Opinion

Allegations against Ref Rodriguez taint the entire charter school movement

To the editor: Could you imagine what would have happened, say, three years ago if a member of the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education had been charged with money laundering and accused of ethical violations? (“Ref Rodriguez needs to explain himself — or get off the board,” editorial, Oct. 18)

The outrage would have been monumental. And it would have expanded to the whole school board and the whole “inefficient” LAUSD.

In those days, United Teachers Los Angeles was very influential and the pro-charter movement had not yet taken over the board. Fast forward to 2017, and board member Ref Rodriguez is being charged with serious crimes and ethical violations, but the Richard Riordans and Eli Broads of the world who supported Rodriguez do not seem to have the time to criticize the board that is controlled by their friends.

The Rodriguez scandal is about more than alleged crimes. It is also about a morally bankrupt movement determined to destroy public education and the consequences society faces if we do not regulate the sector appropriately.

Charter schools must have the same responsibilities that we demand from traditional public schools. Otherwise, there will be only more scandals.

Nestor M. Fantini, Northridge

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To the editor: After reading about allegations of money laundering and ethical violations against Rodriguez, the former school board president, my heart really goes out to his colleagues in their quest to do ethical school business when such a murky mist engulfs them at district headquarters.

As a retired employee of the district, I have known some members personally, and they all had the best interests of children at heart.

If a dark cloud continues to hang over the school board, then Rodriguez should gather the courage to resign his seat. Perhaps the salient words of comedian George Carlin are apropos for this gloom: “Remember, behind every silver lining, is a dark cloud.”

Tom Kaminski, Manhattan Beach

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