Charter schools are not an education cure-all

Charter schools are not an education cure-all
Tenth grader Jasmine Payne, 14, in class at Animo College Prep on the campus of Jordan High School in Watts on August 28, 2013. (Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: The Times' support for a large expansion of charter schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District is misguided. ("A charter school expansion," Editorial, Sept. 13)I spent four years with the district and three years working for many charter schools. What I saw as a charter school employee was sobering, including a culture of fear among teachers without union protection.

I am now, thankfully, teaching in a school district with a union. The lesson was simple and profound: Strong teachers unions make for happier teachers and happier classrooms.

The editorial assumes that the needs of teachers can be separated from those of students. It mentions that charters have a higher rate of teacher turnover while offering no explanation for why that is the case.

If The Times is truly concerned with the state of public education, it needs to talk with the people who take part in the system every day, including teachers, students and administrators. Otherwise, it wouldn't have the gall to chalk up concerns about charter expansion as merely a fear of losing state revenue.

Dov Rudnick, Venice


To the editor: You note the reasons charter schools are doing well by the students, which is what really matters. You also identify shortcomings, which should be monitored by the school district.

But never do I read anything telling me why the different set of rules for charter schools is not appropriate for all public schools. Teachers in charters stay, on average, a shorter time than their counterparts in traditional schools. Does that enhance continuity for students?

I think it is time to give the traditional schools the same advantages the charters have. They should be able to pick and choose the rules that would enable them to make education better for their students.

Students who attended American public schools put us on the moon, among other achievements. We should give the schools teaching today's students the freedom to thrive.

Joanne Nagy, Granada Hills