Governor Signs McCarty Thurmond Bill to Ban For-Profit Charter Schools in California

Press Release

Sacramento, Calif. – September 10, 2018 – For-profit charter schools will be illegal in California after legislation co-authored by Assemblymember Tony Thurmond (D-Richmond) was signed by Governor Jerry Brown last week. AB 406 (McCarty/Thurmond) prohibits public charter schools from being operated as or being operated by for-profit entities.

“There should be no room for profit in public education,” said Thurmond. “It’s not fair to taxpayers, classroom teachers, and most importantly, it’s not fair to students. When we allow profit to take priority over children in public education, we fail to fulfill our constitutional duty to provide quality education to all children equally.”

Thurmond has made preventing the privatization of public education a top priority in his race for California State Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI). In his platform, Thurmond pledged to ban for-profit charter schools as SPI, a promise he has delivered on before his election.

AB 406 will directly affect K12 Inc., a for-profit virtual charter school company listed on the New York Stock Exchange that reported nearly $900 million in revenue last year. Many complaints have been brought against K12 Inc. in recent years by its own teachers, from miscalculating attendance to using Title I federal funding intended for high-need students for staff retreats. The complaints resulted in K12 Inc. paying out a $2.5 million settlement and $6 million to reimburse investigation fees by the California Attorney General.

“President Trump and his Education Secretary Betsy DeVos want to make it easier for for-profit education companies to siphon off public education dollars for themselves,” said Thurmond. “Banning for-profit charter schools in the state of California is a critical step to blocking the Trump/DeVos agenda to privatize public education. I hope other states will follow our lead.”

Thurmond is endorsed by the California Democratic Party, teachers groups, Senator Kamala Harris, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. His opponent, former charter schools executive Marshall Tuck, is backed by the California Charter Schools Association and the EdVoice for the Kids PAC, whose donors including former DeVos board member Carrie Penner Walton spent nearly $9 million supporting Tuck in the June primary.