Academic Freedom Education Green Dot

Two Green Dot Schools Among US News’ 100 Best


The US News and World Report has announced their 2009 list
of America’s 100 best high schools.

In the article, which may be found here, the magazine tells how—together with their project partner School Matters— they evaluated a total of 21,069 public high schools , out of which 1,925 were recognized for considerably outperforming their state’s standards. In that group, there were 604 schools that also were “found to be doing an excellent job of preparing students for college-level coursework.” Then out of the 604, USN found 100 that ” performed the best in our three-step America’s Best High Schools analysis.”

Two of Green Dot’s charter high schools were in that top 100.

Oscar De La Hoya Animo Charter High was 53rd on the list.

And Animo Inglewood Charter High School was 94th.

I know I natter on a lot about Green Dot on this site. And, look: I don’t think they’re perfect by a long shot. They’ve got a good model, but in some of the newer schools there are ups and downs as they continue to refine their stroke, so to speak.

But they’re doing an awful lot right, as this ranking suggests. And they’re doing it in areas of town where students have been chronically underserved to the point of what often constituted grinding neglect.

Oscar de la Hoya, which was originally located in Boyle Heights, opened its doors to kids who’d been failing in other East LA Schools. At De La Hoya, they began to thrive. (I watched it happen with a couple of kids I knew well, who had crashed and burned at their local public school, and then first began to feel capable at De La Hoya.)

So when, one wonders, are Green Dot’s critics (cough–teachers union—cough) going to decide to do all they can to replicate the best aspects of these school’s successes—- rather than peevishly opposing them?


PS: While we’re on the subject, here is a video of the three Locke student’s self-taped reactions to the documentary ion the Green Dot charter conversion of Locke High School in which they were profiled.

1 Comment

  • Parents should have a right to select the best learning environment for their children. That being said, charter schools have a huge advantage over public schools because they can require 30-40 hour committments from parents. At the South L.A. public school where I work, there are parents who have been called, mailed, and even had attendance counselors sent to their house, who we have never met and will probably never meet. It is not the fault of the child that they have deadbeat parents, and I am proud of the fact that we open our doors to ALL students.

    Charter schools have a lengthy application process (some are 10 pages long) and this, by default, encourages the most pro-active parents to apply. At my school, enrollment is automatic if they live in the neighborhood.

    Finally, only the most well-behaved students get to attend charters. We have to take back all those kicked out of the Green Dots, College Ready, and TAS. I ask each student what thy did to get kicked out, and reasons range from throwing a pencil at a teacher (I have been punched, shoved, and cursed profanely and these do not even merit a transfer if the student is Special Ed), to refusing to tell the Principal who started a fight on the street (this child wasn’t in the fight, but didn’t want to tell for fear of retribution). On Friday, a visiting former student at a Green Dot charter told me that his principal decided to teach a lesson to a student who refused to stop listening to an Ipod by taking it away, tossing it in the air while saying “I hope I don’t drop it”, and then he dropped it.

    All of this to say that charters, by nature of their independence, get to circumvent policies we have in place at public schools. This results in a crop of students who are more motivated and disciplined and therefore perform better academically. If my school threw out students who yelled at teachers, cursed, tagged, and had neglectful parents, we would be “outperforming” other schools too.

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