Written by Jamie Parsons
Democratic political leaders and the California Teachers Association (CTA), have a goal to abolish charter schools in California. Bill AB 1316, authored by Democrat Assembly education committee chair Patrick O’Donnell, targets non-classroom-based charter schools by imposing new burdens and proposing restrictions on funding, enrollment, and class schedules. For Democratic leaders and the CTA, AB 1316 is just the beginning of their journey in eradicating charter schools.
AB 1316 imposes fees and new tutor eligibility rules on non-classroom charter schools. The bill states that charter schools will have to pay 3% to 5% of their revenue to pay for a new convoluted and bureaucratic audit system. It also states that their tutors would be required to have teacher credentials; experience in STEM will not cut it. According to California Political Review, “O’Donnell and the CTA argue for AB 1316 by pointing to the case of a specific charter in San Diego County where the school’s leaders pleaded guilty to fraud charges.” However, cases of fraud have occurred in the Montebello Unified School District in Los Angeles County, but no legislative action has been aimed at public schools.
Due to the new bill, virtual charter schools would also receive less state education funding whereas public schools would continue to receive their full funding. By denying them full state funding it discriminates against independent study students. Since non-classroom-based charter schools are receiving little to no money, they might not be able to afford to purchase the necessary supplies and materials for the independent students. This could cause the students to not receive proper education, and or cause parents to disenroll their students from the school.
One of the advantages of non-classroom-based charter schools is that due to it being virtual, students from different locations are able to join in on the same class and receive the same instructions. According to California Political Review, “That flexibility will change under AB 1316. The bill requires that students enrolled in a non-classroom-based charter reside in the county in which the school is authorized.” This not only restricts kids outside of the charter school’s county trying to enroll in the school, but it also authorizes students currently enrolled in the school who live outside of the country to disenroll.
Even though the bill is mostly targeting virtual charter schools, the bill also prohibits all charter schools from offering additional instruction days to students and restricts instructional day flexibility to students. This would hurt students who require scheduling flexibility due to work and or childcare commitments.
AB 1316 has shown to be targeting the few remaining school choice options available for parents who are dissatisfied with public schools: charter schools. Democratic leaders and the CTA say the bill will improve charter schools, but reality shows charter schools are being targeted and are in jeopardy. If AB 1316 passes, it will be easier for Democratic political leaders to erase all charter schools, which will leave many people and parents displeased.