The Los Angeles Board of Education plans to open up bidding for seven new high schools, plus six other campuses, (i.e., give them away to private charter companies) even though this would reduce revenues to LAUSD and exacerbate its already staggering budget crisis.
According to Howard Blume, of the LA Times, the board is under considerable pressure from Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and others to award more contracts to independently run charter school companies.
Who are these mysterious “others?”
In all likelihood, they include billionaire Ed Deformers like Eli Broad, whose foundation gave away $10 million, in 2007, to Alliance for College-Ready Public Schools, and $23.3 million, in 2008, to KIPP, Aspire and Pacific Charter School Development. Or perhaps they include Phillip Anschutz, who Robert Skeels says “makes the Koch brothers look moderate.” Anschutz has donated $100,000 to the mayor’s slush fund to get pro-charter school candidates elected to the school board. Oh, did I mention, that Anschutz was a major funder of Waiting for Superman?
“Others” probably also includes many of the backers of the 2009 “Public School Choice” initiative, which would have privatized one-third of LAUSD (approximately 250 schools), such as Yolie Flores-Aguilar. It would not surprise me if Ben Austin, of Parent Revolution and Green Dot Charters, was not also a backer of this new giveaway, as he would stand to make a few bucks. Likewise, we should not leave out new Superintendent, John Deasy, former high ranking member of the Gates Foundation, another huge funder and proponent of school privatization.
Ultimately though, the question is, will anyone do anything to stop it and, so far, it looks like the answer is no. If UTLA and the teachers and parents don’t step up and protest vigorously, there will soon be 13 new private charters in LAUSD, schools that are unlikely to have unionized teachers and that may very well lock the parents out of all oversight and decision-making. And LAUSD will be one step closer to the Public School Choice dystopia of “charter schools for all.”