Maybe one child would flourish at a charter school after floundering at a traditional public campus, and another would do just the opposite. For one, a classroom lecture is the best way to learn, for a second, free flowing discussions are ideal.
But the only thing parents really care about is that their kids return safely home every day with new knowledge, greater curiosity and more confidence. If that happens at a school with a thin or fat teacher union contract or no contract at all doesn’t really matter to us.
That’s why we’re so happy that L.A. Unified leadership is pursuing funding to replicate two high-quality magnet schools in South Los Angeles: Diego Rivera Learning Complex Public Service and King-Drew Senior High Medicine & Science Magnet.
Both schools will get $20,000 from Great Public Schools Now, a non-profit education group, to write plans to expand their student body. If those plans are approved by GPSN, Diego Rivera and King-Drew could get up to $750,000 over three years to add more seating, either by growing their current campuses or expanding onto another site.
That means there could be hundreds of extra seats for South L.A. families and parents who haven’t been able to get their children into high-performing schools.
While we were thrilled that some South L.A. schools seized an opportunity to provide more choice, we were equally disappointed to see other schools turn down the same chance for political reasons.
San Fernando Senior High School Math/Science/Technology Magnet, another high-quality campus, withdrew their application for a $20,000 planning grant last month, apparently over pressure from United Teachers Los Angeles, the teachers union, which has opposed almost all outside education funding.
UTLA’s president, Alex Caputo-Pearl, called the GPSN grants “nothing but an insulting billionaire publicity stunt.”
To be honest, Mr. Caputo-Pearl, we don’t care if the grants are a publicity stunt. The funding was earmarked for traditional L.A. Unified schools but even if it had all gone to charters, that would have been fine by us if it resulted in more seats at good schools for our children.
Because those seats are our best chance to see our kids go to college and become doctors, educators or whatever they want to be and not held back by a lack of opportunity.
And that’s why we’ll be going to GPSN’s Town Hall this Saturday, which will have presentations by leaders from both L.A. Unified and charter schools. We want to see what options there are for our children and we want to see more choices, not less.