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LCUSD President is wrong about charter schools

July 05, 2013

In response to my op-ed column of two weeks ago, LCUSD President Scott Tracy wrote a rebuttal column last week, “Reasons to reject a charter district.” It is surprising that he is so unfamiliar with charter schools.

Charter schools are popping up all across America. Tracy claims that “there is no charter district in the state of California that includes a high school.” This statement might give the impression that there are no charter high schools in our state.

There are dozens of charter high schools in California. While charter schools improve education quality most dramatically in subpar districts, they also improve matters in excellent school districts like LCUSD. That’s why from the top state in education, Massachusetts, to the worst performers like California (47th), charter schools are proliferating. Is Tracy oblivious to this trend?

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He barely mentions the importance of my point about establishing a new curriculum in math, which a charter district would make possible. According to SchoolDigger.com rankings for California, based on the California Department of Education’s CST test scores, LCUSD is third in the state overall. However, when you single out Algebra II, LCUSD is 75th. I suppose Tracy would take comfort in the fact that LCUSD improved from 139th in 2011.

Algebra II is the gateway math course for students headed toward a career in science. But, even if we were first, it still isn’t very good. During the past three years, I’ve had to teach a key formula from Algebra II to my American-educated juniors at USC. Is it any wonder that USC’s Aerospace Department has to offer remedial math courses to our sophomores and juniors?

As a community, we can take charge of our children’s educational destiny by rallying around the charter-district concept. There is a school-board election later this year. Whoever runs, we should ask a key question. “Are you open minded about a charter district?”

David C. Wilcox
La Cañada Flintridge

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