Spare Me Your Anti-Charter Nonsense And Come See My School

As an educator and parent, I stood with my kids’ teachers during the UTLA strike. I did not cross the picket line and brought teachers coffee and donuts in the rain.

But I’ve been listening to a lot of rhetoric over the past two weeks, leading up to Tuesday’s vote on a charter moratorium. And after experiencing these raging education wars from nearly every angle, I’ve come to believe there’s really only one side to be on: the side of the kids.

Kids, no matter what type of school they attend, deserve a quality education. Charter schools help provide that, and they’re not the cause of LAUSD’s failures. That notion is utterly ridiculous.

Here’s where I come from:

•  I attended both Berkeley and Oakland Unified School Districts growing up.

•  I attended and graduated from a Catholic all-girls high school.

•  I taught in both LAUSD and Compton Unified School Districts.

•  My kids currently attend an LAUSD magnet school and affiliated charter.

•  I was a homeschooling mom when the option I wanted for my kids wasn’t available, and I always reserve the right to homeschool again, if needed.

•   I founded an independent charter school in South Los Angeles and am in my first year of operation.

As someone who has pretty much lived all sides, I firmly believe every family has a right to choose what’s best for their child. I support quality education in any form. 

But tell me this: Are the anti-charter folks saying that if charters didn’t exist, this would “Make District Schools Great Again”? I’m really not understanding the venom and hatred being thrown at charter schools right now. I’m a fairly smart woman, I think, but I’m missing the logic.

And please spare me that rich billionaire privatization rhetoric as an excuse for your anger, because I’m broke. No really, I’m personally broke. My salary stinks. I clearly missed the memo telling me where to go to collect my millions for my charter school. And I’m clearly not a rich, white corporate man, in case you haven’t noticed.

Black woman charter operator over here.

So again, you hate me and my school because why? Help me out here. Many of the students at my school came to us because LAUSD failed them. That doesn’t mean all LAUSD schools are bad. My point, there are good and bad school experiences in every sector of education. No one is all bad. So just stop it with the nonsense, please.

The “us-against-them,” anger-fueled position based on inaccurate rhetoric really just comes off as a group of sheep who have been spoon-fed some baloney and are being manipulated to push an agenda. Kind of like a mob mentality — following what the mob is doing just to feel like you’re a part of something.

This fight against charters makes no logical sense. It just doesn’t. There is a fight and lots of work to be done.  

So to all the anti-charter folks that claim to be fighting with UTLA for quality education, I challenge you to put your money and time and efforts where your mouth is.

Drive on over to South L.A., Watts and Compton, and help repair a boarded-up, broken window. Pay for some books and technology for kids. Tutor, volunteer or, dammit, sponsor an after-school program. Take the South L.A. kids on a field trip. Leave your cushy home at 6:30 a.m. and drive over there and help serve breakfast to kids who come to school early to get their first meal for the day.

If you’re so concerned and want to fight for educational rights and equality, then get out from behind your computer and off of Facebook, where you are safe to spout all this nonsense about how charter schools are the reason for LAUSD failure.

Go stand on the front line every damn day and do something about it since you are so down for quality education for everyone. Because I feel very confident in saying that I’m sure a charter school has never impacted the quality education your kids receive.

So please just stop with the “I’m for all people and want equality for everyone” B.S. Take yourself down here and walk the streets, and visit the schools you think you’re fighting for, as well as the ones you’re fighting against. Get first-hand knowledge and experience. In fact, come visit me at my school. Anytime! We have an open-door policy and invite anyone to come see the work we’re doing.

— Charla Austin Harris is an LAUSD mom and founder of the Learning By Design charter school in South L.A.

