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LAUSD to recommend closing of charter school

February 24, 2011 |  8:49 am

Officials will recommend the rare closing of a Los Angeles charter school for poor academic performance, the L.A. Unified School District has confirmed.

Cornerstone Prep, an elementary school in Florence, appeared Wednesday on a new list of 30 charter schools statewide that have consistently performed poorly. The database, which included top-performing schools, was compiled by the California Charter Schools Assn.

The association has released a new database intended to compare both charter schools and other campuses with their predicted performance. The goal is to show which schools are doing worse or better than expected based on the characteristics of their students.

Factors include family income, parent education, percentage of disabled students and student ethnicity. The data is gleaned from public records maintained by the California Department of Education.

Although charter schools are authorized by local school districts or other education agencies, they are managed independently and free from some restrictions that govern traditional schools.

This freedom comes in exchange for increased accountability, according to state law. But that accountability is not well-enforced, said Jed Wallace, chief executive of the charter association.

Among the top performing charter schools in terms of consistent, better-than-predicted improvement is Mohan High School, operated by Alliance College-Ready Public Schools, and Aspire Antonio Maria Lugo Academy.

Wallace said the new database suggests more charters are outperforming predicted results but some also are doing worse than they should.

Cornerstone Prep has acknowledged a need to improve while also defending the integrity of its program.

“Cornerstone Prep School is working closely with the Los Angeles Unified School District and the Los Angeles County Office of Education to monitor our school's improvement in curriculum, instruction, and student performance,” the school said on its website.

The school’s efforts have included enhanced teacher training, more focus on struggling individual students and increasing parent involvement.

To focus on its elementary program, the school dropped its middle school, but the move did not make enough of a difference, said Jose Cole-Gutierrez, director of charter schools for L.A. Unified.

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-- Howard Blume

California Schools Guide

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