A few hours after U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan called on the 3,300 charter school leaders gathered in Washington for their annual conference to help transform the nation’s 5,000 lowest-performing schools, Steve Barr, the founder of the Los Angeles-based Green Dot Public Schools shared a little about what role his charter management organization might play in that challenge.
Barr, who is in town for the conference, said he is talking with Chancellor Michelle Rhee about bringing his model for small high schools to the District of Columbia. He kept the details mum, but said a few D.C. high schools could undergo an overhaul similar to the one that Green Dot brought over the past school year to Locke High School, an enormous, long-suffering school in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles. He hopes to visit some of the potential schools in the coming weeks. The goal, he said, would be to “create a model that Arne could use,” as an example for how to turn around the nation’s worst high schools, and one that, very strategically, would be in Congress’ back yard.