On Tuesday, the Los Angeles Unified School District Board voted to revoke the charter status of five schools. According to the Los Angeles Times, the actions on these schools affect over 13,000 students. The same evening the board decided to allow chocolate milk to return to public lunchrooms in Los Angeles. This juxtaposition of allowing sugary milk but revoking the charters of schools that parents and their children want exemplifies the frustration that many feel toward LAUSD.
Two of the schools that were denied charter renewals, Celerity Dyad in South Los Angeles and Celerity Troika in Eagle Rock, are high performing schools that outperform the resident schools in the area.
The Los Angeles Unified School District’s own report showed that in 2015-2016, 68% of the Troika students met or exceeded the performance standards on the 2015-2016 CAASPP (SBAC) assessment in English Language Arts, which is higher than the resident schools median of 38%. That same year 67% of the Troika students met or exceeded the performance standards in math, which is higher than the resident schools median of 28%. Using the same assessment for English Language Arts, students at Celerity Dyad outperformed their peers at resident schools with 54% of students meeting or exceeding the performance standards, which is higher than the resident schools median of 19%. Students at Celerity Dyad also outperformed students at resident schools in math with 50% of the Dyad students meeting or exceeding the performance standards, which is 34% more than the resident schools median of 16%.
The California Charter Schools Association responded to LAUSD’s action with this statement:
“For a long time, charter schools were evaluated mostly on the degree to which they were helping students learn. Those days are over. Now charter schools are judged on whether they are able to fit squarely into the box they were designed to break out of. They are judged on how much revenue they generate for school districts, cities and special interests. They are judged on whether they’ve done anything to offend the peculiar and often petty tastes of the politicians who get to decide which schools live or die. And at LAUSD, they are judged in never-ending witch hunts by an opaque third party, the Office of the Inspector General, that has no obligation to publicly share its findings or allow schools to address or refute them.”
LAUSD is becoming more hostile and intolerant of charter schools, even those that outperform the traditional district schools. Parents in the LAUSD service area want quality options for their children, instead of a roller coaster ride of instability not knowing if their children will have to be yanked out of the schools of their choice to be enrolled in underperforming schools. Keeping quality schools open and giving working families more options should be the priority — not closing schools that communities want or serving sugary milk.
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