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February 18, 2010 It is a historic time for L.A.'s most severe underperforming schools with the Public School Choice Resolution, in which parents will get a chance to vote for the turn-around model for their kids' school next week.

This is the cornerstone of what our democracy has always been about. But in this process, that very same democracy is being tainted by interests that are more focused on keeping the status quo, than on giving parents and children the choice to get a better education.

Many schools, including charters, have presented their proposals and have held parent meetings in anticipation of the parent vote. Over the last weeks, flyers have been distributed in our communities threatening deportation to parents who sign charter school petitions, or calling charter applicants "outsiders" who will disenroll kids at these schools. Even LAUSD employees have been wearing buttons to board and parent meetings that read "no outsiders" and many have reported receiving automated phone messages saying that "corporations are trying to take over neighborhood schools" outside the area of the schools in the Resolution.

We want to set the record straight. Charter schools are public schools that are tuition-free. Charter schools are committed to offering alternative methods of teaching, and serving a diverse student population. Local educators, leaders, and community members run the schools, not "outsiders". That is what we offer.

When the Resolution was approved in the fall, it was intended to open the doors to offer alternatives for these underperforming and new schools. Putting other interests in front of parents and students is plain wrong and undemocratic. Give parents accurate and honest information. Let them make informed choices for their children.

Jed Wallace
President and CEO
California Charter Schools Association

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