Just a quick follow-up on my piece, "A Tale of Two Education Reformers" on charter school activist Steve Barr and the Green Dot charter school "chain" he set up in Los Angeles. Just saw this Education Week blog piece, "Network of Green Dot Schools Raises Performance, Study Finds" talking about the success of Green Dot's takeover of Locke High School, an failing urban school in Los Angeles.
From the piece...
Students attending a cluster of Los Angeles schools overseen by the charter operator Green Dot significantly increased their test scores and persistence in school, and took more challenging courses than comparable peers, a newly released study has found.I share this as follow-up on the point I was trying to make in my piece that charter schools are just a tool, that can be used for either progressive or not so progressive reasons. A progressive Democratic Party activist like Steve Barr used the charter law to help families in a disadvantaged neighborhood have a public school that would do better by their kids and give more of them a chance to go on to college.
The schools were part of what was originally Alain Leroy Locke High School, an academic low-performer located in an impoverished neighborhood in the south part of the city.
With permission from the Los Angeles Unified School District, Green Dot took over the school in 2007 and began its transformation into a series of smaller charter schools.
The study, conducted by researchers at UCLA's National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing, known as CRESST, compared Locke students entering 9th grade against demographically similar students from the same set of feeder middle schools who ended up attending different high schools. Two cohorts of students, one of them entering the Locke schools in 2007 and another, larger group entering in 2008, were compared against against peers in other schools.
I agree that in red states, the school chartering laws are being used to undermine the traditional public education system and the unionized teachers that staff them. But in a blue state like California, charter schools have generally been a positive addition to the spectrum of public schools, and allowing caring activists like Barr to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem!