Thursday, July 17, 2008

We Get Mail...

Hmm... well, seems we're getting a rep for being a group of educational (as well as educated!) activists. Which is okay, because that means we're willing to do what it takes to ensure our children get the PUBLIC education that we pay for, and that they deserve.

The following is an email forwarded to me by an associate of Caprice Young's (She is the President and CEO of California Charter Schools Association of America). I don't exactly understand what it all means... I'm trying to grasp some understanding of Charters and how they work.

I think it's a subject, that we as parents, should educate ourselves about. There are as many viewpoints on the issue as there are groups involved with specific vested interests.

Do any of you know anything about charters? If so, what's your opinion of them?

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email sent to me:

To All My Favorite Bloggers:

I got another letter from the CA Charter Schools Association, and LAUSD hasn't changed their habits one bit. And now they want us to vote for another school bond, when they are already 1.6 billion dollars over-budget for the projects that should have been built using the funds that they received in the last bond. That equals more than half of what they are proposing for this bond. Its no wonder that they don't want to give Charter Schools the 10% of the bond that equal a fair proportion based on student attendance, the LAUSD needs as much money as it can get to hide the fact that they haven't followed through with the promises from the last bond.

Below is the letter I received, please mention this issue on all of your blogs, the people of our city need to know what is happening to the education of our children.

Thanks Again,
A CA Charter Schools Fan




July 10, 2008

RE: REQUEST FOR CONTINUING ACTION IN SUPPORT OF CHARTER SCHOOLS

Dear Friend of Public Charter Schools:

Thank you for your positive response to our previous request to support the seven charter schools and 2,000 students who were left without campuses by the Los Angeles Unified School District for the upcoming school year beginning in September. We have made some progress, but also have experienced some setbacks, and we wanted you to have a full update on where charters in LAUSD stand today.

Since April we have mobilized nearly 4,000 parents at marches around LAUSD headquarters. The plight of public charter school families is the subject of several closely followed internet blogs. The Los Angeles Daily News and Los Angeles Times have editorialized or covered key milestones in our efforts to help the seven abandoned schools and overall efforts to have LAUSD implement Proposition 39. We have received extensive television and radio coverage including KCRW's Which Way LA on June 19, 2008, which you can hear on KCRW.COM.

No thanks to LAUSD, we have found alternative facilities for 1,300 of the 2,000 students that the district abandoned in April. Hence, LAUSD area residents are seeing their taxes wasted in two ways: first, through the money sitting idle because LAUSD has not fulfilled its bond spending for charters, and has failed to adopt a legally-compliant policy to implement Proposition 39; and secondly, because charters are being forced to divert monies designated for instruction into lease payments for non-LAUSD facilities.

Still, 700 students are without a place to go to school in September. We are attempting to find solutions for these students, by exploring all options – public and private – for the schools that these students attend. We have made specific recommendations to LAUSD that would provide facilities to these students that would cause no instructional impacts on traditional LAUSD programs. In the meantime, we are engaged in discussions with LAUSD about a proposed bond measure they intend to put to voters in November 2008. We believe that such a bond would work only under conditions where LAUSD commits to a comprehensive charter school policy.

A comprehensive charter school policy would be an integral part of an overall facilities master plan. This includes full compliance with our settlement agreement requiring LAUSD to conduct a facilities inventory that could begin immediately if the LAUSD board assigns money to complete it.

If LAUSD places a bond before the voters in November 2007, our support would be contingent on the following expectations, consistent with our desire for a comprehensive policy for charter schools:

Fair proportion of funding for public charter schools - 10% of the total bond Flexibility in the use of the funds (not just new construction, but modernization, loan guarantees and matching funds to innovative funding instruments - much like the flexibility that exists in the affordable housing sector and other public financing sectors).

Good governance: need to ensure that charter dollars are spent efficiently, effectively and transparently. Let's be clear about what we are not asking for. We are not asking to divert LAUSD's financial resources; we are not asking for instructional assistance; we are not asking for help to ramp up test scores; we are not asking for facilities that are presently being used by students. And yet, in spite of our facilities challenges, charter schools' academic performance continues to outshine traditional schools'. Two recent studies highlight the performance differential charters offer; a recent study that matches charters with their closest neighborhood schools shows charters are ahead in student academic outcomes in Los Angeles, and EdSource published a report that further validates charter performance across the state. Please see the following links for additional information: http://www.edsource.org/pub_abs_charterperf08.cfm; and our charter research section on our website, at www.myschool.org.

Please continue to help us by sending a letter to the Board of Education and by following the blogs and expressing your opinions by adding your comments. We have listed the major blog internet addresses to ease your access.

Attached are the email and mailing addresses for members of the Los Angeles Unified School District's Board of Education, as well as a sample message.

Thank you for helping us to provide adequate learning space to the students of Los Angeles.

Sincerely,

Caprice YoungPresident & CEO

BLOG WEBSITE ADDRESSES: http://witnessla.com/category/charter-schools/
http://ronkayela.com/2008/06/the-last-days-of-the-lausd.html
http://education.fblogh.com/news/charter-schools-score-well-in-la/
http://www.buckeyeinstitute.org/blog/2008/06/11/charter-school-coopetition/ http://joannejacobs.com/2008/06/11/charter-schools-score-well-in-la/
http://www.redcounty.com/la/2008/06/this-is-why-lausd-wants-to-kil/
http://www.insidesocal.com/politics/2008/06/charter-schools-among-the-best.html

SAMPLE MESSAGE

I am writing to demand that LAUSD:

1. Include an equitable share of the proposed bond measure that would be dedicated specifically for charter schools and would be used flexibly for creative charter school solutions to the full extent allowable under the law.

2. Honor the law and the legal settlement by providing facilities for Charter School under Proposition 39.

3. Ensure that all charter school students are provided with safe, adequate school facilities from now on as required by law by establishing a comprehensive policy.

Please advise me of your position.

Sincerely,
NAME

LAUSD School Board Members Contact Information
1. Marguerite LaMotte – marguerite.lamotte@lausd.net
2. Monica Garcia – monica.garcia@lausd.net
3. Tamar Galatzan – tamar.galatzan@lausd.net
4. Marlene Canter – marlene.canter@lausd.net
5. Yolie Flores Aguilar – yolie.flores.aguilar@lausd.net
6. Julie Korenstein – julie.korenstein@lausd.net
7. Richard Vladovic - richard.vladovic@lausd.net

Mailing Address:
LAUSD Board of Education
333 South Beaudry Avenue, 24th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90017


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