Howard Blume | LA Times/LA Now | http://lat.ms/taPzzQ
November 3, 2011 | 8:01 pm - Former Los Angeles school board President Marlene Canter will head the governing board for Green Dot Public Schools, one of the nation’s largest charter school groups, the organization announced Thursday.
The locally based nonprofit operates schools mostly in the low-income, heavily minority areas of south and southwest Los Angeles. Its best-known effort is the takeover of Locke High School, near Watts, where academic achievement and enrollment have improved substantially although the school’s test scores remain low overall.
This fall, Green Dot took control of Clay Middle School and half of Jordan High School.
Canter succeeds Shane Martin, dean of the Loyola Marymount University School of Education.
Green Dot’s new vice-chair is UCLA Vice Chancellor Kevin Reed. Reed was the head attorney for the Los Angeles Unified School District when Canter served as board president. Some advocates for charter schools, which are publicly financed, managed independently of the school system, viewed them then as not sufficiently supportive of charters.
Separately, a recently troubled local school-management group also announced a new leader this week.
L.A.’s Promise, which manages three Los Angeles schools, announced its new executive will be Veronica Melvin. She had been working as chief operating officer of Communities for Teaching Excellence, a new local nonprofit advocacy organization funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Founding L.A.’s Promise Director Mike McGalliard had recently resigned for undisclosed reasons.
L.A.’s Promise recently came under scrutiny for a disorganized opening this fall of Manual Arts High School. The group converted the school from year-round operation to a traditional calendar a year earlier than previously planned. The benefit was a longer school year for each student. The drawback was a campus more crowded than at any time in its history, which teachers said created numerous problems.
School district officials recently reasserted some control over Manual Arts, but L.A.’s Promise is still managing the campus on a day-to-day basis.
In 2006-07 LAUSD Board of Education Board President Canter and LAUSD General Counsel Kevin Reed successfully led the effort in court to defeat Mayor Villaraigosa’s takeover of LAUSD under AB 1381.
At that time Green Dot Public Schools Founder/Chairman/CEO Steve Barr (along with UTLA President A.J. Duffy) led the effort in support of Mayor Tony (laughing over Marlene’s left shoulder in the picture above) …initially though Barr’s “Small Schools Alliance” and its Ging-grinchian “Contract to Transform LA. Schools” (which morphed into Mayor Tony’s Partnership for LA Schools and his “Schoolhouse” reform® plan) …and also produced the LA Parents Union which begat Parent Revolution. Barr was the sole appellant in support of AB1381 when the challenge reached the California Supreme Court.
Barr has since left Green Dot to form Green Dot America which became The Future is Now (FIN) Schools - which has as their logo not a green dot – but green type and a red-white-and-blue dot.
Duffy is starting his own charter school.
If the bedfellows were strange then, they are estranged now. And it all becomes stranger still.