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Thursday, May 18, 2006

In Defense Of The LAUSD

Winston Churchill observed, "It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried."

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?

21 Comments:

Blogger Laborthug said:

the LAUSD is ok, I mean it did produce Felipe Fuentes.
Anybody know if he's going on trial?

Free Felipe!

May 18, 2006 10:43 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Half a BILLION dollars for LAUSD's Belmont Learning Center, evaborated. The LAUSD isn't even close to completing the project. And they have yet to reveal how much interest is they are paying ton the original $92 million in NON VOTER approved Bonds and the total cost for remediation of the toxic hazards on the site.

None of this half a BILLION has yet to benefit the children or further the goal of education.

And we are questioning whether any other entity could have done a better job? GIVE ME A BREAK!

May 18, 2006 10:48 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

“Unfortunately, before I entered the race Mayor Villaraigosa had made a commitment to Speaker Fabian Nuñez to support Fabian’s friend from high school,” said the statement.

Popp did not go so quietly, saying she attended an endorsement interview at City Hall, where the mayor told her that she was the most qualified but that he felt a loyalty to Nuñez. A similar message was delivered weeks later by Maria Elena Durazo, the interim head of the County Federation of Labor, Popp said.

“What you should do is look at our qualifications,” she said. “And if, at the end of the analysis, you think that I am more qualified, and yet Kevin got the endorsement of his childhood friend and other folks associated with his childhood friend, then what is that, if not a boys’ network?”

Asked whether he had placed friendship over qualifications, Villaraigosa provided a two-word answer: “Absolutely not.”

Nuñez gave a lengthier, yet similar, response: “I certainly respect every other candidate in the race. The 45th always produces good candidates,” he said. “But Kevin, in my view, is the best qualified.”

May 18, 2006 10:55 PM  

Blogger Walter Moore said:

Anon at 10:48 p.m.
I think you make very valid points about that one construction project. And that is certainly a significant amount of money.

But the fact that the construction arm of the entity made a bonehead move doesn't necessarily mean the educators themselves are doing a bad job. Know what I mean?

You're right though: Belmont was the mother of all construction fiascos.

May 18, 2006 10:56 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Objective test scores demonstrate that learning among our youngest Angelenos is taking place. Many of our HS kids are suffering, yet others are excelling at the national level.

Romer is to be appreciated for accepting a thankless job that held limited opportunity for success.

Let's take a quick look at LAUSD history. Romer inherits a mess left behind by a series of Superintendents that did nothing to increase academic achievement nor address the critical challenge of overcrowded schools. Three decades of neglect is what he inherited in 2000.

I recall watching on television when Zacarias was ousted by the Board for being ineffective...I also recall Villaraigosa critizing the board for ousting Zacarias. At that moment, he was defending Zacarias because he was a Latino on his way out, not because he was doing a good job. Villaraigosa was fighting an ethnic war then, when he should have started a war on the quality of education that LA kids were receiving under Zacarias' leardership and others before him.

Now it's 2006, Villaraigosa is fighting again, but this time the motive is just as empty and senseless...and once again, not on behalf of kids. Mr. Mayor wants to be Governor at the expense of LA kids.

After six years under strong, effective leadership, kids are learning. Unfortunately, today most of the children in HS had their early teachings under direlict superintendents. If we stay on course, most of our kids will be high-achieving HS students. To disrupt their learning by overhauling LAUSD's governance for the sole purpose of gaining political mileage is a crime that the Mayor should not be allowed to commit.

There are at least two generations of LAUSD graduates or dropouts that cannot read, write or perform the simplest math. How many times do you go to McDonalds and the workers cannot count back change? These are the products of LAUSD and now our Mayor wants to create more of them.

Pursuing the ability to rule LAUSD knowing that you're not going to stick around to make sure it works is morally wrong. To not have a plan to improve LAUSD is even worse.

As LAUSD parents, we need to exercise our power and demand that our kids are protected from selfish politics. Mr. Mayor needs to be kept away from our schools!

May 18, 2006 11:44 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Belmont does not define the school construction program that is now changing the face of the entire city. Those who created the Belmont fiasco are no longer in charge.

Thanks to Romer, our kids are not only getting new schools, existing schools are improving each day, which ultimately make a difference in academic achievement and teacher morale.

Instead of focusing on Belmont, which is now under construction, we should focus on the great achievements that each new school represents.

