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The controversy behind charter schools, and their role in the LAUSD teachers strike




Striking teachers and their supporters rally in downtown Los Angeles, California on the second day of the teachers strike, on January 15, 2019.
Striking teachers and their supporters rally in downtown Los Angeles, California on the second day of the teachers strike, on January 15, 2019.
ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

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Charter schools in L.A.-Unified have been a source of controversy, and not just leading up to the United Teacher’s Los Angeles strike.

Depending on who you talk to, charter schools, which are which are publicly funded and privately managed, have sucked resources out of the L.A. Unified School District and lowered public school enrollment. And last month, UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl proposed a cap on charters in the district--a decision that would ultimately have to be made by the state, not LAUSD. Though that cap was not part of union negotiations, charters have been mentioned in the strike’s dialogue, and not just because they’ve given choice to sometimes wealthier parents on where to send their children to school.

Caputo-Pearl has also accused the growth of local charters as a step towards school privatization, and says charters are in direct competition with public schools. There are currently 224 charters in the LAUSD. That’s a number which has grown 250 percent over the past decade. And since many of those schools are not union, they could cut into UTLA’s power when it comes to a strike, especially if charters keep cropping up in the district. But charter schools have beefs of their own with their respective administration. Some charter school teachers had a strike on Tuesday, to protest against The Accelerated Schools, a group of public K-12 charters in South L.A.

This is the first protest by charter school teachers in California, though Accelerated School teachers are represented by UTLA. This was a separate strike than the more than 30,000 LAUSD educators who walked out on Monday. To talk more about how charter schools play into the dynamic of the LAUSD, Myrna Castrejon joins Larry today. Castrejon is the CEO of the California Charter Schools Association. 

Guest:

Myrna Castrejon, CEO of the California Charter Schools Association