Waltons win LA school board battle. A lesson for Little Rock. | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Waltons win LA school board battle. A lesson for Little Rock.

Posted By on Wed, May 17, 2017 at 7:57 AM

click to enlarge BACKS LOSER: Bernie Sanders backed Steve Zimmer in his race for LA School Board. A candidate backed by Walton family millions won.
  • BACKS LOSER: Bernie Sanders backed Steve Zimmer in his race for LA School Board. A candidate backed by Walton family millions won.

Billionaires including the Walton family and Eli Broad poured millions into a successful effort to defeat Los Angeles School Board candidates who weren't sufficiently compliant with the charter school expansion agenda in that city.

Here's the LA Times report.

Diane Ravitch boils it down more succinctly on her blog and raises an issue worth considering in Little Rock, Ark.

Charter operators want a larger share of LAUSD construction funds and more of its buildings. They will now encounter no opposition from the board.

“Whatever their allegiance, the winners of the board seats will confront an ocean of challenges, including the seemingly inevitable growth of charters and the strain that places on the district’s budget and its ability to serve students at its own schools.”

LAUSD will now become a dual school system, with no constraints on charter growth.
Los Angeles already had an expansive system of charter schools. It wasn't enough for the Waltons. There — and here — their hired hands are angling for more construction money (see the recent piteous whining about lack of local tax support by their propaganda arm at the University of Arkansas.)

The longer the Little Rock School District is in state control and the more charter schools are built to cream students from the district, the more the pressure grows to just turn the whole thing over to private operators — buildings, tax base and all.

There's a downside to charterizing — fiscal problems and academic underperformance without consequences have been known to occur. See the Covenant Keepers operation in Little Rock that the Waltons and state Board of Education continue to prop up. Nice timing on that election by the way.  The California Board of Education just closed a couple of LA charter schools (previously backed by Walton money) amid a federal investigation. Lavish expenditures and sky-high pay of an executive are among items cited in LA Times article.

Meanwhile in Little Rock, the Little Rock Board of Directors put off last night a vote on a resolution asking the state to return local control of the LR District to voters. The state Board of Education is certainly in no hurry. No reason the City Board should be. Reportedly, Superintendent Mike Poore wanted to speak on occasion of discussion of the resolution. City Director Lance Hines yesterday was circulating communication from "another part of the city" — he doesn't live in the Little Rock School District — in which  a letter writer blasted the past school board, the teachers' union and desegregation "hustlers." Sympathetic to the district, Hines is not.

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