The task force appointed to reform California’s weak charter school law has 11 members; six of them have ties to the charter industry. Two of the 11 are part of the California Charter School Association, the official lobbying group, which spends $20 million a year to prevent any accountability for charters. How likely is this task force to propose meaningful reforms to stop charter schools from draining resources from the public schools that enroll most of the state’s children? How likely is it to propose meaningful reforms that take away endless appeals by failing charters? How likely is it to prevent small school districts from opening charter schools in districts that do not want them or need them? How likely is it to propose reforms that prevent entrepreneurs and grifters from opening their own charter schools? How likely is it to oust charter chains (the Walmarts of education), storefront charters where teachers meet students only once every three weeks, or charters operated by foreign entities?

Well, we won’t know until we see the final report, will we?

I promised Tony Thurmond that I would suspend judgment until I see the final report, and I will.

Nonetheless it is worrisome to see that somehow the charter industry managed to gain six of the 11 seats on a task force that will make recommendations to reform the industry.

I assumed that Thurmond was responsible for the composition of the task force

I may have been wrong, but honestly I don’t know who made those decisions.

I received an email from a reader in California whose credentials are impeccable, who has a direct tie inside the Governor’s office. This person told me that the committee was selected by Governor Gavin Newsom, not by Tony Thurmond. This made sense because Thurmond was smeared by the charter lobby during the campaign in 2016, which spent nearly $40 million trying to beat him. He has no reason to stack the panel in their favor. But the bottom line is that I don’t know for sure. All I know is what I see. And the optics are not good.

Who wants to stay on the good side of Reed Hastings, Eli Broad, Bill Bloomfield, Arthur Rock, the Fisher Family, and the many other charter-loving billionaires in California?

I wish him well in producing a report that actually reforms the charter industry in California and limits the damage it is now doing to the public schools that enroll nearly 90% of the children in the state. Given the composition of the task force, it won’t be easy.