New Glassell Park High Picked for LAUSD’s ‘Choice’ Reform

The Public School Choice moves forward as its chief sponsor, Board Member Yolie Flores announces she will not seek re-election.

By Paul Aranda Jr., EGP Staff Writer

Three months after a controversial vote allowed Los Angeles Unified School District educators to overwhelmingly maintain control of their campuses, a new list of schools has been identified to participate in the second round of the District’s progressive reform effort.

On May 24, L.A. Unified Supt. Ramon Cortines identified eight focus schools and nine new campuses to participate in the District’s Public School Choice initiative. On the nine new campuses, 29 small schools are up for grabs.

In northeast Los Angeles, Central High School #13 in Glassell Park is the only local campus subject to the latest action in the reform process.

The LAUSD Board of Education adopted the Public School Choice reform plan in August 2009. The initiative calls for collaborative teams of educators, non-profit groups and charter school operators to submit reform plans to the District for operational control of selected campuses.

After a comprehensive review of each plan, which also includes an advisory vote by local school stakeholders, Cortines submits his recommendations to the Board for confirmation. In addition to chronically low-performing schools, all of the District’s new campuses are subject to the reform plan.

On February 25, the Board voted largely to approve plans developed by district teachers and administrators to retain control of the majority of schools that were eligible.

The first round included 12 focus schools and 24 new campuses. The Board rejected Cortines’ recommendations to allow several renowned charter school operators to run two of five schools at the Esteban E. Torres High School set to open in unincorporated East Los Angeles this fall.

In the first round, local schools Luther Burbank Middle School in Highland Park, Lincoln High School in Lincoln Heights and Garfield High School in unincorporated East Los Angeles were all identified as Focus Schools available for outside control.

Instead all three schools were handed over to teacher-led academies, although some plans at all three campuses were approved with reservations that required additional changes.

The district identifies focus schools as those campuses that meet the following criteria; Program Improvement status for five or more years, an Academic Performance Index (API) growth score of 600 or less, failure to meet Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) targets in 2009, less than 20 percent of students scoring proficient or advanced on state exams in English or math, less than 100 points net API gain over five years, and for high schools, greater than 10 percent dropout four-year-rate.

In the first round, both Green Dot Public Schools and the Alliance for College-Ready Public Schools applied for a small school on the five-campus Torres High School. Both received recommendations from Cortines that the Board ultimately bypassed.

At the meeting, Board member Yolie Flores (District 5), the Public School Choice’s chief sponsor, voiced her disappointment with her colleagues’ decision to deny the charters access to Torres H.S.

“I think that it becomes a joke,” Flores said on the reform effort. “That is not the future we wanted to represent for the nation and for our students here today. To deny two of the highest functioning charter schools to a community that has asked for both, in-district reform and other choices, is extremely disappointing.”

EGP News contacted both Green Dot and Alliance for College-Ready Public Schools to inquire if either would submit applications for any of the available schools. As of print time no response has been received.

Last week, Flores released a statement that she would complete the final year of her current term on the Board, but will not seek re-election as she has accepted an executive position with a new education advocacy organization.

“There is much to do in the year that remains on my term,” Flores stated in her June 4 release. “And I intend to stay focused on that agenda and the priorities to which I committed three years ago.”

Flores will serve as a part-time executive director of the organization supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. At the conclusion of her term next year, Flores will become the organization’s full-time CEO.

“There should be no doubt that even as I appreciate and enjoy the opportunity to work across the nation, I so look forward to continue working on the issues I care most about in this community and in a new role with the extraordinary educators, parents, advocates and community activists who share my conviction that the children always come first.”

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June 10, 2010  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.


3 Responses to “New Glassell Park High Picked for LAUSD’s ‘Choice’ Reform”

  1. lia on June 11th, 2010 11:44 pm

    Great! LAUSD uses over $200,000,000 of our tax dollars (that’s not a typo, it cost over 200 million to build that school) and now they want to give to a charter school probably backed some a Wall St. hedge fund. That is why I voted no on the parcel tax.

  2. Raul Hernandez on June 14th, 2010 6:14 pm

    This is an outrage!!! The northeast area has waited all these years to have a new high school campus, and now it is going to be given away to these bogus charter schools? That is the stupidest decision the school board has made yet. Don’t they realize they are gambling with our childrens future? Do they even care? I refuse to send my child to an experimental charter school that is just starting out. I made the mistake once of sending my daughter to a charter school, it was the most unorganized sorry excuse for a school. Teachers quit throughout the year, the students had to move their class to Sycamore park and Ramona hall more times than I can count. I have no respect for the school board or this whole process. My child is going to remain at Franklin and I will raise hell if they tell me she has to attend one of these fake schools!

  3. richard Nogin on September 15th, 2010 7:45 pm

    The whole “Public Choice” deal is a farce. Public Choice…NOT! It’s all politics. We have Yollie Flores trashing teachers, telling everyone they only care about their paycheck. Wake up, you are wrong and don’t know what you are talking about. She goes around the community telling a few activist parents that they can take over and control the schools. These “acivist parents” don’t even have any children in school. They have too much time on their hands with no life or nothing to do. Instead of working with the schools and teachers, they treat teachers like the enemy. They actually go around telling people THEY are going to fire all the teachers when they get control of the school. Maybe they think they will get a job out of it because no one else would hire such ignorant, lying, unhappy people. Its hard to be enthused about teaching when you are a good teacher, care about the kids, and work your hardest only to be screamed at, by a few unknowledgable activist, they you don’t care about the kids and only want a paycheck. These few activist have NEVER gone in any classrooms or observed any teachers teaching. Teaching used to be a noble profession but not anymore. Some countries, like the Phiiippines, respect their teachers. The parents work with the teachers and expect their children to work hard and succeed. In the Philippines, you’re cool to be smart. Here, your made fun of is you work hard and are smart. No wonder many of the well-payed jobs like nurses, pharmacist, etc. Go to Philippinos. If a child does something wrong and gets in trouble, activist” parents will never believe the teacher and always side with the student (their child). Instead of just having a little talk with their child, the parent asks what proof do you have like its a criminal trial. I’ve called a parent to ask her to please speak with her son about doing his homework. The parent said, “I’m not going to ask him to do his homework. I’m not afraid of you. I’ll come down there and sit in his class to see what YOU are doing wrong”. I said that would be fine and then she could ask hin to do his homework. Once again she said, “no I’m not. I will go to the school board and complain about you”. All of this as a result of a teacher caring that the child was falling behind and calling to let the parent know. Give me a break. Don’t get me wrong, some of the parents are great. Almost all of the students are great. Some kids don’t like to work much but that’s a fun challenge to get them motivated and working. I love teaching but am tired of gettng bashed for doing a good job. I know great teachers that are now ex-teachers. I have a friend who quit saying, “I don’t care if I have to walk dogs for a living…anything except teaching”. I can’t imagine large numbers of people dying to become teachers. We are continually, singularly blamed for every failure. Maybe LAUSD should fire all the 30.000 something teachers that work for them and hire more qualified people. I know a couple of “activist” parents that need a job. I’m sure they have some friends that don’t have jobs, kids, or an education but I’m sure they would do a better job than us…NO!

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