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Stop Scapegoating Charter Schools and Fix Schools That Are Really Failing Children

There is a crisis in California’s public education system. According to teachers unions and the NAACP, the crisis involves an attempted takeover of the public school system by greedy billionaires and profit machines, led by modern-day George Wallaces.

In truth, 90 percent of California’s public school children attend a district-run school, governed by locally-elected boards. It is these districts, we are told, that are the vanguard of educational quality and accountability.

By avoiding any discussion of whether districts do an adequate job in educating students or are accountable to anyone for results, they attempt to make education debates about governance and process and not about whether students actually receive an education.

It is in the results of the traditional system boosted by these organizations where the crisis truly resides.

Sixty-five percent of California’s low-income students do not meet state standards in English/language arts (ELA), 76 percent do not meet them in math. When broken down to consider ethnicity within these numbers, 75 percent of low income African-American students don’t meet state standards in ELA and 86 percent fall short in math. For low-income Latino students, 68 percent don’t meet ELA standards and 80 percent fall short in math.

This summer, CALmatters contacted the 15 districts with the highest concentration of low-income, English-learner and foster students for whom the state boosted funding in 2013. CALmatters wanted to know what they had done with the extra funds and the results of those investments.

The academic results are bad. 

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