The teachers of the Los Angeles Unified School District, the second largest school district in the country, are on a roll. After their strike won them raises, they have now turned their attention to limiting charter schools.
On Tuesday, the Los Angeles Board of Education unanimously passed a resolution calling for a moratorium on building new charter schools in the district, according to the Los Angeles Times. The resolution was one of the conditions agreed to in the negotiations between the union and the district.
The fight over charter schools has raged across the country in recent years. Initially seen as a way to combat low education standards and give parents “choice,” many progressives now see charter schools as an effort to end public schooling as we know it, replacing it with an unregulated system of schools that suck money from the public system and serve relatively few children. Most charter school teachers are not unionized, which undermines the power of unionized teachers at public schools. There are currently 225 charter schools in the LA Unified District, more than any other school system in the U.S.
The resolution passed by the board calls for a state-wide study on how charter schools impact public schools, and a moratorium on building more charter schools while the study is in progress.
The charter school issue was at the center of the LA teachers’ fight. In 2o18, wealthy former banker Austin Beutner was elected LAUSD superintendent. Teachers feared that Beutner, who had ties to charter school supporters, would work to privatize the district.
Not everyone agrees that charters are destroying education. About 1,000 charter school proponents rallied outside the Board of Education while they made their decision.
“I felt that it was important to be here today because students and families should have the choice of where to go to school,” Lexi Hopp, 18, who attends Granada Hills Charter High School, told the Times. “Not every school is perfect. So every school, every family, needs to have their choice of where to send their student, to have the best fit possible for them.”
In addition to their moratorium, the union won quite a few other demands: teachers will get a 6% raise and the school district will finally have nurses and librarians in every school.The district will also reduce class sizes, and limit classes for third graders and younger to 27 students.