The former head of a nonprofit network of charter schools plans to run in next year’s election for mayor of Los Angeles, raising the potential for education to take center stage in the race, reports the Los Angeles Times.
Steve Barr, the founder of Green Dot Public Schools, is a political neophyte but a prominent figure in the charter movement. His candidacy, announced Monday, comes amid a push by local activists to raise hundreds of millions of dollars and enlist education-minded philanthropists such as Eli Broad in a push to significantly expand charter schooling in the city.
Mr. Barr stepped down from day-to-day leadership of Los Angeles-based Green Dot in 2009 but has remained active in education policy at the state and national levels. He said his run is grounded in concern that Mayor Eric Garcetti lacks “a sense of urgency” about shortcomings in the nation’s second-largest public-school system.
Political observers said Mr. Barr faces an uphill battle against Mr. Garcetti, who has built popular and fundraising support and made no major missteps during his first term, but the newcomer could benefit in the current climate from his outsider status and focus on an issue considered crucial by many Angelenos.