LAUSD v. Charter Schools

Parents Protest Outside LAUSD for a Change in Education

An emotion-fueled protest outside Los Angeles Unified School District headquarters Tuesday morning as dozens of parents and charter school organizers planned to sit-in on a school board decision to allow the privitization of certain schools. "As schools start improving," said community advocate Lydia Grant, "they'll compete with each other and as they become successful, they'll provide a better education for the children." The proposal under consideration, known as the "School Choice" measure, would allow charter operators and other institutions to bid for control of 50 new schools - including 20 campuses in the 2010-2011 school year - plus 200 low-performing campuses. The change would affect more than 200,000 students representing more than one-third of the student population in the LAUSD. Corri Ravare is with the "Families that Can" Advocacy Group. She waited since five a-m for the meeting, "We want to take it upon ourselves to expand those options, we can't wait for the folks downtown to do it." Other groups agree. Dan Change with Green Dot Schools: "“We think the school board has the chance to put the best in front of the kids that need it most regardless if it’s charter or district staff or something in between.” LAUSD Superintedent Ramon Cortines says there was a time when this proposal wouldn't have worked. He adds that time has passed. "I do not see charter schools as the enemy," he said, "I see them as a choice for parents in this city." If approved by the board, any school wishing to become a charter or magnet school has to then be ready for review every three to five years. If academics improve, they can continue; if it does not, the LAUSD can take it over again. "There's never been a plan before for new schools," said Cortines, "and the board is suggesting we get a plan that I oversee to deliver on improving education.” But the LA Teachers' Union says the plan is flawed and only pushed LAUSD's problems on someone else. "This is a terrible proposal," says Union President AJ Duffy, "it's a political move by board members and they're just giving away schools." Duffy says change is necessary in the LAUSD, but he says this isn't the way to do it. "The dropout rates are down 15%, the graduation rate is up 8% and more students are passing the exit exams sooner, so what are we doing wrong here? We are improving." The LAUSD Board is expected to have an answer by Tuesday afternoon.

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