May 19, 2006 12:01 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

45th district race

“What you should do is look at our qualifications,” [Popp] said. “And if, at the end of the analysis, you think that I am more qualified, and yet Kevin got the endorsement of his childhood friend and other folks associated with his childhood friend, then what is that, if not a boys’ network?”

May 19, 2006 12:14 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

PULEEEEZ! What does it take for everyone to figure it out??????

The Mexicans are here! They have degraded our entire infrast ructure! The poor things are illiterate and itinerant and they are infecting our society.

And, to add insult to injury, there is a 1.4 GPA Mexican mayor who is trying to make a name for himself!

I feel so sorry for all you moms and dads who have young kids in LA. I know that you all can't afford private schools, so I hope you can find an alternative. My family and I moved to another state last year cuz we just could not raise our kids with all the mexicans.

Every state in the Union is fearful that they will be overrum with Mexicans like LA. I'm sure the voters will take care of things in NOv. and '08.

All politics is local, so the saying goes, and I truly pray that the corruption in LA will not spread throughout the country. Take heart in the fact that we are praying for you.

May 19, 2006 1:22 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

PULEEEEZ! What does it take for everyone to figure it out??????

The Mexicans are here! They have degraded our entire infrast ructure! The poor things are illiterate and itinerant and they are infecting our society.

And, to add insult to injury, there is a 1.4 GPA Mexican mayor who is trying to make a name for himself!

I feel so sorry for all you moms and dads who have young kids in LA. I know that you all can't afford private schools, so I hope you can find an alternative. My family and I moved to another state last year cuz we just could not raise our kids with all the mexicans.

Every state in the Union is fearful that they will be overrum with Mexicans like LA. I'm sure the voters will take care of things in NOv. and '08.

All politics is local, so the saying goes, and I truly pray that the corruption in LA will not spread throughout the country. Take heart in the fact that we are praying for you.

May 19, 2006 1:22 AM  

Anonymous Dave Hernandez said:

LAUSD Breakup?

Good question, how will the break up impact the progress of the Charter Schools effort?

I have supported reform at LAUSD but the fact is the current board members were elected. If one has a problem with the outcome of the democratic process than get involved. When politicians have no opponent at election time, then we have no right to wine after election night.

Instead of constantly complaining, either support a candidate or become one.

Support does not mean just a pat on the back. Until you have walked a precinct, made telephone calls, written a check or held a Meet N Greet, you are just an observer.

Dave Hernandez
www.dave4la.com

May 19, 2006 5:19 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

It should tell people something when the charter school in South LA last week had to have a lottery for students. There were only 640 slots and oer 1,000 parents and kids showed up to win.

Why doesn't anyone put the blame where it belongs and that's with Jose Huizar. He was president for 4 yrs and did nothing to improve LAUSD. He should stopped stating in city council meetings "when I was president of LAUSD." You think he would be ashamed of himself.

May 19, 2006 7:58 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

L.A. City Mayor Villaraigosa Fails to Raise Matching Funds to Save 350 Poor Families in South Central Los Angeles From Brentwood Developer

For the last three years, 350 families have been fighting to preserve the largest contiguous piece of open green space in South Central Los Angeles. On April 22nd 2006, Trust for Public had negotiated a 30 day buy option that depended on the city matching 5 Million put up by a private foundation. It appears that the City of LA and the Mayor's office will not match the money and the land will fall to Brentwood Developer.

WHEN: Friday, May 19th, 2006 @ 9:00 a.m.

WHO: South Central Farmers

WHAT: Protest and Press Conference

In the week of May 15 2006, the community was informed that, "Mayor Villaraigosa and his office would not be able to raise the matching 5 Million that he had promised to the community," stated Tezozomoc, elected representative of the South Central Farmers. "The community is in shock. Everyone thought that it was a done deal and now families face a bleak future with the possible destruction of the community farm," stated Albert Tlatoa, farmer. According to the Los Angeles Superior Court Brentwood real estate developer has already acquired the legal right to deploy the Los Angeles Sheriffs department to remove 350 families from the largest urban farm in the U.S. This could happen as soon as May 24th, 2006.

There will be only 3 days to Save the Farm!


