BOARD DENIES CHARTER SCHOOLS ISSUE REFLECTS VALLEY RUNOFF DIVISION.Byline: NAUSH BOGHOSSIAN
The LAUSD's refusal to grant eight charters to highly successful Green Dot Public Schools pits the teachers union against self-proclaimed reformers -- a battle playing out in the upcoming race for the San Fernando San Fernando, city, Argentina
San Fernando (săn fərnăn`dō), city (1991 pop. 144,761), Buenos Aires prov., E Argentina. It is a district administrative center in the Greater Buenos Aires area. Valley's school board seat.
Green Dot was dealt a blow late Thursday when three Los Angeles Los Angeles (lôs ăn`jələs, lŏs, ăn`jəlēz'), city (1990 pop. 3,485,398), seat of Los Angeles co., S Calif.; inc. 1850. Unified members with ties to the teachers union blocked its application to establish charter campuses around Locke High School Alain Leroy Locke High School is a Title 1 co-educational public high school located in Los Angeles, California, United States, and is part of the Los Angeles Unified School District. It is named after Alain LeRoy Locke.
Locke is located in South Los Angeles near Watts. in Watts.
Steve Barr Steven Charles (Steve) Barr (born September 8, 1951 in St. Louis, Missouri) is a former starting pitcher in Major League Baseball who played for the Boston Red Sox (1974-1975) and Texas Rangers (1976). Barr batted and threw left handed. He is the uncle of pitcher Ryan Madson. , the founder and CEO (1) (Chief Executive Officer) The highest individual in command of an organization. Typically the president of the company, the CEO reports to the Chairman of the Board. of Green Dot, said he believes the vote was influenced by United Teachers Los Angeles and its fear of losing members to the charter movement.
And he concurred with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa Antonio Ramon Villaraigosa (born Antonio (Tony) Ramon Villar, Jr. on January 23, 1953) is the mayor of Los Angeles, California. He is the first Latino mayor of Los Angeles since Cristobal Aguilar in 1872. that the board vote crystallizes what's at stake in May, when union-backed incumbent Jon Lauritzen faces a tough re-election challenge from reformer Tamar Galatzan.
"I'm going all out in these campaigns because I believe our kids deserve someone to fight for them, and it's clear the members of the board who voted against Green Dot are not going to do that," said Villaraigosa, whose political group has donated more than $1 million to Galatzan's campaign.
Barr accused Lauritzen of bowing to the interests of the union over the needs of Watts students.
"You had three responsible leaders who care about the kids and voted for this, and now you've got one who voted against it because he's up for a vote."
Board members Lauritzen, Julie Korenstein and Marguerite LaMotte, who voted against Green Dot, denied it was because of union allegiance.
Los Angeles Unified teachers who join the staff at charter schools are removed from the local union and become members of the California Teachers Association The California Teachers Association (CTA), initially established in 1863 as the California Educational Society, is by far the largest teachers' union in the state of California. It is considered by many to be the most powerful union in California. , a statewide organization.
Charter schools receive public funding Public funding is money given from tax revenue or other governmental sources to an individual, organization, or entity. See also
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. the National Education Association. Such schools must set out goals and operate under a charter to meet those goals.
In turning down Green Dot, Lauritzen, Korenstein and LaMotte ignored pleas for help from dozens of Watts residents and warnings by LAUSD LAUSD Los Angeles Unified School District (Los Angeles, CA) attorneys that their decision violates state law.
Board President Marlene Canter and members Monica Garcia and Mike Lansing voted in favor; David Tokofsky recused himself because he works for Green Dot.
Lauritzen and Korenstein said Friday that they had not been pressured by UTLA UTLA United Teachers of Los Angeles (California) to vote against the Green Dot application, an assertion backed by union President A.J. Duffy. Instead, they said, they objected to the lack of specifics in Barr's plan.
LaMotte did not return phone calls.
'Line in the sand'
Just minutes before the Green Dot vote, the board voted 5-2, with Lauritzen and LaMotte opposing, to renew the charter petition for Academia Semillas del Pueblo Charter School Academia Semillas del Pueblo Charter School is a school in Los Angeles, California, at 4736 Huntington Drive South.
According to their website:
As a California public charter school, Academia Semillas del Pueblo is open to all school age students..
That campus was in the lowest 10 percent in the state on achievement test scores released earlier in the week. Locke, located in a low-income neighborhood that is racked by gang violence, also scored in the bottom 10 percent.
Jaime Regalado, director of the Edmund G. "Pat" Brown Institute of Public Affairs
"They see it as an erosion of their membership base, their dues-paying ability and their power over L.A. Unified schools," Regalado said. "They're drawing a proverbial line in the sand and I think it's clear that they are upping the ante on at least a very symbolic and high-stakes battle over charter schools."
Green Dot record
Duffy said the union was not involved in the Green Dot vote and, in fact, wants to work with the charter movement.
"The vote could very well have shown that you have three board members who have grave concerns about the credibility of Steve Barr and Green Dot," Duffy said. "We would like to work with the charter operators to bring reform about, to maintain the status of schools within LAUSD and to maintain the status of teachers under the protection of the contract."
Lauritzen said he believes the board would have supported Barr's application if there were more details on how the eight charters would be operated.
"The biggest concern we have was ... giving him that much territory or that many schools in an area where he really hasn't proven himself," Lauritzen said. "We don't want a situation where a lot of youngsters are hung out to dry."
Korenstein said she voted against the charters because there was no measure of Barr's success in transforming schools in South L.A. She also said she has virtually severed ties with the UTLA since the union supported Villaraigosa's legislation to assume partial control over the school district.
Galatzan said she believes that Lauritzen's vote demonstrates that he is out of touch with the needs and desires of local parents and students.
"We need to give parents alternatives, and with this vote the school board not only has gone against state law but they've condemned thousands of students to the failed status quo [Latin, The existing state of things at any given date.] Status quo ante bellum means the state of things before the war. The status quo to be preserved by a preliminary injunction is the last actual, peaceable, uncontested status which preceded the pending controversy. ," Galatzan said.
After the vote, Lansing, who represents the Watts community, accused his three colleagues of lacking the "backbone to stand up and do the right thing for kids over their ties to the union."
The union donated about $450,000 to LaMotte's successful re-election last month and $475,000 to Lauritzen's campaign, with promises to give him the resources he needs to defeat Galatzan.
School Superintendent David Brewer III said Green Dot may still be involved in transforming Locke if it agrees to partner with UTLA.
"This is not over. We're still talking to Green Dot and to UTLA," Brewer said.
And the mayor pointed out that 75 percent of Green Dot graduates qualify for college, compared with just 3 percent of Locke's seniors -- creating a sense of urgency for change.