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LA’s Great Educational Experiment: Breaking up LAUSD 50 Schools at a Time

Finally, after 30 years of failure to achieve a record of success and a can-do classroom culture, LAUSD surrendered Tuesday and took the leap toward real reform.

The school board voted 6-1 to open 50 new schools and those that are failing to competition by independent operators, charter organizations and LAUSD staff..
The teacher, administrator and classified unions backed by ACORN, civil rights and community organizations complained about the process being too hasty and warned that charters are not the answer.

They threatened to sue and retaliate against board members who supported Yolie Flores Aguilar’s resolution entitled “Public School Choice: A New Way at LAUSD.”

Former Assemblywoman and school board many Jackie Goldberg, who many have blamed for turning LAUSD into an ideological battleground, passionately made the case against the plan, accusing the district of giving into the right-wing and abandoning their responsibilities.

Thousands of demonstrators chanting “We want change” gathered at LAUSD headquarters in support of the resolution which has the backing of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, the LA Chamber of Commerce, Superintendent Ramon Cortines, the Parent Revolution, MALDEF, United Way and a number of educational, civic and community groups.

Aguilar acknowledged the district is making slow improvements in test scores but noted only a third of third-graders are reading at grade level and it will take as long as 20 years to make substantial progress at the current pace.

“Slow and steady gains are not enough…we need rapid large-scale student-centered reform,” she said.

Tamar Galatzan, a candidate for City Council District 2, said she too was “fed up” with the slow pace of progress.

“I’m going to vote for this resolution,” she said. “We have a chance to succeed right now beyond the capabilites and limitations of our district…we are expanding our district in order to save it.”

Marguerite Lamotte was the only board member who voted against the reform effort but union backer Steve Zimmer eventually came out in support of the reform after stalling the vote for three hours with resolutions that sought to protect existing teacher union contracts and enhance the union’s ability to throw roadblocks in the way of independent operators.

Zimmer said he was “hurt and angry” that he had to “shatter the trust” of either the union or many of his constituents with his vote.

He insisted the process was flawed and failed to put the interests of children first but he believes in the role of families involvement in education. “I’m voting yes because I want to make  sure I’m part of the next step of this process.”

LaMotte said it was enough to be a board member to be part of the process and cast the lone no vote.

Passage of the change was a foregone conclusion despite the rallying of forces with the city’s most powerful labor leader, Maria Elena Durazo, tilting in favor of the plan and agreeing to head the committee which will work out details of a 10-step process designed by Cortines who will ultimately recommend who runs the schools under a four-year implementation program.

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9 Responses to LA’s Great Educational Experiment: Breaking up LAUSD 50 Schools at a Time

  1. Anonymous says:

    You’ve got to admit Ron, there’s a big irony in Jackie Goldberg claiming LAUSD is “giving into the right wing,” as personified by Villaraigosa.
    When she said that if there were a magic bullet she and her Board would have figured it out long ago, she lost me right there. No, she didn’t figure it out, her partisanship over pragmatism is what led to the stagnation we have now. She was her own best enemy with that argument.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I agree. But the last few days, I see a change in the Liberals mesages. They have decided to blame everything that goes wrong including the
    missteps they have made as the majority party on
    the Republicans. I am onto you folks, and I assure you I will set the message straight every time I read it. Jackie Goldberg, you are someone who is disgusting in every way and why
    don’t you just quit?. Every job you do ends up
    a disaster znd blaming other people will not hack it.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Ron, you disappoint me. For someone who wants to have government be more accountable to the people, you should have seen today’s resolution as going the other way. Jackie Goldberg was right. We shouldn’t have blind faith in private interests doing the right thing; just as we can’t have blind faith in public officials. If today’s resolution were truly about students, there wouldn’t have been so much political stagecraft from the Mayor, Ben Austin, and all the other climbers.
    Sadly, we will see that this will not actually help students (just as the Mayor’s Partnership has not helped students). Listen to scholar Diane Ravitch and Stanford and you’ll know that charters haven’t actually helped students either. But who charter operators have helped are themselves…right to the public coffers where they make even more than the overpaid city council members you complain about for overseeing just a fraction of the students that a real Principal oversees. If that’s the kind of change you believe in, have I got some great stuff I’d love to sell to you.

  4. KK says:

    I was excited to read the story until I got to the paragraph, which detailed that Maria Elena Durazo agreed to head the committee which will work out details of a 10-step process designed by Cortines who will ultimately recommend who runs the schools under a four-year implementation program.
    Is it just me with a sinking heart?

  5. Anonymous says:

    At least it’s something different from the status quo, which is failing thousands of young children. There’s no guarantee of success with this plan, but there never will be reform with the existing school system. I have negative feelings about the Mayor, but give him a lot of credit for supporting this plan. Jackie Goldberg’s comment is laughable. She is part of the problem, a complete incompetent.

  6. Anonymous says:

    The fact that Maria Elena Durazo is involved should tell us something.It is a deal to line up again the pockets of a few select do gooders, under the veil of progress, equality, fairness and what is good for our children. Just watch.

  7. Azzie Frings says:

    Ok, this is a motivation to me. I’m imagining about my own blog

  8. Its superb as your other blog posts : D, thanks for putting up.

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