There are well over a hundred specialized STEM schools and programs in the Los Angeles Unified School District. So why are a handful of California politicians pushing to create a state-run STEM school in L.A.?
A low-turnout Los Angeles election, which set a new record as the most expensive school board contest in U.S. history, resulted in a 57-43 percent victory margin for an affable defender of “school choice.”
A state report has criticized Alliance College-Ready Public Schools’ compliance level with federal student privacy rules during an anti-union campaign. BY BILL RADEN
In a sign that California is quickly emerging as the nation’s progressive conscience-in-exile, a new Los Angeles education-reform group has launched an ambitious initiative that it claims could close historic student achievement gaps at the Los Angeles Unified School District.
When the Great Public Schools Now Initiative, the $490 million blueprint to turn half of Los Angeles’ public school system into charter schools, was first leaked to Los Angeles Times reporter Howard Blume, it triggered an uproar among the city’s education community.
Charter proponents, most notably the Walton Family Foundation, contribute large amounts of money to expand charter schools in select cities around the nation.
The original concept of charter schools emerged nationally more than two decades ago and was intended to support community efforts to open up education.
At first, Rosalba Naranjo was thrilled that her two daughters were attending Richard Merkin Middle School, a charter school located near downtown Los Angeles.
Last September’s sensational leak of the Great Public Schools Now Initiative, a half-billion-dollar plan to double the number of charter schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), sparked a firestorm of controversy.
If there were still any doubt about Eli Broad’s desire to gut traditional public education, it has been erased by his much-discussed “Great Public Schools Now” initiative, a draft of which LA Times reporter Howard Blume obtained last month.
Broad’s 44-page proposal outlines plans to replace half of LAUSD’s existing public schools with charter schools. “Such an effort will gather resources, help high-quality charters access facilities, develop a reliable pipeline of leadership and teaching talent, and replicate their success,” states the document. “If executed with fidelity, this plan will ensure that no Los Angeles student remains trapped in a low-performing school.”
According to the proposal, Broad wants to create 260 new “high-quality charter schools, generate 130,000 high-quality charter seats and reach 50 percent charter market share.”
(Actually, LAUSD has 151,000 kids in charters now: 281,000 out of 633,000 LAUSD students is 43 percent. This isn’t the only imprecision in the proposal.)
The estimated cost of this LAUSD transformation would be nearly half-a-billion dollars.