moreno charter schoolsYesterday, newly-minted Democrat Jose F. Moreno sent an e-mail to members of the Democratic Party of Orange County Central Committee seeking their endorsement for his Anaheim City Council candidacy. The most interesting part was the section devoted to charter schools, in which the Anaheim City School District Board of Education member felt it necessary to distance himself from his recent vote to support the GOALS Academy charter school application:

As a result of my focus on the needs of our children, you may have heard that I did choose to support the establishment of a local charter school. I am NOT a supporter of the overall Charter School movement which is clearly a veiled effort to undermine education as a public entity. I have always, and continue to be skeptical of corporate-based and networked charters that come into our communities under the auspices of educational equity. It is indeed unfortunate that over the past 20 years our legislature and State Board of Education has established and expanded Charter school laws.

The petitioner for the local charter that our School Board approved is NOT a corporate or network-based charter group. They are a local, grass-root and non-profit community based organization that has been serving our lowest income students in the most high density part of our city for over 20 years—GOALS—which stands for Growth Opportunities through Athletics, Leadership & Service. The petitioner fully supports collective bargaining rights for teachers that will work in the charter; the petitioner has had an over 20 year partnership with our school district; and it is a charter school that will serve no more than 200 students who will benefit as our two local public schools are indeed overcrowded. Lastly, the board placed over 8 conditions for opening the school to assure its success and effective partnership with our school district. I must admit that this was a very difficult decision for me but ultimately I voted with my conscience on what is a very localized effort to improve capacity to serve our children–with a local organization that respects and values collective bargaining and local public education.

Moreno’s vote for the GOALS Academy charter school application was an instance in I was pleasantly surprised to find myself in agreement with the leftist academician. I am a big supporter of charter schools and parental choice in education, and Anaheim has been a desert in charter schools have not taken root.

However, now that he is currying favor with the DPOC faithful, Moreno finds it necessary to reassure them he voted for this charter school with the greatest reluctance and only because the teachers would be unionized (among other conditions). Not only does Moreno claim it was a one-time thing, but he publicly proclaims his wish that California had never allowed charter schools to be established in the first place!

Being that adamantly opposed to charter schools is pretty tough to square with approving even one charter application, which begs the question of why Moreno chose to go against his deep-seated opposition to charter schools, alienate the teachers union that had already supported him in order to approve this particular charter application?