Go Public, Not Charter

STAND With Public Education is a grassroots parent-led organization fighting privatization and advocating for equitable, truly public education.

We support calls by the NAACP, The Movement for Black Lives and numerous teachers and unions for a moratorium on new charter schools in California, for the following reasons:

Segregation & Inequity

The practice of charter schools “creaming and cropping” leads to inordinate disadvantage for children in the most significantly underserved communities because distance creates a barrier to entry for students who are unable to travel to a non-neighborhood school, or they simply don’t get admitted, or get admitted and are later expelled. Charter schools also discriminate against students with disabilities - especially those with severe disabilities. While they obtain disproportionate public funding for these students, Charters often end up later expelling them, but retaining the funds, leaving the district to educate these children without the associated per-pupil budget.

Taxation Without Representation

In addition to draining funds from public schools and destabilizing school districts, local districts have little authority to safeguard their fiscal health. In fact an adverse financial impact currently cannot be the basis for a charter to be rejected. In addition, by continually rubber stamping new charter schools, the appointed charter division of the State Board of Education consistently overrules publicly elected local school board decisions fueling charter growth. Governor Newsom has tasked Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tony Thurmond, with convening a panel to review the impact of charter schools on truly public, neighborhood schools.

Lack of Oversight & Transparency

Lacking robust conflict of interest rules and often operating without a publicly elected board, charters funnel public funds into private hands. In addition, charters are not held to the same accountability as truly public schools. Newly elected Governor Newsom is currently fast-tracking legislation that will bring greater transparency to charter schools.

We ask our state legislators to immediately enact a moratorium on new charters until, at minimum, the 5 following fundamental changes are made to the 1992 Charter Schools Act:

1. Add adverse fiscal impact as a basis on which districts may reject charter applications.

2. Give locally elected school boards the sole authority to approve and renew charter school petitions.

3. Require charter schools to enroll students with disabilities (especially those with severe disabilities), English Language Learners, and Newcomers, in equal proportion to the enrollment of these groups of students in the district in which the charter operates.

4. Apply to charter school board members the same prohibition of conflicts of interest as apply to public school boards.

5. Require charter schools to be more accountable and transparent and not force school districts to have to cede control of their facilities to charter schools.