This week, Schools on the Frontlines host Carl Cohn talks with Cristina de Jesus, the president and CEO of Green Dot Public Schools California. The non-profit is a charter school network of 19 middle and high schools, serving 11,500 students in Los Angeles. The vast majority are students of color. What sets it apart from many charter schools is that its staff belongs to a union, the Asociación de Maestros Unidos, a CTA/NEA affiliate.

When the pandemic struck, three out of four Green Dot students needed devices, and 1,300 needed internet hot spots.  Now, de Jesus says, 96% of students are participating in distance learning. That includes a minimum of 240 minutes of live instruction with teachers.

“In the last five months, the persistent inequities and injustices that have plagued our country for centuries have been laid bare,” she says. “The pandemic has exposed for all to witness, the digital divide, resource divide, the opportunity divide.”

Carl Cohn has fifty years of service as a counselor, teacher, district superintendent, State Board of Education member, and executive director of the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence. He brings a deep understanding of the challenges school districts face as they regroup and reopen in a fashion never seen before in California. 

For more information about Green Dot Public Schools, please see:

This is the eighth episode in a special series of podcasts hosted by Carl Cohn and sponsored by EdSource and the Ball/Frost Group.