Governor Jerry Brown recently signed AB 406 into law by Assemblymember Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento), which will prohibit for-profit corporations from managing and operating charter schools in the Golden State.
Throughout the United States, a number of corporations are seeking to privatize public education as an untapped market for increasing corporate profits. A disturbing trend in this effort to privatize our public schools has been in the charter school arena. These corporations take public taxpayer dollars and use a percentage of those dollars for corporate profits and excessive salaries for their executives with little or no transparency and accountability – taking taxpayer money away from students. In California, 34 charter schools run by for-profit corporations serve over 25,000 students and divert millions of dollars annually away from public schools and into the pockets of corporate investors.
“The privatization of public education has come to an end,” said Assemblymember Kevin McCarty. “Enactment of AB 406 puts student success ahead of corporate profits and affirms California’s belief that public tax dollars should be spent to increase student success in the classroom, not to increase corporate wealth in the boardroom. This is an historic day for California students, parents, teachers and charter school operators throughout the state.”
The Governor’s signing of AB 406 is the culmination of a unique coalition, rarely seen in education policy where the California Federation of Teachers (CFT), representing thousands of public school teachers and the California Charter School Association (CCSA), representing charter schools both supported AB 406.
“Assembly Bill 406 will prohibit for-profit corporations from creating and managing charter schools in California, thus stopping the practice of diverting public dollars away from students for corporate profits with little to no accountability or transparency,” said Joshua Pechthalt, President of the CFT. “The State of California has clearly shown that these for-profit education management organizations are ripping off taxpayers, misleading parents and shortchanging our students.”
A broad alliance across the state also supported AB 406 including the California Teachers Association, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the Association of California School Administrators, the California Labor Federation, the California School Boards Association, the California School Employees Association and the California State PTA.
“AB 406 is in keeping with the overwhelming public sentiment in California that public dollars should not be used to advance a profit motive when it comes to the education of our children,” said Carlos Marquez, Senior Vice President, Government Affairs for CCSA. “California has long embraced a vibrant and thriving charter school sector that’s public, free, and open to all. If there was any doubt that the overwhelming majority of charter schools in California are run by nonprofits and play by the rules, let AB 406 settle that question once and for all.”
AB 406 will take effect on July 1, 2019.