If Charters Aren’t About Major Money, Why Are Millions Being Spent On Los Angeles’ School Board Races?

Elections for two Los Angeles school board seats will be May 16.

Incredibly, more than $11.77 million has now been spent on the campaigns of the four candidates running as explained in this article from the Los Angeles Times.

Two candidates, Kelly Gonez and Nick Melvoin, are backed by supporters of charter schools.  Together they have spent $7.2 million.  Non charter candidates are Imelda Padilla and two-term incumbent Steve Zimmer.  They have spent $4.5 million.

Reed Hastings, co-founder of Netflix and a huge charter school advocate, has contributed $5 million to get Gonez and Melvoin elected.

Other major donors include billionaire Eli Broad ($450,000); former LA mayor Richard Riordan ($1 million); GAP co-founder Doris Fisher ($1.05 million); Wal-Mart heir Jim Walton ($500,000); Laurene Jobs, widow of Steve Jobs ($250,000); former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg ($200,000; Wal-Mart heir Alice Walton ($200.000).

(Both Jim and Alice Walton have given money to the Alabama Federation for Children to be spent on legislative and state school board races.)

The American Federation of Teachers has contributed $1.2 million, the National Education Association $700,000 and the California Teachers Association $250,000 to efforts support Padilla and Zimmer.

If the pro-charter candidates win, charter supporters will control the board of the second largest school system in the United States.

Folks don’t invest this kind of money unless they think there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.  Anyone insisting that “school choice” is just about getting children a good education is being patently dishonest.

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