Locke High school in Los Angeles will become 10 small Green Dot charter schools. The Los Angeles Unified board voted 5-2 to accept a petition by a majority of teachers who want try something new, reports Celeste Fremon of WitnessLA.
â€œIf you do this,â€ (United Teachers of Los Angeles vice-president Linda Guthrie) says, â€œyouâ€™re going to send a message throughout this district, that the district is unable to heal itself.â€
â€œWell isnâ€™t that the point?â€ mutters one Green Dot supporter.
Board chair Monica Garcia later pointed out that LA Unified spends $7.7 billion a year and graduates only 40 to 50 percent of students.
â€œIâ€™m supporting this charter today because Iâ€™ve had enough of yesterday.â€
Today Locke. Tomorrow . . . ?Steve Barr predicted teachers at other troubled high schools will decide to join Green Dot, which offers a non-UTLA union. â€œI think weâ€™ll eventually get Jefferson.â€
In some ways, Jefferson and Santee are more pressing cases that Locke. Certainly, Locke is a perennial low scorer in the district (of the 1318 ninth-graders that enrolled at Locke in the fall of 2001, only a terrifyingly low 332 managed to actually graduate in spring, 2005. And only 143 of those getting diplomas had the right credits to apply for admission to the University of California and/or California State University systems). Sadly, however, Santee and Jeffersonâ€™s scores â€” and graduation rates â€” are worse.
Green Dot, on the other hand, graduates on average of 80 percent of its 9th graders and nearly all have the necessary A-G credits to apply to a state-run college or university. Moreover, the Green Dot schools run on a comparative shoestring and, both Jefferson and Locke have been recipients of some of the districtâ€™s biggest influxes of money.
The Gates Foundation will give Green Dot $7.9 million to create new charter schools in Los Angeles, which should help with the Locke conversion.
The LA Times has more.