Alex Caputo-Pearl, president of the United Teachers Los Angeles, hasn’t learned anything from the trouncing of union-backed candidates in the Los Angeles Unified school board races this year. Speaking at UTLA’s annual conference July 28, Caputo-Pearl made clear the teachers union will continue to fight school choice and push for new taxes on L.A. residents.
In May, voters elected newcomers Kelly Gonez and Nick Melvoin to the LAUSD school board, giving the nation’s second-largest school district its first pro-charter majority.
Despite repeated efforts by UTLA to smear Gonez and Melvoin as puppets of the so-called Trump/DeVos agenda, voters made clear their support for school choice and board members untethered to the narrow ideological and financial interests of the union.
The UTLA has tried to delegitimize the election by claiming, as they did the day after the election, “The billionaires bought this election.”
As out-of-touch an approach as it is, Caputo-Pearl remained committed to this narrative in his July 28 speech, asserting, “The billionaires buying the school board races was the second punch in their counter-attack,” against teachers unions.
He cited $27 million that six pro-charter political action committees spent influencing elections last year as evidence of billionaire influence. While it is true that charter school proponents have begun to spend heavily in elections, Caputo-Pearl conveniently left out that teachers unions also spent big, as they’ve done for a long time.
Last year, the California Teachers Association’s Issues PAC alone made over $23 million in political contributions. CTA, of which UTLA is an affiliate, made an additional $4.6 million in contributions through other PACs, while the California Federation of Teachers contributed $3 million.
This is merely a continuation of a trend going back many years. In the first decade of the 2000s, CTA alone spent over $200 million on campaigns and lobbying.
Contrary to the wishes of the teachers unions, it turns out not everyone is pleased with the way California’s education policies have turned out.
After years of substandard educational outcomes from traditional public schools, where bad teachers are shielded from accountability and for whatever reason receive tenure, it turns out people like having choices.
With vouchers off the table, for now, despite 60 percent of respondents to an April survey of the Public Policy Institute of California favoring them, charter…