Thursday, June 09, 2011



Cortines June 9, 2011 |  9:47 am - Some parents are objecting to plans to name the downtown Los Angeles arts high school after recently retired Supt. Ramon C. Cortines.

A Board of Education vote on the school's name is scheduled for later this month.

Parent leader Judi Bell said she has spoken with about 100 members of the school community, most of whom expressed "shock, disbelief and anger."

The issue is not about the widely respected Cortines but about the process, said Bell, who heads the school's Parent Teacher Student Assn.

"I had many people contact me as soon as they heard that the school might be named this way, furious that the topic was never seriously discussed or formally addressed," Bell said.

"Many even stated that they had agreed to serve on a committee to determine a new name, which had been formed early in the school year, but that no such committee ever held a meeting or made a determination," she said.

Other parents and staff members expressed similar views.

Cortines said Wednesday that he did not want to accept the honor if the decision was not properly vetted by staff, parents and students.

District officials suggested Wednesday that the school had been included in the naming process, but later clarified that there had been an "informal" vetting among some administrators, teachers, students and parents.

The issue is a sore point because the school is supposed to be managed under an agreement calling for substantial collaboration with teachers and parents. The naming issue arose the same week the public learned about the forced departure of Principal Luis Lopez.

Lopez is being transferred -- and possibly promoted -- under orders from current Supt. John Deasy to make way for an administrator recruited with the involvement of the foundation run by billionaire philanthropist Eli Broad.

That new principal is expected to be Kim Bruno, according to sources close to the decision. Bruno currently heads the LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts in New York City.

Deasy said Wednesday that it was premature to discuss a possible successor to Lopez.


●●smf: An article in the Echo Park Patch about a school naming controversy there states:

LAUSD guidelines suggest that secondary schools “be named to honor prominent men and women whose notability has survived their lifetime and whose service extends beyond the Los Angeles Unified School District schools.” 

… and goes on to describe the process to be used in involving the community in the process.

I have two long but amusing stories I have bored audiences with about the naming of Bushnell Way Elementary School and Van Nuys Middle School – and I am reminded that the LA City Schools Board of Ed decided in their infinite wisdom not to name a Junior High for Amelia Earhart because her ‘lifestyle was unusual’.

The school naming  guidelines have been more observed in the breech then in implementation  – most recently in the naming of HS#13 / the Taylor Yards High School for Justice Sotomayor.

Exactly what the Justice’s significance is to the community of Northeast Los Angeles eludes me.  And obviously neither she nor Dr. Cortines notability have “survived their lifetimes” – may they both remain unqualified for years to come!

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