Billionaires keep trying to buy seats on the Los Angeles school board to promote privatized charter schools in the city just as Betsy DeVos wants to do nationwide. The outside money is pouring in to the races for two critical seats on the board: Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings has given $5 million, two Walmart heirs have given six figures apiece, Gap co-founder Doris Fisher has given more than $1 million, reliable corporate education policy funder Eli Broad has put in six figures.
Interestingly enough, some of these same names popped up as big donors back in 2012 opposing a statewide proposition to fund public education. But sure, they’re giving big money to school board races now out of a sincere concern for the kids.
The targets of all this money are Steve Zimmer, the current school board president, and Imelda Padilla, who is running for an open seat. Zimmer and Padilla are not only backed by the teachers union but have been endorsed by Bernie Sanders and Our Revolution.
The stakes are high: Los Angeles already has a lot of charter schools but the big-money charter backers are looking for unrestrained expansion, to the detriment of public schools. California already spends big money on charter schools it doesn’t need and that don’t improve the quality of education. The millions of dollars being poured into defeating Steve Zimmer and Imelda Padilla are intended to make that worse.