Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Union's Response to Latest Round of School Giveaways

UTLA's response to Public School Choice process, Round 3, from utla.net:

November 3, 2010

PSC Round 3 – Is this really reform?

Late in the day on November 2 (election day!), LAUSD released the list of focus schools for Round 3 of the Public School Choice (PSC) process. PSC Round 3 is an escalation of LAUSD’s irresponsible school giveaway. UTLA contends that the LAUSD school board is abdicating responsibility for L.A. schools by giving them away instead of providing resources and addressing schools’ challenges.
Public School Choice unnecessarily politicizes school reform

The Public School Choice process promotes top‐down decision making from the Superintendent and LAUSD school board rather than bottom‐up reform. School board members should be held accountable for micromanaging what should be bottom‐up reform.


LAUSD has not taken action against many charter schools with similar API scores to those of the targeted focus schools.  Student learning should not be made to suffer as a result of forced reform.

LAUSD lacks capacity to support PSC
We question LAUSD’s capacity to fairly and rigorously oversee and support the PSC process which now encompasses over 92 schools. The rush could result in hasty decisions that will inflict unproven or inappropriate plans on students.

The District is increasing the number of PSC schools when there has been no analysis or data to validate the process. The school review process has just begun for schools in Round 1! The School Board’s giveaway of schools is morally irresponsible.  LAUSD should not give away brand new schools to outside operators. The LAUSD school board is abdicating responsibility for schools by giving them away rather than providing resources and addressing their problems

Teachers and parents can best formulate a workable plan for individual schools, as they know best what their local school needs.

PSC causes disruption at school sites
The PSC process already has and will continue to disrupt and distract focus from the education process at schools. Design teams at school sites must create plans on their own time, over and beyond their teaching responsibilities, stretching an already jam packed school schedule.

Schools are already short staffed due to budget cuts. Teachers, principals and local District staff are overloaded and are hard pressed to find the time to implement reform in a thoughtful and deliberate way.  The PSC 3.0 list includes 26 existing “focus” schools and 17 new schools. The focus
schools are:

Focus schools

Elementary Schools
42nd Street
107th Street
La Salle
Manhattan
West Athens
Western
Woodcrest

Middle Schools

Bethune
Clinton
Cochran
Gage
Los Angeles Academy
Maclay
Sun Valley
Vista

High Schools

Carson
Dorsey
Jordan
Los Angeles
San Fernando
South East
South Gate
Sylmar
Washington Prep
Wilson
Fulton College Prep (6th – 12th grades)

In addition, Superintendent Cortines said he will “accelerate” the process for Huntington Park High School and Jordan High School, a step taken without consultation with UTLA. Focus schools may be considered for removal from Public School Choice 3.0 based on demonstrating accelerated improvement in student performance as measured by standardized tests and other criteria. UTLA is investigating the criteria for removal from the list.

As with rounds 1 and 2, UTLA will be providing sustained support and resources to help design teams develop research‐based instructional plans and to build parent/community support for those plans. In Round 1 of Public School Choice, the majority of schools plans selected were teacher‐led plans. While we will diligently support our school teams, UTLA does not support the Public School Choice process itself. The PSC process is part of the larger push nationwide to privatize public education, bring in unhealthy corporate‐style competition, and weaken teacher unions. UTLA believes that the PSC motion is not true reform and should be rescinded in favor of an in‐district, collaborative process that empowers school stakeholders to design and implement change.

Letters of intent for Round 3 are due March 1, 2011, and final applications are due October 14, 2011. The schools are scheduled to open in August or September of 2012.

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