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L.A.'s Mayor Urges Charter Schools to Enroll More ELLs

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is urging charter operators to get involved in turning around low-performing schools and enroll more English-language learners and students with disabilities to prove they aren't "cherry-picking."

The Los Angeles Times reported that earlier this week the mayor was poised to tell charter operators meeting for a statewide conference to show their critics they aren't getting good results from students by enrolling only students who are easier to educate.

"We need YOU to destroy your detractors' claims that your success is rooted in 'cherry-picking' your students by taking on more of our highest need students: more English-language learners, more students with severe disabilities, more students in foster care, more students coming out of the juvenile justice system," the speech said.

The mayor has created a nonprofit organization, Partnership for Los Angeles Schools, which has a mission of turning around schools with low academic performance in Los Angeles. The organization was selected by the Los Angeles Unified School District to run five schools under the "restart" option of the federal School Improvement Grants.

Meanwhile, as I reported in Education Week earlier this month, most of the big-name charter operators chose not to vie for grants under that federal program to revamp existing schools that aren't doing well.

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