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Reason Foundation

"Stand and Deliver" High School First to be Bid to Outside Operaters in LA Unified

Lisa Snell
September 25, 2009, 3:59pm

The Los Angeles Times reports the first schools to be bid out to outside bidders because of low academic performance:

Garfield High, which became nationally known as the real-life setting for the film “Stand and Deliver,” will be among the first group of local schools eligible for takeover because of persistent academic failure, a high-level district source has told The Times.

Garfield’s selection means that the nation’s second-largest school system will invite bidders — from inside and outside the district — to run the East Los Angeles campus of 4,600 students.  This “request-for-proposal” process could apply to more than 250 schools under a Board of Education resolution passed in August, but the initial set of schools will number 12, sources said.

How far Garfield has fallen from the "Stand and Deliver" days:

Garfield High, which for decades has served a largely immigrant population east of downtown, reached its recent high-water mark in the 1980s, when math teacher Jaime Escalante built a famed calculus program that became the subject of a book and subsequent movie. Under his leadership, dozens of students passed the Advanced Placement calculus test every year, a rare feat even at the nation’s elite high schools. 

Last year, only 5% of Garfield students tested as proficient in any math class. The school qualified for possible takeover as one of more than 250 that had consistently failed to meet federal benchmarks and thus was designated as falling into “Program Improvement” status. The board resolution applied to any school with that designation for three or more years.

Only 5 percent proficient in any math class!! Reason magazine explored the depressing untold story of what happened at Garfield High and how Jamie Escalante was forced out here.


Lisa Snell is Director of Education


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