A group of parents in the Californian city of Los Angeles have banded together in an effort to improve the education system in the city (or harm it, depending on who’s side you’re taking in this battle). Spearheaded by the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, the organization is called Great Public Schools Now and has a drafted proposal calling for $490 million to enroll half of the students in the L.A. Unified School District over the next 8 years. With the nonprofit being run by two executives from ExED, a company that helps manage charters schools and their business operations, there is a real hope in many parents that the educational quality in the city will improve if the proposal is accepted.
In an interview on Tuesday, the two executives from ExED (William E.B. Siart and Anita Landecker) said that the goal of the nonprofit was to develop high quality schools of all kinds, not just charter schools and that no funding target has been set. Aside from working to create more charter schools, the nonprofit is also going to try to replicate or expand successful public school models that have been shown to work in traditionally underperforming schools. While these are nice sentiments, it should be known that recognized that the L.A Unified Board of Education has had no say whatsoever in the drafting of the proposal and is actually scheduled to vote next week on a resolution to oppose this plan.
There are a number of reasons that this attempt to change the L.A. educational landscape is running into opposition and concerned parents. One of the main reasons people are speaking out against it is that this would be a massive expansion of charter schools that aren’t held to the same level of accountability as public schools are. This expansion would also threaten the solvency of L.A. Unified and leave it with fewer resources and flexibility to deal with children who are more expensive to educate. Other groups are upset that the plan was developed in private with no input from outside sources. Regardless of the people for or against the proposal, the passing of it would result in some massive changes in the way children are educated in Los Angeles.
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