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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California
Southern California

LAUSD Votes on Charter Schools

Board member Steve Zimmer said he wanted the LAUSD board to look at the effectiveness of charter schools.

The California Charter School Association organized a rally Tuesday to counter LAUSD board member Steve Zimmer's request that the board look at the effectiveness of charter schools. 

"The purpose today is to send a very strong message to the school district and to this board that the charter school community will not be set back by the efforts designed to trip us up," said Jed Wallace, the CCSA CEO.

Zimmer said he wanted the board to look at the effectiveness of charter schools. The board discussed whether it wants Superintendent John Deasy to take a closer look at the system. Zimmer's resolution also asked current charter schools to delay requesting new charter applications until further notice.

"Mr. Zimmer is asking that the superintendent both analyze the situation that we currently have but also look at ways in which the best practices that are developed in charter schools are shared with the district schools so that they may also benefit," said Claudia Vizcarra, Zimmer's Deputy Chief.

Los Angeles has more than 232 charter schools with enrollment reaching more than 110,000 students. Vizcarra said that it is more than 15 percent of LAUSD's total enrollment.

"The charters of LAUSF have been growing at a much faster pace so it's time to look at what that means for the district whether we have the appropriate infrastructure to deal with that size," Vizcarra said.

Patricia Garcia, a charter school parent, said LAUSD should work more to accommodate the high demand of charter schools.

"We need more new schools and we need more schools that are willing to help our children," Garcia said.

Vizcarra said Zimmer believes in parent choice and does not want to limit charter schools.

"What he wants to make sure is that every student has choices that are of quality in district schools and in charter schools. He wants to make sure his responsibility as an authorizer is well done."


The Zimmer resolution was not about examining charter schools' effectiveness - it was about preventing more charter schools from opening in LAUSD for the next 2 years. Given there are more than 10,000 students on wait-lists for charters schools in LAUSD, this unfortunately seemed more like a politically motivated resolution.

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