Los Angles Daily News | http://bit.ly/1aM1TFj
LAUSD Board President Richard Vladovic. (Photo by David Crane/Los Angeles Daily News)
9/18/13, 2:47 PM PDT :: After a week of mounting criticism for its indecision, micromanaging and general dysfunction, the Los Angeles school board figured to be on its best behavior in a public meeting Tuesday. If that was its best behavior, our kids are in trouble.
The L.A. Unified School District board, devoting a third session (spread across four weeks) to trying to approve the budget for a new English and math curriculum, started by hearing member Steve Zimmer propose compromise amendments that included more money for teacher and parent training and a preposterous idea to set aside a day for the “LAUSD family” to “celebrate” the start of the Common Core curriculum in 2014.
New member Monica Ratliff expressed exasperation at the last-minute pitch and set about picking apart the budget, line by line. Marguerite LaMotte noted that the board seemed to be bogged down in details that should have been worked out in a committee. Tamar Galatzan took her head out of her hands long enough to rage, “We can’t budget like this, saying, ‘Hey, Superintendent, we like ... this program and this program — go find money for them.’” Superintendent John Deasy tried to nail down exactly what he was being asked to do.
The board defeated the amendments and finally voted to approve a plan for how to spend $113 million in state money to prepare teachers, parents and students for the Common Core curriculum and academic standards. It was the plan members could have approved a week earlier. Any further delay would have cost teachers vital training time.
Although Zimmer told our reporter Barbara Jones his proposals had sparked a “substantive debate,” it sounded more like debate for debate’s sake. And it looked like something worse than simple growing pains for a government body that just went through an important shift in power with the selection of Richard Vladovic, a critic of Deasy, to succeed Monica Garcia, who has been the superintendent’s biggest supporter on the board; and the election of Ratliff, backed by the teachers’ union, to succeed Nury Martinez, who’d been part of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s reform slate.
Already, Deputy Superintendent Jaime Aquino has quit in frustration. How long before the rest of the city gives up on the district’s leadership?
It shouldn’t take L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti’s plan for meetings at City Hall — to get the board and superintendent on the same page — for the LAUSD’s leaders to start working together. The board must realize the importance of earning the trust of district residents who entrust their children’s K-12 education and safety to the public schools.
Deasy hasn’t done everything right, but his reform-minded pushes for more data-based evaluation and merit pay for teachers deserve support. Despite United Teachers Los Angeles’ criticism of Deasy’s programs, the district’s test scores and graduation rates have risen since he was promoted to superintendent in 2011.
The school board should debate, of course. But it should debate constructively and collegially, with knowledge and preparation, and not waste time and breath the way it has the past month.
That would be something for the LAUSD family to celebrate.
- Deasy hasn’t done everything right…. That’s a given.
- …but his reform-minded pushes for more data-based evaluation and merit pay for teachers deserve support. That’s the Daily News Editorial Board’s opinion. However we have seen no data or outcomes from Deasy’s teacher assessments, nor will we anytime soon with the state moratorium on standardized testing and roll out of the new tests - the first year of which will set a benchmark. It will be 2015-16 at the earliest before we see any meaningful evaluative data. If Deasy is still LAUSD superintendent in in 2015-16 Stephen Hawking’s Arrow of Time will have been reversed. And even then, merit pay ain’t gonna happen. No way. No How.
- Despite United Teachers Los Angeles’ criticism of Deasy’s programs… there’s been plenty o’ that
- ….the district’s test scores and graduation rates have risen since he was promoted to superintendent in 2011. Incrementally – at the same pace as his predecessors.
The blame for poor work habits must be assigned-to-and-shared-by the Board and the Superintendent & his staff. The newly elected+installed board took seven weeks - most of July and August - off.
They did not meet between July 2nd and August 20th with the Budget and the start of the New School Year, the oll-out of the Common Core Curriculum and the Common Core Technology Project.(iPads for All) and the Local Control Funding Formula all pending.. With a new board majority and new board leadership and goals and priorities to be set. A new Mayor of Los Angeles and numerous new city council people – the biggest transition in power in recent L.A. history.
A lot of balls in the air and a whole lot of questions left unanswered. For seven weeks.
That was the time for a Board Retreat – if not a series of them. (Although Never Retreat, Always Advance has always been 4LAKid’s motto!)
This wasn’t lost opportunity …this was opportunity quick-kicked away on first down!
Then, when they did come back, Jaime Aquino went on vacation. ¿WWT?