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Green Dot Public [sic] Schools & Los Angeles Parents Union

Green Dot Public [sic] Schools & Los Angeles Parents Union

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Published by Robert D. Skeels
The infamous "Annenberg Document" which unequivocally proves the founding, funding and direct relationship between Green Dot and it's astro-turf group Los Angeles Parents Union (now Parent Revolution) - first exposed in the http://bit.ly/2dYLLG article. Aside from proving LAPU/Parent Revolution is a corporate front group, it also quotes Green Dot's despicable plans to privatize as many schools as possible: "Green Dot’s initial strategic plan called for opening 100 charter high schools like Ánimo in neighborhoods across Los Angeles." Neoliberalism at its worst. Despite the huge amount of damning evidence it contains, this document is still available from right wing think tank AISR.
The infamous "Annenberg Document" which unequivocally proves the founding, funding and direct relationship between Green Dot and it's astro-turf group Los Angeles Parents Union (now Parent Revolution) - first exposed in the http://bit.ly/2dYLLG article. Aside from proving LAPU/Parent Revolution is a corporate front group, it also quotes Green Dot's despicable plans to privatize as many schools as possible: "Green Dot’s initial strategic plan called for opening 100 charter high schools like Ánimo in neighborhoods across Los Angeles." Neoliberalism at its worst. Despite the huge amount of damning evidence it contains, this document is still available from right wing think tank AISR.

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Published by: Robert D. Skeels on Jan 20, 2010
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07/01/2013

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Green Dot Public Schools &Los Angeles Parents Union
THE ENTRY POINT
We’ve gone from a model school system to a broken school system. So our job is to find anew model that is clearly different and successful and then create demand around the citythat all public schools look like that. . . . When teachers, parents, students, and communityleaders work together, bold reform can happen.
- Steve Barr, founder and 
CE
, Green Dot Public Schools
THE CHALLENGE
How does a charter management organization, allied with parent and teacher organizingefforts, navigate Los Angeles’s complex political, economic, and social terrain to build effec-tive alliances that will, ultimately, create systemwide reform?
THE PARTNERS
Green Dot Public SchoolsLos Angeles Parents UnionService Employees International Union
The Story 
I
n the Los Angeles Unified School District (
lausd
), a district that graduates only half its stu-dents, Green Dot has opened twelve Ánimo charter high schools to demonstrate a better way for high schools to prepare students for college, leadership, and life. In
2007 
,
US News & World Report 
ranked Green Dot’s first school, Ánimo Leadership, the thirty-first best highschool in America.Green Dot creates small high schools (with five more opening in the fall of 
2008
) that holdhigh expectations for every student. Families are encouraged and expected to participate inthe life of the school, and school buildings stay open late for after-school and communityactivities. The model works. Compared to a
50
percent graduation rate in traditional LosAngeles high schools, Green Dot graduates
80
percent of its students, and two-thirds of lastyear’s graduating class were accepted at four-year colleges.Green Dot’s initial strategic plan called for opening
100
charter high schools like Ánimo inneighborhoods across Los Angeles to create a tipping point for systemwide transformation byshowing the school district a high school model that works. Three years ago, Green Dotretooled its strategy. Rather than continuing to create individual charter schools, a particularlydifficult task in Los Angeles, where real estate is scarce and expensive, Green Dot approached
lausd
to spur systemic change across the system. Give us your failing high schools, Green
G A I N I N G G R O U N D
 
