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Local Voices: Charter Schools Under Attack

Bill moves to squash charter school movement.

The rising popularity of charter schools is changing the status quo.  This doesn't mean all charter schools are created equal.  Capistrano Unified School District has some of the better ones.  But not everybody is supportive of the charter school movement.

Artesia Assemblman, Tony Mendoza, has authored AB 1172 to make it easier for a school district to turn down a charter school. A school district can justify the denial if the district received a negative financial certification, was given an emergency loan or received notice that its finances are in question.  The petition can also be denied if due to declining enrollment the district is in the process of closing a school that a charter school petition identified as its proposed site.

Did you just catch that?  A school district can deny a proposed charter school's petition if the charter wants to use a campus scheduled to be closed.  Better to keep it empty.  A school district can use the excuse that it has mismanaged its own funds to deny a charter school's petition.  Better to be poorly ran.

Not all charter schools deserve to be approved.  But there is clearly a demand for alternatives.

AB 1172 is supported by the California Teachers Association and United Teachers Los Angeles.  It recently passed off the Assembly floor and will next be heard in the Senate Education Committee.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Kathleen K February 09, 2012 at 06:57 AM
I don't usually take a political position online like this, but I have to ask why Patch is publishing comments by Mr. Maddox, recalled from the capo school board, and listing him as a policy analyst? Just changing your name doesn't erase the memory of thousands of parents in the district who voted you out. Patch isn't screening their bloggers, so how confident can readers be in the validity of their content? I have flown on United Airlines....can I have a column as an aerospace engineer? Can a guy who holds up liquor stores have a column as a wine critic?
Kandace Nicole February 09, 2012 at 01:09 PM
Do the teacher's unions have no power at the charter schools?
Julianna Crisalli February 09, 2012 at 01:26 PM
Ken Lopez is writing a blog for Patch as a resident of the Aliso Viejo community. Blogs are open to anyone who wants to share their views, opinions and insight.
Julianna Crisalli February 09, 2012 at 01:36 PM
Patch has a responsibility to give every voice in our community a chance to speak. Blogs are edited before publication where we look for typos, wrong information and libelous statements. If wrong information is published in any story seen on Patch, please let us know and we'll fix it right away! But different opinions (even controversial ones) are valid for Patch blogs.
Pam Sunderman February 09, 2012 at 04:21 PM
So there is no selection process? If I choose to write a blog you will publish it (using my real name of course)?
Julianna Crisalli February 09, 2012 at 04:42 PM
There is a selection process, but to be approved you pretty much just need to have something interesting to say and be able to put two sentences together. Here's what we've been asking for in the blogger recruiting post: * Are you passionate about Aliso Viejo's core issues? * Are you an expert craftsman or hobbyist who can share do-it-yourself tips? * Do you have strong opinions about local government? * Can you just make us all laugh? * Can you write compellingly? * And in complete sentences? Then we want to hear from you. I also ask that applicants live in Aliso Viejo. If you are interested in applying to become a blogger, click the "Want to blog on Patch" tab on the homepage (below the local voices section.)
ChangeforCUSD February 09, 2012 at 04:53 PM
Jullianna Mr. Lopez has had many addresses. Dana Point, Sacramento, Rolling Hills and occassionally Aliso Viejo. His address in AV was never verified. During the last election every single precinct in AV voted to remove him from the CUSD Board of Trustees. Have you verified that he is indeed a "resident of Aliso Viejo"? Previoius attempts to prove his residency have failed. It takes more than a PO Box or vacant apartment to be a resident.
Kathleen K February 09, 2012 at 05:06 PM
I'd like to know if Mr. Maddox is actually a resident in AV. I never see him at events, at the store, at the car wash, at the library, anywhere, except when he was campaigning, and I have heard that his residency could not be verified for the election. So if you are looking for a controversial story, then how about the fact that a former school board member who was recalled and voted off the board has changed his name for the 3rd time, and is now is blogging on the Patch about school matters that parents and voters, have decided he has no business being involved with? I think that's controversial.
Miles February 09, 2012 at 05:45 PM
Stand up to the unions and be vilified for life!
Pam Sunderman February 09, 2012 at 05:59 PM
