What is the Public School Choice Resolution?
In July 2009, LAUSD Board Member Yolie Flores introduced the Public School Choice Resolution. The resolution proposed opening up over 50 newly constructed campuses and over 200 currently failing district schools to a bidding process where the district - for the first time ever - would have to compete with high-quality charter school operators, groups of teachers, and other non-profits to run each of the schools. By selecting the best school operator for each community rather than continuing to replicate the same largely unsuccessful, one-size-fits-all school model, the resolution represented an enormous and unprecedented potential step forward for the nation's second largest school district.
Why is it important?
At the time Public School Choice was proposed, LA Unified was in the midst of the largest public works project in the country, spending over $26 billion of taxpayer money to build new schools across the district. There were doing nothing, however, to address the failure of their schools to provide children with a high-quality education, with just over 50% of LA Unified students graduating from high school. Prior to Public School Choice, LAUSD was opening up beautiful, expensive, brand new campuses that were failing from the day they opened their doors. Under Public School Choice, communities now have the opportunity to obtain a school based on the academic interests of their children rather than who the operator is.
How we did it:
Public School Choice was the most radical reform initiative ever taken by LAUSD, and initially, most prognosticators gave it little chance of passing. During July/August 2009, Parent Revolution organized a massive grassroots campaign in support of the resolution, gathering supportive postcards from over 4,000 parents and constituents throughout several key school board districts. And on the day of the vote, we worked with other reform-minded organizations, including Families That Can, the CA Charter Schools Association, Community Coalition, Alliance for a Better Community, and others to hold a 3,000 parent rally outside LAUSD's headquarters. After the rally, parents and advocates packed the board room and passionately urged board members to do the right thing. After hours of debate and deliberation, the Board ultimately approved the resolution by a shockingly large 6-1 margin, represented one of the most important victories in the history of the education reform movement in Los Angeles.