LA charter schools not making the grade, group argues

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Los Angeles has more charter schools than anywhere else in the country, but those schools aren't making the grade, according to a report from a nonprofit advocacy group. (KABC)

Los Angeles has more charter schools than anywhere else in the country, but those schools aren't making the grade, according to a report from a nonprofit advocacy group.

The group In the Public Interest blasts the state for pumping $2.5 billion into charter schools over the past 15 years.

"There were 450 charter schools that have opened up in California with public money in places where the state says there already were enough classrooms for the students there," said Professor Gordon Lafer of the University of Oregon, one of the report's authors.

It says that new charter schools are being built while the number of students in the Los Angeles Unified School District steadily declines.

The quality of the charter education, according to the report, is lacking. Lafer said three-quarters of the charter schools have a public school nearby that serves the same population and has better test scores.

But charter school advocates say more of their schools are popping up because the demand is there. They point to parents who want better options.

Sarah Angel with the California Charter Schools Association says the report is biased because the group has long been a foe of charter schools.

She said studies from Stanford and other organizations have shown more learning happens in charter schools than traditional public schools.

"Parents are choosing charter schools because there is a demand for their students to be learning more and charter schools are providing that increased learning for them," Angel said.

Los Angeles Unified School District says it's currently reviewing the report and comprehensively evaluates all charter school petitions.

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