Murdoch says L.A. Times to be sold

We seldom cavil with esteemed financial writer Bauder, but the original objective of charter schools was to prevent fed-up voters from passing vouchers -- an idea born of public dissatisfaction/desperation over declining public education quality which continues today. Vouchers would have taken public tax dollars and dispersed them to any fly-by-night or even private or parochial school that put in for the funds. Voters rejected extreme vouchers but okayed charters. Charters were to be a middle way to prevent wholesale dismantling of the public school system. Charter schools tend to be non-union, student-centered, communal in feeling and enjoy strong parental support. Maybe that's why Eli Broad is interested in financing a raft of charters in beleaguered Los Angeles. It's the California Teachers Association, the most powerful lobby in Sacramento, who says charters are designed to break unions. At present, public school teachers' unions have a contractual lock on teacher hiring, firing, school and classroom assignment, work hours, compensation and standards for teacher dismissal. Unionized California public school teachers have had a quid pro quo going for years: highest salaries in the country in return for largest class sizes in the country -- compounded by California's rock-bottom per capita education spending per child. It provides a living for teachers, but the result is a lousy education for most children.
— November 29, 2015 9:53 p.m.

Murdoch says L.A. Times to be sold

Eli Broad is one of a bunch of self-made billionaires (Jacobs, Gates, Walton, Bloomberg, others) who support charter schools. Charter schools are publicly-funded public schools loosely accountable to the district or state that charters them and to their own federation. Charter schools usually (though not always) have no teachers' union -- or encumbering union rules that uniformly determine teachers' economic status but have no relation to the academic status of students in classrooms. In general, charter schools have a record of mixed academic success -- no different from the traditional public school system's track record anywhere. Some local charters are academically demanding and serve first-time college candidates such as UCSD's Preuss School. Some are organized along lines of business-style project-based learning like High Tech High and its middle schools. Some are foreign language-immersion schools like Einstein Academy. Others, such as Gompers and O'Farrell, draw students from poor communities of color, enjoy charismatic devoted leadership and deep support from parents who are grateful to have their kids in an attentive, orderly, caring, academic environment. Some charters have failed because of financial mismanagement, or for other fiscal reasons -- such as one sponsored by our own SDEA teachers union and one formed but never launched by the San Diego Chamber of Commerce after seed-money was spent. The problem with Eli Broad as a publisher is not his support for charter schools, but his known autocratic personal style, lack of newspaper experience and possibly cavalier attitude toward the notion of respect for independent journalism. I heard a joke this afternoon that newspaper obituaries are now called "subscriber countdowns." I hope to see SoCal civic honcho Eli Broad publishing the LA Times and the Union-Tribune rather than the rapacious Tribune Company out of Chicago. The waiting is excruciating and I hope the sale happens soon. The charter school thing is a a red herring.
— November 28, 2015 4:55 p.m.

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