Remember the old saying that everybody talks about the weather but nobody does anything about it? These days you could apply that sentiment to the subject of public schools: Everybody's got ideas but few are willing to invest the time to put them to work.
This week a group of Angelenos came together to start trying to make changes in the sprawling, somewhat troubled Los Angeles Unified School District. We use the word somewhat because it's unfair to generalize by applying a word like troubled to such a big institution without acknowledging that good things happen every day in local classrooms. However, the public's perception is that not enough good things are happening.
That perception is reflected in a public opinion poll taken by Lou Harris and Associates for a pro-education coalition that includes the new LEARN (Los Angeles Educational Alliance for Restructuring Now). Harris' poll of 2,400 area residents found 68% believe that the schools are doing a poor job preparing students for the job market. Yet in an almost contradictory but certainly hopeful stance, eight out of 10 would give the city schools more money if--a big if --they knew it would be spent more efficiently. That's where LEARN comes in.