Will L.A.’s New Superintendent Expand Charter Schools?
By Jack Ross
When Los Angeles Unified School District’s new rockstar superintendent, Alberto Carvalho, formerly of Miami-Dade County Public Schools (MDCPS), concluded his remarks at a press conference on Dec. 14, the first question he received from the media was not about vaccine mandates, teacher shortages or the omicron variant. It was about charter schools. Would the new superintendent expand them?
“Thank you so much for starting with the easiest questions first,” Carvalho said, drawing laughs from the press and school board members seated behind him.
Carvalho’s first question, and the rain pattering against the Edward Roybal Learning Center gymnasium, made it feel like it was still winter 2019, when United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) picketed in January storms against charter school expansion, among other issues. Critics accuse charters of siphoning desperately needed funds out of the public school system and strangling district schools under the guise of saving public education from itself. Charters are largely nonunion. They have been accused of exploiting teachers and rejecting special education students. They sometimes shutter without warning.