Good students at a very bad Los Angeles high school are complaining that dozens of classes were changed to entirely different subjects four weeks into the eight-week term. Santee’s Computer Science class became Cooking. Twelve Advanced Placement classes were turned into non-AP electives: AP History was switched to Cinema, AP English to Writing Seminar.
The new classes didn’t fit college-prep requirements. Some students were left short of credits for graduation.
Teachers believe Principal Vince Carbino hadn’t ordered the necessary textbooks for the original classes, so he switched subjects to match the books the school already had. Witness LA reports:
In making this move, Carbino reportedly neither consulted, nor gave notice to either students or faculty. Sixteen year old, Mercedes Carreto, says she learned about the changes in her two AP classes only when she got her mid-semester report card.
â€œLike instead of AP history, it said Cinema,â€ says Mercedes. â€œI want to get into a good college and study to be a dentist, which means I need a lot of AP classes, and good scores on the AP exam,â€ she says. â€œHow am I supposed to do that when he takes our AP classes away for no reason?â€
When a group of ex-AP students complained, Principal Vince Carbino threatened to have them arrested or suspended. They asked an AP teacher to talk to the principal. Carbino accused the teacher of causing a disturbance and had a police officer escort him off campus.
The classes were changed just before an annual inspection to see if Santee was providing textbooks in all classes. To settle a class-action suit charging unequal access to education, California gave $1 billion to high-poverty schools to buy textbooks and repair unsafe facilities. Teachers think Carbino found it easier to change the classes to fit the available books than to acquire books to fit the classes.
If LA Unified doesn’t fire Carbino, Santee teachers say they’ll vote to turn the school into a Green Dot charter.