Experienced teachers and principals are leaving Los Angeles Unified schools to work at charter schools, reports the Los Angeles Times.
Green Dot plans to open five campuses this autumn in the South Los Angeles neighborhoods surrounding Jefferson High School, a district school long plagued by poor academics and severe overcrowding. The nonprofit recruited from L.A. Unified all but one of the 10 principals and assistant principals it has hired to run the schools. Those new principals, in turn, have hired district teachers to fill most of the 35 classroom posts.
“My plans had always been to stay at Jefferson,” said Yadira Funes, who taught math for four years and also graduated from the school, but has decided to join Green Dot. “I thought it was the best way to help my community. But throughout these years, it’s become clear that it is not possible. The school district isn’t giving us the support we need.”
Others who are choosing to leave the district for Green Dot or other charters echo Funes’ concerns. Working within the nation’s second-largest school district, with its slow pace of reforms and convoluted layers of authority, they say, has left them disillusioned. Instead, they have turned to the more intimate, freewheeling atmosphere of charters, which are publicly funded but free to innovate and are outside of many of the laws governing public education.
Green Dot, which has an in-house union, pays slightly more than LA Unified; teachers work a longer day. Teachers say they’re leaving to escape bureaucracy not to make more money. Says Green Dot founder Steve Barr: “The board has to look at themselves in the mirror and ask why they are losing teachers, students and families.”