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Anonymous

The anti-charter people seem to always have the same argument: you’re taking kids who should be in our district. They never question why parents opt out of their schools or question if it’s fair to demand that the education that suits their children be forced on children it doesn’t suit. And don’t bring up Prop 39 – it was designed to make sure districts like RVSD couldn’t force families into education that doesn’t work for their kids if a choice was possible. The anti-charter arguments are all in an effort to sustain the systems that have been steeped in bureaucracy… Read more »

Anonymous
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Anonymous

“Don’t bring up prop 39”? Are you serious? This is the cruz of everything that is wrong with this situation.

-Editor
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-Editor

Please explain what it is about Prop 39 that you think is “everything wrong.” And what do you think “the situation” is.

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Prop 39 is a blunt instrument designed for use when districts can’t see their way out of stupid.

Larry H
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Larry H

That’s right . When districts pretend they aren’t sitting on empty facilities . Out comes 39.
Designed to protect our educational freedoms and ALL public school kids .
District is most likely going to lose the charter and the charter and friendly allies at Cascade are going to rise to offer the absulute best progressive options. Dynamic duo ! District lost its rent and a lot of families that have been waiting for the chance to go .

Stella
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Stella

Too bad the public is totally mislead that RVSD has no choice but Prop 39. It can be dropped any time . Some people just want to fight instead . Addicted to the conflict .
The poor kids lose .

M o m
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M o m

There is no charter movement . No big bad conspiracy to privatize . In a free world , people , even very rich billionaires have a right to challenge the direction of education and unions when States are failing or out of support for innovation when states are not. This does not mean all Charter schools are behind the billionaires politics , anymore than every district school assumes any particular ideology or politics. Even if they accept a grant . Duh. Manors El is a Walton funded school ! Huh, imagine that . Apparently all you have to do is… Read more »

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Another incredible program – radically powerful for kids who weren’t round pegs or fit into boxes – bites the dust because mainstream public schools just can’t cut it. This pilot was wildly successful – but, apparently, “only works with charter schools” because stupid freaking mainstream districts with grossly overpaid, incompetent administrators can’t figure out how to support innovation and things that aren’t cookie cutter. Huge loss: https://www.marinij.com/2019/02/01/novato-high-to-cut-personalized-special-program-after-2-year-pilot/ and just like Marin School of Arts and Tech that got run outta town by Novato’s pre-cursor version of Standinistas. MAP was actually working – just needed tweaking. Until the small minded angry… Read more »

Road runnnnner
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Road runnnnner

Stand isn’t a symptom of believing their district is awesome , its a symptom of fear its not . Will RVSD collapse because two hundred kids go Charter?
No.
Whats apparent is RVSD very well could run its ship aground fighting those two hundred families. Remember the cartoon the Road runner? Guess who’s the coyote….Poor Bagley. Dynamite aint going to work and you’ll never catch em.

Anonymous
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Anonymous

So sorry to hear about the NBI program being cut. It sounds great, and it’s just so sad when a program that’s working for kids gets axed by administration. Maybe those teachers and parents will consider forming a charter school? That’s the obvious next step when districts can’t handle something that’s working but is different.

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Bet Charla Austin Harris would have loved seeing the white suburbanites with their Stand signs at the women’s march

Anonymous
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Anonymous

When Stand supporters visited your school to see the program, you lost your minds. I do not get it; wouldn’t you want to show off your school’s program?

-Editor
Guest
-Editor

Sorry, can’t help you. This isn’t the RVC website and we don’t represent them. You should direct your question to: https://rossvalleycharter.org/

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Disingenuous bs. I’m sure RVC would be willing to set up a time for you to visit and talk pedagogy and see what they’re doing that doesn’t involve you handing out inflammatory flyers intended to drive prospective parents away. That’s not exactly gracious visiting behavior.

anonymous
Guest
anonymous

As reported and documented by charter parents that were there ; Stand moms grimaced , frowned , shook their heads displaying a threatening and antagonist tone as they trudged through classrooms while kids were present .
Then a few Standers waited outside to finish the job assaulting visitors with their false and inflammatory flyers. Imagine if Stand moms spent the afternoon at their own schools helping out ?
What’s wrong with this equaton?