I want to share why I took the time to go downtown last week to speak at the LAUSD Board meeting in opposition to LAUSD Board Member Steve Zimmer's resolution to limit parent choice by not allowing any new charter schools and creating even more red tape for existing charter schools. And why I think it is important for you and parents of ALL public school children to have their voices heard.
While this resolution is aimed at public charter schools, it hurts all public schools and therefore all students in LAUSD. How you ask? It adds yet another layer of bureaucracy to an already thick jungle of bureaucracy that exists within LAUSD and that costs money. The more money that is spent at the District in downtown Los Angeles means there is less money available for teachers and students in classrooms throughout Los Angeles. To me, it does not make sense and that is why I strongly believe that this resolution is bad for all students in LAUSD.
You may ask why I send my children to a charter school. I chose to look at Charter schools after not being thrilled with what I saw happening in my local neighborhood district school. I knew I wanted more for my children and believed this could happen at a public school. This lead me to look at my alternatives and I found Our Community School, a public charter school. I believe my children have a life-long love of learning because they have been in a school that values them as individuals and learners. They have been at a school where there are not 35 or more kids in a class, where the teachers are able to really get to know them as students and where their well-being is considered first.
Let me be clear. I am not suggesting that the district doesn’t care about students, BUT it paints every student with the same brush and I do not believe that this cookie cutter strategy serves students at all.
In my heart, I believe that if district schools had the independence and flexibility to allow their professionals (teachers and administrators) the agility to meet the needs of the students at their individual schools they would be competitive with public charter schools and I would celebrate it.
What is sad is that this resolution doesn’t act in the best interest of any student. Simply put it is adults behaving badly and students are getting the short end of the stick, again. At the end of the day, Mr. Zimmer has not answered some very basic questions regarding this resolution. The most important being: what programs would have to be cut to pay for the added bureaucracy that will hurt ALL students in LAUSD?
Whether your child is in a charter school or a traditional district school, I believe that Mr. Zimmer’s resolution hurts ALL kids in Los Angeles. I believe, as parents, we MUST be strong advocates for our kids. If this resolution passes, it will limit charter schools, which hurts students attending charter schools BUT it costs money that will be taken from the traditional district schools and that hurts ALL students in LAUSD.
Finally I would like to thank LAUSD Board Member Tamar Galatzan for her opposition to this resolution. I have always appreciated her strong advocacy for the children in Los Angeles.
Please have your voice heard! Please contact the LAUSD Board members and let them hear from you. Or do what I did and go downtown to a meeting and pull a speaker card and have your voice heard!
Thank you for reading.
Jana Harper, Parent of two students at
Our Community School, a public charter school
Link to Mr. Zimmer's resolution: