When Gavin Newsom ran for Governor in 2018, the big charter donors backed former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who ran third in the Democratic primary. Newsom was backed in the race by the California Teachers Association. Newsom’s victory in the gubernatorial race gave public school parents and teachers hope that the scandal-ridden, money-drenched, unregulated charter industry would finally be reined in. For years, we have read about unbridled corruption in the charter sector. Surely Gavin Newsom will insist on  reform of the law.

He won. He appointed a commission to make recommendations for reform. He made sure that at least six of the 11 members of the charter commission were high-profile leaders of the charter industry.

But the commission, on split votes, recommended some strong reforms.

The Legislature seemed poised to enact those reforms. But they got watered down, and the word is that it was Gavin Newsom who watered them down.

Why? Well, for one, his chief of staff is Ann O’Leary, is a strong charter supporter. She was Hillary Clinton’s Education advisor, and she has long ties with the pro-charter Center for American Progress.

But there is more: Gavin Newsom has long been funded by pro-charter billionaires. 

Among them are the Fisher family (The Gap, Old Navy), which has been a key funder of KIPP. And there is the Pritzker family, of both San Francisco and Chicago, which has funded charters in Chicago.

As usual, follow the money.

The charter billionaires covered their bases.