Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Steve Barr v 3.0: The Press Release



Future is Now Press Release

Campaign for Great Los Angeles Public Schools seeks to leverage the recent LAUSD–UTLA Local School Stabilization and Empowerment Initiative, bringing together UTLA teachers, LAUSD and Future Is Now Schools to create teacher teams to design and launch cutting-edge hybrid schools throughout the city

Los Angeles, CA – Future Is Now, the national education reform organization led by Steve Barr, today announced the a unique and innovative partnership with LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy and a group of reform-minded UTLA teachers to create teacher-designed hybrid learning middle and high schools in Los Angeles in time for the 2013-2014 year.

The Campaign for Great Los Angeles Public Schools will for the first time bring together union teachers, LA school district officials and education reformers in an effort to create and scale up middle and public schools starting in three city neighborhoods to compliment their existing high performing elementary schools.

The partnership builds upon the recently agreed upon LAUSD-UTLA Stabilization and Empowerment Initiative to encourage the creation of schools with teacher-led and driven design and incorporate multiple measure evaluation systems. Initially, the schools will be located in three LA neighborhoods—Silver Lake/Los Feliz/Echo Park, Fairfax and Venice.

“We have great schools in Los Angeles and there is no reason this city shouldn’t have the best public school system in America,” said Steve Barr, Founder of Future is Now Schools. “What has hampered us in past from scaling up these model schools is inability for union teachers, education officials and education reformers to stop fighting and get on the same page. This campaign builds upon the 80% these three groups do agree upon, bringing them together and working towards creating the most innovative, teacher-led schools of our time.”

“I’m excited about the potential of this partnership to reinvigorate innovation in our school system,” said Superintendent John Deasy. “Central to that equation is having our teachers lead the process, which is what this partnership puts front and center. We have the opportunity to make LAUSD a leader on collaborative education reform.”

“As a Los Angeles public school teacher and a reform-minded union leader, I am excited about taking our best practices and putting them to work for as many students as possible. This partnership allows teachers to lead on reform instead of being on the sidelines. I can’t wait for us to get started,” said James Encinas.

FIN, which is developing schools in New York, New Orleans, and now Los Angeles, will be providing teacher design teams with their best practices model to be adapted for individual and specific needs. Some of the differences between a FIN school and a traditional public school include:

    • Individual learning plans and lessons;
    • Targeted student groupings;
    • Automated through-course assessments and grading;
    • High-impact staffing

FIN is in the process of managing a turnaround of John MacDonald High School in the Treme District of New Orleans. In New York City, FIN is working to expand its successful work with United Teachers Federation through their partnership with Green Dot New York in the Bronx. The Campaign for Great Los Angeles Public Schools marks the beginning of FIN’s work in the city by working with Superintendent Deasy and in the classroom with reform-minded union teachers.

Earlier this year, FIN supported a group of reform-oriented Los Angeles public school teachers in UTLA in their successful campaign for a Direct Union Initiative on the issue teacher evaluations and Reduction in Forces (RIFs) through the Career Stabilization and Fair Evaluation Act.


2cents smf smf: OK, I make mistakes and I spell stuff wrong – even in headlines. But  I don’t pay high priced media relations folk to do it for me! Los Angeles Unifed? Really?

The headline describes “UTLA Teachers” – which is grammatically correct.  The teachers are UTLA members – and there are more than one of them.

Teacher James Encinas, formerly of Westminster Elementary School,  is on leave from the District to work for FIN. Likewise for Mr. Stryer – who is the Director of New Unionism for Future is Now.  He is also part of "Our Schools, Our Voice".

Steve Barr v.1.0  founded Green Dot Public Schools – first in Inglewood, later in LAUSD.  These were start up charters in church basements led by a visionary entrepreneur – and Barr pretty much invented the chain-store charter paradigm - building on his MTV success in Rock the Vote.  Ask President Gore how well that went.  Barr was intent on scaling the operation up and creating Big Box Charters – and in taking over existing schools in a Mergers+Acquisitions business model.

LAUSD proved uncooperative.

v.1.1 brought us The Los Angeles Parents Union and

v.1.2 A partnership with Mayor Tony (and briefly UTLA) to support AB1381. Drat – foiled by the courts!  Next came:

v.1.2 Parent Revolution which begat The Parent Trigger, but before that:

v1.3 The “secret” leveraged takeover/coup at Locke High School. Whether this was successful is open to debate – as a takeover it was taken over; financially the takeover was a disaster.Turning a program around is one thing – making progress in the new direction is quite another.)  Another product of those times was this colorful LA Weekly profile of Barr.

v. 2.0. Adults took over Green Dot and Steve Barr left town and formed Green Dot America which was/was not affiliated with the original Green Dot depending on whom you asked. The plan was to take over New York City Schools on the “if you can make it there you can make it anywhere’” premise.  The outcome of this was the infamous New Yorker Profile of of Barr. Green Dot America operates one school in the Bronx.

v. 2.1 brought Barr to New Orleans, where he is developing school(s) in the wake of Katrina – where the charter operators are in a feeding frenzy. Barr plans to operate a school in New Orleans in 2012-13.

“Barr has since left Green Dot, and expanded his work to New York City and New Orleans through his new organization, Future Is Now Schools “

v. 3.0 brings Barr back to L.A with FIN and  the Campaign for Great Los Angeles Public Schools.

1 comment:

Sonja said...

How does this stuff get thru without public discussion? Most of our school board members are so derelict in the handling of their responsibilities that they've just given up on doing their jobs and are passing duties off to anyone who will take the pesky problems off their plates.

Most are probably looking at Yolie's defection to a charter foundation (after they helped her "create" the illegitimate school choice initiative) and are thinking "I want me a piece of that pie.."

This is the most ineffective, lazy and uninvolved school board I've seen in many, many years. Those who do care have their ideas and plans blocked by the Villaraigosa-funded puppets. Most should step down since they're truly not invested in providing a good educational experience for our children.