Opinion: Billionaires who care about kids should pay higher wages instead of funding charter schools

Billionaire and charter supporter Eli Broad and his wife, Edythe, stand for a photo amid Jeff Koons sculptures at his new museum called "The Broad" in downtown Los Angeles.
Billionaire and charter supporter Eli Broad and his wife, Edythe, stand for a photo amid Jeff Koons sculptures at his new museum called “The Broad” in downtown Los Angeles.
(Richard Vogel / Associated Press)

To the editor: The corporate Pollyannas who think that all the ills of the world can be solved within the walls of a neighborhood school need to study educational theory. (“Why do billionaires care so much about charter schools?” Opinion, May 26)

Most of what children learn comes from their environment, mainly their family. Schools have never protected all children from the deleterious effects of their environment. Therefore, establishing charter schools in low-income neighborhoods is like treating the symptoms but not the disease.

Better would be to provide the kids’ parents with job training and living wages. Give these parents the tools and work they need so they can interact with their children and support the educational programs within the schools.


Support parent training at school sites that are open to families at convenient times. Provide funding for counselors to help families and children in crisis situations. You cannot expect that the fruits of education — the students — will ripen properly without treating the diseased roots.

Bob Bruesch, Rosemead

The writer, an inductee into the National Teachers Hall of Fame, is a member of the Garvey School District Board of Education.


To the editor: Harold Meyerson should write another piece titled, “Why do parents and taxpayers love charter schools?” He could also write one called, “Why do parents and taxpayers demand fiscal responsibility and accountability from the school board?”

In the final analysis, votes for L.A. school board members, a majority of whom now support charters, cannot be bought with billionaire spending, expensive fliers and endorsements from Los Angeles political machines.

Meyerson needs to confront some inconvenient truths. Charters have wide support from voters across political lines. Voters and taxpayers demand that schools provide education for a new generation of citizens confronting the challenges of globalization and automation.

When education goals are distracted by adult entitlement demands from various school employee interests, voters will react accordingly.

Jeff Marder, Los Angeles


To the editor: In a May 23 letter to the editor, a teacher wondered why voters chose Los Angeles school board candidates whom the teachers did not support.

In a news article later on the effect of President Trump’s budget on public schools, we got an explanation. Words like “teachers,” “principals” and “superintendents” were never mentioned. In the eyes of our wealthy benefactors, at best we public school educators must represent inconvenient peripheral appendages.

It’s like choosing millionaires and billionaires, though unable to swim, as lifeguards. People will drown.

Lacking equitable input from educators, the demise of a quality public education system seems imminent. Is this really what the public wants?

Jane Williams Fleming, Long Beach

The writer was a teacher for 31 years.

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