John Rogers Named to California Action Team on Charter Schools

UCLA Professor of Education and director UCLA-IDEA will examine issues regarding charter schools and public education in California.

UCLA Education Professor John Rogers has been named by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson to serve on an action team examining issues regarding charter schools and public education in California.  The Action Team on Charter Schools will review laws governing California’s charter schools, and provide recommendations about any needed changes to the next State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Governor, State Board of Education, and State Legislature.

Team members represent a variety of organizations and perspectives, including those of philanthropists, charter schools, teachers, parents, and administrators. The team will be co-chaired by Action Team members Carl Cohn, Professor Emeritus, Claremont Graduate University, and Susan Bonilla, Council for a Strong America.

“This is a balanced team that will objectively examine issues regarding charter schools with the goal of promoting equity for all students and helping all students succeed in 21st century careers and college” Torlakson said, in announcing the formation of the team.

As a team member, Professor Rogers, offers insight and expertise in the issues and challenges confronting public school systems and charter schools. Rogers, who is also the Director of the UCLA Institute for Democracy, Education and Access, is engaged in significant research and work to re-envision public engagement and democratic education and to understand and further strategies for engaging urban youth, community members, and educators in equity-focused school reform. Dr. Rogers draws extensively on the work of John Dewey to explore the meaning of and possibilities for democratic education today.

Professor Rogers recently played a key role in We Choose All, a research and policy project led by UNITELA and UCLA-IDEA to provide insight, identify strategies and provide recommendation for the development of a public school system that serves all children.

In July, We Choose All presented a set of research briefs and policy recommendations to educators, researchers, advocates and community leaders at a forum hosted by the California Endowment.

“The Idea was to reset, to create a conversation that asks how can we create a system that serves all students in Los Angeles,” says UCLA Education Professor John Rogers.  We wanted to ask what would it take to create a system that chooses all?”

“In recent years, battles between advocates for Los Angeles district and charter schools have eroded trust, undermined public confidence, and diverted attention from critical issues of educational equity.  I think the We Choose All forum set a new tone.  Drawing on insights from leading researchers, we shared a set of principles for guiding district and charter relationships moving forward.  But more than that, we created a space for civil dialogue about how we as a community can move forward together.”

Rogers hopes to draw on the research and lessons of We Choose all as he works with the newly formed Charter School Action Team.

Beginning this summer, the Action Team will meet to review existing research and analyze issues around charter school authorizing, support, and accountability; recommend specific components of California’s approach; suggest modifications of existing law, regulations, and systems of support; and make recommendations by the end of 2018.

“Students, parents, educators, community leaders, and the business community can all benefit from looking at what we’ve learned from the charter school movement and public education,” says David Rattray, President of UNITE LA and executive vice president of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, who is also a member of the action team.

Rattray believes the review will help California identify best practices regarding charter schools. “This review provides great opportunity to promote collaboration and improve the sharing of best practices among all public schools.”

California has developed the largest charter school sector in the United States, with nearly 1,300 charter schools serving 620,000 students, or 10 percent of the state’s total student population.

For more information about We Choose All and the recently published research briefs and recommendations visit unitela.com/We_Choose_ALL