CCSA Responds to LA Times Inaccuracy About Charter Schools

September 10, 2014

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It was disappointing to see the Los Angeles Times repeat a clich├ęd falsehood about charter schools in Patt Morrison's interview with UTLA president Alex Caputo-Pearl ("Should L.A. schools be run like businesses? Here's what new UTLA chief Alex Caputo-Pearl says," Sep 9, 2014). The piece states that "a lot of charters don't allow special-education or English-language learners." This is simply not true. Charter schools follow state law, which very clearly requires every school to serve students with special needs and English language learners. The percentage of students with special needs at charter schools in LAUSD is just 2% less than at K-12 district schools. That gap has narrowed steadily. Charter schools are also more likely to reclassify students with special needs and teach them alongside their peers.

Likewise, the percentage of English language learners at autonomous charter schools - which are not run by LAUSD - is actually 1% higher than at district schools. Statewide, English learners at charter schools have consistently shown higher levels of academic achievement than their district peers. This is especially true in LAUSD, where English learners at charter schools last year scored 79 points higher than their peers at district schools. Charter schools not only welcome English learners, they yield stronger educational outcomes for these students.

The charter school community is used to defending itself against baseless attacks, but we expect the L.A. Times to check its facts. We urge the Times to not repeat inaccurate propaganda and instead to present an accurate portrait of charter schools to its readers.