FOX 11 Vice President & General Manager Kevin Hale talks about what's really happening at low-performing Los Angeles area schools.
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Full Editorial Text:
We all hear about low-performing schools but what exactly does this mean? The truth may shock you.
In 2009, only two percent of the students at Fremont High School in South L.A. were proficient in math. TWO PERCENT. And an underwhelming 14 percent were proficient in English.
The overcrowded school rated at the bottom in the state.
The school was such a dismal failure, LAUSD made a dramatic decision. Under Federal law, the “No Child Left Behind” act, Superintendent Raymond Cortines announced he was reconstituting the school—in effect, firing its staff and sweeping the whole place clean. Cortines’ move was perfectly legal but completely unprecedented in Los Angeles. And it created a firestorm. The teacher’s union slammed the district, placing blame on the school’s administrators and not its teachers.
But by July, Fremont High School had a new direction pushed by famed reformer George McKenna, who was actually played by Denzel Washington in a movie.
And guess what? In the six months since Fremont was restructured, students have made promising gains. Proficiency and advanced numbers are up in early testing, a strong indicator of how students will perform on the annual state tests.
George McKenna / LAUSD: “We did it internally, we didn't ask for some outside provider on a white horse to come in here and promise things they can't deliver."
Surely, Fremont will continue to have challenges, but at least, LAUSD stepped up and said, enough. Enough failure.
In essence, what the district has done is put the teachers and administrators’ unions on notice: if these schools continue to fail year after year, the district is willing to take drastic measures.
I encourage LAUSD to continue to take a hard look at every failing school in the district and to take bold action. And I challenge the teachers union to not stand in the way.
Thanks for listening.
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