The following is the text of the letter that California School Boards Association sent to the members of the Senate Education Committee on
Dear Senator Scott:
The California School Boards Association (CSBA), which represents nearly 1,000 school districts and county boards of education statewide, is strongly opposed to AB 1381 (Nunez), as amended on June 21. This bill would shift authority for much of the governance of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) from the elected school board to the mayor of
IT WOULD REDUCE—NOT INCREASE—ACCOUNTABILITY. Under AB 1381, LAUSD would be governed by a four-headed Hydra consisting of the elected governing board, a superintendent whose appointment would be subject to approval by the mayor, the mayor himself, and a Council of Mayors. Authority for the approval of budgets, fiscal management, collective bargaining, personnel decisions, facilities, and other matters would be split among the four heads. In addition, a fifth entity, “The
All of this would result in a complex spider’s web of administrative and managerial confusion in which accountability would be blurred at best and nonexistent at worst.
It’s no wonder the LA Times concluded that “this deal spreads responsibility so thin that it’s hard to know who has it.” Under AB 1381, the district would become a virtual Petri dish for passing the buck.
IT DISENFRANCHISES FAMILIES AND VOTERS. By stripping authority away from the elected school board, voters will have their voices weakened. The 20 percent of LAUSD families that live outside of the City of
IT EXPANDS THE SCOPE OF COLLECTIVE BARGAINING. AB 1381 provides that, with respect to the clusters of schools overseen by the Community Partnership, “teachers and parents are full partners in the decisions that affect the schools.” Elsewhere (Section 35931 [a]), the bill provides that “employee organizations” shall share oversight as part of the Community Partnership. Taken together, these provide an even greater expansion of the scope of collective bargaining than was contained in AB 2160 (Goldberg) several years ago.
IT IS POOR EDUCATIONAL POLICY. School site decision making is a popular mantra, but its viability in the real world is not without limits. The striking success that LAUSD has realized over the past several years is due in large part to standardizing a district-wide curriculum and providing instructional materials and professional development around that curriculum. The students in LAUSD are highly transient. In many schools, more than half of the students in attendance at the beginning of the year are in a different school at the end of the year. Therefore, it is vitally important for student success that there be some consistency between the curriculum, instruction, and materials between schools so that when students (and sometimes teachers) move from school to school there is continuity in their educational experience.
AB 1381 would disrupt this continuity by allowing teachers at each school site to select that school’s instructional materials, curriculum, and methods of instruction. We know that this disruption has a negative effect on the achievement of students who experience it.
For these reasons, CSBA strongly opposes AB 1381 (Nunez) and respectfully urges your “NO” vote on this measure. If you have any questions about our position, please feel free to call me at 325-4020.
Richard W. Pratt
Assistant Executive Director