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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Which Charter School Would You Choose ??

The Los Angeles Times has a must read article on the American Indian Charter School in Oakland entitled, "Spitting in the eye of mainstream education".
As someone who has worked in the education field and has sadly watch our once proud public education system become captive to left-wing indoctrinators, union hacks, with the aid of bureaucratic bumblers, it is refreshing to see a method of educating that gets results.
And with results in mind, lets compare the acheivements of American Indian to the "politically connected" Charter School, "Academia Semillas del Pueblo" in El Sereno.
Lets compare the Mission Statements of the respective Charter Schools.
The American Indian Public Charter School serves 200 inner-city students in fifth through eighth grade. The focus of AIPCS is excellent student attendance (99.5%), which helps to ensure the academic needs of American Indian students and others interested in attending our school. We will provide them with an education to enhance their academic skills in reading, writing, spelling, mathematics, science, social science, business, and humanities in order to compete and be productive members in a free market capitalistic society. This will be a collaborative effort between school, family, and community.
Anahuacalmecac’s mission is to provide students effective and comprehensive pedagogy through a globally inclusive curriculum within a positive, supportive learning environment involving students, teachers, parents and staff. Anahuacalmecac is a Nahuatl name meaning University Preparatory High School of North America. Anahuacalmecac’s k-8th grade compliment, Academia Semillas del Pueblo, Xinaxcalmecac, is dedicated to providing urban children of immigrant families an excellent education founded upon native and maternal languages, cultural values, and global realities. Academia’s name in Nahuatl means, “the house of higher learning for the seeds of our people.”
Test Scores:
From the LA Times.
The Academic Performance Index, the central measuring tool for California schools, rates schools on a scale from zero to 1,000, based on standardized test scores. The state target is an API of 800. The statewide average for middle and high schools is below 750. For schools with mostly low-income students, it is around 650.
The oldest of the American Indian schools, the middle school known simply as American Indian Public Charter School, has an API of 967. Its two siblings -- American Indian Public Charter School II (also a middle school) and American Indian Public High School -- are not far behind.
Among the thousands of public schools in California, only four middle schools and three high schools score higher. None of them serves mostly underprivileged children. At American Indian, the largest ethnic group is Asian, followed by Latinos and African Americans.
Some of the schools' critics contend that high-scoring Asian Americans are driving the test scores, but blacks and Latinos do roughly as well -- in fact, better on some tests.
That makes American Indian a rarity in American education, defying the axiom that poor black and Latino children will lag behind others in school.
Semillas API rose to 701 points!
We are pleased to announce that the 2008 Base Academic Performance Index score for Academia Semillas del Pueblo Xinaxcalmecac was increased by the California Department of Education to 701! Congratulations and thank you for all of your hard work. According to Wes Scott, Semillas independent data consultant from Key Data Systems, "Statewide and Similar schools ranks is now 2, and the incremental growth targets for the school, this cycle, are smaller. For instance, the Schoolwide growth requirement is 5 points this year versus 9 points last year. This is all good news. It is interesting that the Base API is higher than the 2008 Growth API. This likely suggests that those few students who took the CMA last year did well on the assessment." Congratulations to everyone for all the focus and diligence over the years.
Controversial Educators:
"What we're doing is so easy," said Ben Chavis, the man who created the school's success and personifies its ethos, especially in its more outrageous manifestations. (One example: He tends to call all nonwhite students, including African Americans, "darkies.") Although he retired in 2007, Chavis remains a presence at the school.
A Lumbee Indian who grew up poor in North Carolina and later struck it rich in real estate, Chavis took over American Indian in 2000, four years after it was founded with a Native American theme.
He began by firing most of the school's staff and shucking the Native American cultural content ("basket weaving," he scoffed). "You think the Jews and the Chinese are dumb enough to ask the public school to teach them their culture?" he asks -- a typical Chavis question, delivered with eyes wide and voice pitched high in comic outrage. There is no basket weaving at American Indian now -- and little else that won't directly affect standardized test scores. "I don't see it as teaching to the test," said Carey Blakely, a former teacher at the school who is writing a book about it. "I see it as, there are certain skills and knowledge that you're supposed to impart to your students, and the test measures whether your students have acquired those skills and that knowledge."
Marcos Aguilar, the school's founder and principal, said in an interview with an online educational journal, Teaching to Change L.A., he doesn't think much of the Brown v. Board of Education decision that desegregated American schools.
Aguilar simply doesn't want to integrate with white institutions."We don't want to drink from a white water fountain, we have our own wells and our natural reservoirs and our way of collecting rain in our aqueducts," he said.
The issue of civil rights, Aguilar continued, "is all within the box of white culture and white supremacy. We should not still be fighting for what they have. We are not interested in what they have because we have so much more and because the world is so much larger.
"Ultimately, he said, the "white way, the American way, the neo liberal, capitalist way of life will eventually lead to our own destruction. And so it isn't about an argument of joining neo liberalism, it's about us being able, as human beings, to surpass the barrier.
"Aguilar said his school is not a response to problems in the public school system, as it's available only to about 150 families.
"We consider this a resistance, a starting point, like a fire in a continuous struggle for our cultural life, for our community and we hope it can influence future struggle," he said. "We hope that it can organize present struggle and that as we organize ourselves and our educational and cultural autonomy, we have the time to establish a foundation with which to continue working and impact the larger system."
Teacher Recruitment:
AIPCS is always in search of teachers and staff who are smart, ambitious, and motivated to teach inner-city youth.
We are looking for hard working people who believe in free market capitalism to join our family at AIPCS.
AIPCS believes in setting a high standard for ALL students regardless of race, ethnicity, language, economic standing, etc.
Multi-cultural specialists, ultra liberal zealots, and college-tainted oppression liberators need not apply.
We are currently seeking highly qualified teachers to teach at Semillas for the 2009-2010 school year. Multiple subject credentialed teacher applicants must be credentialed by the State of California and be fully bilingual in Spanish and English. Single subject teacher applicants must also be fully credentialed in their subject matter - master’s and doctorate degrees are preferred.
Wonder how the likes of UTLA's A.J. Duffy, LAUSD School Board President Monica Garcia, Green Dots's Steve Barr, Ben Austin and that great education reformer Mayor Villaraigosa, would respond if American Indian were to open a campus in CD-14 ??
But more important, what would the demand be in CD-14 for a education model that works compares to one that practices symbolic rituals, chants and celebrates revisionist history ??
Your thoughts........

