The spin/the spin: "The votes are in, and the verdict is clear: Parents want teachers to drive change at their schools, not outside organizations."
UTLA President A.J. Duffy
(The expert panels) “… didn't feel like the plan was substantial. They didn't feel like it would meet the needs of the students at the school."
- Matt Hill, an official in Cortines' office overseeing Public School Choice.
If Hill is overseeing PSC …shouldn’t he be impartial and not discussing embargoed information?
By Melissa Pamer Staff Writer | Daily Breeze
Posted: 02/09/2010 07:39:33 PM PST
Voters in the Gardena and San Pedro high school communities overwhelmingly favor education reform plans authored by teachers and administrators, according to the preliminary results of an election that took place last week.
Vote tallies were made public Tuesday afternoon by the Los Angeles Unified School District, which is implementing Public School Choice, an unusual and closely watched initiative that lets groups inside and outside of schools bid for control of 12 troubled and 18 new campuses.
On Feb. 2 and Saturday - in a process that was criticized as a popularity contest with loose rules - parents, students, staff and other community members voted on the proposals for each school.
But at Gardena and San Pedro, no charter groups or other nonprofits had submitted takeover plans.
Instead, voters weighed whether to adopt plans - calling for new bell schedules and small learning communities, among other changes - crafted by two internal LAUSD teams.
Results of the election, which was run by the League of Women Voters, showed 93.3 percent of voters at San Pedro High favoring the plan there. In Gardena, 92.2 percent voted for the internal plan.
The preliminary totals included nonverified ballots.
The nonbinding votes are intended to help Superintendent Ramon Cortines and the Board of Education select individual plans for each campus.
Results at other schools, where ballots offered bids from charter organizations and nonprofits, showed a similar vote of confidence for internally produced plans.
"The votes are in, and the verdict is clear: Parents want teachers to drive change at their schools, not outside organizations," said United Teachers Los Angeles President A.J. Duffy in a statement. "Clearly this is a mandate for bottom-up, collaboratively developed school plans and against giving away schools to outside operators."
However, two district-appointed panels of education experts did not necessarily share voters' endorsements. Also released late Tuesday, the panelists' recommendations will be brought to the Board of Education for a final vote on Feb. 23, along with the ballot results.
The expert panels showed a lack of enthusiasm for internal plans at Gardena and San Pedro high schools.
Both panels said they have "reservations" about the schools' internal plans. They also recommended the option of "none."
"They didn't feel like the plan was substantial. They didn't feel like it would meet the needs of the students at the school," said Matt Hill, an official in Cortines' office who is overseeing Public School Choice.
The panelists' reservations suggest there are elements of the two plans that Cortines may wish to change, Hill said. He did not have details on the elements seen as problematic.
The superintendent has yet to make his own recommendations, but he plans to do so before the board vote.
Final results from the balloting will be made available Friday, when the district will release more information about review panel analyses.