State testing shows that Palm Lane Elementary School students are performing at levels unthinkable just one year ago. In 13 of 14 learning categories, students showed improvement for the first time in more than 10 years. In many cases, these gains were significant, with up to 41 percent increases in academic achievement.
There’s a simple reason for this radical turnaround. A little more than a year ago, Palm Lane transformed from a neighborhood school, under the influence of the powerful California Teachers Association, into a non-union, independent public charter school.
Unlike traditional schools, charter schools aren’t straitjacketed by union work rules. They’re accountable to just one constituency, parents — not district staff, teachers unions, activists, or district trustees who do the unions’ bidding.