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Update: Unsolved Mysteries Of Locke High & Green Dot

image from images.huffingtonpost.comEven having written a book there are many things I still don't know about Green Dot and Locke High School -- an ignorance often exposed by curious interviewers as during my talk with Stephen Smith at American RadioWorks (here), which just came online Friday.  Here are some examples:  Why's it called Green Dot? What really happened to Emily the counselor?  Did they really have to include the note in the 99o tax form that ended up exposing Barr's mis-spending?  Could they have cut a deal with UTLA to allow more Locke veterans to stay without losing benefits?  No idea.  There are lots of others -- questions I never got a satisfactory answer to, or issues I couldn't track down because they didn't fit into the already complicated story I was trying to tell.  The more you get into the reality of school reform, the more details and questions you have.  It was hard enough getting a clear picture of the disputed events and decisions that I included.  Still -- keep asking.  I love getting stumped.

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How many of the eye-popping number of seniors who walked the stage even though they hadn't completed the graduation requirements wound up completing them?

Is that the normal practice in LAUSD (allowing seniors who haven't completed the requirements to walk the stage)?

Here in San Francisco Unified, the caps and gowns aren't handed out till the grad requirements are completed (it's last-minute and can be tense).

I have some of these answers, and will share a couple. (1) Reggie Andrews tried very hard to get the UTLA deal you mention. I talked to him about it for many months. Green Dot was willing to talk about it, although it didn't seem to be their priority. At the end of the day, Reggie felt it fell through because he couldn't get any answers from UTLA; it may not have been their priority either. (2) Walking the stage without having completed requirements was common practice under LAUSD, in proportions very similar to that reported in Alexander's book. You may be able to imagine my feelings, after having sacrificed so much to bring change to the school, when reading page 157 and realizing that they hadn't changed at all this policy exemplifying weak certification and low standards, and when reading page 219 and finding out that the graduation numbers had actually gone down!

Your book just arrived in the mail and I'm looking forward to reading it this summer. So don't give away the ending.

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