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.

“Like instead of AP history, it said Cinema,” says Mercedes. “I 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,” she says. “How am I supposed to do that when he takes our AP classes away for no reason?”

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.

Via Eduwonk.

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  1. Maybe their families need to demand vouchers for the kids to transfer to schools that actually provide the necessary books?

    If the story is really as presented, I hope the principal loses his job.

  2. Here’s one for you. My principal had me move out of a newly remodeled classroom from last year into a portable for this year. I’ve been working in my classroom for the last week and a half. The portable has a leaky roof which has caused one of the white boards to completely warp away from the wall. The other white board had been shot at with a pellet or bee-bee gun, leaving behind a nice hole and part of the white board missing (about an half an inch in diameter) right in the middle of the board.

    My principal wants to deny me a two new white boards. Unfortunately, I’ll be citing Williams and my contract in order to get these two boards replaced.

  3. Good God. Can it really be that bad? Classes would be changed just because books are available for new classes, and some kids are no longer on track to graduate?

    School choice advocates couldn’t have written a better script if they’d tried.

  4. Looks like another good arguement for homeschooling!

  5. Walter E. Wallis says:

    Procrustes comes to mind.


  1. […] “AP History” to “Cinema” — to match titles with textbooks (see “Travesty”), Vince Carbino has been removed as principal of low-performing Santee High School in Los Angeles. […]