In Partnership with 74

Parents rally at LAUSD headquarters for more charter schools

Mike Szymanski | December 8, 2015

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For Ivey Steinberg, the last straw occurred when her son, Jack, who uses a wheelchair, was left on the second floor during a fire drill at a public school. She needed to find a school that treated her son like all the others, and she found WISH (Westside Innovative School House) Charter. Then, she helped create a middle school for her son, and today she is going to propose a WISH high school to the school board.

“I want the WISH schools to be a feather in LAUSD’s cap, and we want to share our successes with all schools,” Steinberg said.

She was among dozens of parents on the steps of the LAUSD Beaudry Street Headquarters this morning, gathered by California Charter School Association Families, a group that draws together charter school families from across California to support charter schools. The demonstration was planned as a counter-measure to an event scheduled later today when teachers from traditional district schools are promoting their own schools by showing projects and success stories to the school board.

“Why shouldn’t there be a great school in every ZIP code?” said Felicia Villarreal, who has two boys, 9 and 10, one with autism. “We want to share all these wild ideas at our charter school with other schools, so they can all improve.”

The family members carried signs in English and Spanish advocating for more charter schools for the district, or at least having a great school, whether it be charter, magnet or traditional school, in every ZIP code in the city, because some areas are simply ignored, they said.


Ivey Steinberg from WISH supports charter schools.

Mariana Marquez, 18, decided on her own to apply to Granada Hills Charter High School far across the San Fernando Valley from her North Hollywood home. She took the bus 13 miles to get to school and woke up an hour earlier every morning to get there. Now, she’s attending Cal State Northridge.

“Going to a charter school really prepared me for college,” Marquez said. “I heard about how great the school was, and I thought it was worth the extra effort to get there. It would have been nice to have a school that was closer.”

Steinberg and some of the other parents said they are not sure that the Broad Foundation’s push for more charter schools is necessarily a good thing. But, she said, “If it brings better education to a wider group of children, then it is a good thing.” She said she only knows from her personal experience.


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