Dot urged, and let us transform them into campuses with small schools – each with no morethan
500
students – that utilize Green Dot’s school model. As Barr explains, Green Dot’s newmission is “to take research and development from our charter high schools and couple thatwith political will to create systematic school improvement in Los Angeles.”With this theory of change, Green Dot offered to take over the struggling Jefferson HighSchool in South Los Angeles. Some
10
,
000
Los Angeles residents signed petitions and
1
,
000
parents and community members marched in support of Green Dot’s Jefferson High SchoolTransformation Project. But the district, facing resistance from the teachers union, declinedthe offer. Instead, to respond to the “parent revolt” for better schools, the district grantedGreen Dot enough charters to open several small high schools around Jefferson, whichattracted more than three-quarters of Jefferson’s incoming ninth-grade class in
2006 
. WhileGreen Dot’s five Jefferson schools have thrived, Jefferson High School, sadly, remains one of the worst-performing schools in California.While the Jefferson Transformation Project emerged from a “parent revolt,” Green Dot’s lead-ership says that its next effort, the Locke High School Transformation Project, was the productof a “teacher revolt.” Wishing to build on the partial success of the Jefferson proposal, GreenDot approached the district again about a potential collaboration after a new superintendentwas appointed. Although the superintendent favored the idea, the district bureaucracy wasslow to act on the initial momentum.What began as Green Dot information sessions to help the Locke faculty understand whatwas happening turned into a full-fledged campaign to solicit their support. Eventually, amajority of teachers within Locke High School voted to turn the school over to Green Dotand their vote was subsequently ratified by the
lausd
school board, which approved thetransfer. Planning is under way and Green Dot will restructure the Locke campus into a cluster of autonomous small schools in the fall of 
2008
.Green Dot’s vision is strongly aligned with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s proposed educationreforms and enjoys the support of 
lausd
’s current school board, as well as local and nationalphilanthropies, including the Gates and Broad foundations. Since Los Angeles’s public isclamoring for better schools, Green Dot may get the chance to create the systemic schoolimprovement across Los Angeles that its theory of change calls for, based on the model it hasdeveloped and refined over its eight years of existence.
Changing the Face of Human Capital
Operating the schools more effectively with less overhead allows more than
90
percent of public funds to go directly to the schools. An innovative teachers union contract gives teach-ers input into curriculum decisions while granting principals the power to hire and fire teach-ers. Green Dot calls its principals the “
ceo
s of their schools,” and the Green Dot EducationTeam’s goal is to develop the most highly skilled principals and assistant principals in thecountry.The Education Team has the same goal for Green Dot’s teachers. Unlike most charter schools,Green Dot created its own reform-minded teachers union, Asociación de Maestros Unidos
2
Green Dot Public Schools & Los Angeles Parents Union
 
2008
Emerging Knowledge Forum
3
(
amu
). Green Dot’s contract with
amu
calls for “a professional workday,” in which teachersare required to do whatever is necessary to help students succeed, including playing multipleroles such as advising students and maintaining contact with parents. While Green Dot’steachers do not receive tenure or seniority rights, their pay scale is considerably higher. Lastyear alone, Green Dot received more than
1
,
 300
applications for 
90
teaching positions. GreenDot believes that large-scale educational reform must include a model for how unions andmanagement can effectively work together.Green Dot and the United Teachers of Los Angeles (
utla
) have had a fractious relationshipover the years –
utla
leaders will not set foot inside Green Dot schools even as Green Dotand the
lausd
leadership are attempting to increase their collaboration. As A. J. Duffy, thepresident of 
utla
, reflects,We could have and probably should have organized the Green Dot schools. Theystarted with one charter school, now have ten, and in short order they’ll have twentyschools in Los Angeles, with all the teachers paying dues to a different union. Andthat’s a problem.Many
utla
members are sacrificing their tenure and seniority to teach in Green Dot schools– in effect, voting with their feet, and their jobs, to teach in schools that are, by their estima-tion, serving students more effectively.
Organizing Parents: The Los Angeles Parents Union
As news of Green Dot’s dramatic impact on its students’ achievement spread, families andneighborhood-based organizations demanded more Green Dot high schools. As the GreenDot management team tells it, there were three years worth of meetings in which many neigh-borhood residents and community groups passionately requested a Green Dot charter school.Green Dot responded to this grassroots demand for change by saying, in effect, it’s not thatyou want a charter school per se, you simply want – and deserve – a high-quality school for the young people in your neighborhoods. Recognizing the need for parents to organize andwork collectively to demand high-quality education, Green Dot formed the Los Angeles Par-ents Union (
lapu
), a citywide grassroots organization of parents that pushes educators,administrators, and public officials to improve their schools.
lapu
has grown from its incubation at Green Dot into a separate organization that continuesto add neighborhood-based chapters.
lapu
’s current membership exceeds
4
,
000
parents intwenty communities – both working-class and middle-class areas – in and around Los Angeles.Membership keeps growing as current members recruit their neighbors and fellow communitymembers to join.
lapu
developed an innovative program called “Parent University” in which parents gain skillsto communicate with teachers and administrators to advocate for their children and useorganizing tools such as primers on graduation requirements and school-quality scores, amongother supports. The effectiveness of Parent University and the sheer number of parents attend-ing serve as examples of the changing face of human capital in Los Angeles education reform,

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