In Defense Of The LAUSD
His words come to mind because various groups have various plans to reorganize the LAUSD. One plan would put the mayor in charge. Just what the mayor would do differently, he has not said. Another plan would split the district into smaller, autonomous districts.
But have we gotten ahead of ourselves? Is there any objective evidence, from any school system anywhere in the world, to indicate that either of these changes would yield significantly better results here in Los Angeles?
Admittedly, current graduation rates and test scores are underwhelming. And that might indeed indicate mismanagement.
But before we jump to that conclusion, shouldn't we try to find whether anyone has actually produced better results under the same circumstances? Those circumstances include: i) a massive influx of students; ii) in a short period of time; iii) who do not speak English; and iv) who are supposed to be taught math, science, history and other subjects in English.
Breaking the LAUSD into several separate districts might provide a "laboratory of democracy," such that one or more of the new systems stumble upon a better way to teach children. However, LAUSD's charter schools already allow for experimentation. Dissolving the LAUSD, moreover, would sacrifice economies of scale: five payroll departments can be more costly than one; five districts have less bargaining power with textbook publishers than one; etc.
Under the circumstances, the LAUSD, like democracy, may be the worst form of education except all others that have been tried. Let's think this one through before we make any major changes, shall we?