Failing Charter Schools and a School Board’s Choice

Confronted by the state with a list of 22 low-performing charter schools, will the LAUSD School Board take action to shut them down?

Carl J. Petersen
3 min readFeb 10, 2019


Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Data doesn’t close opportunity gaps. People have to do that, so we now need people to take action.

- Carrie Hahnel, EdTrust-West

It is easy to blame a public school for failing to successfully educate a child. Teachers and schools make easy scapegoats in a society that consistently fails at addressing generational poverty, fails to support children with disabilities, and fails at balancing the need to nurture children with the necessity of putting food on the table. In California, we defunded our schools with Proposition 13 and are still wondering why these same schools are not educating children to our expectations.

Instead of addressing the root cause of failure, the education “reform” movement held up privatization as the solution. The charter school industry was created, resulting in even more money being diverted from public schools. Lacking proper oversight, these schools provided an environment where the health and safety of students could be endangered, funds could be diverted into the pockets of administrators and the parents of poor children could be taken advantage of. Education “reformers” treated these conditions as acceptable prices to pay for better educational opportunities for our children, or at least those without special education needs.

Predictably, it turns out that the charterization of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) did not provide the miracle that was promised. The District has the highest number of charter schools in the country, with approximately 18% of its students in these publicly funded private schools. In the just-released list of 110 underperforming schools in the LAUSD, 20% were independent charter schools. Are we diverting $591.7 million from our public schools to get basically the same results?

In requesting that the state initiate a charter school moratorium, the LAUSD Board made a symbolic statement that it is time to review the 25-year-old law that…



Carl J. Petersen

Parent, special education advocate and former LAUSD School Board candidate. Still fighting for the children.

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