Bill Raden of Capital & Main presents us with this puzzle: how did it happen that seven of the 11 members of Gavin Newsom’s Task Force in charter school reform are part of the charter industry? 

The Fox is in charge of the henhouse.

Since the Task Force is supposed to examine the fiscal impact of charters on public schools, why is the industry judging itself?

Shouldn’t the Task Force have been composed of public finance experts and others who are not tied to the industry?

Or, if the Task Force was supposed to be representative, shouldn’t the majority represent the almost 90% of families whose children attend public schools, not the 10% in charters?

Why are two members drawn directly from the lobby for the charter industry?

This Task Force is a blatant example of “capture” by the industry. It is akin to the tobacco industry taking control of a commission charged with examining the link between smoking and cancer.

it is an insult to public school parents and teachers, who wrongly assumed that Governor Newsom was not indebted to billionaires like Reed Hastings.

Who did the dirty deed? After talking to Tony Thurmond, I’m convinced he did not give the Task Force to the charter industry.

I’m betting that Gavin Newsom did it to placate the billionaires who love charters.

Does he need them for future campaigns?

The teachers and public school parents of California should be outraged.

If Tony Thurmond manages to get consensus from this Task Force That leads to reform, he deserves credit.

As the series published this past week in the Los Angeles Times showed, the Charter law enables corruption, prevents reasonable regulation, and encourages small districts to poach resources from other districts. The charter industry has fought any genuine accountability and transparency. It heedlessly collapses the efforts of a district like Oakland to recover a sound financial footing. Under the current law, charters in California are parasites, crippling their host.

The answer is not to remove the ability of local districts to control charter growth inside their boundaries but to empower them to make decisions about whether charters should open or close. The role of the state should be to police the fidelity and integrity of districts and charters, not to overrule districts when they reject a charter.