California Charter Schools Resolution


Whereas, since the passage of the 1992 California Charter Schools Act calling for 100 charter schools, the number of publicly-funded, and privately-operated charter schools statewide, has grown rapidly to over 1,300 charter schools; and

Whereas, charter schools may operate dependently on the local school district, meaning utilizing or being managed by district governance, resources, and staff where faculty and classified staff are employees of the district and retain their rights and benefits won by collective bargaining agreements; and

Whereas, charter schools may also operate independently of local districts, meaning the governance of the school is through a private corporation, often supported by a larger multi-state corporation, and staff are employees of the private corporation or contracted out to other corporate entities without benefits or collective bargaining agreements; and

Whereas, in May 2018 a study from In The Public Interest found that charter schools led to a net fiscal shortfall of $57.3 million annually for Oakland Unified, $65.9 million annually for San Diego Unified, and $19.3 million annually for East Side Union High School District in Santa Clara County; and

Whereas, in August 2018, an evaluation by Public Advocates of 43 Local Control Accountability Plans for charter schools in five districts, found charter school engagement, transparency, and accountability woefully lacking to such a degree that it was sometimes impossible to determine how charter schools were spending millions of dollars; and

Whereas, local school boards are accountable to parents and students that live in their communities and have the best ability to review, accept, or deny charter petitions, but independent charter schools are managed by private corporations without electoral accountability to students, parents, or staff; and

Whereas, a report by Education Week shows that in California, 27% of charter high schools have a high school graduation rate below 50 percent and that 98% of the high schools in California that don’t graduate a majority of their students are charter schools; and

Whereas, the NAACP, the Journey for Justice Alliance, the Movement for Black Lives, the Los Angeles Unified School District, the Anaheim Union High School District, the City of Richmond, the West Contra Costa Unified School District, the City of Huntington Park, and other organizations have called for and/or passed a moratorium on charter school expansion and for the strengthening of oversight in governance and practice of charter schools; and

Whereas, the rapid and uncontrolled expansion of charter schools, especially in large urban areas, has contributed to the decline in student enrollment in regular public schools, and the consequent closing of public schools and such closures are harmful and destabilizing to the entire community surrounding the closed schools; and

Whereas, many charter schools are trying to use public space for free (in some cases profiting from it) through means such as Proposition 39, and try to take advantage of new building construction provided through bonds or economic stimulus when public education general funds are starved (and will also claim that there is “space” at already crowded public school buildings); and 

Whereas, the movement to privatize public education uses both for-profit and non-profit Educational Management Organization (EMO) and Charter Management Organization (CMO) charter schools as weapons, and the predominant forces in the charter school movement are large corporate foundations such as the Walton Family Foundation (which gives $50 million a year to charter schools), the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; and

Whereas, the vast majority of all charter schools are hostile to educational employees’ rights to organize and bargain collectively; and

Therefore, be it resolved, that the California Labor Federation hereby supports a moratorium on the establishment of new independent charter schools in California; and 

Be it further resolved, that the CLF only support fully public schools governed by local elected boards in forming magnet schools, dependent charter schools, community schools or other similar educational models that have support from labor groups represented by the public school employer; and

Be it further resolved, that the CLF shall not support independent charter schools without the unanimous consent of labor unions that currently represent education workers in the county and district where the charter school proposal will be located; and

Be it finally resolved, that the CLF will hold each central labor council to these same standards.

M/S/C by Executive Council on 6/18/22