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Anonymous Anonymous said:

The Indian School has it right. They should be rewarded and recongnized nationally for their
excellance in education. They have the future of their children in mind and they are the ones that will not only be successful, but they will make a diffence in improving America.

The other school, if I were a parent I'd never send my child there. They are moving backward and will be hanndicapped by a lessor education. How can the state allow this when they can say in the LAUSD system for free and get the same education!

Great articles Red Spot. Maybe it will be a eye opener for some people.

May 31, 2009 12:04 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

It's discriminatory to have a school specifically for the children of one immigrant group. Although Hancock Park has lots of Koreans, they don't promote a Korean charter which teachers Korean culture and values. Nor does any other group.

If Latinos want to be regarded like anyone else they have to act like it.

These types of cultural programs are undertaken at private expense AFTER school and Saturday school by other ethnic and religious groups.

I do support schools like this for Hawaiians however, since that indigineous population's culture was taken over by mainstream whites and almost got wiped out. Latinos whatever they claim like at schools like this are NOT the indigineous culture. If anyone is it's the Indians like Chumash.

May 31, 2009 12:25 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Me likee bangee drums. Me likee beeg feathers.

Me likee ball games where they chop loser team's heads off.

Me likee a little motivation.

May 31, 2009 12:28 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Latino segregation is a politician's, government's, higher authority's wet dream. What better way to stay in power than to alienate Latinos with the rest of society, to not allow them to integrate with the rest of the world, give them the tools and education needed to compete in not only an American economy, but in an increasingly global economy.

It's not Latinos vs the world, black vs white, etc. It's the citizens vs their electorate, and it's time to come together and kick all these bums out, start fixing that which has been destroyed by those that have lost their trust in their elected "leaders".

