Saturday, October 13, 2007

Podcast - BREAKING UP IS HARD TO DO: Sub-Districts in the LAUSD

From Patt Morrsion | KPCC | Wednesday October 10 | [ Listen ]

Debates over education policy in the Los Angeles Unified School District never lack for political intrigue or drama, and yesterday's announcement by Superintendent David Brewer was no exception. Superintendent Brewer is proposing a radical idea to overhaul LAUSD's lower-performing schools by creating a separate, targeted district for 44 of the neediest schools. The plan is still lacking details, but the idea would be to give these under-achieving schools special attention by giving this sub-district its own rules of governance, separate curriculum and instructional planning. When this plan is coupled with Mayor Villaraigosa's attempts to take control of several failing LAUSD schools, could this mark the beginning of a gradual carve-up of the huge
Los Angeles public school system?

smf's 2¢: Tokofsky makes some interesting points - including that the superintendent is responding to last year's overheated rhetoric of 'district failure' from the mayor's attempted takeover.

  • He argues that Brewer is proposing a "ghetto district within the District"
  • when he should be responding to the state mandates of API (Academic Performance Index) over the Federal NCLB/PI (Program Improvement.).
  • He maintains that LAUSD has met 43 of 46 Federal NCLB benchmarks - and two of the others are caused by California's better-than-federal program in Special Ed.
  • NCLB by it's nature focuses the federal government's small investment in K-12 education (and forces local school districts to focus their limited assets to get the federal money) on underperforming schools at the expense of good ones.
  • What David doesn't consider is that the mayor's adjudged unconstitutional takeover via AB1381 is underway by other means …and that Brewer is doing the best he can to maintain a charade of independence with the cards he's been dealt.

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