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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 21, 2000
Regarding the LAUSD reorganization, June 16: How many superintendents does it take to screw in a light bulb? Answer: 11? DANIEL PRESBURGER Thousand Oaks
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OPINION
April 10, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
In February, Los Angeles Unified School District officials suspended a teacher after two of his students turned in science projects that administrators thought looked like guns. Even granting that school officials have a right to be hypersensitive these days about anything resembling a weapon, their decision to remove him from the classroom was a harmful overreaction. It's also hard to understand why the investigation into this seemingly simple matter has taken more than a month.
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OPINION
November 2, 2009
It's back to business as usual at the Los Angeles Unified School District, and that's not a good thing. The district's potentially transformational initiative to open about 250 schools to outside management is in danger of being undermined as various interest groups stake out turf. The central goal of the program -- to radically refashion education for the district's most disadvantaged students -- could be lost in the skirmishing. The Public School Choice policy approved by the school board in August was unfortunately vague, a strategy to overcome resistance from various quarters.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 9, 2014 | Teresa Watanabe and Stephen Ceasar
Disadvantaged students in L.A. Unified stand to benefit from a multimillion-dollar infusion for more tutoring, counselors, English language coaches, nurses, librarians and other support under a budget plan presented Tuesday. In the opening salvo in a two-month process under the state's new school finance system, L.A. schools Supt. John Deasy presented the district's first detailed blueprint for spending $837 million specifically aimed at boosting services for students who are low-income, learning English and in foster care.
OPINION
November 9, 2009
It's hard to imagine a more trying time for students and teachers at the Los Angeles Unified School District. Even more difficult is determining how much of the current woe was brought on by the district itself and how much reflects the vagaries of demographics, politics and the economy. Consider the dismal budget year, the large-scale layoffs and the declining population of school-age students, then add to these troubles the students lost to charter schools and the resulting reduction in public school funding from the state.
OPINION
September 30, 2009
The Los Angeles Unified School District does few things efficiently and competently. The big exception has been its construction effort of the last several years, guided by Guy Mehula. The facilities unit has built 80 schools and done most of the jobs well, on time and within budget. It's not a coincidence that Mehula's division has operated with an unusual amount of independence and freedom from school board politics and central office bureaucracy. Mehula's resignation on Monday, and the loss of a measure of that independence, are discouraging signs not only for the future of school construction but for the district as a whole.
OPINION
January 4, 2014
Even the noblest of efforts - such as, say, the Los Angeles Unified School District's program to give each of its 600,000-plus students Apple iPads - can suffer under the weight of bungled management. Since the district rolled out its $1 billion program - funded by construction bond money, a sticking point with letter writers - reader reaction has ranged from skepticism at the beginning to downright hostility as more problems were reported. The Times' latest article on the program, which reported that other school districts pay far less than L.A. Unified for their laptops and tablets, sparked reader indignation again.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 8, 2013 | By Jori Finkel
If Shepard Fairey is not exactly following in the footsteps of Barbara Kruger and John Baldessari, he is driving in their lane. Fairey is the third high-profile L.A. artist who has signed on to participate in the "Arts Matter" public awareness campaign by the L.A. Fund for Public Education, which plasters artwork on city buses and billboards to help get their message out. And his project has a twist. Instead of sitting down now to design a graphic to be reproduced in this way, Fairey is asking L.A. students for a phrase or line to inspire his visuals.
OPINION
January 16, 2012
All too often, a child's ZIP Code is his destiny. In Los Angeles, it is possible to discern from that five-digit number alone not only whether he lives in a safe neighborhood or whether there's a nearby park — poorer areas of the city are notably lacking in public green spaces — but also his chance, and his children's chances, of living in a different neighborhood at some point in the future. That's in large part because such children often attend low-performing neighborhood schools where the likelihood of earning a diploma hovers around 50%, and the odds of upward mobility are worse.
OPINION
October 29, 2013 | By The Times editorial board
There are so many dramas and mini-disasters at the Los Angeles Unified School District, they have to take a number and line up for attention. First, a special meeting was called for Tuesday so that the board could set a broad vision from which future policies would flow. Then the board put off the vision thing in favor of a meeting on the more immediate, problem-riddled iPad project. Now it is delaying that discussion to devote the meeting to the topic of Supt. John Deasy, the bold but stubborn school reformer who stunned Los Angeles last week when it was revealed that he is on the verge of quitting the job he has held since 2011.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 8, 2014 | By Alicia Banks
It was a surreal scene for some, a traffic headache for others, as demonstrators set up 375 desks in neat rows Tuesday on the street in front of the headquarters of the Los Angeles Unified School District. The stunt's organizers said desks represented the roughly 375 students who dropped out of L.A. Unified schools each week during the 2011-2012 school year. According to the California Department of Education, 8,748 L.A. Unified students dropped out during that school year. It's a number organizers with the Communities for Los Angeles Student Success say they don't want district officials to gloss over.
