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Charter Schools

Charter School
      • East Bay charter educators lead the way in charter school unionization. Featured above: Unionized educators from Envision United (EU/CTA/NEA).

California Charter Schools

Read CTA's Policy Brief on Charter Schools

The original intent of charter schools in California was to improve student learning while encouraging the use of different and innovative teaching methods and creating new professional opportunities for educators. It was important that charter schools were developed at the local site level and with the full participation of all “stakeholders,” including educators, school board members, parents, guardians and other members of the community. These “laboratories of innovation” were meant to try new pedagogical approaches on a small scale. Methodologies that worked could then be imported to traditional districts as part of our collective efforts to provide quality education to all California students.

Unfortunately, as charter schools expanded in California many departed from this original vision. Increasingly, charter schools are operated by large charter management organizations (CMOs). This means important decisions are frequently made without sufficient oversight and far from the school communities they are meant to serve.

Recent must-reads about the rampant waste, fraud, and abuse in charter schools in CA: 

Now there is a movement to change this and return to the original vision. Charter school educators, parents, students and community members are standing up to make sure charter schools are accountable to our communities. This is being led by charter educators throughout the state who are unionizing to have a stronger voice in decisions that impact their students and profession.  It is also being driven by educators, community members, and students who are working to ensure that charter schools are transparent, accountable and serve our communities.  

How do I unionize at my charter school?

If you are a charter school educator that is interested in unionizing at your charter school, please contact us at CharterEducators@cta.org.  We will connect you with other union charter educators and work with you to develop the best plan to make positive improvements at your school.

 Learn about why charter school educators are deciding to unionize 

Ensuring Charter Schools are Accountable to Our Communities

Increasingly, local communities of educators, parents and students are pushing for common sense oversight of California's charter schools. This includes ensuring that all schools operate in a transparent manner, appropriately use public resources, have no barriers to enrollment for our kids, and don't harm our neighborhood schools.

Take Action! 

Encourage your local school board members to join other districts in calling for a moratorium on unregulated charter school growth. Here are some sample resolutions: Short Version , Long Version

Kids Not Profits 

 Kids Not Profits campaign calls for Charter School Accountability and Exposing Billionaires' Agenda 
 Read CTA's news release
 Listen to new radio ads 
 Kids Not Profits website

2019 Legislative Update

Five new bills are making their way through the California legislature to address: local control over authorizing new charters; clarify site and location of new charters; facilities, academic and fiscal impact on students; and a cap on growth of charters. See CTA's release on these bills

AB 1505 by Assemblymembers O’Donnell and Bonta ensures local communities control the authorization and renewal of charter schools and also repeals provisions allowing the State Board of Education to approve, renew or hear appeals of charter school petitions. It also allows local school boards to consider the economic, facilities and academic impacts of a charter school applicant on students in neighborhood public schools.

AB 1506 by Assemblymember McCarty establishes a cap on the growth of charter schools. The current, unchecked and unregulated growth has led to destabilizing school districts and the proliferation of privately-managed charters.

AB 1507 by Assemblymember Smith closes a loophole in current law which allows a charter school to operate outside of its authorizing district. 

SB 756 by Senator Durazo establishes a charter school moratorium of two years on new charters which will provide time to make much-needed adjustments to ensure all students, regardless of zip code, receive the tools, resources and overall quality education they need and deserve.

Download a flyer about these bills.


AB 1505 and AB 1507 have both passed the Assembly floor and the Senate Education Committee and are now headed to the Senate Appropriations Committee before a Senate floor vote. We must keep up the pressure to ensure these vital bills become law! 


SB 126 by Senator Connie Leyva and Assemblymember O’Donnell ensures all corporate charter schools are held to the same transparency and accountability as neighborhood public schools. View the fact sheet on SB 126 here and CTA's press release from the day SB 126 was signed into law

Must read: Governor’s Charter Task Force Recommendations Echo Need for Accountability & Local Control in Legislation Currently Being Considered by California Lawmakers (excerpt below) 

"The California Charter School Task Force created by Governor Gavin Newsom and led by Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond released its recommendations today, which reiterate the need for accountability and changes to the laws authorizing and operating California’s charter schools. The report recommendations reflect the intent of bills currently being considered by California lawmakers. The majority of the body charged with considering the economic impact of charter schools on neighborhood public schools and recommending policy proposals heard and acknowledged the concerns and hardships posed on California’s students."

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