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Another ‘It Could Be A Whole Lot Worse’ Scenario

Posted on Thursday, 12th May 2011 @ 07:59 AM by Text Size A | A | A

In another installment of ‘It Could Be A Whole Lot Worse’ for RCSD teachers, I profile a situation that has erupted out in Los Angeles, where a Los Angeles Unified School District board member has convinced the new LAUSD superintendent to remove at least half of the current teachers in a Los Angeles-area high school.  The high school itself is located in Huntington Park, California, a city of just over 60,000 persons, is only a few miles away from downtown Los Angeles.  Approximately a quarter of its residents live below poverty level, and over 90 percent of its residents declare Spanish to be their primary language.

Determined To Reform Her Alma Mater

Board member Yolie Flores had apparently been watching her alma mater, Huntington Park High School, consistently under-perform, with recent data indicating that only five percent tested proficient or better in math last school year.  Never mind that students did meet certain ‘improvement’ goals on a variety of standardized tests.  Fiores had been partnering with the former district superintendent, Ramon Cortines, to break up the high school into a cluster of smaller schools.  The one smaller, or pilot, school that was launched last year, the Libra Academy, has reportedly performed admirably and is not due to be shaken up in any way.  The academy is a college and career preparatory school with a current enrollment of 120 students, all freshmen.

I guess Flores was not satisfied enough with her ability and determination to promote the creation of a ‘school within a school’ concept at Huntington Park, and remained on task to accomplish what seemed to be her ultimate goal all along, which was to essentially ‘clear the house.’  She obviously found a receptive audience to that particular idea, in the form of new LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy, a budding superstar in the education reform movement who is also Broad Academy ‘fellow.’

We’ve Heard This Story Before

Deasy, in only a few weeks on the job, has inaugurated an ambitious plan to overhaul the staffs and operations at five district schools, which includes Huntington Park.  However, none of the other buildings will experience the level of decimation that is to most likely occur at Huntington Park.

Nonetheless, it is rapidly shaping up to be a protracted war there, as the teachers union, United Teachers Los Angeles, has already filed a suit against the district, claiming that, among other things, the district is intent on installing in a few of these targeted buildings independent charter school operators.  Big surprise.  Yet state law dictates that for a charter school conversion to happen, a vote must first be conducted by the school’s existing faculty, or through a parent petition, in order to eventually make such a transformation a reality.  Like I said, it’s going to be a war.

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