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FROM THIS EPISODE

Superintendent John Deasy called their record of improving the performance of poor, Latino students "unquestionable and unassailable." But the LA School Board voted to close two charter schools anyway. One dissenter reportedly said, "This disgusts me." We hear about special education, money and politics at LA Unified. Also, Birmingham roller pigeons that turn backward somersaults in the air. Some breeders are former LA gang members.

Later on To the Point, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel wants to cut the Pentagon budget, but the stocks of many defense contractors are going up. We hear what Hagel's proposing, what it means for national security and the likely response from Congress.

Banner image courtesy of Aspire Public Schools

Producers:
Jenny Hamel
Kareem Maddox
Caitlin Shamberg

Charter Schools on the Chopping Block 18 MIN, 7 SEC

Two charter schools run by a company called Aspire serve more than 770 students in southeast Los Angeles. More than 90% of the kids are poor enough to qualify for lunch programs; about half are not fluent in English, often a formula for low performance.  But the Academic Index Performance scores of these schools is above 800, the statewide target for proficiency. Despite that, the elected LA Unified School Board voted four to two to close them down.

Guests:
Steve Zimmer, LA Unified School District (@lausd_zimmer)
Caprice Young, Los Angeles Charter School Board (@capriceyoung)
Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times (@howardblume )

More:
LA Times editorial on Aspire, latest LAUSD board turf war
Special Education Local Plan Areas (SELPA)

The Growing Passion for Flying Birmingham Roller Pigeons 5 MIN, 25 SEC

Birmingham roller pigeons were first bred in England in the 1800's. Now the sport has its own world cup. About one third of America's 5000 breeders live in Southern California, including some former gang members. Jens Gould of KCRW's Independent Producer Project has more. (For some beautiful pictures of flying roller pigeons, check the WWLA blog.)

Guests:
Jens Gould, Independent Producer (@jenserik1)

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