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News Spotlight: Bernie Sanders Unveils Medicare for All Proposal @07:40
- Christina Aanested, KPFA News Reporter
News Spotlight: Charter School Reforms @42:04
Some democratic lawmakers are proposing a 5-year moratorium on new charter schools in California. That proposal is part of a package of bills they say would create more transparency and accountability for charter schools. The measures are stirring hot debate over how well charter schools work… and how they affect the state’s public school system.
Charter Schools supporters and critics faced off in an expensive election battle last year… with the critics coming out ahead in the elections for governor and state schools’ superintendent. Now they’re facing off again… over a package of bills in the state legislature. Some democratic lawmakers have introduced a package of measures to cap the number of new charter schools… change the process for approving charters… and even put a moratorium on new charter schools. Democratic senator Maria Elena Durazno of Los Angeles is the author of the moratorium bill… s-b 756. She says the state needs to take a deeper look at how California’s 13-hundred charter schools are affecting education.
Other bills in the package include a measure to put a cap on the number of charter schools. That’s a-b 1506 by democratic assembly Kevin McCarty of Sacramento. A-b 1507 by assembly member Christy Smith of Santa Clarita would close loopholes that let charter schools operate outside the district that authorized them. Another bill, a-b 1505, would give local school boards more power over authorizing new charter schools…. For example, by taking into account the fiscal and academic impacts on traditional public schools. That measure is by assembly member Patrick O’Donnel.
The bills have support from a number of unions and education groups. Julian Vasquez Heilig is education chair of the California NAACP. He says school segregation and inequality have been made worse by what he calls the privatization movement.
Charter schools’ supporters call the proposed legislation a “pack of poisonous bills that puts politics before kids.” Margaret fortune is a board chair of the California association of charter schools. She testified against a-b 1506, the measure to cap the n umber of charter schools, at a Wednesday hearing on several of the bills.
The association says the legislative package would shut down charter schools and close options for students and parents who need them most. Supporters of the package say there’s nothing in the bills that would close schools. Rather, they say, the measures would return more control to local school boards and create more transparency and accountability for charter schools. The measures will face heated debate as they work their way through the legislative process.
- Christopher Martínez, Capitol Correspondent