Stop a billionaire takeover…
We believe a handful of billionaires have too much influence over our local elections, and we ask that legislators stand by our students and families, in support of our neighborhood public schools. Our elections should be determined by our communities, not outside money from billionaires with a sordid history of failed privatization schemes like Betsy DeVos, the Walton family and Eli Broad. It is about our students, parents and communities and deciding the best direction forward: Do we save public education or do we privatize it?
With what is happening in the Trump/DeVos administration, it is more important than ever to prioritize the voices of our students, parents and community members here in Los Angeles, and fight back privatizers who seek to take over our school board, as well as local and state elections.
Prior to Betsy DeVos’ confirmation as Secretary of Education, real estate mogul and billionaire Eli Broad sent a letter to all US senators, urging them to vote no to DeVos. This is a letter response sent to Broad from UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl, which was also sent to all US senators.
Stop a Corporate Takeover of Our Public Schools
Today there are more than 1,230 charter schools statewide, and The California Charter School Association, a lobbying arm of the charter school industry, hopes to put 1 million children in charters by 2022.
CCSA’s statewide privatization effort has been amplified locally by billionaire Eli Broad and the Walton family of Walmart, among others, with a plan to undercut LAUSD schools by removing 50% of its students, forcing the district onto a path of bankruptcy. Broad has donated more than $1.35 million to CCSA since 2013.
The corporate elite continue to fund a massive privatization effort through campaign donations, engaging PR firms to sway public opinion and also own major shares in national media companies, including the Tribune Co., the parent company of the LA Times, as well as “The 74,” which owns the LA School Report.
Our public schools are in competition with charter schools for money, resources and what they call ‘market share’ or positive favor from parents and the community. The narrative around charters and offering ‘choice’ is misleading – all plans lead to privatization of public funds without real accountability measures.
In fact, public schools are forced to compete not only for students, but for teachers and leaders as well – the human resources that are most critical to educational success. We can see what happened in Detroit as competition outpaced quality. This ‘disruption’ in education proves to have devastating effects on our children.
Aug. 4, 2016: Washington Post article by Valerie Strauss: ‘Reformers ‘disrupted’ public education. Now an Ivy League dean says the consequences for kids can be ‘devastating.’
Our Vision for Community Schools
We need real, lasting improvements to our schools. We need an educational system that includes arts and music, smaller class sizes, a well-rounded curriculum that includes ethnic studies as well as equitable systems of accountability and excellence. Parents and the public should help shape and transform their neighborhood schools to be truly community schools, locally grown and built by the neighborhood they serve. We need a fair process to ensure all students that walk through any school door – be it a public or a charter school – can access a high-quality education.
Feb. 17, 2016: During a national day of action to support public schools, students hold up a banner featuring clubs, programs and after school activities at Hamilton High School in Los Angeles.