Mr. Lopez had two reasons for running for the school board...add to his political resume and advance the political agenda of the Education Alliance. He shared neither with the voters while he was running. He also solicited the support of the Teamsters. He vilified himself by putting his own political aspirations and agenda ahead of the students of CUSD. He was voted out by a vast majority of his own constituents (many of whom share his opinions of unions).
Pam Sunderman February 09, 2012 at 06:01 PM
Teachers at public charter schools have the same rights to unionize as other public school teachers.
Julianna Crisalli February 09, 2012 at 07:34 PM
I spoke with Mr. Lopez about his residency. From what I've learned he is an Aliso Viejo resident.
Julianna Crisalli February 09, 2012 at 07:39 PM
What I love about online journalism is the opportunity to connect with readers and their ability to express their opinions and concerns. I encourage anyone who finds flaws or good points within the content of Mr. Lopez's blogs to say so in the comments. This is your opportunity to share opinions of the issues too.
Ken Lopez Maddox February 09, 2012 at 08:00 PM
Here is the link to the analysis written by the Assembly Education Committee consultant who works for the party of majority. Local Assemblyman, Don Wagner, voted against the bill. http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/11-12/bill/asm/ab_1151-1200/ab_1172_cfa_20120127_121211_asm_floor.html
Bea February 09, 2012 at 11:03 PM
Oh fer gawd's sakes can Ken Lopez read? All AB 1172 does is give a district facing near bankruptcy permission to deny a charter if that charter would put them over the brink. He left out that denial in the case of a closing school could be invoked only if approving the charter would take the district from an "approved" financial position to a "qualified" or "negative certification". The only thing the bill does is allow a district to say no to a charter school if - and only if - the district is already in dire financial straits and the approval puts the district at risk of not being able to serve the rest of their students.
ChangeforCUSD February 09, 2012 at 11:07 PM
Miles Mr. Lopez, Lopez-Maddox, Maddox was and still is a "Union guy". He solicited and obtained Teamsters support in the past. Please get your facts straight. Moroe than 62% of CUSD voted him OFF of the school board in 2010 and not a single precinct in Aliso Viejo voted to keep him in office. He is blogging from his office in Rolling Hills while he works as a state employee for the Franchise Tax Board. His income is a product of the taxpayers and he is a pensioned employee. His post at 5:00 PM (at the end of the work day?) is laughable. Evidently he got in trouble the last time for posting on his lunch break at 12:06! His participation on Patch is an attempt to raise his name ID with AV voters so that he can run again for public office. Changing his name is another way to try to distance himself from a miserable record as a State Assemblyman and failed CUSD Trustee. Patch can allow whoever it pleases to write for them but please don't try to mislead the public by claiming that Maddox "stood up against the uinons". His kid goes to private school and he is a union guy all the way. He might claim to be a resident of AV but he isn't. He is a product of Sacramento and business as usual and is seeking another job. Beware sheep that continually change their names in order to fool the electorate
Julianna Crisalli February 09, 2012 at 11:19 PM
In an effort to keep facts straight, the time of posting should not be held against any blogger. The editor takes time after the blog is submitted to edit the post. Then the editor decides when it will be published. I selected the 5 p.m. and lunch hour publishing times.
Kathleen K February 09, 2012 at 11:35 PM
I think the blogs and the bloggers are a reflection of the publication. At some point, Patch should stop spending its time defending it's decision to let an ousted school board member comment on school issues and recognized that the readers just are not buying his bs. I understand high readership helps with advertising, but do complaints count as readership? Parents are tired of Lopez Maddox Lopez-Maddox. Voters are tired of him. Readers seem to be growing weary. So how about some relevant content from trusted resources? How about real citizens of AV contributing to our publication? We don't want this to turn into San Juan Capistrano Patch!
Sharon Y. February 10, 2012 at 02:20 AM
What a bunch of bullies...... I for one am glad to see Mr.Madox write for patch and welcome his insight. Yes he was recalled because the union and gang spent close to a half a million dollars spreading lies, my favorite were the newspaper ads stating that republicans supported the union candidates with a mock elephant on the ad, union deception , not interested in any response no amount of huffing and puffing will change my mind. Bottom line the official stance of the republican party and the CRA were vote NO on the recall.
Sharon Y. February 10, 2012 at 02:22 AM
You do not speak for all and most voters are now realizing they were duped in the last election.