May 31, 2009 12:43 PM  

Blogger Walter Moore said:

Good "compare and contrast" essay.
Now, if we can just put whoever runs the American Indian Charter School in charge of education in this state.

Oh, and here's another interesting statistic about the American Indian school: it achieved those test results even though over 70% of its students are "English learners." That means LAUSD can't blame the illegal aliens for its abysmal statistics.

May 31, 2009 6:35 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

First question- why is it even called "American Indian" charter school when nothing about the curriculum reflects Native American cultures, and none of the students are Native American? Just having a Native American principal is insufficient. I think that the school name should be changed so that it doesn't continue to defame.

This school seems like a demoralizing environment where only students adhering to a very narrow notion of education and obedience are able to succeed. As described, it would appear to stifle critical thinking and creativity. MOST students would not be supported in this environment.

May 31, 2009 7:38 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

7:38 What's wrong with learning to excel with the eductional emphasis in the 3 R's first. Cultural, athletic and social graces can follow as they continue to receive the education they need in order to survive.

May 31, 2009 11:56 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Has anyone considered they should stop giving money to Charter schools and leave it in public schools? Maybe then we wouldn't be laying off teachers and cancelling summer school? Why should charter schools be funded by tax payers?

June 01, 2009 8:41 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Two points:

1] Charter schools ARE public schools. They just have on-site control. In other words , the buck stops where you can find it, not out in the nether netherland.

2] LAUSD is so overcrowded they need these schools just to house the students.

June 01, 2009 9:55 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Charter schools should be funded by taxpayers because they give a
superior education. Also the parents have direct control of how the money is spent instead of going to the disfunctional LAUSD.
The LAUSD should be split up into much small sections in order to be effective. It's just too big. I have a big hunch that there would be more jobs for teachers who really want to TEACH because the money would be spent more wisely.

June 01, 2009 10:19 AM  

Blogger pedro said:

Charter schools are on a higher scale of LEARNING LAUSD can't deny that

June 01, 2009 11:57 AM  

Blogger Petra Fried in the City said:

Spot - you're on fire!


As a youngster getting ready for 1st grade, my birthday was just a few days late for the local public school district cutoff. The family sent me to a private school (no charter schools waaaaay back then) called "The Little School" for first grade.

The Little School was designed on the concept if kids are ready to learn, they will come to you - the teacher. Meanwhile, the "learning environment" was filled with textured, layered learning opportunities. There were lots of animals, plants, and funky playground "structures". Kids could simply sign out and go to recess all day.

And guess what? I spent all of the first grade outside playing. Couldn't read a word by the time second grade rolled around, and at that point my family talked me into the public school where they whipped me into shape in no time.

This didn't happen in California, BTW.

I was lucky. My family realized that the concept school wasn't going to cut it when I was still pretty young. What would have been my fate if I had remained at The Little School through sixth grade?

June 01, 2009 1:03 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

The American Indian school is indoctrination as well, why should they be celebrated? They're not getting scores because the children are getting a better education (see the supporter on here who spells "lesser" as "lessor," which is someone who leases something). They teach to the standardized tests, which means rote memorization and lack of critical thinking. This method is a proven failure. Their children will graduate being able to take standardized tests and arrive on time and...well, that's it. Oh, and think like intolerant extremist conservatives. Wonderful. The other school is equally as ridiculous, but it's not getting the same attention. That said, parents should be able to send their kids where they please (this has been recognized for years with regard to parochial schools). I like disciplined environments, but I'm not going to send my kid there at the risk of him/her not getting a liberal arts education and being able to think critically. It's unfortunate that rabid right-wingers think the solution to bias in the classroom is even more extreme bias in the classroom.

June 01, 2009 6:59 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Walter Moore, you just sooo lost my vote for any office you can possibly consider running for.

This essay is total hogwash, comparing a concentration camp to a guerilla camp. How about something more realistic?

June 06, 2009 12:09 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

What's wrong with 3 Rs? The complete idiocy of this designation is what's wrong with he whole system. Reading? OK. wRiting? Are you out of your mind? aRithmetic? You are totally insane. What 3 Rs? 3 Rs creates people as illiterate as the designation itself.

June 06, 2009 12:12 PM  

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