From the Associated Administrators of Los Angeles Update
REPORT CARD FOR
Los Angeles Unified School District
for School Year 2007 - 2008
1 Facilities Construction B+ 2 Partnership Agreement D 3 Joint Use Charter School Agreements C 4 2008-2009 District Budget D 5 District Leadership C 6 Overall Grade C
…but 4LAKids wonders about the grades for Work Habits and Cooperation.
AT THE END OF EACH SCHOOL YEAR it is traditional to issue a report card to determine satisfactory progress towards the goal of grade-level achievement. It is therefore time for AALA to issue its report card regarding the success or failures of LAUSD. As with all report cards, this one is designed to assist the learners with progress towards high achievement in the running of the second largest school district in the United States. In addition, AALA stands ready to conference with the leadership of the District and to provide the intervention strategies necessary to accomplish the improved achievement.
FACILITIES CONSTRUCTION – B+
The Facilities Division has completed numerous new schools at all levels to relieve overcrowding and take schools off existing year-round schedules. The increased seats continue to allow the implementation of full-day kindergarten schedules in all elementary schools. This category would have received an "A" if the promised millions from the Grand Avenue Partners had been received to pay for the Taj Mahal tower and other architectural enhancements at the new high school for the arts at 450 N. Grand Avenue.
PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT – D
The Board of Education by a 5 to 2 vote and the Superintendent have recently completed an MOU with the Mayor’s partnership. A review of this agreement finds it lacking on many levels including most importantly the granting of almost complete autonomy to the partnership without adequate oversight by the duly elected School Board. More than anything, this MOU is a foot in the door for any politicians who want to politicize public schools and circumvent the State Constitution and City Charter. The partnership did not receive an "F" because AALA does believe in the concept of community participation just not total partnership control. The failure of the leadership of the Innovation Division to follow its own guidelines contributed to the Partnership Agreement mark.
JOINT USE CHARTER SCHOOL AGREEMENTS – C
While the District is obligated to provide unused space for charter school use, AALA believes that it is not obligated to undermine the integrity of host district schools in order to accomplish this task. The contractual agreement being developed for host and charter school relationships is a step in the right direction. AALA does not believe in building schools to relieve overcrowding and then continuing to overcrowd them with charter school students. AALA is appreciative of Senior Deputy Cortines’ realistic stand on this issue.
2008-2009 DISTRICT BUDGET – D
AALA commends the Superintendent and Chief Financial Officer for making the school district budget more transparent than in the past. However, the low mark is due to the fact that budget enhancements, such as a parcel tax, and needed reforms in State school funding to lessen fund restrictions have not been articulated by the School Board or the Superintendent. In addition, AALA feels that subjecting employees to furlough days instead of eliminating redundant divisions such as the Innovation and Accountability Divisions by whatever name they are now called is indefensible. Innovation and accountability should be part of every employees responsibilities not the task of new fiefdoms at Beaudry. Additionally, AALA has recommended the elimination and/or reduction of consultant and professional expert services to reduce the District’s fiscal deficit. This mark could rise to a "C" if and when evidence of these reductions are shared in a transparent fashion.
DISTRICT LEADERSHIP – C
With the hiring of a Senior Deputy Superintendent, AALA believes that LAUSD went from a "D-" to a "C-" mark. It has brought some semblance of expertise to the leadership of the District that was very much missing. However, problems still exist with competing messages from the Superintendent and Senior Deputy. In addition, the organization and management structure of the District still needs considerable work before it is deemed finalized. If the two aforementioned divisions in the above paragraph were eliminated, this mark could increase dramatically next year
OVERALL GRADE – C
As with all school accountability report cards, this report is being published and shared with the community. AALA hopes that this constructive assessment will assist the School Board and the Superintendent to make major improvements next year. Some might construe this overall mark as "social promotion," but AALA feels that it is justified and hopefully, with appropriate interventions, could rise markedly.