January 13, 2002 |
Last fall's announcement that the nightmarishly overcrowded Los Angeles Unified School District expects to complete 85 new schools and expand 75 others within six years should be cause for celebration. As a Times editorial wistfully noted, "We want to believe." But if the past offers any indication, the district is as likely to achieve that goal as its superintendent is to fly. My skepticism stems from having seen what happened when the district tried to build just one school--on a site it already owned with funds it had committed.
January 15, 2000 |
Like a hero returning to his hometown, Los Angeles Unified School District Supt. Ruben Zacarias spent his last day on the job Friday reading to students and counseling teachers at the modest Boyle Heights school he attended as a boy 65 years ago. "This is where it all started, and this is where I want it to end," the 71-year-old veteran said before getting down to the business of reading "Green Eggs and Ham" by Dr. Seuss to a kindergarten class at Breed Street Elementary School.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 26, 1999 |
A cascade of events that kept the headlines blazing almost continuously finally brought down the bulwarks of the city's most impenetrable bureaucracy. It began with the February disclosure that Los Angeles Unified School District officials began construction of the $200-million Belmont Learning Complex atop a former oil field without adequately assessing the dangers. Aided by Belmont outrage, a slate backed by Mayor Richard Riordan replaced three Board of Education members in spring elections.
November 14, 1999
Re Agustin Gurza's Nov. 9 column, " 'Racial Politics' to Some, Political Reality to Others": The reality is that L.A. schools Supt. Ruben Zacarias was incompetent for the job. In the two years that he has been at his post, what accomplishments has he achieved? Except being Latino. Children's test scores are still at rock bottom. No new schools have been built. And one that is being built (Belmont) and a site under consideration (South Gate) will probably never open because of toxic soil contamination.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 8, 1999
Re "Board Buys Out Zacarias; Interim Chief Is Cortines," Nov. 5: After 26 years as a teacher/counselor with the Los Angeles Unified School District, I now know that you spell "dignity" with a $. Silly me. HELEN ARAGON San Fernando Seven hundred fifty thousand dollars! More money than I have earned in 18 years of teaching your children at the top of the wage scale, including every summer school and intersession they would give me as well as an extra period a day. For the first time in five years I'm on vacation.
November 6, 1999 |
In Pasadena, they still remember--and admire--the way Ramon C. Cortines stood up to the Board of Education in the aftermath of a bitter fight over court-ordered school desegregation in the late 1970s. With an archly conservative board majority attacking teachers as communists and banning books as blasphemous, meetings had to regularly be held in a junior high auditorium to accommodate crowds in the hundreds.