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School Choice

June 22, 1998
I disagree with Douglas W. Kmiec ("School Choice Is Religion Neutral," Column Right, June 16). I do not believe that tax money should be used to send students to schools where they are subjected to religious indoctrination. I believe that our Founding Fathers understood the importance of maintaining the separation of church and state. FRANK S. MORRIS Westminster
April 3, 2014
Re "Pay for schools leader draws scrutiny," April 1 Supt. Jose Fernandez of the Centinela Valley Union High School District, which has just 6,600 students, earned about $675,000 last year. Hired in 2008 to direct a dysfunctional and demoralized district, Fernandez claims that his leadership took the district from worst to OK. The district still suffers from chronic absenteeism. Student achievement is shamefully low, bottoming out among the roughly 80 districts in Los Angeles County, yet it has more administrators per student than districts of a similar size.
January 24, 1997
Information and applications are now available to parents interested in exploring Saddleback Valley Unified School District's School Choice program for the 1997-98 school year. School Choice allows parents to choose any campus in the district for their children to attend if space is available.
September 12, 2013 | By Eric Sondheimer
 Spencer Freedman , a highly regarded incoming freshman point guard, has decided to delay his first year of high school to enter a study program in Europe. He played in the Maccabiah Games in Israel this past summer for the USA youth team and indicated that experience helped influence his decision. He will begin high school next fall, he said. He was considering Santa Monica, St. Monica and Mater Dei as a possible high school choice.  
January 7, 1993 | Los Angeles businessman WILLIAM T. HUSTON is on the board of Excel--the Excellence Through Choice in Education League. He believes that schools should be run competitively. He told The Times:
As a businessman, I know that lack of competition results in higher costs and lower performance. This is why we need choice in schooling. Not just among public schools but between public and private schools. Choice leads to competition, which in turn increases accountability and expectations. Better performance--that is, improved learning by our children--will follow. At the college level, where schools compete for students on a nationwide level, U.S. education is the envy of the world.
October 17, 1996
Re Bernard Hosie's "Parents Know Best for Children," Commentary, Oct. 11: Right now there is no rigorous way to ensure that all high school graduates in California possess competency in basic skills. That's why, as described in Hosie's article, there are strong feelings to implement voucher approaches to school choice. Having worked with teachers in programs sponsored by the National Science Foundation and other agencies for more than a decade, I can say that many of the best-trained educators are in the public school system.
December 15, 1997
Cal Thomas is correct (Column Right, Dec. 9): Every child, rich or poor, white or black, should be allowed to attend whatever school he or she chooses. For that to happen, however, the chosen school should not be allowed to close its door in the child's face. The school should not be allowed to exclude a student merely because he needs remedial help or because she is not proficient in the English language. The school should be required to admit all applicants, even if there is no room.
March 2, 2013 | By Seema Mehta, Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles city government faces a litany of problems, from yawning pension liabilities to poorly paved roads. But few threaten long-term prosperity as much as education, and the ability of the city's public schools to produce an educated, taxpaying workforce. Though the mayor plays no official role in running the schools, voters frequently name education as their top priority in picking the city's chief executive. And Los Angeles' top elected official in recent years has increasingly tried to exert influence, with mixed results.
September 25, 2012 | By Seema Mehta
NEW YORK -- Mitt Romney said Tuesday that teachers unions should not be allowed to contribute to political campaigns, because their financial backing tips the negotiation process away from the interests of students. “We simply can't have a setting where the teachers unions are able to contribute tens of millions of dollars to the campaigns of politicians and then those politicians, when elected, stand across from them at the bargaining table, supposedly to represent the interest of the kids.
August 31, 2012
Re "Costly migration to charters," Aug. 28 Someone needs to officially diagnose the Los Angeles Unified School District with bipolar disorder. Instead of celebrating the fact that, because of the proliferation of charter schools within the district, "parents of means" are regaining enough confidence in public education to re-enroll their children in public schools, L.A. Board of Education members like Steve Zimmer are complaining that the influx of these students is putting a financial burden on the district.
May 29, 2012 | By Karin Klein
With jobs and mortgages and same-sex marriage to be bandied about, who has time to talk about what kids are or aren't learning in school? The conversation finally veered toward education last week with Mitt Romney coming out with some stands. The problem was that it looked less like taking a stand and more like wobbling while trying to get a foot out of his mouth. Romney came out swinging at President Obama for toadying to the teachers unions, which would be pretty strong stuff if it weren't so downright inaccurate.
December 11, 2011 | By Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times
As schools across California bemoan increasing class sizes, the Alliance Technology and Math Science High School has boosted class size — on purpose — to an astonishing 48. The students work at computers most of the school day. Next door in an identical building containing a different school, digital imaging — in the form of animation, short films and graphics — is used for class projects in English, math and science. At a third school on the same Glassell Park campus, long known as Taylor Yards, high-schoolers get hands-on experience with a working solar panel.
October 7, 2011
Under the Public School Choice program, applicants from within and outside the Los Angeles Unified School District — charter operators, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, teams of teachers — are allowed to submit proposals to run new and underperforming schools. Decisions are supposed to be made on the basis of which group has the most promising application, as well as whether it has a history of running successful schools. We never expected the process to be entirely pure, not in a district so rife with open and hidden political agendas.
September 2, 2011
The Public School Choice initiative was a landmark reform for the Los Angeles Unified School District. By allowing alternative operators — whether charter school organizations, the mayor or groups of teachers — to apply to manage scores of new and low-performing schools, it set the standard for putting students first. The theory was that anyone could apply and the very best applications would win, ensuring that students attended the best-run schools the district could offer. Just as important, charter operators in the program would have to accept all students within each school's enrollment area rather than using the usual lottery system under which more-motivated families tend to apply to charter schools.
March 23, 2010 | By Ron Wolk
Education historian Diane Ravitch is half right. In her March 14 Times Op-Ed article, "The Big Idea — it's bad education policy," Ravitch warns that there is no silver-bullet solution to our education problems. For the record: In a previous version of this article, one sentence incorrectly referred to Diane Ravitch as a man. She is correct. Having been an ardent supporter of the standards-based accountability strategy of the last 25 years and a champion of school choice, she has seen the light and become a convert, like St. Paul on the road to Damascus.
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