Thursday, December 26, 2013

Belmont's Blues

Roybal Learning Center
There's a pretty good piece in yesterday's L.A. Times about the trials and tribulations of the once-giant Belmont High School. I wrote extensively about Belmont more than a decade ago, opposing the board's decision to replace the 5,000 (mostly Mexican) student school with another humongous school-- the Belmont Learning Complex (now named the Roybal Learning Center), built on a toxic site at the highest cost ever for an American high school.

After years of restructuring, destructing, re-designing and clean-up at a cost of around $200 million, today's Belmont is a trimmed-down community school. While it's lost some of the wonderful tradition of the old neighborhood school, relationships between students and educators are stronger, students feel safer, and measurable learning outcomes have improved. The problem now is that the school is being surrounded by an ever growing number of privately-run charter schools competing with Belmont for scarce dollars and trying to skim off the school's best students.

1 comment:

  1. I live within walking distance of Belmont, and Roybal is just a bit further to the east (they're separate schools). Because of Monica Garcia, the proliferation of privately managed charters in this area has caused both of the former to become under-enrolled and have drained their resources. Well financed charters use laptop giveaways and other perquisites to attract higher perform students over to their lucrative operations, leaving our public schools with both less resources, and the harder to educate students. Over the summer our community fought hard to keep Richard Riordan's real estate cum charter school empire from staking out the highly prized parcel across the street from Belmont We succeeded in getting our Neighborhood Council to vote against Alliance, but with their connections, they'll probably still expand and further dismantle our area's public schools.


Agree? Disagree? Let me hear from you.