letters to the editor of the LA Times | http://lat.ms/QsFHc0
November 29, 2012
It is beyond me why The Times believes charter schools have been any kind of "spark" to education reform in Los Angeles.
Your editorial claims that charter schools deserve credit for "changing the discussion about poor and minority students," but studies have shown that in an apples-to-apples comparison, the charters perform no better than their counterparts. So when you also consider charter schools' shameful avoidance of special-education students (which, as you point out, benefits the schools' test scores) along with their dubious graduation rates, there does indeed (as you suggest) exist a need to investigate such practices.
Since The Times has allocated significant resources to investigating teacher performance at traditional public schools, perhaps the paper should take this on as well.
How does teacher tenure work against the interests of students, as the editorial claims?
Without tenure, what teacher would risk his or her job to raise valid but sensitive issues about a school? Even in today's tight teacher market, charter schools have high turnover rates, as teachers seek to return to traditional schools at the first opportunity.
With baby boomers retiring at increasing rates, a teacher shortage for California looms. Within five years many charters won't have to worry about turnover; they will have the leftovers from traditional schools.