SCHOOLS: Program based on successes in San Francisco.
By Rick Orlov, LA Daily News Staff Writer [from Contra Costa Times| http://bit.ly/bAzBaa]
10/08/2010 07:29:14 PM PDT | Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa launched a new program Friday aimed at reducing truancy in local schools based on a similar effort in San Francisco.
"We know it is a prime factor in students dropping out and we know that drop-outs are heavily involved in crime," Villaraigosa said at a news conference with San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris.
Harris, who is running for state attorney general, began a program in San Francisco that dramatically reduced truancy and was the basis for a new state law signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger allowing school districts to adopt a similar program.
While the program holds out the threat of charging parents with a misdemeanor, it brings in social service organizations to work with parents to alert them of the problems.
Villaraigosa said he hoped Los Angeles and the 650,000 student Los Angeles Unified School District could work together to develop a similar program in Los Angeles.
"I will bring together people from the school district, the police department and social services to begin a new initiative to fight chronic truancy," Villaraigosa said.
Los Angeles has had a number of efforts in the past to try to deal with truants, primarily asking police officers to pay increased attention to young people on the streets when schools are in session.
LAUSD officials did not respond to requests for comment.
●●smf's 2¢: The words "launched a program" and "Villaraigosa said he hoped" seem to be mutually exclusive – but the mayor is to be commended for hoping-for and District Attorney Harris is to be commended for implementing the San Francisco plan– which is exemplary.
- This press conference obviously was Mayor Villaraigosa endorsing San Francisco DA Kamala Harris for Attorney General. 4LAKids agrees – Harris' program of cooperating with SFUSD in truancy prevention is reason enough to vote for her. Her opponent, LA DA Steve Cooley's record in refusing to prosecute child-molester/school administrator Stephen Rooney - allowing Rooney to return to schools and molest again - is cause enough for Cooley's career to end here and now …if not there-and-then!
- San Francisco is unique in that city government and county government are combined in single entity. It is also a small compact city; DA Harris has one police department, one city/county government and one school district in an area 7 miles square to cooperate with.
- Mayor Tony's restraint in hoping and offering to bring together folks is to be lauded …that is is proper constitutional and city charter role!
- LAUSD officials failure to respond for comment is to probably be expected. This was a political endorsement!