This is an interesting article I found at the U.S. News and World Report website while researching colleges/universities. From the article:
"It might be the next school movement to sweep the country. Emboldened by charter school operators, parents of children attending failing schools in Los Angeles are signing petitions that could force the nation's second-largest school system to shut down those schools and reopen them as charters."
The source of this push is not really a surprise - it's a guy who runs many successful charters, Steve Barr.
In an article in the LA Times, here's his claim:
"If more than half of the parents at a school sign up, Barr's organizers say they will guarantee an excellent campus within three years. They call it the Parent Revolution.
With parents, they predict, they'll have the clout to pressure the Los Angeles Unified School District to improve schools. They'll also have petitions, which Barr and his allies will keep at the ready, to start charter schools. If the district doesn't deliver, targeted neighborhoods could be flooded with charters, which aren't run by the school district. L.A. Unified would lose enrollment, and the funding would go to the charters instead of to the district."
I love that line "guarantee an excellent campus". What does it mean and who enforces it if they don't have it in 3 years? Meaning, what good is the guarantee? Also, that's quite a tactic to flood the district with charters (probably from great to horrible) and bring down the publc school system. But this guy has some successful schools so maybe he knows what he is doing.
I also like another idea of his:
"They also wanted to make more of the fledgling Parents Union, a Green Dot spinoff that Barr envisioned as an independent, assertive alternative to the PTA."
And maybe this is what CPPS is trying to be but I'm not feeling it. I would like the PTA to be more parent-proactive in what we want.
(Here's an example. The BTA levy is coming and the Seattle Council PTSA is asking member schools to donate to the levy, now and in the fall, as well as be ready to support the levy in other ways. This is all fine however what do we get back? What I would like to advocate is a bi-annual or quarterly report to parents (or taxpayers) with real numbers on how the money is being spent, what projects have been funded (or not) and what projects might not make it. Is that really asking too much for the investment of time and resources the PTSA gives to the district? Or are we just supposed do as we are asked and to be grateful for whatever projects get done?)
Also from the US News and World report article:
"U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan probably is carefully watching what happens in Los Angeles. He has said publicly that turning around the nation's worst-performing schools—1,000 each year for the next five years—is one of his top priorities. So far, Duncan has been encouraged by the work of Barr's charter school organization. According to the New Yorker , the two men had a meeting in March in which Duncan seemed to place confidence in Barr's model of closing failing schools and then letting private management organizations take a stab at fixing them. As CEO of Chicago Public Schools, Duncan followed a similar strategy."
I heard this recently but I do not agree that you simply open charter schools near low-performing schools (I suppose in order to suck the life out of them for good) and call it a day. If this is Obama's answer, I'm not convinced.