The lessons of Locke

Re "Subtle signs of a turnaround on a troubled L.A. campus," June 24

Thank you for this article. I am 26 years old, and I get concerned about the future of my kids living in Los Angeles County. This article shows me that even in the hard times the country is going through, the "ghetto" hasn't been forgotten.

These teachers should be honored and commended for the work and time they dedicate to these students. The students and parents deserve recognition as well for the turnaround and the improvement they have shown.

Yesenia Ayala

Long Beach

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Despite the hopeful headline, no miracle cure has been performed by Green Dot at Locke High School, despite efforts that include $700,000 spent on security this year.

Green Dot founder Steve Barr is quoted as saying: "My nightmare is that the state test scores come in and you're judged by that." Welcome to reality, Mr. Barr!

For years, The Times has praised charter schools as the antidote to the failures of the Los Angeles Unified School District. Lousy teachers and union obstruction have been presented as the main problems. Thankfully, this article has its feet on the ground. Will data support your customary adoration of charters? Maybe the mysteries of modern education are more tenaciously complex than simple soapbox views.

Let's give Green Dot and other charters a chance to succeed, but please drop The Times' dogged praise of charter school achievements that have yet to appear.

Dan Hennessy

Arcadia

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The classroom scene described in the first two paragraphs of your article is definitely the Locke that I came to know so well while I was teaching there. I think your reporting shows a lot of balance.

It seems that many wanted to declare this Green Dot experiment a total success before it even ended its first year. In the seven years that I taught at Locke, there were always many young, energetic teachers, many examples of good teaching from both young and old teachers and a small but significant number of graduating students who went on to impressive colleges. So this has not changed.

The $700,000 price tag for security? Probably worth every penny. It will take a few years, not a few months, and total objectivity, not hype, to evaluate whether the charter is working.

Susan Slanina

Los Angeles

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