Re­jected char­ter

Antelope Valley Press (Sunday) - - Opinion -

As a con­flicted pro-school choice mem­ber of the teacher’s union, I at­tended the AVHSD School Board meet­ing last week on the pos­si­ble re-es­tab­lish­ment of Guid­ance Char­ter through the AVUHSD.

Our newly elected Board made this one of its first or­ders of busi­ness, de­spite the same Board re­cently re­ject­ing it. The elephant in the room was the $30 mil­lion bond debt owed by

Guid­ance for its new East Palm­dale fa­cil­ity.

I watched as Guid­ance Char­ter’s Ka­mal Alkhatib un­veiled a slide pre­sen­ta­tion. The left slides seemed to rep­re­sent all the pre­vi­ously flawed pro­grams and poor over­sight, while the right showed the planned im­prove­ments. It was an ad­mis­sion of fault and a plea for an­other chance. This must have been mu­sic to the ears of Palm­dale School District lawyers. Well- mean­ing par­ents sup­port­ing Guid­ance based ar­gu­ments on the no­tion that ev­ery­one de­serves a se­cond chance.

A young woman then talked about an un­re­lated char­ter near Syl­mar. Fi­nally, the Guid­ance prin­ci­pal spoke very briefly and nearly in­co­her­ently, wrap­ping up a pre­sen­ta­tion that fluc­tu­ated be­tween con­fus­ing and em­bar­rass­ing. Those against Guid­ance shared per­sonal anec­dotes of stu­dents grade lev­els be­hind where they should be. They re­minded the Board this ap­peal has been re­cently re­jected at the lo­cal, county and state level.

I don’t know what the School Board has be­yond what I heard on Dec. 20, but short of a ma­jor rev­e­la­tion, it would be a scan­dal for our lo­cal Board to ap­prove Guid­ance Char­ter af­ter its pre­vi­ous re­jec­tions by the Palm­dale School District, AVHSD, Los An­ge­les County Board of Ed­u­ca­tion and the Cal­i­for­nia Board of Ed­u­ca­tion. I am no an­tichar­ter teacher. Good char­ter schools can play a role in im­prov­ing our prod­uct, but with all the chips on the ta­ble, Guid­ance Char­ter of­fered lit­tle rea­son why it should get that vaunted se­cond chance. K. Ma­hady Palm­dale

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