LAUSD agrees to more consistency when tacking on additional requirements to charter renewals

LA Unified’s charter division agreed this week to be more consistent when making additional requirements of independent charter schools during their renewal process.

School board vice president Nick Melvoin requested the change at Tuesday’s board meeting because he said the added requirements, known as benchmarks, were being applied unfairly to some schools that were showing improvements while others that had lower test scores had none.

Benchmarks are extra requirements with deadlines that are added to charter petitions, sometimes written into the petitions by district staff and sometimes added by board members. If the schools don’t provide a plan to meet those added requirements, they could lose their charters. Benchmarks are common when certain subgroups, such as for specific minorities or students requiring special education, have performed poorly on state tests. Most often, the benchmarks are suggested by board members representing the district of the school. Board member Richard Vladovic always asks for a benchmark and a plan from the school if its English language learner reclassification rate is lower than the district’s average.

“I see a lot of close calls,” Melvoin said. “And I think there needs to be some consistency. Schools need to be aware of this, and there should be an accountability system.”

Melvoin suggested that a uniform and equitable system of benchmarks be applied to traditional district schools as well as charters. Click here to read more: