Since there’s no shortage of news on low-performing schools, we’re interested in shining a spotlight on schools deserving of positive attention. To that end, we hope to make “Great Schools” a recurring feature that gives some positive attention to schools that do more with less, that are shining examples of excellence, and are schools that lots of parents would send their children to if they had the chance. If you know of a school–public, private, or public charter–that fits this description, please contact me at rboots at allianceREMOVETHISforschoolchoice dot org.-ed.
Anyone who has read my notes on voucher, charters, and LAUSD’s MECHA/Aztlan madrassas knows how frustrating LA’s failed public education system is. So when I learned that Steve Barr’s Green Dot Charter Schools had support from the California Teacher Association (CTA) and LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, some of my public school reform friends were as skeptical as cops in a medicinal marijuana clinic.
When some of our comments reached Steve Barr after a particularly long day, he emailed back:
“… the next a-hole that wants to take a shot is welcome to hang with me for a day in Boyle Heights, Lennox, Inglewood, the Jefferson area, you name it… then you can pop off.”
I was intrigued – Steve spoke my language!
The next week at 9 AM, on the first day of the fall semester, I arrived at Green Dot’s corporate offices inside LA’s World Trade Center. Except for two security guards, the hallways were empty and quiet. Without the loud profanity, loitering teens, cannabis, graffiti, confused parents, traffic, lines, hip-hop noise, and overstuffed trash cans, the only sign that the Oscar De La Hoya campus was in session came from muffled