Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Rick Rojas – LA Times/LA Now |

Cliff Ker
Photo: Cliff Ker   Credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times

June 29, 2011 |  7:58 pm - The coordinator for the Los Angeles Unified School District’s successful Academic Decathlon program has been reassigned, making his decathlon work a half-time job, apparently because of budget cuts in the nation’s second-largest school district.

Cliff Ker, who has led the district's Academic Decathlon program since 2000, said he was told that he would become an assistant principal at a high school starting next week.

Ker said he would continue as coordinator of Academic Decathlon, as a secondary, half-time position.

District officials could not be reached for comment Wednesday evening.

In the decade that Ker has overseen the decathlon, the program -- an intense intellectual endeavor for high school students -- has been a dominating force at the national level, winning seven national titles, including last year's victory by Granada Hills Charter High School.

L.A. Unified schools have won the national title 12 times since the district’s first victory in 1987, and the district now ranks as the best in the nation.

With the position reduced, Ker worries that L.A. Unified’s dominance could falter.

“I see this as another obstacle,” he told The Times on Wednesday, “but this might be an obstacle I can’t overcome.”


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