LA teachers turn to Green Dot

First, teachers at Locke High School in Los Angeles petitioned to turn their troubled school into a Green Dot charter school. Now teachers at two other high schools in Los Angeles Unified are talking to Green Dot founder Steve Barr about leaving the district to join his charter network.

Teachers at Santee Education Complex, a gang-ridden school with very low test scores, and Taft High, a diverse campus with average scores, said they’re frustrated by the district’s inability to change.

“With what happened at Locke, we’ve entered into a new chapter. They’ve instigated reform that all these district hot shots either are unable or unwilling to make happen,” said Santee English teacher Jordan Henry, who arranged the meeting with Barr.

Teachers like the fact that Green Dot spends 90 percent of funds on instruction.

“The increased autonomy is very attractive, and the money too,” said Richard Gibbons, a veteran government teacher at Taft. “We’re frustrated by the district and its bureaucracy. People are eager to try something different. We have to do something.”

Gibbons and Henry, who set up the Green Dot meetings, are the reps at their schools for the teachers union, United Teachers Los Angeles. Green Dot has its own union, which is not affiliated with UTLA.

Barr says teachers at six other schools have contacted him since the Locke teachers asked to go charter.

Charter Blog thinks this could signify urban school systems have reached a tipping point.

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  1. It would definitely be a hell of a thing if the LAUSD flew apart.

    California might be able to reclaim its title as duh place where duh trends starts.

    This might be a pretty good issue for Arnie as well.

    The unions already hate his guts so there’s nothing much to lose by getting behind the idea of amending the law to make it easier to charterize a district. He’d pick up support from charter school parents and charter school parent wannabees. Also, it looks like teachers, as differentiated from teacher’s unions, might find something to love in the big lug.

  2. SuperSub says:

    It’s nice to see that the building reps are standing up for their buildings as opposed to the union administration.

  3. Santee HS is only in its SECOND year!

    The school, named for the dairy that once occupied the property on which it was built, had race riots during its first year — which might well have been exported from nearby Jefferson HS which had race riots the previous year and from which many student had fled to the new school.

    I coached a varsity basketball game in Santee’s brand new gymnasium against their new team in its spiffy new uniforms. We were led in through the complex as if through a prison. Multiple doors were unlocked and then locked behind us. Anyone who needed a bathroom for any reason had to be let in by someone with a ring of keys. The walls were pock-marked from graffiti-removal. Everyone was working hard, it seemed, to stave off disaster at the place.

    Earlier this year, the mayor of Los Angeles took his entourage, including reporters, onto an MTA bus that delivered students to the school — something about seeing how far they had to talk from bus stop to school and how dangerous that walk was — and during the ride some kid tagged up the bus window right near where the mayor was sitting.

    I don’t blame the teacher for wanting a change. These schools need stable, committed leadership and a sense of urgency. They need to fix things right away. Every cohort of students getting a second rate education is a tragedy.