While the State Board of Education was deliberating the fate of the low-performing Thrive Charter Schools, which they voted to close down,  the charter lobby rallied thousands of allies in front of the State Capitol in Sacramento to fight any new laws. 

One of the speakers was Margaret Fortune, who is president of the powerful California Charter Schools Association and also a member of the state’s task force that is supposed to decide whether to reform the state’s weak charter law and whether charter schools have a negative fiscal impact on public schools.

The charter industry sees any effort to restrict its actions or regulate its policies as a mortal threat to its existence.

“Dubbed the “Stand for All Students Rally,” it was hosted by the California Charter Schools Association and was a highlight of the organization’s annual four-day conference that ends in Sacramento on Thursday. Speakers included Arne Duncan, the U.S. secretary of education during the Obama administration.

“At the rally were charter school administrators, teachers, parents and students, many of whom came by bus from schools across the state. They held signs that said “#kidsnotpolitics” and “Defend Great Schools” and were led in chants by adults on a stage flanked by giant screens projecting their images across the park.”

Since charters enroll about 10% of the students in the state, they should have had a slogan “Stand for 10% of Students,” since they have no concern for non-charter students, who are the vast majority of students in the state.

In addition to Arne Duncan, the CCSA had Steve Perry as a keynote speaker. Perry, who has one or two charter schools, is noted for his vehement hatred of teachers’ unions, whom he has likened to cockroaches.

The rally was a response to four proposed bills that would establish regulations for charters.

“The introduction last week of four new pieces of charter school legislation has aroused passions among charter school advocates. It has raised fears among advocates that California’s charter school sector will face the greatest restrictions on its growth since the state’s first charter law was enacted a quarter century ago.

“If approved, the bills would eliminate the right to appeal to the county or the state if a district denies a charter application; place an unspecified cap on charter schools; allow charter applications to be rejected based on their financial impact on a district; and prevent charter schools approved in one district from setting up in another.”

Charter advocates claim that these reasonable restrictions would “eliminate” charter schools.

Why should a district in the mountains have the power to open a charter in another district hundreds of miles away?

Why shouldn’t the fiscal impact on public schools limit where charters are allowed to open?

Last week, they said that a law banning nepotism and conflicts of interest was a “scorched earth” policy.

How many public school districts are they allowed to destroy before they are reined in?