Green Dot Public Schools

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Green Dot Public Schools is an organization in Los Angeles that takes over failing public schools, converts them to charter schools, and brings in a separate union to run the school. In its own words:[1]

Green Dot Public Schools, a 501c3 non-profit organization, is the leading public schools operator in Los Angeles and an important catalyst for education reform in the State of California. Our work is directly focused on influencing the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) to transform its failing high schools into clusters of small, successful schools and helping the district reinvent itself as the best school district in the country. We operate successful charter high schools in the highest need areas of Los Angeles and are working to dramatically improve LAUSD’s worst high schools through School Transformation projects.

The press about this effort has been positive:[2]

In just seven years, Mr. Barr’s Green Dot Public Schools organization has founded 10 charter high schools and has won approval to open 10 more. Now, in his most aggressive challenge to the public school system, he is fighting to seize control of Locke Senior High, a gang-ridden school in Watts known as one of the city’s worst. A 15-year-old girl was killed by gunfire there in 2005.

In the process, Mr. Barr has fomented a teachers revolt against the Los Angeles Unified School District. He has driven a wedge through the city’s teachers union by welcoming organized labor — in contrast to other charter operators — and signing a contract with an upstart union. And he has mobilized thousands of black and Hispanic parents to demand better schools.

The Gates Foundation gave Green Dot Public Schools a grant of $7.8 million in 2007, which built upon an earlier grant of $1.8 million.[3]


  2. Sam Dillon, "Maverick Leads Charge for Charter Schools"