GREEN DOT….This is sort of fascinating. At least, I think it is, though details are a little sketchy. A charter school outfit called Green Dot, which has been at loggerheads with the Los Angeles Unified School District for some time, has managed to convince a majority of the tenured teachers at Locke High School — one of the worst in the city — to abandon the district and become a Green Dot charter:
Under Green Dot’s proposal, which because of state law the Los Angeles school board would appear to have little choice but to approve, the 2,800-student Watts campus would be divided into 10 small Green Dot schools beginning in fall 2008.
….Teachers who wish to remain at the deeply troubled school would have to re-apply for their jobs to principals hired by Green Dot. The extensive labor agreement negotiated by the district’s teachers union would also be thrown out, as Locke teachers would work under the shorter, simpler pact signed by Green Dot’s union.
….For their part, union officials stand to lose more than just the dues-paying members who bolt to Green Dot. Union leaders have been some of the harshest critics of the charter movement in Los Angeles, and of Green Dot in particular. The support for Green Dot by rank-and-file Locke teachers could undermine the authority of union leaders and their position as major power brokers in the district — especially if teachers at other schools follow suit.
It’s hard to think of a stronger vote of no-confidence in the teachers union than this. Tenured teachers are willing to jump ship, abandon the bennies they get from their union contract, and do it without even a guarantee that they’ll get their jobs back, let alone jobs with civil service protection. That’s pretty astonishing.
So what happened next? First, the district essentially fired Locke’s principal, who supported Green Dot. Then, in an apparent effort to alienate everybody who might possibly help their cause, they pissed off the LA Times by barring their reporter from Locke amid reports that the school was “wobbl[ing] toward chaos.” Bob Sipchen was not amused.
This is a (semi) local story for me, but I thought it might be interesting for the rest of you as well. The one odd thing about it is that none of the accounts of events at Locke seem to include any comments from actual parents or students. We’ll wait and see on that, I guess. In the meantime, any union that’s lost support from its rank-and-file this thoroughly seems like one that could use a serious kick in the butt. For now, anyway, I’ll be rooting for Green Dot in this one.