The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

L. A.:
Billionaires Push for More Charter Schools

Aug 31, 2015

Real estate billionaire Eli Broad and the Waltons, the billionaire owners of Walmart, are pushing for more charter schools in Los Angeles, along with Bill Gates, owner of Microsoft. These billionaires have been pouring millions of dollars into every election in order to get charter supporters on the L.A. School Board.

Their goal is to open up public education – the taxpayer money allocated for public education, that is – to private interests for profit. Charter schools are a way to do that, because charter schools are funded by public school boards, while being operated by private companies. Most charter schools are non-union, and they typically hire only young, inexperienced teachers who get paid less. Many of the charter school teachers come from Teach for America, an organization that recruits recent college graduates for two-year teaching contracts, typically after a three-week “training.”

Backers of charter schools target working-class neighborhoods, where public schools have a long history of short-changing children. With 207 charter schools, the Los Angeles school district already has more charter schools than any other district in the U.S. Currently, one in every six students in L.A. Unified, more than 100,000, are enrolled in charter schools.

Public education money given to charter schools is money cut from the public schools themselves. Fortunately, charter schools have been unable to capture solid support from parents of students. In L.A. districts, voters have often rejected candidates who openly advocate for charter schools.