An open Letter from CCSA CEO and President Myrna Castrejón, to UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl

January 11, 2019

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Today, CCSA CEO and President Myrna Castrejón sent an open letter to United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA) President Alex Caputo-Pearl:

Dear Alex,

You and I know thousands of inspiring Los Angeles teachers, counselors, and principals who dedicate their lives to helping kids thrive at District and charter public schools. We know hard- working, loving families in every Los Angeles neighborhood who send their kids to District and charter public schools. We know brilliant, funny, resilient kids of every race, ethnicity, and income level who attend District and charter public schools.

The people that make up our public schools are absolutely worth fighting for. I write to ask you to fight for them without pitting them against each other.

The county has weighed in. The state has weighed in. The funding pie can and should grow, but we know that L.A. Unified's financial crisis is real. All California public schools need more money from the state so we can do more to support our most vulnerable students. That's something we should march for together in Sacramento instead of fighting over the crumbs at home.

Over the past 20 months, we have watched as you bargained with L.A. Unified to secure a fair contract and cast charter schools as a problem. In reality, we both know that the people who make up those schools create solutions. This "us versus them" mentality is disappointing, and I fear, dangerous.

That's why as you prepare your membership for a potential city-wide UTLA strike on Monday, I hope we can align on an important and fundamental priority we share: putting student, family, and educator safety first. To be clear, the best way to do that is to avoid a strike when we know the answers and funding are in Sacramento.

Alex, if you choose to strike, then on behalf of the 120,000 students attending Los Angeles charter public schools and their families and teachers, I ask you to ensure that words, demonstrations, and actions are peaceful, civil, and set a good example for the kids we all care so much about. Please be kind to both our District and charter community. Students, parents, and school staff aren't crossing picket lines to make political statements. They are trying to stay safe, focus on student learning, and support each other during this challenging moment for our city.

We are working hard to ensure that whatever happens next week, ALL students, families, and educators are safe and supported. I would be happy to connect on this critical issue. Please don't hesitate to reach out.


Myrna Castrejón
President and CEO
The California Charter Schools Association