Great Public Schools Now Looks to Transform Los Angeles Schools

(Photo: Flickr, Creative Commons)

(Photo: Flickr, Creative Commons)

Great Public Schools Now, an organization devoted to increasing access to quality education for all children in the greater Los Angeles area, has released a report titled "High-Quality Public Schools for Los Angeles Students."

The report acknowledges that successful schools do not follow one model. Each successful school designs and implements its own formula that leads to real, equity-based outcomes. The report then offers a community-centric plan it will launch to improve schools across the Los Angeles region, regardless of a school's governance model, curricular orientation or operational framework. The plan hopes to give students in low-income areas access to high-quality education.

In the greater Los Angeles area, 160,000 students are stuck in underperforming schools that are not preparing them for higher education or for employment. Furthermore, 40,000 students remain on waiting lists for charter schools and thousands more are waiting on lists for high performing magnet schools. Great Public Schools Now acknowledges these problems and has identified four funding priorities that will help expand high-quality public schools.

First, Greater Public Schools Now will launch a multi-year effort to support the growth or creation of schools with the participation of local communities. The organization will reach out to parents and community members to better understand the kinds of schools they desire because it believes the Los Angeles' school system ignores the voices of parents. Additionally, Great Public Schools Now will collaborate with district and city leaders to create an environment friendly to high-performing public schools.

Next, the organization will bolster teacher preparation programs across in the Los Angeles areas. It hopes to attract teachers that are diverse in terms of experience, race, and socioeconomic standing to positions in the sciences, mathematics, and special education. Great Public Schools Now will work within schools to retain high-quality educators and to develop the next generation of school leaders. To accomplish these ends, the organization will work with existing organizations in the Los Angeles area that support public school teachers.

Securing and maintaining adequate facilities is a major challenge faced by new schools in Los Angeles, especially charter schools. Great Public Schools Now has outlined a plan to assist public charter schools in financing long-term and permanent facilities; these services will include subsidizing leases and debt services.

Finally, the organization plans to support the expansion of high-quality public schools in the areas with the greatest need. Schools that will receive grants form the organization wills be those that serve large numbers of low-income families that reside in neighborhoods without strong public school options. The organization will be indiscriminate in the kinds of schools it supports; it is open to aiding public charter schools, district magnet schools, pilot, and partnership schools. The ultimate goal is to expand what is already working in public school and dramatically increase students' access to high-quality education.

For a detailed reading of Great Public Schools Now's plans for increasing access to and transforming the quality of the Los Angeles school system, readers can find the full report online.

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