Finally, wonderfully, they got it right.
The new Vista Hermosa Natural Park in City West is a triumph, a resource for a community that for too long has been shortchanged in facilities that other neighborhoods take for granted. With its winding trails, ample flora, emerald soccer field and more, it is proof that, with creative thinking, leadership and funds, even the biggest debacles can be righted.
Los Angeles voters support another school bond, but don't trust Los Angeles Unified School District leadership, according to a limited poll conducted for Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
The survey of likely voters found that 60 percent to more than 70 percent of respondents were willing to support bonds in amounts of $3.2 billion, $6 billion or $10 billion.
Kids' Share 2008, a second annual report, looks comprehensively at trends in federal spending and tax expenditures on children. Key findings suggest that historically children have not been a budget priority. In 2007, this trend continued, as children's spending did not keep pace with GDP growth. Absent a policy change, children's spending will continue to be squeezed in the next decade.
GIVE CHARTERS THEIR DUE: If the LAUSD wants a $3.2-billion bond measure, it must fairly fund these independent schools.
LA TIMES EDITORIAL: For years, the Los Angeles Unified School District has been shorting charter schools on space to house their students, and a new $3.2-billion bond measure doesn't go nearly far enough to make up for it. Without a full $300 million earmarked for charters, a seat for them on the bond oversight committee and more authority over how to spend the money, the new bond will be difficult for this page and the voters to accept.
LAUSD MUST DO RIGHT FOR AREA CHILDREN
LA Daily News Op-Ed by Caprice Young - Last week the Los Angeles public school system was rocked with sobering news: According to the state, one in three Los Angeles Unified students is dropping out. But buried deep within the data was a sign of encouragement - charter high schools are showing strong signs of reducing this trend. In fact, every charter high school in Los Angeles Unified last year reported a dropout rate significantly lower than not only the school district's average, but the state's as well.
When Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa introduced his $1 million Summer Night Lights program a few weeks back, he was injecting a good dose of common sense into the city's anti-gang efforts.
After all, the program is designed to provide L.A. youngsters with evening events, so as to keep them out of trouble. And everyone knows that giving kids organized and constructive activities is a great way to keep them out of trouble.
Everyone, that is, except for officials in the Los Angeles Unified School District.
Steve Lopez: It's almost 8 a.m. on 111th Street in Watts, and here's a scene that could make a cynic faint:
A teenage boy is hustling across the street toward Locke High School while tucking a white shirt into his khaki uniform pants. He wants to pass inspection at the gate.
I'm visiting what might as well be called Dropout High to see if things have changed in the early going since Green Dot Public Schools took it over from Los Angeles Unified. Too soon to tell, for sure. We're only into the third week of summer school, which tends to be mellower than the regular school year and serves only 700 kids instead of the usual 3,000.
By Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman -Michelle Rhee should be commended for her determination to implement courageous and innovative educational reforms in the District of Columbia, and Congress should take note as it considers reshaping the No Child Left Behind Act.
When Mayor Adrian Fenty appointed Rhee chancellor of D.C. public schools in June 2007, she inherited a system that was near the top nationally in per-pupil spending but ranked among the nation's worst in the percentage of its students who were proficient in reading and math as measured on the National Assessment of Educational Progress.
Clearly, taxpayer money was not being put to good use. Nor were students being well served.
Just four months after Los Angeles Unified began charging for after-hours use of its fields and facilities, one of the San Fernando Valley's biggest youth sports groups is seeing a dramatic drop in some of its club memberships.
As reported in The Times, L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has joined the push for a new local school bond -- and wants $300 million of it for charter schools. That level of charter funding has resulted in resistance from some school board members and senior district staff, including L.A. Unified Supt. David L. Brewer.
To smooth the path for the bond, Villaraigosa began suggesting a bond larger than the proposed $3.2 billion measure. That way, charters could receive $300 million without cutting into funds for other purposes.
The eight students walked into a room at Lincoln High School prepared to discuss an issue many people, including some of their teachers, considered taboo.
They were blunt. Carlos Garcia, 17, an A student with a knack for math, said, "My friends, most of them say, 'You're more Asian than Hispanic.' "
"I think Carlos is Asian at heart," said Julie Loc, 17, causing Carlos to laugh good-naturedly. Asian students who get middling grades often get another response, she said.
"They say, 'Are you really Asian?' " Julie said.
"It's sad but true," said Eliseo Garcia, a 17-year-old with long rocker hair, an easy manner and good grades. "I had an Asian friend, but he didn't necessarily get that great a grades. We used to say, 'He's Mexican at heart.' "
What accounts for such self-deprecating humor? Or the uneven academic performance that prompts it?
The state's top education official, Supt. Jack O'Connell, called for that kind of discussion last fall when he decried the "racial achievement gap" separating Asian and non-Latino white students from Latinos and blacks.