Education Green Dot LAUSD

Locke Step….Forward!


Well, they voted….
and the Steve Barr/Green Dot/Locke charter contingent won, at least this round. But the lay of the land that was glimpsed today presages a win in the up-or-down vote that will take place at the LAUSD board meeting on September 11.

“I think Admiral Brewer realizes that,” said Locke teacher/activist, Bruce Smith, “and that’s one of the reason he’s with us.”

Put another way, the winds of history are at the backs of the charter folks, and the smart money says that anybody who obstructs this move will, when all is said and done, be blown to the sidelines.

“The thing is,” said Steve Barr this afternoon,
as he, Bruce Smith, and axed Locke principle, Frank Wells, were sharing a victory chat, “the Locke teachers initiated this. We didn’t approach them.”

Barr also says that he’s specifically not making an effort
to retrieve the rescinded signatures (although some have retracted their retractions anyway), “because I refused to validate the idea that the union can put all the teachers into lock down and keep them there until they’ve managed to intimidate the hell out of everyone and get people to rescind what were honest signatures gathered over a period of weeks.

“Look,” he says, “if our petition gets challenged,
we’d be happy to have a public hearing on the whole thing. We know that our signatures have been verified both by Greg McNair (LAUSD’s director of charter schools) and by the LA Times. So, if we really delve into how [the district and the union] got the signatures rescinded, they might not like what we’re going to find.”

Barr has also, he says, had conversations with California Attorney General Jerry Brown,
who is an old friend and political ally and has indicated he’ll look positively on the Green Dot/Locke petition issue.

“But I think Duffy and I are 60 percent there,”
he says, and relates how a month or two ago, UTLA prez, A.J. Duffy had agreed to go out to Locke for a public one-on-one discussion with Barr at the invitation of sixty of Locke’s teachers, but the Locke union chapter chair spiked the event, so it never took place.

Yet, the truth is, if the petition is approved, it won’t really matter what A.J. Duffy thinks or does.

In the meantime, Barr and company are going ahead at Locke in anticipation of a positive outcome in September. “We have the beginning of a design team. We’re acting as if it’s going to happen because it is going to happen. And, I’m telling you, it’s going to be great.” As he says this last, Barr’s voice drifts into a timbre that is part cheerleader, part head coach, part religion-hawking visionary. It is a tone that many—try as they might—find hard to resist.


  • Meanwhile, looks like the Mayor is finally getting some control over 2 schools and more involvement, after millions of dollars spent on new Board member elections, and his energy and time so devoted to this one issue. Eli Broad says his mistake was not going far enough in the first place, demanding near-full authority over the schools, like in New York. Then all this bickering and power of UTLA wouldn’t be there either.

    An Op Ed in today’s times says that the cafeteria workers are demanding full parity with fulltime employees when it comes to getting insurance, even if they only work 3 hours a day. (It would cost at least $40 million a year.) Like that is common practice anywhere outside LAUSD. Power of unions.

  • I was looking at the rankings and noticed brother Moe’s SEA Charter schools at the bottom of the list. These types of schools that service the worst of the worst of LA students, who got the boot from every local area district, should not be included in the AP rankings. How are you going to rank any higher than last when all your kids are LAUSD rejects?
    Imagine if LAUSD were forced to factor in these students back into their respective LAUSD High School and AP scores. There would be a gap so wide that the discrimination based on wealth would be so clear to any researcher. These are the students that everyone gave up on and no one wants to help…..kinda weeded out of the picture.
    Years back, prior to the creation of Charter schools, these students were being jumped around High Schools until they just dropped the whole idea of ever graduating.

  • No matter what anyone says, another good quality I forgot to mention of SEA Charter Schools, is that their Administration and personnel are awesome people. They are really “in it” to save these kids. Moreover, they are not controlled or ran by one or two money hungry individuals. Their focus is saving a kid from gang violence through education. Sad, but I believe they are probably the lowest paying teachers in California (unless they got a union these last couple of years).
    Another good quality is that they promote anyone with a heart to apply. SEA schools were started and headed by mostly Catholics but they had people from various religions and beliefs…even rainbow people.

  • Al Gore tells us that L.A. will be under twenty feet of water in a few years because of global warming. Higher education should mean moving the schools up into the hills or onto stilts.

  • Woody, that’s not a bad idea. You actually hit on something: the only school in the hills is Wonderland Elementary, and it’s the pride of the hood, but only goes to 5th grade, after which the schools it feeds into are all nightmares. Ironically this is not a wealthy part of the hills, more the middle class part/ mixed area of Laurel Canyon. Expensive hillside areas are fed to schools that are low-performing and virtually all ethnic, not happy experiences for kids who are more used to music and gymnastics lessons. The middle and high schools in the Westside are all horrible. There are many parents who would send their kids there if they were even close to being safe and good.

    So Poplock, don’t think that “rich” people have good schools for their kids. The good elementary schools you can count on your fingers, then nada. (Palisades has the best middle and h. s., but locals aren’t even guaranteed a spot there due to busing.) The West Valley, where housing is overall much cheaper, doesn’t have the lowest/poorest classes to blend into their schools, so they much more tend to reflect the surrounding neighborhoods. This is why more wealthier families are totally disengaged from the LAUSD problems, and is the Mayor wants them to feel he’s doing something, he’d be better off focusing on traffic, transportation and fixing the roads and infrastructre for a start. Then there’s doing something about healthcare for the poorest, so our hospitals don’t have to close for lack of reimbursements, and the homeless problem and smog. And public safety and gangs.

    Talking about LAUSD is therefore just not something people do or care about — the very name is just a social joke. But of course, when there’s this kind of waste of taxpayer dollars at LAUSD, if affects all of us.

    Woody, if there were schools in the hills and richer areas, people would actually start to care, and when wealthier parents get involved, things do begin to change. Too bad.

  • Hey, Poplock, thanks for the reminder about SEA. I’d been thinking recently that I needed to go over and check out what they’ve been doing lately. But I hadn’t actually done it. Now you’re providing extra inspiration and impetus.

  • I know brother was accused of some chisme…but I never got any inside details. He never seemed to be a man that focused or spent too much time on any one individual kid. He treated everyone fair.

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