L.A.'s Locke High: A New Day for Charter School Reform

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Los Angeles' dismal Locke High School was the subject of a compelling reason.tv video hosted by Drew Carey. The school was a playground for gangs and poor performance and eventually was taken by the innovative Green Dot charter school operator. Today marks the first day of the school under new management.

The Los Angeles Times weighs in on the changes at Locke, noting

Principal Ronnie Coleman has painstakingly hired each teacher. The staff has attended retreats together and been trained in how to instill discipline. (All staff monitor the hallways during class changes to make sure students aren't cutting classes or getting into trouble; it's better to walk around the classroom than to sit at a desk.) Green Dot CEO Steve Barr didn't fill the quad with the oak trees he'd envisioned, but on registration day, workers were busy planting 16 century-old olive trees that, just as he'd hoped, made the grassy area a shaded, inviting place for students to gather.

Perhaps most promising, the biggest Green Dot fans among those registering were generally the ones who had enrolled in summer school and were impressed by what had been wrought in a short time: Students were neatly dressed and better behaved. Graffiti, a perpetual plague last year despite conscientious repainting, had virtually disappeared. As a security guard described the summer, "The kids walked around with smiles on their faces." The new Locke High School now must find a way to spread that sense of optimism among all of its students.

More here.

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  1. workers were busy planting 16 century-old olive trees

    Dang, those are some old trees. I can’t believe they’re less expensive than oak. And isn’t kind of risky, given the schools history. I have nothing but good wishes for the school and it’s students. I’m just wondering how prudent it is to put these trees in this neighborhood.

    Course neighborhoods change all the time. Today’s high rent district in next decade’s slum.

  2. As a security guard described the summer, “The kids walked around with smiles on their faces.” The new Locke High School now must find a way to spread that sense of optimism among all of its students.

    “WE did it! It’s the PAX! The paxiline chlorate we added to the air re-processors…they stopped fighting, and then…they stopped everything else.”

  3. So, is Drew Carey just a leaf on the wind?

  4. Give me a fucking break Elemenope.

    OMG?!?! Students who volunteer for summer school might actually be happy to be in summer school?!?!

    Lies!

  5. Dang, those are some old trees. I can’t believe they’re less expensive than oak. And isn’t kind of risky, given the schools history.

    If 16 century olive trees are cheaper than oak trees, what’s the risk? That the kids damage trees? If the loss of these trees were any sort of tragedy, they’d cost more than oak. Unless you’re worried that the trees are so old and fragile that a kid could get hurt climbing one…

    OMG?!?! Students who volunteer for summer school might actually be happy to be in summer school?!?!

    Students volunteer for summer school now? What a world! I wish summer school had been optional when I was forced to take it.

  6. “WE did it! It’s the PAX! The paxiline chlorate we added to the air re-processors…they stopped fighting, and then…they stopped everything else.”

    Why don’t the reavers kill each other?

    “Oh you are a drug-induced-hyper-killing machine also?!?! That’s great! Lets get together and go on a hyper-killing-rape-spree together. That would be wonderful!!”

    And why can’t Joss find a director who actually likes what he writes? Cuz that guy should never direct.

  7. Josh: ???

    “I took a speed reading course. I can now read 42 pages per minute. Of course, my comprehension absolutely plummeted.

  8. The original mover, Principal Frank Wells, was fired for his support of the charter school and is suing the district

    http://articles.latimes.com/2008/jun/03/local/me-locke3

  9. Students volunteer for summer school now? What a world! I wish summer school had been optional when I was forced to take it.

    Were you a nerd with a father in prison with a murder within 2 blocks from your house every week?

    I am not a school nerd but if there was a building with air conditioning away from that sort of life I would go there any chance I got.

  10. Josh: ???

    “I took a speed reading course. I can now read 42 pages per minute. Of course, my comprehension absolutely plummeted.

    Elemenope quoted Serenity with this:

    “WE did it! It’s the PAX! The paxiline chlorate we added to the air re-processors…they stopped fighting, and then…they stopped everything else.”

    Another part of that movie (and TV show Firefly) details how Reavers were created from the same drug PAX. Reavers are a small percentage who had the opposite reaction to PAX and became hyper aggressive rape/killing monsters.

  11. Once again, the kids who want to go to school are dragging the underachievers down.

    Or maybe it’s that the gangbangers, knowing that there’s been a change in administration, are finally willing to learn in the new environment.

    I dunno… seems like the story isn’t quite complete.

  12. The union rep complaining about Frank Wells “feeding from the public school trough” and being a “vampire” was PRICELESS!!,/b> Perhaps he should look in a mirr…err umm…

  13. Damn HTML tags!

  14. Josh, I was just giggin’ ya a little, as you totally misrepresented the article quote.

    There is no mention of kids volunteering for summer school. Kids go to summer school because they weren’t successful in the preceding semester. The point is that they were impressed with the change in the school environment.

  15. Give me a fucking break Elemenope.

    Okay.

    [Sickening sound of Joshua’s arm breaking]

    That good?

    —–

    Seriously, though, it was just a joke. You know, like “ha ha” funny? You know, a riff on how kids *never* like to be in school (according to the general stereotype) and so if they’re smiling, then something is very wrong…

    You know, I was gonna do a riff on how it was the *security guard* who said everyone was smiling, but apparently even the safer bet wasn’t safe.

  16. So, is Drew Carey just a leaf on the wind?

    Watch how he soa….[sphgalh!!!!]

  17. Public school shouldn’t amount to being shot in the head lessons

    Thank God for Greendot.

  18. It’s another capitalist miracle. I don’t buy this crap for a second. Is greendot magic?

  19. Los Angeles’ dismal Locke High School was the subject of a compelling reason.tv video hosted by Drew Carey. The school was a playground for gangs and poor performance and eventually was taken by the innovative Green Dot charter school operator.

    Plus, they have to push that button every 108 minutes or the whole school implodes.

    Seriously, great article guys. Really enjoyed that piece.

  20. Instafaggot, you’re right, it is a miracle.

    1. Remove the entrenched teacher’s union from the formula, making it possible for the administration to hold the teachers accountable for actually…you know…teaching.

    2. Get rid of all the layers of worthless bureaucratic “administration”, freeing capital for hiring bright, motivated, skilled teachers to…you know…teach.

    3. Use part of that recovered capital for classroom resources to allow those skilled teachers to do an even better job.

    4. Remove the soft bigotry of low expectations, and actually hold the students and parents accountable for their end of the bargain.

    5. Add water and PRESTO!

  21. BTW, I believe that the trees in question are one century old, 16 in quantity ;-}

  22. I’ll check it out when I’m home and watch videos. But, but, but… how triumphant can you be when the school only starting teaching students in the new configuration this week?!?

    Not to spoil the fun, but U.S. education is full of brilliant new approaches that silted up and died after being in contact with actual schoolkids for a year or two.

    I certainly hope it works out, this country desperately needs a way to reach kids in those neighborhoods. But I’m very dubious that Green Dot has the magic bullet for education.

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