Sharon Y. February 10, 2012 at 02:25 AM
I think EA is a much more credible source for positive education reform then let's say the self serving teachers union which has destroyed public education. Worst thing for students success is the far reaching power the union has over educational dollars.
Sharon Y. February 10, 2012 at 02:26 AM
Flat out lie.
Sharon Y. February 10, 2012 at 02:27 AM
JG, you have no proof of that, and it is a lie you and your union spread, shame on you......liar
Pam Sunderman February 10, 2012 at 02:44 AM
Sharon, I believe he is going by the name of Lopez now.
Kandace Nicole February 10, 2012 at 03:15 AM
Why are people so sure Mr. Lopez does not live in Aliso Viejo? What have you done to try and verify this?
ChangeforCUSD February 11, 2012 at 12:08 AM
Kandace Good question: 1) People knocked in his apartment door several times and there was no response and it appeared no one lived there. 2) His landlord had no idea who he was when asked 3) Maddox also used a PO Box at a UPS store on PCH in Dana Point until he was removed in the recall. He isn't a "resident" of AV and never was. Sharon - you stated that no amount of information or facts would change your mind. That is clear since your information is so incorrect. Those full page ads you speak of were not placed in the paper by a union. They were paid for by Republicans and were not paid for by CUEA or any other union. Your distortion of what occurred in the 2010 election is a joke. I personally know who designed those ads, how those ads were paid for and how they were placed. I know for a FACT that no union was involved in any step of that process. The FACTS are that most republicans could care less what the CRA or the OC GOP thinks about CUSD. Board positions are non-partisan and most of the people that voted Yes on the recall and measure H were Republicans and voted YES because they wanted to cut spending and vote for local control. You have bought a line of anti-union propaganda and you are completely uninformed about what are you are posting about. Stop lying to the readers of Patch. CUSD voters are not stupid and were not duped. Maddox, Winsten and Christiansen were removed because they were incompetent and anti public schools. End of story.
ChangeforCUSD February 11, 2012 at 12:09 AM
Sharon - you stated that no amount of information or facts would change your mind. That is clear since your information is so incorrect. Those full page ads you speak of were not placed in the paper by a union. They were paid for by Republicans and were not paid for by CUEA or any other union. Your distortion of what occurred in the 2010 election is a joke. I personally know who designed those ads, how those ads were paid for and how they were placed. I know for a FACT that no union was involved in any step of that process. The FACTS are that most republicans could care less what the CRA or the OC GOP thinks about CUSD. Board positions are non-partisan and most of the people that voted Yes on the recall and measure H were Republicans and voted YES because they wanted to cut spending and vote for local control. You have bought a line of anti-union propaganda and you are completely uninformed about what are you are posting about. Stop lying to the readers of Patch. CUSD voters are not stupid and were not duped. Maddox, Winsten and Christiansen were removed because they were incompetent and anti public schools.
Pam Sunderman February 11, 2012 at 06:29 AM
Julianna, Don't you find it a little excessive to feature Mr. Lopez 3 times on your front page? Surely he is not the only resident of Aliso Viejo (although this seems open to debate) who has opinions. And why would you limit your blogs to residents when he seems to be addressing issues that go beyond the boundaries of one city?
Kathleen K February 11, 2012 at 08:53 AM
About the columnist/blogger here...Who gave Mr. Mopez the title of "Policy Analyst"? Does he analyze policies as his day-job now that he has been recalled from the Capo School Board, or did he appoint himself to that position?
OC Mom February 15, 2012 at 09:08 PM
That's the film that Teacher's Union members don't want parents to see. It really does an excellent job portraying the sense of entitlement of some Union members. It also shows how students can move from awful, unsafe Chicago Public schools with a 56% graduation rate into a structured, safe charter and thrive. These kids are willing to spend a lot of time commuting to the school and completing homework because they see that this school is their opportunity for a successful, self-reliant future. I'm happy to see the Bipartisan support depicted in this film. This issue should have broad Bipartisan support if people truly care about educating our youth. Please continue spreading the news about the benefits of school choice and Charters in particular. My family is benefiting beyond belief by having our children attend OPA. We're so happy that our school board gave parents in our district this opportunity for our children.

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