Reason.tv: Cracking the Education Monopoly—Los Angeles parents demand choice. And get it.

In "Unlocked," Reason.tv told the story of the successful fight to transform Locke High, one of Los Angeles' most notorious public high schools, into a charter school.

Charters are public schools, often run by private nonprofit organizations, that give students an alternative to traditional schools and principals and teachers more local control over how campuses are run. The transformation of Locke High, completed over objections from the teachers union, marked the first time an existing school in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) was turned into a charter school.

On August 25, 2009, the LAUSD took another major step toward cracking the public school monopoly in the nation's second-largest school district.

Thousands gathered in downtown Los Angeles to sound off on a revolutionary school choice resolution put before the school board. Parents donning "My child, My choice" t-shirts faced off against union members and others who opposed the resolution, which would give students in some of LA's worst schools the choice to attend charter schools. In the end, the resolution passed by a six-to-one vote. Now, roughly 250 of LAUSD's 800 traditional public schools are eligible to become charters.

"Cracking the Education Monopoly" is produced by Ted Balaker and Hawk Jensen, who also narrates. Nathan Chaffetz field produced.

Approximately three minutes. Go here for embed code and downloadable versions.

If you have trouble embedding this video, check it out at Reason.tv's YouTube channel.

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  • ||

    I do not know why people keep dancing around this issue like stepped-on ants. The problem is very easy to fix: Eliminate licencing laws.

    In order to open a school, of whatever premise (Catholic, Christian, Secular, whatever), States and the Federal Government impose a series of licences and regulations that require the people wanting to open a school to build a pharaonic monument to learning (or white elephant), with fire codes, building codes and safety codes galore. Even if some of these codes were taken as stemming from common sense, the fact of the matter is that most of these regulations are actually designed to keep competitors from the market of learning, only very expensive charters or the State being able to have the wherewithal to build these massive and expensive projects.

    If a teacher or educator could open a school at her home for a few students, without having to have a nurse and a handicapped-prepared bathroom, the number of choices for parents could open pretty quickly.

    I have the experience of my country, Mexico, where the previous government of president Vicente Fox mandated preschool schooling for all children under 6, which immediately generated an explosion of small, home based preschools in many cities, with retired or out of work teachers investing in fixing their homes (made of brick and mortar, not wood as in the United States) to accept 10 or 20 kids, a small playground, bigger restroom, the works. Such schools became a necessity since the public system could not absorb all the children that the new mandate would impose. And, the quality of these schools was generally better than of public schools anyway.

    What was the difference? First, Mexicans are not that concerned about fancy and expensive regulations that do little to make children safe, instead simply creating a barrier to entry for many small businesses. Second, most parents still prefer private schools to public schools, especially in light of the corruption of the teachers' union (which I am willing to bet is just as corrupt and politicized as the American version.)

  • Mango Punch||

    Awesome!

  • cangrejos fantasmas||

    "In order to open a school, of whatever premise (Catholic, Christian, Secular, whatever), States and the Federal Government impose a series of licences and regulations that require the people wanting to open a school to build a pharaonic monument to learning (or white elephant), with fire codes, building codes and safety codes galore. Even if some of these codes were taken as stemming from common sense, the fact of the matter is that most of these regulations are actually designed to keep competitors from the market of learning, only very expensive charters or the State being able to have the wherewithal to build these massive and expensive projects."

    So you prefer the Chinese school building model then?

  • Flex Nasty B.I.G.||

    That's a welcome bit of good news.

  • ||

    Old Mexican, Great post, let Mexico show us the way. Your last sentence; completely, totally, 100% guaranteed accurate.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    Great post. Except for the part where Fox mandated preschool.

  • freeforall232||

    I'm glad these people cared enough about their children to work against a corrupt government so their children will have a better chance at a good education.

    The frustrating part, especially after seeing the way the teacher's union and government tried to suppress choice in this story, is how difficult it is to convince people that the government limits your choice and the bigger the government the fewer your choices!

  • ||

    So you prefer the Chinese school building model then?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_dichotomy

    If I had a nickel for every time some stooge defend the establishment with this fallacy....

  • ||

    Re: Cangrejos Fantasmas (Phantom Crabs),

    So you prefer the Chinese school building model then?

    I would prefer the Mexican school building. If I remember correctly, the building that collapsed in China, killing all those children, was a GOVERNMENT built building. I prefer the common sense of the PRIVATE individual to any soulless bureaucrat, any day.

    Re: Coloner_Angus,

    Great post. Except for the part where Fox mandated preschool.

    Indeed, I had to let everybody know why the explosion of preschools - public policy does have consequences. Before the mandate, most people simply let children stay and be schooled at home.

  • John Tagliaferro||

    The guy in the picture looks racist.

  • Barry Loberfeld||

    "Charters are public schools...."

    And libertarians are excited about them why? They are no more free market than vouchers.

    Is it really too much to propose the complete separation of school and state?

  • Jordan||

    And libertarians are excited about them why? They are no more free market than vouchers.



    Because they're a step in the right direction.

    Is it really too much to propose the complete separation of school and state?



    No, it's not. But you can either face reality and take gradual steps in that direction or you can make the perfect the enemy of the good and just live with out public school system from here until eternity.

  • Joe M||

    What Jordan said. Incrementalism is what got us to this quasi-socialist system we're in now.

    As for the issue at hand, I find it amazing that parents and teachers (unions) are on OPPOSITE sides of this. Seems obvious who should be in control to me.

  • Meta4||

    "If I had a nickel for every time some stooge defend the establishment with this fallacy...."

    First off, fuck you, cunt.

