From South LA to the San Fernando Valley, parents and teachers are battling with the LA Unified School District over where to locate charter schools. A law passed by the voters says charters are entitled to equal treatment with traditional schools—but a plan to share campus space has created an angry backlash. On Reporter’s Notebook, an East LA High School where every student graduates and goes on to college.
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Eight years ago, California voters approved Proposition 39 which lowered the majority needed to pass bonds for school construction. It also required that public school districts accommodate charter schools—and treat them equally with traditional schools. Since then, the charter movement has exploded and thousands of students need more space. In April, LA Unified agreed that 39 charter schools could share space on existing campuses. But that created a backlash—from South Los Angeles to Echo Park to the San Fernando Valley. The District then withdrew its offer to 7 of those 39 charter schools.
LA Unified has an extraordinary drop-out rate, especially among black and Latino students. Fewer than half get past the 9th grade. But the Francisco Bravo Medical Magnet High School in East LA is an exception. Although 75% of the students’ families fall below the poverty line—100% make it through high school, and go on to college.
Roberta Brinton, Professor of molecular pharmacology and toxicology at USC
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