The Los Angeles Times endorses Eli Broad’s plan to move at least half the public school students into privately managed charter schools.

It does so while recognizing that charter schools have (at best) a “mixed record.”

“The school district shouldn’t seek to rein in charter growth, but it and the state should be doing a better job of overseeing such schools. There have been numerous reports that charter schools, in an effort to improve their test scores, have prodded their lowest-performing students to leave and return to traditional public schools. This never has been proved, but then again, no one has ever bothered trying to find out. The concerns have been worrisome enough, though, that new school board member Ref Rodriguez — a charter supporter and co-founder of a group of charter schools — wants the issue thoroughly investigated.

“There also have been scattered cases of charter schools ensuring that they enroll only the most motivated and successful students by setting high bars for interested families, such as parent-volunteering requirements and long application essays. Efforts to cherry-pick students are unacceptable; charter schools are supposed to accept all comers, just as regular public schools do. (If too many apply, charter schools are supposed to use a lottery.) When they have been caught breaking or bending the rules, it has generally been by the media and student advocacy groups, not by the agencies responsible for approving and checking up on charter schools. The only serious official scrutiny that charter operators typically get is when they are issued the right to operate, and five years later when they apply for renewal. It would seem a more thoughtful approach could be developed.”

So, let’s see. Neither the city not the state has the staff to oversee charters. The editorial board has heard rumors that charters exclude children with high needs and low scores. Well, let’s just right ahead, demolish public education, and see what happens next.