Commentary

Green Dot Acts Responsibly to Close Under-performing Charter School

Green Dot has taken heavy criticism for its plan to close an under-performing and under-enrolled charter school next year. Yet, shouldn’t school districts act like Green Dot and actively manage schools and close under-enrolled schools and redirect scarce resources to higher-performing schools. As the Los Angeles Times reports:

Green Dot Public Schools, a leading charter school operator, is shutting down a campus because of low enrollment, financial pressures and subpar performance, officials confirmed Monday.

The action prompted a daylong student protest Monday at Animo Justice Charter High School, south of downtown Los Angeles.

The closure marks a first for locally based and nationally recognized Green Dot, which has 19 area campuses and one in New York City. . . .

Green Dot’s financial model relies on philanthropic subsidies until it can build enrollment, one grade at a time, to 560 students. Animo Justice never quite hit its annual enrollment targets, accumulating a $1 million deficit, said chief executive Marco Petruzzi. . . .

Closing Animo Justice makes sense because it has not equaled other Green Dot schools in performance and enrollment, Petruzzi said.

Green Dot is offering the students and faculty placement in other Green Dot schools. Imagine if every school in the nation was responsible enough to close if under-enrolled and under-performing and deployed resources to more successful schools. What a concept!!

Lisa Snell is the director of education and child welfare at Reason Foundation, a nonprofit think tank advancing free minds and free markets.

Snell has frequently testified before the California State Legislature and numerous other state legislatures and government agencies. She has authored policy studies on school finance and weighted student funding, universal preschool, school violence, charter schools, and child advocacy centers.

Snell is a frequent contributor to Reason magazine, School Reform News and Privatization Watch. Her writing has also appeared in Education Week, Edutopia, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, San Francisco Chronicle, Orange County Register, Los Angeles Times, and numerous other publications.

Ms. Snell is also an advisory board member to the National Quality Improvement Center for the Children's Bureau; is on the charter school accreditation team for the American Academy for Liberal Education; and serves as a board member for the California Virtual Academy.

Before joining Reason Foundation, Snell taught public speaking and argumentation courses at California State University, Fullerton. She earned a Master of Arts in communication from California State University, Fullerton.