OPINION
April 6, 2014
Re "Nutritious but uneaten," April 2 The Los Angeles Unified School District serves 650,000 meals a day, with $100,000 worth of food thrown away each day by students. That adds up to $18 million wasted every year. Our society needs a renaissance of responsibility - and to resolve not to waste food. What better places to start than in homes and schools? For decades, nutritionists and educators have taught that certain foods are junk, rather than focusing on the cardinal principles of variety and moderation.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 17, 2014 | By Howard Blume
The mayor's top education advisor, Thelma Melendez de Santa Ana, is joining the Los Angeles Unified School District as a senior administrator. The 55-year-old Melendez, a former Obama administration official, was talked about in recent times as a contender for the top job at the nation's second-largest school system. At L.A. Unified, Melendez will serve as second-in-command for Beyond the Bell, a division that oversees after-school programs, among other functions. She's likely to take over that department after the anticipated retirement of the current head, L.A. schools Supt.
OPINION
March 11, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
Amid allegations of overbilling, environmental hazards and spiraling costs at the Belmont Learning Center in downtown L.A. in the late 1990s, the state Legislature created a separate investigative office within the Los Angeles Unified School District. The new inspector general was authorized to issue subpoenas, and charged with examining operations in the district with a piercing and unimpeded eye. But the position was authorized for only 15 years, until the end of 2014. The first inspector general reported on serious shortfalls in accountability and oversight at Belmont.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 18, 2014 | By Stephen Ceasar and Howard Blume
The Los Angeles Board of Education on Tuesday appointed a former district administrator to oversee the seat left vacant by the death of member Marguerite Poindexter LaMotte in December. In a closed-door meeting, the board selected Sylvia Rousseau, a USC professor and former local superintendent in L.A. Unified, to be a “liaison” to the board district until a special election is held in June. The 5-0 vote was taken in public after the private meeting, said L.A. Unified general counsel David Holmquist.
OPINION
February 16, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
It was just like old times at the Los Angeles Unified school board meeting last week. The board voted to close two excellent charter schools for reasons that had nothing to do with the quality of education they are providing to students but rather over provincial concerns about turf. This was the kind of board behavior - common a decade ago - that drove so many frustrated parents and policymakers into the arms of the school reform movement. We had hoped those days were over. At issue were charter renewals for two Huntington Park schools run by Aspire Public Schools, one of the most highly regarded charter operators in California.
OPINION
January 12, 2014
Re "L.A. facing grim future, panel says," Jan. 9 Although a panel of civic leaders, which didn't include any representatives from the L.A. Unified School District, sharply criticized LAUSD, it won't be offering any recommendations on public schools. Why? As one of the major authors stated: "I'm not sure I'm qualified or anyone is qualified on this commission to really get into that. " Then why take pot shots when you aren't going to offer suggestions? People who haven't worked in education have no standing when criticizing schools.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 10, 2013 | By Ari Bloomekatz
Beginning Friday, thousands of rainbow "ally" badges will be passed out to Los Angeles Unified teachers and staff members that they can wear to identify themselves as allies of  gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students. The "Out for Safe Schools" initiative coincides with National Coming Out Day on Friday and was announced Thursday by leaders of the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center and the school district. "We want all our youth and staff to know that it is safe to be you in LAUSD," Supt.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 5, 2014 | By Howard Blume, Richard Winton and Alan Zarembo
The Los Angeles Unified School District said it would not reverse its decision to fire former Miramonte Elementary teacher Martin Springer after charges against him were dropped Wednesday, officials said. L.A. County prosecutors canceled Springer's pending trial after the teacher's young accuser decided not to testify. Her family said the 12-year-old was too traumatized, "so we are unable to proceed at this time," said Jane Robison, a spokeswoman for the district attorney's office.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 1, 2014 | By The Times Staff
El Camino Real Charter High School won the Los Angeles Unified School District's “Super Quiz” competition Saturday, beating 58 other high school teams in the Academic Decathlon's final event. The Marshall High School team took second place and the reigning national, state and LAUSD decathlon champion, Granada Hills Charter High School, placed third. The El Camino charter team scored 63 out of a possible 72 points in the game show-style contest, in which students have seven seconds to answer multiple-choice questions on a variety of subjects.
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