Apr 18, 2011
El Camino Real High School, which boasts top test scores as well as many athletic awards, is leaving the supervision of the Los Angeles school district to become a charter school. And the L.A. school board has approved the move – quickly and quietly, without any discussion.
But why would a successful public school want to change the setup that has obviously worked for it?
“This is not about having any animosity with the district ... this is a financial decision,” explained the school’s principal, Dave Fehte.
School officials say becoming an independently run charter school is the only way they can rehire some of the staff they have been losing due to state budget cuts. And that’s because, under the formulas used for charters, El Camino Real would get at least $415,000 more in state funding next year if it becomes a charter school.
Charter schools are schools that are run privately, but funded publicly. In other words, the same California politicians, who have been cutting the money for schools drastically, are giving MORE money to public schools that agree to submit themselves to private management – including the management of a for-profit company!
This is a conscious policy for state politicians to hand out public money to private interests on the one hand, and weaken the public school system on the other.
Students who need extra attention will be the ones hit hardest. Charter companies avoid taking certain students – namely students who are not likely to score high on standardized tests, such as students from poor, working-class families, as well as students with certain disabilities. Charter schools have been allowed to pick and choose their students – a luxury public schools don’t have.
This is a reckless attack on public schools – and workers’ children who depend on them. Like the endless layoffs, like the wage cuts, like the cuts in government services, it’s another expression of the vicious class war waged by the bosses against the working class.