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Broad names former Louisiana ed chief to lead LA charter plan

LA School Report | October 21, 2015

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Paul Pastorek

Paul Pastorek

The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation said today Paul Pastorek, a former superintendent of public education in Louisiana who joined the foundation in an executive role earlier this year, has been appointed to lead the group’s efforts to expand charter schools in Los Angeles Unified.

Pastorek, a former general counsel to NASA, joined the Broad foundation as co-executive director of the education team, to serve along with Gregory McGinity, a former education policy consultant with the California Board of Education. Now, Pastorek is taking on a leadership role with the plans for Los Angeles.

We have asked Paul to lead our foundation’s involvement in this particular initiative for the next several months, working closely with other funders and community organizations, until we ensure any plan reflects community and family needs for quality public schools,” the Broads said in a letter to “Friends” that was distributed today.

Few issues have roiled the LA Unified community more than the foundation’s plan to expand the number of charter schools in the district. An early report by the foundation said the goal is to serve as many as half the students in the district in 230 newly-created charter schools within the next eight years, an effort that would cost nearly half a billion dollars. 

It’s also a plan that district officials have said would eviscerate public education as it is now delivered by LA Unified. The LA teachers union, UTLA, has also attacked the plan as part of the Broads’ latest effort to “privatize” public education at the cost of union teaching jobs.

The Broads described the charter effort in the letter as “one of the initiatives we believe has tremendous potential is an effort to increase the number of high-quality public schools accessible to families in our most under-resourced communities. For the past several years, we have heard from parents, teachers and community members that there are not enough high-quality public school options, especially in low-income communities of color.”

As education superintendent in Louisiana from 2007 to 2011, Pastorek worked to establish more charter schools, to increase accountability and to increase private funding in education. His tenure was both praised and criticized for educational reforms efforts.

The Broads’ letter said, “Our work is designed to advance only one goal: giving every student in Los Angeles, and across this country, the great public education they deserve. We look forward to continuing to work with parents, teachers, school district representatives and school board members to develop collective solutions that are focused solely on ensuring that every student has access to high-quality public schools.”

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