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Education Reforms

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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 24, 1991
I'm pleased and encouraged to see the editors of The Times step forward and clearly state in your editorial that the key impediment to true educational reform in our state is "chronic structural problems, including bureaucratic inertia." We're cheating our young people and endangering our future well-being by continuing to permit our school bureaucracies to divert precious tax dollars from the desperate, crowded, undersupplied schools. Now is the time for the bureaucrats to step aside and allow the real education experts--those teachers and staff who work with kids every day--to utilize their experience and know-how to begin to reshape our school system.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 27, 2013 | By Teresa Watanabe and Howard Blume
In the middle of Watts, at one of the worst-performing high schools in Los Angeles Unified, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was in his element. As he sat with Jordan High students late last year, he shared snippets of his life story, as he's done during scores of school visits during his eight years as mayor. He was raised without a father, was kicked out of one school and dropped out of another before graduating from Roosevelt High with a 1.4 GPA - because his mother and a teacher believed in him, he told students.
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NEWS
January 16, 1999 | From Times Wire Reports
More than 30,000 protesters blocked main streets and hurled firebombs at buildings and riot police in Greece as part of a nationwide protest against education reforms. An estimated 600 of the country's 3,140 schools remain occupied by students after two months of protests. The proposals include a new evaluation system and tougher college entry exams, and new testing requirements and forced overtime for teachers.
WORLD
April 11, 2013 | By Richard Fausset and Cecilia Sanchez, Los Angeles Times
MEXICO CITY - Debate is intensifying over armed vigilante patrols that have sprung up in crime-plagued sections of rural Mexico, particularly in the state of Guerrero, where some patrols joined forces this week with a radical teachers union that has been wreaking havoc with massive protests, vandalism and violent confrontations with police. The two groups, on the surface, would appear to have little in common. The vigilante patrols, typically made up of masked campesinos , are among dozens that have emerged in the countryside in recent months, purporting to protect their communities from the depredations of the drug cartels.
NEWS
August 24, 1998 | GEORGE SKELTON
This is it for Gov. Pete Wilson, the end of the game. Not only is it his last at-bat, it's his last swing. It's his last week to drive in runs, to produce legislation. He's mainly playing for more education reforms, a school bond issue with construction finance reforms and a water bond that agriculture can support. The 1997-98 legislative session--Wilson's last as governor--will be history by next Monday. After that, his role in the Capitol will be essentially reactive--signing or vetoing bills.
NEWS
January 6, 1999 | DAVE LESHER and DAN MORAIN, TIMES STAFF WRITERS
Gov. Gray Davis will ask lawmakers this week to pass a new intensive reading program for young students and a series of carrot-and-stick incentives to pressure teachers and school administrators to improve, senior aides said Tuesday. The proposals represent the heart of Davis' highly anticipated education reforms. Included are plans sure to be controversial, such as peer review of teacher performance and possible intervention by state authorities in the poorest performing schools.
NATIONAL
January 6, 2004 | Edwin Chen, Times Staff Writer
In the maiden political foray of his reelection year, President Bush picked up $2.8 million at a fundraiser here Monday after paying a brief visit to an inner-city school to tout his credentials as an education president.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 1, 1999
I was horrified to read that Assembly Speaker Antonio Villaraigosa says education reforms may mean tax hikes (Feb. 24). The Democrats have wasted no time in going after our money. Hold on to your wallets. If Gov. Gray Davis signs any tax increases, he will surely be a one-term governor. No one is interested in a tax increase for schools that are dysfunctional, but the real problem is that there is no accountability. LISA WINKEL Westwood
NEWS
October 3, 2012 | By Howard Blume, This post has been updated, as indicated below.
On education, President Obama correctly noted that his ideas for reform have been drawn from ideas championed by Democrats and Republicans, an overlap that also has drawn criticism in some quarters from allies of the president such as teacher unions. Obama also said that his education reforms were “starting to show gains.” Such gains would be difficult to demonstrate. There are rising test scores in many states, but it's difficult to link these to federal programs. The president has indeed favored aggressive reforms in education, but most of them are still in process as far as results.
OPINION
March 19, 2012 | By Yolie Flores
Second chances don't come around too often. Fourth chances? Almost never. But Los Angeles now has a remarkable opportunity to make up for California's failures to win federal funds and to institute much-needed education reforms. Three times in the last two years, California has competed in Race to the Top, the federal program that provides billions of dollars to states that promise to adopt bold education reforms. California has failed every round of the K-12 competition. Last year, the U.S. Department of Educationdismissed the state's proposal as incomplete because Gov. Jerry Brown refused to sign it. As a result, the Los Angeles Unified School District has gotten zero dollars from this program and implemented few of the reforms urged by President Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan.
