Tuesday, November 27, 2012



Green Dot Public Schools finalist for federal Race to the Top money

LA Daily News | http://bit.ly/U0Zafx

11/26/2012 06:29:51 PM PSTGreen Dot Public Schools, a 12-year-old charter organization, was named Monday as a finalist for a prestigious federal grant, one of four California groups to qualify for Race to the Top money.

Green Dot hopes to win a $30 million, four-year grant, which it would use to boost its science and social studies courses, expand its use of technology and strengthen its support of college-bound students.

Los Angeles Unified had applied for a $40 million grant, but failed to qualify because it lacked the required endorsement of United Teachers Los Angeles.

The other California finalists are the Galt, Lindsay and New Haven school districts. They are among 61 finalists culled from 372 applications.

The U.S. Department of Education will announce the winners of the $400 million grant program by year's end.


Green Dot charter schools founder Steve Barr resigns from board of directors

By Rob Kuznia The Daily Breeze | http://bit.ly/115DoxB

11/26/2012 08:57:04 PM PST  ::  The founder of Green Dot Public Schools - a nationally renowned cluster of charter schools in Los Angeles County that includes two in the South Bay - has stepped down from the organization's board of directors.

Steve Barr founded Green Dot in 1999, starting with Animo Charter Leadership in Inglewood. Over the years the franchise grew to include 18 schools, including Locke High in Watts, which Green Dot acquired in 2007 from the Los Angeles Unified School District in what has been widely referred to as a hostile takeover. Green Dot is now regarded as one of California's most successful charter-school organizations.

Green Dot announced Barr's departure in a press release sent late Monday afternoon. The statement did not say why Barr decided to resign.

Reached shortly after the announcement, Green Dot spokesman Gabriel Sanchez said Barr didn't provide a reason for his resignation. In a tersely worded email sent to school officials last Tuesday, Barr simply stated, "Please accept my resignation from the board."

Barr left the management team of Green Dot Public Schools in 2008. At that point, Marco Petruzzi became the chief executive officer, having served as Green Dot's chief operating officer since 2006. Barr continued to serve on Green Dot's board of directors until he stepped down.

"Steve has been and continues to be an innovator in public education," said Marlene Canter, chairwoman of Green Dot's board of directors, in Monday's

statement. "We know he will continue to serve and help students succeed. We wish Steve the best in his future endeavors."

Barr's success with Green Dot - and in particular with Locke High - caught the attention of the Obama administration. In 2009, he met with U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan to discuss how to replicate Green Dot's success elsewhere.

Barr also is the founder and chairman of Future Is Now Schools, a separate nonprofit with no affiliation to Green Dot Public Schools. In addition, he co-founded Rock the Vote, a nonprofit group that seeks to get young voters to the polls.

Steve Barr leaves Green Dot board of directors, organization he founded

By Adolfo Guzman-Lopez | Pass / Fail  | 89.3 KPCC http://bit.ly/115IdHg

Steve Barr

November 27th, 2012, 7:21am  ::  It’s the end of an era. Steve Barr, the founder of the 10,000 student Green Dot charter schools organization, resigned last week from the group’s board of directors, the company announced Monday.

Steve Barr, Founder, Green Dot charter schools : Courtesy Green Dot Public Schools >>

Barr, who stepped down from day-to-day operations in 2009, said other school improvement projects are eating up his time.

“I’m the chair of a board for our school in New York," said Barr. "I’m the chair of the turnaround effort for the school we’re turning around in New Orleans and Green Dot’s board is generally run by an executive committee which I’m not a member of just because I don’t have the time for it."

Green Dot spokesman Gabriel Sanchez said the board of directors didn’t expect Barr’s departure. Barr told the board in an email sent to board chair (and former LAUSD Bd of Ed president) Marlene Canter. It read, "Please accept my resignation from the board," and nothing else.

The brash former Democratic Party organizer famously clashed with L.A. Unified administrators and the president of the district’s teachers union when both opposed Green Dot’s efforts to open charters near the district’s low-performing schools.

The relationship has changed dramatically. He said he’s working with L.A. Unified to open three, small “schools within schools” next year.

UCLA education researcher John Rogers said Green Dot’s become a very different charter school management organization than what Barr founded nearly 15 years ago.

“As Green Dot has grown, it increasingly has asserted more centralized control over practices in individual schools,” Rogers said. "And that’s made Green Dot look more like a mini-school district."

Barr said differences with new management did not contribute to his decision to leave Green Dot’s board.

Charter group, but not L.A. Unified, finalist for Race to the Top

By Howard Blume/LA Times/LA Now | http://lat.ms/Sr5oaW

Green Dot founder and CEO Steve Barr and supporters outside the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education offices in 2007. Credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times

Photo: Green Dot founder and CEO Steve Barr and supporters outside the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education offices in 2007. Credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times

November 26, 2012 |  3:38 pm  ::  A local charter school organization is a finalist for a high-profile federal grant, but the Los Angeles Unifed School District failed to qualify in the same competition.

Green Dot Public Schools, which operates 18 charter schools, remains in the running for a “Race to the Top” grant, the U.S. Department of Education announced Monday. If successful, Green Dot could receive $30 million over a four-year period.

In the application process, districts were supposed to set out a plan to “personalize education for students and provide school leaders and teachers with key tools that support them to meet students’ needs,” according to the Education Department.

But the devil for L.A. Unified was in the details. Participation by the teachers union was required and United Teachers Los Angeles would not sign on, citing concerns that Race to the Top could commit the school system to long-term spending not covered by the grant. Union leaders in L.A. and elsewhere also were concerned such a grant could commit them to the use of student test scores as part of a teacher’s evaluation.

L.A. Unified applied anyway, asserting that it needed the funds and that its application and students were deserving. The nation’s second-largest school system, with more than 1,000 schools, had sought $40 million, the maximum possible.

No union issue arose with Green Dot, whose teachers voted in May, after much debate, to accept student data in teacher evaluations.

The 61 finalists, representing more than 200 school districts across the country, were selected from 372 applications filed in November. Besides Green Dot, California’s finalists are Galt Joint Union Elementary School District, south of Sacramento; Lindsay Unified School District, east of Tulare; and New Haven Unified School District, south of Oakland.

The 17 unsuccessful California applicants included the Glendale, Montebello, Riverside and Fresno unified school districts.

Each application was randomly assigned to three evaluators, with ratings averaged to determine a final score. Federal officials said they expected to select 15 to 25 winners.

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