Two days after the Los Angeles Unified School District got news that its high schools were doing cumulatively worse than last year, not better [See yesterday’s story, “Still Failing After all These Years”] the LAUSD school board made a move that, as usual, had everything to do with politics, and exactly zero to do with what’s best for the city’s kids.
In a decision that surprised even the most cynical of us edu-watchers, the board denied eight charter petitions requested by Green Dot, the city’s largest charter school operator.
Green Dot had hoped to open most of the charters in Watts, specifically in the area of one of the city’s most troubled schools, Locke High School.
But the board said…..mmmmmm….NO.
It didn’t seem to matter that Green Dot’s schools do uniformly far better (higher test scores, lower drop out rates, more kids going on to college) than their LAUSD counterparts.
Nor did it matter that the district’s main legal consultant told the board that it had to approve the charters because, according to State law, such requests could only be turned down if they failed to meet certain criteria—all of which the Green Dot proposals met handily.
But the board didn’t care. It turned the charter requests down anyway.
And the reason? The three NO voters said they were “skeptical” of Green Dot’s “reform model.”
Surely it had nothing to do with the fact that UTLA, the local teachers’ union, didn’t want the charters approved. Or the fact that all three board members who voted against Green Dot have taken big money in campaign contributions from the union, in the case of two of them—Marguerite Poindexter LaMotte and Jon Lauritzen—a total $1 million in the last election alone.
Couldn’t have been that.
In the absence of any other, like, logical reason, I think the smart money’s on the venal one.
Have a nice day.