WHERE: Location Changed! We will now be demonstrating at the intersection of S. Figueroa St. and W. Pico Blvd. in Los Angeles


WHY: This is a unique opportunity to eliminate park poverty in this highly urbanized, blighted and semi-industrial neighborhood. This site is a singular opportunity to make permanent and public the community and cultural benefits of the green oasis created by 360 families over the years as they continue to grow healthy fruits, vegetables and medicinal plants to supplement their food budgets. This urban garden, once purchased, will remain open space for generations to come.

http://www.southcentralfarmers.com

Known as the largest urban farm in the country, South Central Farm provides food and sustenance to some of the most underserved residents in Los Angeles.

http://www.southcentralfarmers.com

May 19, 2006 9:57 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Kevin is a carpet bagger.....
Just look at all the Sacramento $$$ pooring in to his accounts....
He's from San Diego and has no roots or history in the 45th.
He's just another empty suit and a shill for the Teachers Unions...

May 19, 2006 10:10 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Mayor takeover of LAUSD is FAKE, it's a con! Mayor has no intentions but plays game nicely. Fills his coffers with coins, changes his tune and nothing changes in LAUSD.

Mayor is in tune with Fabian, Fabian in tune with Deleon. Political scam for the teachers union.

Research porfavor!

May 19, 2006 11:35 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

But didn't Villaraigosa, Nunez and Deleon get the support of the teachers?

May 19, 2006 1:48 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

With Redistricting, wasn't Gloria Molina, Xavier Becerra, etc. carpetbaggers. If LA can't grow neighborhood quality candidates then why not let someone who is more qualified run??? Whether he is carpetbagger or not he is the most qualified, with relationships in the state of california to bring resources locally. None of the other candidates have the same relationships.

May 19, 2006 2:33 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

But how can deLeon really support the takeover plan? Doesn't he WORK for CTA? Isn't he taking their $$$?

May 19, 2006 2:57 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Sounds fishy to me. Deleon represents teachers and cahoots with Fabian and Villaraigosa. Read between the lines. Villaraigosa pimps LAUSD takeover to make him popular. He don't care! In the end he will say it was not legal and out of his hands.

May 19, 2006 5:43 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Where has DeLeon said what you claim he has said - or not said, rather?

I just don't think he can say that he has no position on this - not as a longtime CTA staffer and someone who has so obviously benefited from the union and its dues-paying teachers...

May 19, 2006 9:35 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

KEVIN YOU DIDNT ANSWER QUESTION!!!!

WE STILL DON'T KNOW HOW YOU STAND ON EDUCATION, BLAH THIS BLAH THAT, NO LEGITIMACY NO AUTHENTICITY.

What would your priorities be if you were elected?

KDL:Fixing our public schools.

(YOU WORK AS TOP DOG FOR SCHOOLS, LOOK AT HOW BAD THEY ARE! OVER 50% DROP OUT)

KDL:To me it is the greatest equalizer we have in a society that continues to be stratified based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, legal status.

SO YOU WANT GAY STUDENTS TO KISS AND MAKEOUT DURING LUNCH TIME?)

KDL:I believe that is the greatest civil rights issue of our time; how do we improve our public schools for minority children and low income children in particular.

(YES, THIS IS THE QUESTION TO YOU, YOU RESTATED QUESTION, GAVE NO ANSWER, BLAH BLAH BLAH.)

FABIAN'S FRIENDS HAVE BEEN SCAMMED!

May 20, 2006 12:01 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

11:44 p.m.

Great post. Tony the Liar is the problem, not the solution. He is a total sham.

He needs to be kept away from the kids. His blind ambition knows no bounds, and we are paying for it, literally and figuratively.

The sham he is perpetrating on the kids extends to everyone i.e., the recent trash tax fee. He and his mafia in city council just ramrodded that through as though they were the only ones who count. IT SHOULD HAVE GONE ON THE BALLOT.

He has told several people privately that he wants to get rid of all the JEWS in city hall. He hates everyone except 'HIS PEOPLE".
He is the biggest racist on the planet, and he's trying to gain national recognition.

BEWARE.....EVERYONE......We need to recall him, or at least start spreading the facts around He must be stopped before he causes anymore harm.

Keep emailing and calling your Reps to vote down the Senate Bill. I'm sure they will, but we have to keep bombarding then. This will have a huge effect on Tony the Liar because of his OBVIOUS loyalty to MEXICO.

Also, wait until next week. El Presidente Fox will be paying a visit to CA at the very same tie the Senate is in the final states of debating HR4437. THERE ARE NO SUCH THINGS AS COINCIDENCES!

Tony the Liar is having a private mtg. with Fox next Friday. This will really anger all Americans! The unadulterated gall! We are mad as hell, and we won't take it anymore.

May 20, 2006 7:52 AM  

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