Charter Schools In Los Angeles

What Makes Them Work

By: - Education - July 7, 2011
charter schools in los angeles what makes them work

Recently an assessment was done by the school board in Los Angeles regarding the performance of their schools.  They analyzed the possibility to further improve the performance of the lower end public schools by converting them into the hands of people administering and running the city’s many charter schools.  However, the action was not taken and the poor performing schools were handed to the teachers, some of whom were no doubt responsible for the poor performance of those schools originally.  It was yet another example of how the charter schools in Los Angeles are being side tracked as merely alternatives and their management and performance, though considerably higher than the average public school, being ignored, instead of being embraced.  As such charter schools in LA have the highest standards in the public school system and for good reason.

In accordance with results collected by the US Department of Education and National Assessment of Educational Progress, some of the worst schools in the public system are found in LA.  It estimated that about thirty-nine percent of  graders barely had literacy skills and a mere forty-six percent of  graders had minimal math levels.  It was no surprise that only half of the LA high school population ever graduates.  Being the country’s  biggest school district, the results were disturbing.  However, of the few schools that were handed to the charter school system, attempting some sort of reform, those put under the watchful governorship of the charter schools in Los Angeles improved dramatically.  It was another example of how the charter schools in LA have found the educational and management model that works, not only for staff, but the kids that they teach.

Despite all the best will in the world, teachers’ unions were less than pleased with the reform method.  Sadly, there is still a long road to battle ahead to convince teachers’ unions that the charter schools in Los Angeles are in fact on their side and that they can benefit from a close bond and working relationship with charter schools in LA.  It stands to reason that charter schools may be public, but avoid the cumbersome restrictions and burdens imposed by the collective agreements forced on unionized teachers, which means that teachers cannot use their experience and vote to force out bad teachers and educators.  Sadly, many teachers’ unions are more fearful of the non-unionized teachers and staffing model than the prospect of poor education for students and as such there is still a lot of bridge work to do to find a balance for all parties, as well as a mutual understanding.

Charter schools within the city are fast becoming the chosen alternative for students whose parents no longer have faith in the current public education system and the ability of some teachers to teach well.  Many are turning to the charter schools because their approach to learning is putting, in the minds of many parents, their kids first and as such the schools are returning teaching back to the days when teaching was done for the love of teaching and not just as a means of making money.  This is not to say that unionized teachers are in it for the money because this is hardly the case.  Amongst both sides, the majority of the teachers are highly skilled professionals who love to teach and would probably do it for nothing if they had to, but the reality is that the current public system outside of the charter schools version is crumbling and desperately in need of a change.

Photo: school – public domain photo – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:FSA_school_in_Alabama.gif

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