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Cheating Charter Schools 

Thursday, Oct 20 2011

Readers sounded off on our story about how two local charter schools have been allowing parents to become "founding members" years after the schools were founded, which mean those parents' children get to skip the lottery through priority placement ("Charter Schools: Getting Your Child on the List," by Gene Maddaus, Oct. 14). Both Larchmont Charter School in Hollywood and Loz Feliz Charter School for the Arts were implicated for cheating the lottery system.

Commenter Coxo123 writes: "My child attends Los Feliz and I can absolutely say that the air of entitlement is alive and well at this campus. Parents treat the school as if it were private. This school lives in a bubble trying to make sure the neighborhood kids don't knock on their door and ask to get in. Look at their 'committees' — the Glassell Park one is empty. Their 'outreach' to neighborhood schools consisted of sending some parents with fliers over to preschools in the area. The education is OK but we won't return next year ... and in fact, I think that's the point. Unless you're their 'target' consumer, they don't want you back anyway."

Bjnadell sees problems greater than the practices of charter schools: "Setting aside a whole 10 percent of spots for parents who make an extraordinary commitment that benefits all the school's students hardly seems like a compelling example of social injustice, especially at a school where almost 40 percent of the children qualify for free lunch.

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"The article's author would be hard put to find many elite 'private academies' with anything close to Larchmont Charter's ethnic or economic diversity. The fact that it has such high scores is a testament to the soundness of its approach: All children thrive at the school. The real issue of the story is not the unfairness of the process, but the anxiety of parents who are desperate for their children to get admitted to a good school. Their excesses are easy to mock, but should not blind us to the decades of failure by the public school system that brought us to this point, a failure which is the dominant cause of social injustice in our country."

Sonja L writes: "So the 'best practices' we're to expect Larchmont or Los Feliz to be sharing with the district is not so much about curriculum, but about getting parents to perform duties that a fully trained (and paid) staff would normally do. They not only pick and choose the students, but the parents, too. So how is the outreach to foster youth or homeless students? Nil is my bet, because charters don't want them."

Lastly, Jennifer Wolfe writes: "The issue with 'founding parents' is semantic. Call it whatever you want. These schools (unlike private schools) need to raise money and pay for costs without charging tuition. Sorry, but Halloween festivals and bake sales won't cut it. Funding from the district covers only a fraction of operating costs. By the way, all of my friends with kids at public schools have been hit up for money every year. Some have shelled out four times what I contribute at my son's charter."

Shepard Fairey Stirs the Pot Again

Simone Wilson's blog post about controversial L.A. street artist Shepard Fairey's new Occupy Wall Street poster ("Shepard Fairey, L.A. Street Artist, Designs Party Invite for Occupy Wall Street," Oct. 14) stewed up such lively discussion that more than 500 comments filled our news blog, The Informer. The poster is strikingly similar to Fairey's now-infamous Obama "Hope" poster, and most readers think Fairey is up to no good again. Here are some nuggets.

A commenter who goes by "sloness" writes: "It's a copy of Angela Davis. Not art. This isn't 1968. Been there, done that."

Sarkis 06457 writes: "Fairey is apparently committed enough to the cause that he is recycling his tired images from years before. He should do something original, like an Obey star on the dollar bill, or George Bush with vampire fangs."

Commenter Homelinkphoto writes: "Fairey's street art is so hypocritical. Look how he sells shirts that say Don't believe the propaganda, then he goes and pimps this communist black separatist–like stuff. Too bad the Eurotrash did not beat him up more when he got assaulted recently on his trip over there by a bunch of his fellow pro-communists. What a joke."

Finally, jeanette3654 concludes: "It really disturbs me to see this asshole's 'work' associated with this movement."

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