In parts one and two of this series, Public School Choice (PSC) was defined, and then some goals were set for the vision a few of my colleagues and I have for a pilot school. Since we first became aware that we had this opportunity, we’ve learned a few details that will greatly affect us. By outlining them here, other like-minded individuals may wish to keep these things in mind. Here’s what we’ve learned:
School boards (the entities who ultimately approve plans) want 99% of the plan to be about curriculum. Governance is the other 1%. They say to plan the curriculum, teaching strategies, working with standards, etc. and then the governance/structure issues will fall in to place. We believe this is backwards, as we believe that the factors that put us on the PSC list are completely unrelated to teaching and curriculum.
some of the issues that we believe need to be fixed? A) Administrative stability (we’ve had 30 administrators in 11 years!), B) Teacher evaluation/performance review: bad teachers
must be helped or relieved of duty, C) Decision making: not in a vacuum; must include students and parents
2. The teacher’s union, United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) has put a cap on the number of allowable pilot schools. We are part of round 3.0 in the PSC school initiative. There are currently 11 pilots in place. The 2.0 PSC plans have yet to be approved, so for all we know, the cap will be reached before our plan is even evaluated. Evidently, UTLA and LAUSD (the school district) reached the cap agreement.
3. We are being discouraged from all angles. LAUSD is telling us that we will face tremendous facilities-sharing issues. They also say that there will be much uncompensated time put into planning and running the school.
Other teachers at the school see us as rebels, or rogue elements. They think we are ruining unity at the school. We believe this “unity” has kept positive change from happening. People seem to want to keep the status-quo. We believe it will take radical change, and that a tinker here and there won’t do it, especially if there continues to be so much inconsistency and stability at the school.
Mr. Franklin is a teacher for the Los Angeles Unified School District. He is an eleven year veteran and has won District and County Teacher of the Year awards. He was also a recipient of the prestigious Bank of America Community Hero award. Before teaching, he spent five years at Learning Forum, which runs summer camps designed to increase student academic potential. It is a world-wide program.
- Public School Choice in L.A.: Designing a School
- &quot;Public School Choice&quot; Reform
- The Los Angeles Times Education Series
- What, Exactly, Is A Charter School?
- School Administrators and Teacher Evaluations