    Second, my comment was specifically targeted at school building construction, NOT big education.

  • Meta4||

    "If I remember correctly, the building that collapsed in China, killing all those children, was a GOVERNMENT built building."

    Remember the Gene Hackman character in "Unforgiven"? He was one damn fine builder, eh?

  • ||

    Wasn't his character the government worker who treated women like property?

  • Meta4||

    "Wasn't his character the government worker who treated women like property?"

    Not when he was at home and off the government clock.

  • ||

    We need not "live with the government schools from here to eternity" -- a "false dichotomy" -- we can promote and practice separation of school and state.

    Many parents already school their own children; the SF Chronicle even took notice, now that minorities are taking up the cause. Home schooled children score 30 percentile points beyond their peers. Top universities are recruiting students from the ranks of home schoolers.

    There's no reason why we can't also start small, unregulated schools of the sort described by Mango Punch. Will the State object? Yes. So what? If we offer no resistance, the State shall never yield its powers - and that would be a scary future indeed.

  • Suck On My Balls, Teachers\' U||

    "'Freedom of choice' was a... favorite phrase of Southern segregationists."

    Wow. Ever noticed how the left always trots out this racist crap whenever it can't answer the argument?

    Maybe we should remind them of this the next time some genocidal leftard is yelling about "choice" at a pro-abortion rally. "Yeah, 'freedom of choice' was a favorite phrase of Southern segregationists! C'mon, all you Old Southerners, you ought to be supporting Planned Parenthood! It just wants to help you exterminate those nigger babies!"

  • Tomcat1066||

    "Freedom of Choice" is a favorite of a lot of people who support shit I think is wrong. But that doesn't mean they're wrong.

  • ||

    Re: Meta4,

    Remember the Gene Hackman character in "Unforgiven"? He was one damn fine builder, eh?

    I would not know - was he???? And, would that be compared to the million other builders whose buildings do not fall and yet are not on a government payroll?

  • Meta4||

    "And, would that be compared to the million other builders whose buildings do not fall and yet are not on a government payroll?"

    Your right. I remember the 1985 Mexico City earthquake and IIRC the only buildings that fell in Cuauhtémoc were those constructed by the government.

    Dipshit.

  • ||

    Re: Meta4,

    Your right. I remember the 1985 Mexico City earthquake and IIRC the only buildings that fell in Cuauhtémoc were those constructed by the government.

    MOST of the government built buildings fell in Mexico City in 1985 (many were found to have slim columns covered with plaster to make them look thicker; a great scandal ensued after that). Some of the privately built buildings fell except the NEWER ones that were designed for earthquakes of 8 of the Richter scale, like the Torre Latinoamericana. The earthquake was one of the strongest that would ever hit that city, and using that as an example of recklessness from the part of private individuals is dishonest.

    And don't call me "dipshit". I did not fling any insults towards you - I should at least expect the same courtesy from you.

  • ||

    Re: Meta4,

    Second, my comment was specifically targeted at school building construction, NOT big education.


    Sure it was.

  • ||

    the building that collapsed in China, killing all those children, was a GOVERNMENT built building.

    Yes it was. Government's aren't really noted for caring about children's safety, just for making noise about it.

    -jcr

  • ||

    that fellow in the video looks an awful lot like my partner Bunk Moreland, I guess he moved to LA to support his son becoming a pediatric neurosurgeon.

  • Meta4||

    "Sure it was."

    Epic mind reading fail.

    Dipshit.

  • Meta4||

    "The earthquake was one of the strongest that would ever hit that city, and using that as an example of recklessness from the part of private individuals is dishonest."

    Translation: Your facts don't fit my narrative. Stop it you dishonest person.

    Pot, kettle. Kettle, dipshit.

  • ||

    Re: Meta4,

    Translation: Your facts don't fit my narrative.

    Meta4, you are not endeavoring yourself in giving facts - you simply misconstrued an event that happened back in 1985. I KNOW what happened in Mexico City. You on the other hand used it as a way to score points. The fact is, saying that privately built buildings fell during the 1985 Mexico City earthquake and insinuating there was wholesale shoddiness is being dishonest, since the earthquake was particularly powerful. Also, I mentioned to you that there WAS a scandal after it was found that the columns in some government buildings were made with cheap materials and totally against building codes - you seemed to miss that part of my comments when trying to look cute.

    Pot, kettle. Kettle, dipshit.

    You are pathetic, not worth my time. And like it is said in my countr, vete a chingar a tu madre.

  • zoltan||

    Who is this meta4 troll/douche? Is he trying to take joe's untakeable place? I prefer the Hit & Runs to these dicks.

  • meta4 ||

    I like turtles.

  • ||

    I was utterly pessimistic on this issue. I have a boy who will be entering school in a year or two and just took it for granted that he would be educated by a stagnant, unaccountable, union-run school unless I could manage to scrounge up enough money to pay for a real school. But this gives me new hope. NY, LA, DC? Awesome. I doubt change will come in time for my son here in Hawaii, but it is still very inspiring to know that progress is being made here and there. Government run schools are SO 20th century!

  • ||

    Timm said "Government-run schools are so 20th century!"

    Ain't that the truth! Now why don't you take a closer look at home schooling? Toss out any notion that you need to be chained to a desk for six hours per day -- government schools are horribly inefficient. An hour or two per day is plenty. The trick is to teach when your child wants to learn, not according to some arbitrary curriculum.

    My grandchildren are 2nd generation home schoolers. The 7 year old boy tests at the 6th grade level in math. He loves the topic. Many home schoolers can share similar success stories.

  • cheap watches||

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