California Educator

November 2015

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H U N D R E D S O F United Teachers Los Angeles members showed up on an early September Sunday morning to protest at the opening of the new Broad Art Museum in downtown Los Angeles. While not a salvo against the museum itself, the protesters were there to draw attention to the museum's namesake, billionaire Eli Broad, and the Broad Foundation's recently revealed plan to enroll up to half the students in Los Angeles Unified School District in privately run, largely unregulated, non-union charter schools. e plan, initially exposed in a document obtained by the Los Angeles Times, would cost an estimated half billion dollars and open 260 new charter schools in a school district that already has more charter schools than any district in the country. It would devastate LAUSD's current pub- lic schools, harm thousands of students, and gut thousands of teaching and education support professional jobs. Although Broad could fund the takeover himself, he is soliciting backing from additional charter funders such as the Walton Family Foundation, run by the family that owns Walmart. UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl sees the plan as an effort by the wealthy to take down educator unions and set the stage for broader deregulation of public education. "Deregulation has not worked in our economy, has not worked in health care, has not worked in housing, and it is not going to work in pub- lic education," he said at a news conference following the museum protest. Caputo-Pearl urged all Los Ange- les elected officials to oppose the Broad plan. He has challenged Broad to a public debate over the future of education in Los Angeles. Alth ou g h Bro a d a dmit s h e h a s n o e xp er ti se in education, it has not stopped him from putting his stamp on schools and districts across the country. His controversial and unaccredited Broad Academy for superintendents has churned out a series of "Broadies" who often share his vision for greater encroachment of the private sector on public education and have a top- down approach to school administration. Am on g th em are Jo hn D ea sy, w h o wa s f ired a s LAUSD superintendent last year after engineering an What's at Stake • Eli Broad's plan would place half of current LAUSD students in 260 charter schools by 2023, at a cost of $490 million. LAUSD's current K-12 enrollment is 664,000; it already has more charters than any school system in the U.S., rep- resenting 16 percent of total enrollment. • Charter schools are independently run and pub- licly financed. In addition to being exempt from some rules governing traditional schools, most are non-union. • Per-pupil funding goes to whatever public school students enroll in, including charters. The Broad plan would create parallel, potentially unequal education systems and have substantial financial implications for LAUSD. UTLA stands against billionaire's proposal Not For Sale By FRANK WELLS Photos by KIM TURNER Activists and coalition partners join the Broad Art Museum protest along with UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl, far right. 40

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