Things could get tough for charter schools in California. California Gov. Jerry Brown, who leaves office in Jan. 2019, generally has been favorable toward charter schools. He promoted them when he was mayor of Oakland, even founding two new charters and raising $12 million for them. And in 2016 he vetoed two anti-charter bills backed by the powerful, anti-charter teachers unions. He even noted in his veto message how “Starting a charter school requires the strong commitment of dedicated individuals willing to serve on a governing board.”
Unfortunately, the top Democratic candidates to succeed him seem more eager to please the teachers’ unions than help students achieve. The main candidates are Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, Treasurer John Chung, former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and former Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin. As reported by EdSource, at a recent education forum, “all said they want to bar for-profit charter schools from operating in California.”
That’s a reference to the California Teachers Association’s Kids Not Profit campaign, which attacks for-profit charters. Yet according to another EdSource story, for-profits total 34 of 1,275 California charters in 2017 – or just 2.7%. Given that California schools overall still rank among the worst in the nation, according to a recent study by WalletHub, one would think any competition to make things better would be welcomed. This is a good reason for all California voters to get informed about these gubernatorial candidates. Your choice in 2018 will have a direct impact on the future of charter schools in California. When they campaign in your area, let them know they must not reverse charter schools’ march to excellence.