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LOCAL CALIFORNIA

Welcome to Essential Education, our daily look at education in California and beyond. Here's the latest:

  • The charter school network that Ref Rodriguez co-founded and ran has filed a complaint alleging that the L.A. school board member had a conflict of interest when he authorized about $285,000 in payments from school accounts.
  • Michelle King is recuperating from surgery and has appointed a subordinate to run the school district in her stead.
Charter Schools K-12

Charter supporters ask NAACP not to divide the black community over schools

 (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

In October, the National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People called for a moratorium on new charter schools throughout the U.S.

A resolution from the NAACP doesn't have any immediate policy implications, but it did signal that one of the country's most prominent civil rights organizations would put its weight against charter schools, which mostly are privately run but publicly funded.

Trump's new Education secretary, Betsy DeVos, is in favor of these schools and others that offer families choices beyond their neighborhood public school.

Since the resolution, the NAACP has put together a task force that is holding hearings to discuss the pros and cons of charter schools, including one in L.A. on Thursday.

Most of the arguments were the same ones often heard from charter supporters and critics: Advocates, charter parents and students said that charter schools had given them a better educational experience than their local schools, while critics said that some charter schools lack accountability, leave the neediest students at traditional public schools and suck resources away from those children.

For those who remain locked in communities that are poor and underserviced...we stand for them. We want to make sure to ensure that every child has the right to a good public education.

Roslyn Brock, NAACP board of directors chairman, during Thursday's hearing

But some charter supporters wanted to send the task force another message -- that, when it comes to issues affecting young African Americans, charter schools should not be the NAACP's focus.

We’re in Trump’s America now, and we can’t afford to be fighting each other.

Margaret Fortune, president and CEO of Fortune School of Education, a charter network in Sacramento and San Bernardino

The Rev. K.W. Tulloss sends one of his children to Watts Learning Center, a charter, and another to King Drew Medical Magnet High, an L.A. Unified school.

"We need to have real discussion on real issues," he said during the meeting. "Let’s talk about moratoriums ... on marijuana. ... Let’s talk about these permanent issues that are very, very serious to our community, like these dropout factories.”

Danielle Lowe, an administrator at an L.A. charter, is on the far right (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)
Danielle Lowe, an administrator at an L.A. charter, is on the far right (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

Danielle Lowe called for an end to fighting about charters. Lowe is an administrator for the College Bridge Academy, a network of L.A. area charter schools.

It's just another kind of separation that we don't need for our community. We already have enough.

Danielle Lowe

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