Aug. 23: Charter discussion on Which Way, LA?
The California Charter Schools Association received a $15-million gift Tuesday from the Walton Family Foundation to increase the number of charter students statewide by 100,000.
Los Angeles, which already has more charters and charter-school students than other districts nationwide, will see a big impact from this grant, increasing its charter student population by 20,000.
John Rogers, IDEA director, and Jed Wallace, president and CEO of the charter school association, joined KCRW's Which Way, LA? Tuesday night to discuss the grant and its possible impacts for students, particularly in the Los Angeles area.
The grant is the largest ever received by the California Charter Schools Association, but it comes at a time when the state has reduced funding to public schools. Also discussed were the implications that this move could undermine unions. Charters have more flexibility than school districts in running schools, and they aren't required to abide by labor contracts, though some do hire unionized teachers. Walmart has opposed unions for its employees.
"This matters because many of these school workers in traditional public schools are also parents of public school students," Rogers said. "You want to create healthy communities in which families are able to support their children. When we don't employ workers and provide them with what they need, we can't do that."
Rogers also said that the grant could also negatively affect public school students because it has the potential to divert attention from the real economic problem in the state, "which is to invest in public schools at a level that allows them to be successful for all the young people that are there."