Group that wants to launch new L.A. schools names its first grant winners
A group that has vowed to start high-quality schools across Los Angeles on Thursday announced its first grant recipients: a charter school that is expanding, an after-school and summer enrichment program for children, and an organization that recruits recent college graduates for two-year teaching stints.
None of the money went to the Los Angeles Unified School District, although it’s likely to benefit from the teacher-recruitment effort.
The grants are the first concrete indication of the direction of Great Public Schools Now, a recently formed nonprofit with a particular formula for school reform: Take a school that works and make it larger or build a new one just like it.
The work is vital, say organizers, because 160,000 students in low-income neighborhoods attend failing public schools.
The reform effort grew out of a preliminary, confidential proposal, circulated last year among philanthropists, to move half of L.A. Unified’s students into charter schools over eight years. The proposal, which called for building 260 new charter schools, was developed under the auspices of the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation and provoked widespread controversy when The Times obtained a leaked copy and wrote about it.
The plan, however, evolved over time, the group says, and the current strategy is to support any kind of successful school, including those in L.A. Unified.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for all of Los Angeles,” Executive Director Myrna Castrejón said at a news conference at Heart of Los Angeles, the Westlake enrichment program slated to receive $500,000.
Great Public Schools Now said earlier this week that its grant money would go to creating and expanding effective schools and training teachers and principals.
Heart of Los Angeles does not fit in those categories, but it does well-regarded work.
A second recipient is Equitas Academy Charter Schools, which serves the low-income Pico-Union area, just west of downtown.
Equitas already was building its third small campus. The $2-million grant will make the project more affordable by reducing long-term debt, leaving more money for academic programs, said founder and Chief Executive Malka Borrego.
Charters, most of which are non-union, are run independently of L.A. Unified.
The third recipient, Teach For America, also will receive $2 million, which will payGroup that wants to launch new L.A. schools names its first grant winners - LA Times:
Los Angeles “Reform” Group Makes Grants to Other Reformers | Diane Ravitch's blog - http://wp.me/p2odLa-eM4 via @dianeravitch