By Len Feldman
Assembly Member Sandré Swanson (D-Oakland) has introduced a measure on behalf of CTA that will expand the role of teachers in the design, operation and governance of charter schools. CTA-sponsored AB 2320 will also make the governance and operation of charters more transparent, more representative of the students in their neighborhoods, and more accountable to the communities they serve.
The bill would expand the authority of local school boards, and limit the role of the state, in granting charters for schools. It would also encourage charter schools to achieve a racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic balance of students reflective of the general population of the school district.
CTA has long sought to ensure that charter schools are held to the same fiscal and academic accountability standards that govern non-charter public schools. State education officials have found that, in absence of tight regulations, the operators of a number of charter schools have engaged in conflicts of interest and other counterproductive actions.
In other cases, poorly managed charter schools have failed midyear, forcing students to return to regular schools within their school district. Unfortunately, in those situations, the districts may not receive any per-student funding because the appropriations were already given to the now-failed charter school.
AB 2320 would tighten the fiscal oversight of these schools and give teachers more power to ensure the academic effectiveness of the institution. The measure is expected to see its first hearing in the Assembly Education Committee.