Photos: Hundreds Of Teachers Protest At Opening Of The Broad Museum
It seems not everyone was excited about the opening of The Broad museum this past weekend.
Hundreds of teachers from the L.A. Unified School District gathered in front of downtown's newest contemporary art museum on Sunday, but they weren't there to see the Warhols or Koons. The educators—members of the United Teachers Los Angeles union—were protesting Eli Broad, the billionaire philanthropist behind the museum, and his involvement in a plan to increase the number of charter schools around L.A., reports the L.A. Times.
Broad and his wife, Edythe, have been major supporters of charter schools where teachers are often not unionized—reportedly investing $144 million so far in the independently run, publicly-funded schools. And they may potentially be planning to invest as much as $490 million more, according to a document obtained by the L.A. Times. But the protesters argue that current ambitious plans to expand charter schools around the district—one that could aim to enroll half of all Los Angeles students—would drain resources and harm public education.
"Charter schools are destroying public education," retired kindergarten teacher Cheryl Ortega, tells the L.A. Times. "Mr. Broad wants to own 50% of our schools. That's untenable." Ortega and other members of the teachers' union have long battled the Broads and anyone else who has come out in support of charters.
Supporters of charter schools argue that they offer an alternative to poor-performing district-run schools. In response, a statement issued on behalf of the Broads explains their involvement with the schools:
As families demand high-quality public school options—and more students want to attend public charter schools, we want to support them in meeting that demand. Our only interest is in supporting the growth of high-quality public schools.
Apparently, though, the red-shirted protesters didn't seem to phase some of the art enthusiasts heading in to see the Broads' massive collection on Sunday.
"It adds a little context," Alyse Carter, an art student, explained to the Times. "I'm going to remember when I came to the opening of Broads' museum and there was this issue that people felt strongly enough about that they came out to be heard."