Testimonials

EDUCATORS | Gregory Basile, Birmingham Community Charter HS • Alex Caputo-Pearl, UTLA President • Gloria Martinez, Rowan Elementary
PARENTS | Khallid Al-Amin, LAUSD Parent • Mena Nuñez, Garvanza Elementary Parent • Martin Wong, Castelar Elementary Parent
COMMUNITY | David Rattray, President – UNITE-LA; Executive Vice President, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce • Donald Cohen, In the Public Interest
ACADEMICS | Leigh Dingerson, consultant to the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University (AISR) • Pedro Noguera, Professor of education at UCLA • Sylvia Gordon Rousseau, USC Rossier School of Education, Former Local District Superintendent, LAUSD
ELECTED LEADERS | Ricardo Lara, CA State Senator, Chair of Senate Appropriations


 

EDUCATORS


headshot-gregory-basile“UTLA Educators are here to make sure that students are successful everywhere, no matter if it’s a District school or a Charter school. We need to think outside the box and make sure that both remain financially viable. If privatization continues, there will be a tipping point where the district and Charter Schools may become economically disadvantaged: What if the District was composed of only Charter schools — would LAUSD have the income to provide the oversight and services needed at Charter schools they supervise?”
Gregory Basile, Birmingham Community Charter HS

headshot-alex-cp“This report shows, for the first time, the fiscal costs that are creating a crisis. It took over 12 years of declining enrollment at LAUSD to get an accounting of the financial strain of charter school growth. We cannot wait another 12 years to address this. Unless we drastically change direction, this crippling financial burden threatens the success of both district and charter schools.”
Alex Caputo-Pearl, UTLA President


 Gloria Martinez“This report proves what many special education teachers like me have seen on the front lines—that LAUSD disproportionately serves more special education students than independent charter schools. Charters should stop asking if a child has special needs on their application forms, demonstrate that they are serving the special education population at the same rate as LAUSD, and be honest about the services they can provide. I know parents of former students of mine who enrolled their children in charter middle schools but later moved them back to LAUSD schools because the needs of their children were not being met.”
Gloria Martinez, Rowan Elementary


PARENTS


headshot-khallid“This report shows a huge financial strain on the district, now parents deserve to know how the financial strain affects the educational opportunities of their children.”
Khallid Al-Amin, LAUSD Parent


headshot-mena-nunez“This report shows us that if we continue down this path of financial loss, it won’t just be district schools that will be impacted, but also charter schools. Our fates are intertwined. Because charters are subsidized and overseen by LAUSD, if one fails so does the other. In addition to the half-a-billion dollar loss each year, what else do we lose? What about the choices of parents who want their children to thrive in a great district school, like Garvanza Elementary?”
Mena Nuñez, Garvanza Elementary Parent


headshot-martin-wong“My daughter’s school has been serving families in Chinatown for decades, providing a safe place for generations of English-learning and underserved kids to excel. This year, Castelar Elementary was under threat of co-location by a charter school which would have occupied space used for computer labs, science, music, art, and drama. That would not add to the neighborhood but take away important resources and, in turn, likely drain students and funding. Castelar also provides rare opportunities such as Mandarin dual-language immersion classes and a music education program that offers every student access to an instrument. Castelar needs to be supported and grown for the community’s sake, and not divvied up and parceled out to privately run charter schools.”
Martin Wong, Castelar Elementary Parent


COMMUNITY


Rattray“The MGT Study and the earlier report from the Independent Financial Review Panel (November, 2015) contribute to building an understanding of the economic issues for the Los Angeles Unified School Board, the authorizer of the largest number of charter schools in the nation and responsible for the nation’s second largest school district. We encourage all stakeholders to study these reports and future reports and support LAUSD in mapping out a sustainable high quality path for all students in both the charter and district sectors.”
David Rattray, President – UNITE-LA; Executive Vice President – Education & Workforce Development – LOS ANGELES AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE


donaldcohen“The figure is staggering, and while specific to LAUSD, the findings beg for a hard look at how charter schools interact with school districts throughout California as well as the nation. When there is escalating competition for students and funding, both charter and district schools are faced with creating a situation where, if changes are not enacted immediately, the entire educational system in Los Angeles will be in a financial crisis.”
Donald Cohen, the Executive Director of In the Public Interest, based in Washington, DC.


ACADEMICS

headshot-leigh-d“The Annenberg Institute’s Charter Accountability Standards recommend that school districts and authorizers prepare an impact statement before any new charter school is opened.  The assessment should identify the contribution that the charter will make to the overall system of schools, and ensure that the financial costs will not negatively affect surrounding schools or the services provided to other students.  The MGT of America report on charter sector impacts on Los Angeles Unified School District offers a clarion call for why such impact statements are needed.  We cannot continue to drain essential resources from some children in order to serve others.”
Leigh Dingerson, consultant to the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University (AISR)

headshot-pedro-noguera“The MGT report confirms what we have known: LAUSD is faced with ominous financial challenges that will severely threaten its ability to function in the future. Decisive measures must be taken immediately to examine sources of revenue and expenditures, and to improve the quality of educational opportunities available to parents. The State of California and the federal government must also take steps to revise policies, particularly related to the costs of managing charter schools and serving the needs of special education students, in order to help LAUSD avoid extreme financial crisis.
Pedro Noguera, Professor of education at UCLA

headshot-sylvia-rIn the midst of the many conversations about charter schools offering a choice to parents, districts have the responsibility to ensure that parents have viable options. Otherwise it is not choice. As we move forward in the name of reform and progress, it is important to keep asking the equity question: who is benefiting and who is not. More important, the question is whether some children are benefiting at the expense of others. In the name of equity and justice for all children, it is essential to count the costs of the perceived successes in a charter school to the students whose parents choose to keep them in schools operated by their school districts. Districts were created by the will of the people to establish and sustain schools that were accessible to all children. Through hard fought legal victories, district schools have been mandated to provide free and equal opportunities for all children to learn. When charter schools infringe on districts’ ability to fulfill this public mandate for all children, they have violated the public mandate.
As we continue to assess the merits of charter schools, now is a good time to count the true cost of maintaining them. In a comprehensive assessment, which this MGT study will contribute to, we may find that the students whose parents have chosen to keep them in district operated schools may be picking up a significant part of the bill for the successes charter schools are touting. Instead of expanding their resources to recover from the effects of one of the most catastrophic economic periods in US history, many district schools, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are losing revenue that would allow them to recover and make major improvements. Those are the actions that would give communities true choice. In a sense, we may be creating a zero-sum game situation in which some children are being “left behind” so that other children can progress. It is time to look at the possibility that, without a comprehensive, long-range view of the full impact of charter schools, we may be exacerbating the inequities of public education instead of eliminating them.”
Sylvia Gordon Rousseau, USC Rossier School of Education, Former Local District Superintendent, LAUSD


ELECTED LEADERS


headshot-ricardo-lara“This MGT report sheds light on important costs associated with charter schools. If unaddressed, these costs will cause a fiscal crisis in the whole Los Angeles educational system, including district and charter schools, which would send devastating waves across the State and nation. We, at the local level and at the State level, now have the opportunity to adjust policies and practices so that we can build a sustainable school system with a level playing field for all schools, students, and families.”
Ricardo Lara, CA State Senator, Chair of Senate Appropriations

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