Riordan backs charter school

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.miss achievement at LAUSD high schools. The independently operated charter called the New Millennium Secondary School, would open in September 2008 with no more than 150 ninth-graders. If more than 150 students apply, the school would schedule a lottery to award slots. Eventually, organizers said, 10th, 11th and 12th grades will be added. The school – operated by a five-member board – plans to pay teachers more than Los Angeles Unified and will layer technology into classroom lessons. “Every child deserves a high quality education, and every parent deserves to choose the best school for their child,” Riordan wrote in an e-mail. “I am supportive of the New Millennium Secondary School and the plan to provide a new, high-quality school choice to Carson parents.” CARSON: Among the selling points are higher teacher pay and smaller class sizes than LAUSD. By Paul Clinton STAFF WRITER Former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan has signed on with a group planning a start-up public charter high school in Carson to offer students an alternative to the crowded hallways and hit-and- Organizers plan to submit their application to Los Angeles Unified in November. The school’s goal to assign each student a computer would give it a technological edge over LAUSD high schools. As another selling point, classes would typically have no more than 25 students so teachers could spend more one-on-one time with them. For the 2006-07 year, Carson High averaged 30.4 students per class. Offering teachers a higher salary than the $43,000 paid to first-year fully credentialed teachers in LAUSD has brought a chilly response from the district and United Teachers Los Angeles. “What we clearly see in these charters is a high turnover rate and a deprofessionalization of the profession,” said A.J. Duffy, UTLA president. “We know in a lot of charters, teachers are asked to work eight to 10 hours a day and on weekends. The money does not offset the amount of work they’re being asked to do. And if they don’t do the work, they’re fired.” Rebecca Bunn, the project’s coordinator, said the school wouldn’t prevent teachers from forming a union and said the board would negotiate a collective bargaining agreement with them if they did. “Our goal is not to burn out teachers,” Bunn said. “We plan to pay them well and give them a lot of resources to do their job. We’re giving them the working conditions they say they want.” While Riordan won’t accept a seat on the board, he could give financial support. He has provided funding to charter operators Green Dot, the Alliance for College Ready Public Schools and KIPP. At least one local educator, Walter Clark, is expected to earn a seat on the board. Clark is the community services director of Carson-based Bridges Community Economic Development Corp. Tony Kline, the deputy to former U.S. Ambassador to Uruguay Frank Baxter, is also expected to be named to the board. The school’s organizers are pitching the school as a more efficient learning environment than LAUSD schools. “Three of the high schools in that area are in the bottom 10 percent of the state (academically),” Bunn said, referring to Carson, Gardena and Compton high schools. Nevertheless, officials who discussed the school at an Oct. 16 City Council meeting have yet to embrace it. “You can’t just put out a notice and say we’ll pay you more money,” said Mayor Jim Dear, a substitute teacher in LAUSD. “That’s not really the right approach.” Council members Lula Davis-Holmes and Mike Gipson, a UTLA organizer, hosted a town hall meeting on Oct. 3 to announce the idea to the community. Riordan spoke about the school then. Gipson said he hasn’t made up his mind. “My position is we want to make sure charter schools coming up include a collective bargaining agreement,” Gipson said. “It serves a great purpose for teachers to be represented.” The school would lease space when it opens, then look to build a permanent school in the city, Bunn said. A location hasn’t been identified. Operating with the LAUSD charter would give it autonomy to dictate how curriculum is taught, but students would still be required to learn California academic standards. Charter schools in the LAUSD attendance boundary have averaged 680 on the state’s 1,000-point achievement scale compared with 644 for LAUSD high schools. After four years, organizers say, enrollment would top out at no more than 600 students. The roll-out mirrors the approach taken by the Port of Los Angeles High School, a charter mounted by San Pedro civic leaders now in its third year. Some local students and parents have embraced Carson’s idea at the same time that their education leaders are turning their heads. “I think it’s necessary because the (existing) schools have so many students,” said Lorena Lopez, whose eighth-grade son Paulo attends Carnegie Middle School. “Maybe another school would have more space.” Joje Santomin and C.J. Medina, Carnegie eighth-graders who live in northeast Carson, said they’ll apply for intra-district permits to attend Torrance High. If they’re not accepted, they said they’d consider the charter school. “It would be like a Catholic school,” Santomin said. “Carson High School is too crowded and has too much violence.” Carson High School (3,466 students) offers the lone public option for parents within city limits. Depending on where they live, however, they may also attend Banning High in Wilmington or Narbonne High School in Harbor City. As a third public option on the horizon, Los Angeles Unified plans to build an 1,809-seat high school at Santa Fe Avenue and Carson Street in Long Beach for Carson students. The school would open for the 2011-12 year. [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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