May 20th, 2009

In L.A., charter schools take on radical proportions

A recent New Yorker piece profiles Steve Barr, the maverick leader of Green Dot Public Schools, an organization that, since 2000, has led a more than aggressive campaign to open small charter schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Steve Barr, Green Dot CEOTwo years ago, Green Dot took over its first large public school–Locke High School, which had for years been covered in graffiti and plagued by gang fights.  It will be awhile before there is concrete evidence of improvements in the quality of education in L.A., but Barr’s efforts seem to mark a new era for the charter school movement, not least because he’s been able to negotiate successfully with the California teachers’ union.

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has met with Barr several times.  Those meetings have led to a conversation between Barr and Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, about a possible “national school-turnaround partnership.”

The Instigator [New Yorker, May 10, 2009]

Related Program: Charter Schools: Experiment or Solution? [Video]

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