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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 6/16/17

A School District Turns A Blind Eye as Charters Cherry-Pick Their Students

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"It is time to answer his question."

- Scott Schmerelson

Los Angeles Unified School District Board Member

As I have reported previously, Granada Hills Charter High School (GHCHS) has items on the enrollment page of their website that appear to violate the law and clearly violate their charter. During the past six months, I have been unable to get anyone at the school, the LAUSD Charter School Division or the State Department of Education to take the appropriate action to bring the school into compliance. On Tuesday, June 13, 2017, I brought this issue to the attention of the LAUSD School Board with the following public comment:

Included in the information that I am giving to you is a page from the Granada Hills Charter High School charter, which states:

"Granada Hills Charter shall not request or require submission of a student's IEP, 504 Plan, or any other record or related information prior to admission, participation in any admissions or attendance lottery, or pre-enrollment event or process, or as a condition of admission or enrollment."

Seems pretty straight forward. Yet I went onto their website again today and right on there it says under the documents that a parent has to bring when they engage in the pre-enrollment process that "if applicable, the most recent 504 or IEP." And under those documents, it also states that "if all mandatory documents are not provided at the time of the appoint the student will not be enrolled. You will need to make a new enrollment appointment."

This has been on their page for months now. I have brought it to the attention of the Charter School Division and it is still there as of today. I filed a complaint with the school, they denied that there is a problem. It is still there.

This is definitely an example of cherry-picking. What it does is allow the charter to dissuade students with extra needs from attending their school and leaves that responsibility to our district. There is a documented example of the effect that their requirement has on enrollment and that is 1.7 miles away at Northridge Academy High School. The special education for Granada Hills is 6% of the population. At Northridge Academy, it is 14%. That is a huge difference.

If you look at the enrollment page there are other items that they are requesting. That gives us results like:

  • English learners: at Granada Hills 3%. At Northridge Academy 8%.

  • Homeless students: there are zero at Granada. With a smaller population, Northridge has seven.

  • Free and reduced price lunch: Granada Hills 49%, Northridge Academy 65%.

These have an effect on the students at Northridge Academy because resources have to go to provide for these extra needs. We can't just keep on giving away not only students to charters but allowing them to pick which students they are going to enroll and leave the District with more expensive-to-educate students.

Thank you.

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Carl Petersen is a parent, an advocate for students with special education needs, an elected member of the Northridge East Neighborhood Council, a member of the LAUSD's CAC, and was a Green Party candidate in LAUSD's District 2 School Board race. During the campaign, the Network for Public Education (NPE) Action endorsed him, and Dr. Diane Ravitch called him a " (more...)

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