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Education Bill Undercuts Reform

August 06, 1993

* Sen. David Roberti's bill to break up the Los Angeles school district does nothing to improve the quality of education. I believe his bill is politically motivated by West Valley interests that have little concern for the majority of students.

The main reason this issue has caused such notoriety is because of the reapportionment process of last summer, which finally allowed the Latino community the opportunity to gain additional representation on the Board of Education.

I believe this bill is divisive and undermines the current reform measures which are being addressed by LEARN and the Arthur Anderson Audit. While I still have concerns with the LEARN proposal and I have some serious reservations about the implementation of the Anderson audit, I do see them as steps in the right direction. They seek to fix the problem, not destroy the district as the Roberti bill does.

For the first time we have a Board of Education whose composition represents the ethnic diversity of our community. The two top district officials are also members of ethnic minorities, one Afro-American and the other Latino. With that in mind, I believe the following are the major concerns and/or solutions to improve the quality of instruction in our district.

* Improve student achievement. The district should establish a task force with a plan of action and due dates. There should also be legislation to insure that student achievement has occurred.

* Parent empowerment must be addressed, and a plan must be developed to insure that there is equitable representation of parents on school site councils, and that representation must reflect the ethnic composition of the student body.

* Role models are a vital necessity for our students. There is a need for an affirmative action plan that aggressively supports the continued hiring of Latino/bilingual personnel. The district must implement a career ladder for bilingual paraprofessionals and establish future teacher programs at the middle schools level.

Additionally, the plan must include the identification and promotion of Latinos into the district's administration.

We can no longer afford to have the education of students put on the back burner while we play political power games over who will control the district.

ART BARRAGAN

Granada Hills

The writer is assistant principal at Porter Middle School and a regional vice president of the Assn. of Mexican American Educators.

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