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So long LAUSD, we’ll hardly miss you — charters breaking up failing district one school at a time


Even as Los Angeles Unified keeps hiring more bureaucrats and fewer teachers
– and the disparity in their pay keeps widening — the massive school district
is disintegrating under an assault from the charter school movement.

On Wednesday, ICEF Public Schools, which
operates 13 charters with 3,000 students in South Los Angeles, will announce
it’s adding 22 new campuses in what it calls the “Education Corridor” – the
45-square-mile region bound by the 110, 105, 405 and 10 freeways.

It should more aptly be called the “Dropout Zone” with half the students
quitting school witihout a diploma. With Green Dot already running many schools
in the area and having taken over troubled Locke High School, the area will be getting free of LAUSD’s stifling bureaucracy, its can’t do culture and its 30-year
record of failure.

Mostly serving African-American students in one of the city’s poorest areas,
the Inner City Education Foundation boasts that all its graduates go to college,
two- or four-yea
r.


The group’s goal is to have one in four South Los
Angeles students and 51 percent of the community’s high school students enrolled
in an ICEF school and to produce 2,000 college graduates from South L.A. who
will return to the area with educations and job skills.

“The lack of prepared youth is preventing South Los Angeles from creating a
sustainable middle class,” ICEF says.

Actually, most of L.A. suffers from the sane problem caused by LAUSD’s
inability to educate children who come from low-income families and the $19
billion invested in new and upgraded school buildings has produced only marginal
improvement

Very little of that bond money has gone to charters and only a small fraction
of the $7 billion bond issue on the November ballot will fund facilities for
charter schools although there’s no comparison to the educational outcomes being
achieved by the charters compared to LAUSD.

Better than the new bond issue would be a ballot measure breaking up the
district entirely except for a small core of administrative functions and
putting the responsibility for educating the children in the hands of charters
that empower teachers and provide strong campus
leadership.

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7 Responses to So long LAUSD, we’ll hardly miss you — charters breaking up failing district one school at a time

  1. Anonymous says:

    Ron, this is a very interesting story about the schools. I wonder if they will have their own school board. Do you know? If they will, it would start the ball rolling toward a breakup.

  2. Anon2 says:

    The biggest single tool charters have in improving student performance is the ability to kick out students completely. While that artificially makes things look better by raising the median score, it probably also improves the actual educational experiences for students on the margins who are distracted by the bad apples. Opportunity transfers in LAUSD just shift around the problems. My bet is LAUSD’s success would match charter school’s successes if principals had similar powers. The question, though, is whether LAUSD has the political will to do so and where those kids would go if they did. As long as LAUSD is being used as a safety net for charters, then it’s apples and oranges in comparing the two systems.

  3. spiffy says:

    Charters are a good way for truly professional, highly skilled and highly educators to take control of a school or an area, but if you have a charter school being run by people who don’t know what they are doing or, worse yet, are in it for only the money, then any charter can fail just as easily as any overly large school district can fail.
    That happened to a charter school in Pasadena last spring. It was opened with high hopes but poorly managed and the place ran out of money before the school year was over.
    There are other stories all across the nation of charter schools not producing the results people had hoped for.
    I know there are some fantastic charter schools in L.A. but their strength does not lie in the magic word “charter”. Their success lies in highly educated, skilled supervision and usually a core group of parents and teachers who can get the place off to a strong start.
    I would have liked to have seen LAUSD break up into 5 or 6 completely separate districts many years ago. It would have been the best thing for the students and the parents, teachers, and administrators could have gotten used to it.

  4. Lydia says:

    Our school principal is trying to make our school a charter. The problem is she and other administrators are covering up a case of Embezzlement and Fraud. Thousands of dollars
    stolen out of Student Fundraisng Funds. We have a bad situation we are having trouble getting help for. We have gone before the LAUSD School Board Twice. Now this controlling principal, with bad Ethics will, run the school as a Dictatorship, with no one holding her accountable.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Lydia, you need to go to the District Atty.

  6. Bob Focosi says:

    http://www.nacce.com
    look at it, and ask why not here, http://www.entre-ed.org starts at hgn or middle school, and continues in community college and you can go on the last 2 years in 4 year schools, and why not with incubation, where we train and coddle and partner and support wwith services and tutors/ counselors others who have succeeded, and after they are strong, we kick them out of the nest, to fly but hang out in the branches, in case, they nave a few troubles.
    818 899-0602

  7. Sue says:

    My son attends a new charter school that has opened in Harbor Gateway. It seems that not only the Los Angeles Planning Commission, but various teachers union gadflies show up at the meetings, and under the pretense of protecting our children from the hazards of the freeway, they’ve managed to prevent our receiving our permit – in spite of the fact that our school has installed a hospital grade filtration system into the air conditioning, and the proposed building is a relatively modern office building. A few of the commissioners were not remotely interested in listening to not only to their own staff recomendations, but the dozens of parents who had to take the day off to attend the permit meeting in VAN NUYS (why 40 miles away, I can’t guess) that really needed and wanted this school at this location, as they live in the Gardena/Harbor Gateway area – in and around the same freeway the committee objected to. We are appealing this to the city council, but I’m afraid freeway particulates are the latest fad health hysteria – and I suspect the council doesn’t know or want to know the difference between correlation and causation. Currently, our children are in an older building that is only a temporary situation which will not allow for any growth. At a time when money is so tight, it’s morally outrageous that the commission refused the permit, and allowed our administration to spend funds on a filtration system, just to turn around and deny our permit – I guess our city knows how to waste other people’s money, even if they don’t understand or appreciate the needs of the community. What gives us hope is our children are happy and receiving a wonderful education in spite of whatever roadblocks the bureaucracy can throw at us.

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