OPPOSE AB 1505 - As amended July 5, 2019
EdVoice Letter to Senate Education Committee
July 8, 2019
I write in opposition to AB 1505, which would establish arbitrary, undefined, and even impossible to meet standards for consideration of petitions for and renewal of charter schools.
In amending the process violation appeal standard in earlier versions of this measure through circuitous legal gymnastics, AB 1505 would establish undefined terms of art, including “sufficient time” to present rebuttal evidence and testimony on recommendation of denial, swap de novo review in favor of scintilla evidence to deny a petition or renewal, and allow every local authorizer legal discretion to establish a standard of community impact, thereby establishing legal authority for de facto arbitrary moratoria depending on political winds.
AB 1505 limits the evidence of academic achievement to statewide tests in grades and subjects that may not be offered by the charter school, establishing a charade that academic achievement would carry the greatest weight in making a decision on renewal. AB 1505 also limits the Senate-confirmed State Board of Education authority to make significant decisions on appeal in favor of a non-confirmed advisory body.
AB 1505 does not serve the best interest of students trapped in zip codes with failing traditional schools that purport to have “programs” to teach reading and math to all students enrolled but fail to do so. By establishing legal criteria to allow authorizers to deny redundant programs and schools, and for “not serving all pupils who wish to attend,” AB 1505 would legally authorize the non-renewal of high quality public school options in high-poverty neighborhoods which have been forced to enroll students for decades in failing traditional public schools.
AB 1505 does not improve traditional public schools and astoundingly establishes a convoluted system to allow failing charter public schools to be renewed. AB 1505 also conflates distance learning with distance authorizing of bricks and mortar charter schools, establishing a moratorium on the former not the latter. And, in doing so establishes an explicit moratorium on any new charter school of any type, for two years, except certain distance learning schools.
Definitively closing bad charter schools and identifying failing public schools—and forcing change so they work to provide all students an equitable opportunity to succeed—should be a top priority. AB 1505 does neither.
We respectfully urge you to oppose AB 1505.