Charter schools have their problems—some are high-performing. Some aren’t. Some are models that other schools should be mulating.. Some would be better off shut down.

But the idea that charters, which serve a fraction of students, represent a top priority in California is nuts.

So it’s maddening to see the California Teachers Association, in an ad campaign, targeting charters and the billionaires who have backed some of them. It’s not so much the points that CTA is making. It’s that CTA has picked this as a priority.

There are more fundamental needs that should be a higher priority. California simply doesn’t have enough school—a mere 180 days a year (and in some districts, effectively less). Research is clear that a longer school year and more instruction time make a big difference. Why on earth isn’t this priority number one? Instead CTA seems content to preserve a funding status quo, built around Prop 98. Yes, there have been gains in educational funding in the state in recent years—but we’re not even at national average, and nowhere need what is needed.

Heck, I just sent off my second child to a half-day kindergarten at our local public school. Because California only guarantees half-day. Wouldn’t full-day kindergarten matter a lot more to education than the politics of charter schools?

I might add: some charters—though not nearly enough – provide full-day kindergarten and longer school years with far more instruction time. Maybe an alliance with those charters would be fruitful.

Pull the ads, CTA. And realign your priorities with the state needs.