The U.S. Education Department, which was once a defender and supporter of public education, has now become a major investor in privately managed charters.
The lobbyist for the board of the Los Angeles Unified School District reported that larger amounts of federal funding was directed to the city’s charter schools than to the city’s magnet schools. The city’s magnet schools are far more successful than the charters.
As the LA School Report says:
“For all the successful magnet schools in LA Unified and elsewhere, they are not attracting as much federal support as charter schools.
That was a stark message from the district’s federal lobbyist, who told a district board committee this week that Washington is increasing national support for charter schools by nearly 32 percent but by only 6 percent for magnet schools, a difference that surprised some of the school board members.
“We never imagined this would ever be this much of a discrepancy,” board president Steve Zimmer said at a meeting of the board’s Committee of the Whole.
“The money for charters rose to $350 million from $270 million while the magnet school support increased to $96 million from $91 million, according to Joel Packer, of the Raben Group, which lobbies for the district in Washington.
“Charter schools have big bipartisan support in Congress,” Packer said. “They got a big increase. Magnet schools don’t have the same political clout.”
Who lobbies for magnet schools? No one.