WORLD
December 10, 2012 | By Tracy Wilkinson
MEXICO CITY -- President Enrique Peña Nieto on Monday announced a broad reform aimed at improving Mexico's sclerotic educational system, a plan that also seems aimed at weakening the enormously powerful teachers union. Mexico has some of the worst public schools in the hemisphere, consistently placing low on international surveys of education quality. Many blame the union and its autocratic boss, Elba Esther Gordillo, who have perpetuated a system that allows teachers to buy or inherit their jobs, regardless of skill or qualifications.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 19, 2012 | By Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times
The Gates Foundation, the country's most influential education-policy organization, has quietly ended financial support for a national group formed to push for favored reforms, including an overhaul of teacher evaluations. Communities for Teaching Excellence, headed by former L.A. school board member Yolie Flores, is planning to close its doors next month. Although based in Los Angeles, the group had a presence in Hillsborough County, Fla.; Memphis, Tenn.; and in Pittsburgh - all locations where the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has funded the development of new teacher-evaluation systems.
NEWS
October 3, 2012 | By Howard Blume, This post has been updated, as indicated below.
On education, President Obama correctly noted that his ideas for reform have been drawn from ideas championed by Democrats and Republicans, an overlap that also has drawn criticism in some quarters from allies of the president such as teacher unions. Obama also said that his education reforms were “starting to show gains.” Such gains would be difficult to demonstrate. There are rising test scores in many states, but it's difficult to link these to federal programs. The president has indeed favored aggressive reforms in education, but most of them are still in process as far as results.
NEWS
August 21, 2012 | By Michael A. Memoli
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Pressing a contrast with his rivals for the White House, President Obama expanded his critique of the Republican budget blueprint to focus on education policy, arguing Mitt Romney would reverse his administration's policies to boost education despite the consequences to the economy. For the president, who addressed about 3,300 supporters at Capital University on the eastern edge of Ohio's capital city, the policy wasn't just about politics. It was also personal. Drawing on his and his wife's struggles to pay off student debts, Obama said at the outdoor rally that the concept of affordability was not unfamiliar.
OPINION
March 19, 2012 | By Yolie Flores
Second chances don't come around too often. Fourth chances? Almost never. But Los Angeles now has a remarkable opportunity to make up for California's failures to win federal funds and to institute much-needed education reforms. Three times in the last two years, California has competed in Race to the Top, the federal program that provides billions of dollars to states that promise to adopt bold education reforms. California has failed every round of the K-12 competition. Last year, the U.S. Department of Educationdismissed the state's proposal as incomplete because Gov. Jerry Brown refused to sign it. As a result, the Los Angeles Unified School District has gotten zero dollars from this program and implemented few of the reforms urged by President Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan.
OPINION
February 28, 2012
The first "parent trigger" petition in California, which sought to allow a charter organization to take over a Compton elementary school, ultimately failed amid bitter charges on both sides that parents had been harassed and lied to. The state Board of Education had a chance to make the process less chaotic by requiring open meetings at which both reformers and opponents would lay out their arguments, enabling parents to make an informed decision....
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 5, 1998
Some political experts grumbled that this election wasn't about anything because it lacked compelling national issues. But in fact, Tuesday's balloting was about the core of the political system: governing. Voters are tired of constant political fighting. They want leaders who will just dig in and fix things. True, there was no watershed shift of power nationally.
NEWS
June 27, 1987 | ELAINE WOO, Times Education Writer
Recent efforts to raise standards and improve the quality of public education have exacerbated the dropout problem and caused minority youngsters to slip farther behind, the president of the nation's largest teachers organization charged Friday. National Education Assn. President Mary Futrell, in Los Angeles for the NEA national convention that runs through next week, made the charge during a news conference to release the findings of a yearlong study on the quality of minority education.
OPINION
September 4, 2011
On several occasions over the last few years, A.J. Duffy sat in a conference room with the editorial board of the Los Angeles Times and expounded on the evils of charter schools, the value of teachers union contracts that included pages and pages of extensive work rules, the importance of the teacher seniority system and the nefarious intentions of those who sought to streamline the firing of bad teachers. So it came as a bit of a surprise when Duffy, who recently was termed out as president of United Teachers Los Angeles, announced that he wants to open charter schools that will make it harder for teachers to receive tenure, easier for them to lose it and allow schools to move much faster to fire ineffective instructors.
OPINION
June 16, 2011 | By Antonio Villaraigosa
The crisis in Los Angeles public schools — where only about half of the students graduate from high school and fewer than 30% of those who do are college-ready — can't be solved until we make excellent teaching a top priority. Teacher quality alone can't solve the problem, but every child in every school in every neighborhood must have an effective teacher. A study released last week by the National Council on Teacher Quality calls attention to just how dramatically we are failing when it comes to recruiting, training, evaluating and compensating teachers.
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