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Three Plans for Greater Autonomy, More Responsibility

November 04, 1998

The three primary reform plans in use in the Los Angeles Unified School District all give greater autonomy to individual schools, as well as more responsibility. They require collaboration among parents, teachers and administrators, specific goals for student achievement and periodic evaluation. The plans differ in the degree of autonomy and training that schools receive.

Charter: Charter schools are exempt from most school board policies and provisions of the state education code. Staff, administrators and parents decide how to spend the school's money and can establish their own pay scale within the limits of state funding. They also select curriculum and establish educational goals and measures of achievement. After five years, school staff must resign from district employment.

No special training is provided; schools may contract with outside consultants.

Schools must be recertified by the Board of Education every five years based on an evaluation by an outside consultant.

To become a charter school, the school must file petitions and hold public hearings. Fifty percent of the permanent teachers at the schools must approve.

LEARN (Los Angeles Educational Alliance for Restructuring Now): A LEARN council of parents, staff and administrators holds significant powers over budget, staffing, curriculum and operations, though they are subject to district policies and collective bargaining agreements. Council can hire and fire principals in consultation with the district reform office.

Leadership and budget training is provided by the UCLA Advanced Management Program for the principal and a lead teacher. The Los Angeles Annenberg Metropolitan Project also provides training to increase parent involvement.

Schools are evaluated annually by an outside consultant.

To become a LEARN school, 75% of teachers and a majority of parents, classified staff and secondary students must approve.

School-Based Management: These schools exercise expanded decision-making on instruction and school operations.

Training entails four days of voluntary classes on building school communities and on writing a school-based management plan.

Schools conduct a self-assessment every three years.

To join, the district requires the approval of two-thirds of teachers and a majority of classified staff, parents and community members.

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