We know that corporate charter school chains are having a serious negative impact on public education by draining resources, creaming the student crop, and counseling out the difficult and "less profitable" students.
All parents want the best schools possible for their kids, but charter school chains are damaging the ability of local districts to fairly distribute limited resources. Charter schools are funded with taxpayer money but governed by millionaires and billionaires outside the public school system without much oversight.
A large part of the problem is that local school districts have no true enforcement power regarding these schools. A poorly performing charter school can simply jump over a local school board and ask the County or State Board of Education to approve a charter application. All this is done with legal help provided by the California Charter School Association.
Problems also occur when school board candidates declare, "I am not for charter schools!" when, in fact, they are sponsored by the California Charter School Association and their supporters' dark money.
Gayle McLaughlin is a current Richmond City Council Member and former mayor. She lives in the Richmond Annex.Read more
When the WCCUSD Board of Education voted last month to evict adult education classes from their long-established Serra Adult School campus, the abrupt decision stunned the teachers, students, and staff of Serra Adult School.
The Serra Adult School serves a mostly low income and immigrant population, though classes are open to anyone. The site is home to four ESL classes, and High School Diploma, GED and Adult Basic Education (the adult version of an elementary school education) programs during the day; and at night there are job training classes.
The Board made the decision to evict the Adult School with no input from teachers or students, and now district staff is fast-tracking the process. Superintendent Duffy says the Serra site will house a new elementary school slated to supplant the adult school “only temporarily”; after four years, the school will need to move to a larger location. Then presumably the district will sell the site to a charter school.
As I am sure you are aware, charter schools promote a pernicious two tier system of education, leaving children with learning disabilities, emotional problems, behavior issues, etc. in one poorly supported school, while the charters skim or "cherry pick" the high performing students with parents who advocate for them.
Charters' teachers and staff are not unionized. By state law, charter schools must have their facilities maintained first, and district funds must be allocated to the charters off the top, meaning that regular public schools take the cuts. Charters are heavily promoted by corporate interest who approve of the privatization of public education, and are able to turn a profit from tax payer funds for education.
I teach at Nystrom Elementary, on the same block in West Richmond as Richmond Children's College Prep Charter School. I see daily the two tier system of public school vs. Charter, and I know it is detrimental to the education of my students.
Charters are not held accountable to the state. Many financial and administrative scandals regarding charters have surfaced, because there is no one overseeing the charter schools. With a pro-charter majority of candidates on the WCCUSD School Board, we need to be informing voters of the negative issues of charter schools in Richmond.