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Who Should Control L.A.'s Schools?

June 25, 2005

Re "City Control of Schools Advocated," June 18: As a retired Los Angeles Unified School District teacher, I am reluctant to see the end of an elected board of education and subsequent control over schools by Antonio Villaraigosa, the mayor soon to take office. However, something must be done. Recent policy measures passed by the LAUSD board are downright silly. How can it implement college preparation courses for all students when it can't even find staff for basic courses? It can't even find staff for enough college preparation courses for the students currently enrolled who would like to take such classes. How would this help the 50% of the students that drop out before they graduate?

The school board has been woefully inept in addressing problems such as overcrowding, unqualified teachers, high dropout rate, etc., and instead is constantly on a public relations campaign to convince the people of Los Angeles that improvements are right around the corner. I have run out of patience long ago. I hope the new mayor can find the means to turn things around. The children deserve much better.

Robert Matano



The proposal to replace the elected LAUSD school board with one appointed by the mayor raises basic questions regarding the role of a representative government. The elimination of the right of the citizens of Los Angeles to elect their representatives on the board should be dismissed by anyone who believes in the power of democracy. Such an anti-democratic proposal in any other country would be described as a power grab or even a coup. It makes as much sense as suggesting that the school board appoint the mayor.

The logical extension of the elimination of elected representatives would have the mayor appoint the City Council. Indeed, why not have the governor appoint the mayor and the president appoint the governor, or dispense with all of these now-irrelevant positions and just have the president rule by edict?

Keith Price

Los Angeles

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