For chronically underachieving schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District the writing appears to be on the wall—if you cannot fix your problems of low test scores and high drop out rates, the district will fix it for you. First it was Fremont High School that underwent “restructuring,” where all of the teachers were dismissed from the school and invited to reapply for their old jobs. Now Jordan High School near Watts, a school that has performed so poorly that only 2% of its students have tested proficient in math, will udnergo an even more radical restructuring than Fremont High. Jordan will be split into three school subdivisions, all on the same Jordan High campus—two of the subdivisions will be run by private charger companies (Green Dot and the Alliance for College-Ready Public Schools) and the third by Mayor Villaraigosa’s Partnership for Los Angeles Schools. Using charter school companies to turn around low performing schools has been tried in the past with mixed success, but it speaks the desperation of the situation at Jordan that such tough measures were needed. Can the restructuring model work for LAUSD’s worst schools?
Judy Burton, president & CEO of the Alliance for College-Ready Public Schools