discriminatory enrollment practices and biases against special needs students and English language learners at many charters across the state.
Funded by Eli Broad, the Waltons of Walmart, and other wealthy privatizers, CCSA and its Super PAC spend millions each year to promote the unchecked expansion of charter schools, at the expense of neighborhood schools and the public education system.
The ad runs days after charter school operators in Los Angeles came under fire by elected oversight agencies. On Tuesday, Oct. 18, due to financial irregularities and a systemic lack of transparency, the Los Angeles Unified School Board denied five charter school renewal applications, moving towards closure. They also pushed for the resignation of the executive director at El Camino Real Charter School for misuse of school funds. The same night, citing the impact of the proliferation of charter schools on local neighborhoods such as traffic and congestion, loss of green space and tax revenues, the Huntington Park City Council voted 4-1 to enact a moratorium on new charter schools.
The ad connects to UTLA's ongoing “We Are Public Schools” campaign to hold charter schools accountable and to fight to build community schools. The campaign web site includes a petition for people to sign to get CCSA to debate UTLA in a public forum: www.WeArePublicSchools.org