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Fremont High Reopens Months After LAUSD Shut It Down

Taylor Freitas |
July 7, 2010 | 2:33 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter


ohn C. Fremont High School, the first school in the Los Angeles Unified School District to undergo a controversial policy called called reconstitution, re-opened Tuesday.  During the reconstitution, school officials shut down the South L.A. high school and dismissed the staff.

LAUSD Superintendent Ramon C. Cortines ordered the reconstitution of Fremont High in December, requiring all staff members to reapply for their jobs or face being replaced. Half of the staff at Fremont High School is now new, sparking outrage from the city’s teachers union, United Teachers Los Angeles.

 In a press release issued Tuesday, UTLA cited frequent changes in leadership and the lack of teacher-driven curriculum as two causes of the school’s problems.

 The union emphasized its strong opposition to reconstitution in all situations. UTLA favors improving schools by creating plans for reform rather than re-staffing struggling schools.

 “UTLA calls upon the district, and the city of Los Angeles, to work together to create the conditions by which teachers, in collaboration with administrators and parents, can develop the plans necessary to improve our most challenged schools,” said UTLA President AJ Duffy.

 UTLA, which represents 48,000 public school teachers and health professionals in Los Angeles, voiced concerns about the 100 displaced Fremont High teachers who chose not to reapply for their jobs. Those teachers have not yet been placed in other schools.

Fremont High faculty members also spoke out against reconstitution on www.savefremont.org.

 Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, a strong proponent of reconstitution, supports shutting down low-performing schools and re-opening them as charter schools.

 In his July 2009 inaugural address, Villaraigosa pledged to “lead an effort to shut down failing schools and reconstitute these schools as charters, as Partnership campuses or as district schools committed to metrics-driven, measureable progress.”

Reach reporter Taylor Freitas here.



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