School Choice & Charters

Calif. Shelves Bid For More Charter Sponsors

By Caroline Hendrie — May 21, 2003 2 min read

Getting more players into the game of authorizing and overseeing charter schools was this year’s top legislative priority for California’s charter school association. But a bill to make that happen has been shelved until next year because of lack of support among state legislators.

If the legislation eventually passes, California will join other states that have given chartering authority to big-city mayors, higher education institutions, and certain nonprofit organizations.

Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown, a former California governor and former candidate for the Democratic nomination for president, was among those who went to bat for the multiple- authorizer measure at a May 7 hearing before the education committee of the California Assembly, the legislature’s lower house.

Mr. Brown was a strong backer of two charter schools that are up and running in Oakland, and told committee members that mayors can play major roles in lowering the barriers charter schools face in getting off the ground.

Powerful Foes

But lining up against the bill were such political heavyweights as the state’s affiliates of the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers, as well as the 750,000-student Los Angeles school district.

“We believe that the authority for running the K-12 schools ought to reside within the K-12 system, period,” Mike Weimer, a legislative representative for the California Federation of Teachers, said in an interview last week.

In California, the power to grant charters rests primarily with local school districts. County boards of education and the state school board can approve charters that are rejected by local officials, as well as certain proposals for multiple-site charters.

The California Network of Educational Charters, which represents about 70 percent of the state’s more than 430 charter schools, argues that expanding the number of authorizers would improve accountability in the charter sector. The group vowed to fight for the bill next year.

Faced with certain defeat in the Assembly education committee, the bill’s sponsor, Assemblywoman Patricia C. Bates, got the panel to agree on May 7 to take the measure off the table for this year. The move allows her to revive the measure in 2004.

Ms. Bates, the top-ranking Republican on the Assembly appropriations committee, said she introduced the bill as a way to expand offerings within public education.

“As a mother, I understand the need to offer parents and students a variety of educational opportunities,” she said in a statement.

But in a letter to the committee, Mr. Weimer of the California Federation of Teachers called the bill “a blatant attempt to expand the number of charter schools.” And in a separate letter objecting to the bill, the top lobbyist for the Los Angeles school district argued that it would cause “confusion at the local level for parents and educational agencies,” by blurring “the question of who would ultimately be held accountable for the education of the children.”

Related Tags:


School & District Management Webinar What's Ahead for Hybrid Learning: Putting Best Practices in Motion
It’s safe to say hybrid learning—a mix of in-person and remote instruction that evolved quickly during the pandemic—is probably here to stay in K-12 education to some extent. That is the case even though increasing
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Mathematics Webinar
Building Equitable Systems: Moving Math From Gatekeeper to Opportunity Gateway
The importance of disrupting traditional American math practices and adopting high-quality math curriculum continues to be essential for changing the trajectory of historically under-resourced schools. Building systems around high-quality math curriculum also is necessary to
Content provided by Partnership for L.A. Schools
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Student Well-Being Webinar
Measuring & Supporting Student Well-Being: A Researcher and District Leader Roundtable
Students’ social-emotional well-being matters. The positive and negative emotions students feel are essential characteristics of their psychology, indicators of their well-being, and mediators of their success in school and life. Supportive relationships with peers, school
Content provided by Panorama Education

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School Choice & Charters COVID-19 May Energize Push for School Choice in States. Where That Leads Is Unclear
The pandemic is driving legislators' interest in mechanisms like education savings accounts, but the growth may not be straightforward.
8 min read
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds delivers her Condition of the State address before a joint session of the Iowa Legislature on Jan. 12 at the statehouse in Des Moines, Iowa.
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds delivers her Condition of the State address to state lawmakers on Jan. 12. She's pushing a major school choice expansion.
Bryon Houlgrave/The Des Moines Register via AP
School Choice & Charters Letter to the Editor Are NOLA Charters a Mixed Bag?
To the Editor:
The opinion essay by Douglas N. Harris about how New Orleans’ education reforms post-Katrina are relevant to the COVID-19 era (“As Schools Recover After COVID-19, Look to New Orleans,” Sept. 30, 2020) highlights some basic improvements in the NOLA system but downplays the most significant aspects of those changes: the impact on people of color.
1 min read
School Choice & Charters Home Schooling Is Way Up With COVID-19. Will It Last?
The shift could have lasting effects on both public schools and the home-schooling movement.
School Choice & Charters Opinion Challenging 3 Common Critiques of School Choice
A new volume from Corey DeAngelis and Neal McCluskey challenges some of the familiar but suspect assertions that pepper public debates about school choice.
3 min read