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OPINION
March 14, 2013
Re "Divided over L.A. Unified," Editorial, March 12 How odd to see The Times characterize a resolution by United Teachers Los Angeles calling for "reduced class sizes, full staffing of our schools ... safe and clean schools [and] better pay for all school employees" as being "anti-reform. " If that's true, does "reform" mean higher class sizes, understaffed schools, unsafe and dirty campuses and low pay for school employees? My daughter's excellent middle-school teachers could give more individual attention to students if class sizes were capped at 25 instead of what many teachers face today, which no private-school parent would tolerate.
ARTICLES BY DATE
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.
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OPINION
November 5, 2011
When it comes to federal school reform, the overriding lesson is to be careful what you wish for. The No Child Left Behind Act, signed into law in 2002, ushered in an era of badly needed educational accountability, requiring schools to improve the lot of disadvantaged, black and Latino students who up to that point had been shorted academically in almost every way. But the law was so poorly written, so laden with rigid, arbitrary standards, that it...
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 6, 2013 | By Howard Blume
Los Angeles was the scene last week of two events that took on corporate-style school reform, which emphasizes competition and accountability and is promulgated by many state governments and the U.S. Department of Education. The first consisted of two L.A.-area appearances by education historian Diane Ravitch, whose new best-selling book is “Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America's Public Schools.” Ravitch spoke at Occidental College in Eagle Rock and at Cal State Northridge.
OPINION
March 5, 2013
Re "Views on schools offer a study in contrasts," March 3 Add L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and his eventual successor to the list of leaders whose impact on education reform is negligible. For the record, the list includes the president and Congress, the governor and Legislature, and the Los Angeles Unified School District, the school board and the teachers union. We'll improve our schools only when we rely on those who make a tangible impact on students' daily lives: teachers and families.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 4, 1994
Congratulations. Your special report on school reform on Oct. 23 was nothing less than superb. The concept, angle and writing were excellent. What was especially meaningful to me was that after many years of The Times' direct and indirect cheerleading for LEARN as the sine qua non of L.A. school reform, you finally portrayed it accurately. It is simply one tentacle of a multifaceted effort at school reform in L.A. Substantively and conceptually, at best it is no better than, and at worst it lags behind, the other school reform initiatives that you featured.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 6, 2013 | By Howard Blume
Los Angeles was the scene last week of two events that took on corporate-style school reform, which emphasizes competition and accountability and is promulgated by many state governments and the U.S. Department of Education. The first consisted of two L.A.-area appearances by education historian Diane Ravitch, whose new best-selling book is “Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America's Public Schools.” Ravitch spoke at Occidental College in Eagle Rock and at Cal State Northridge.
OPINION
March 4, 2011
When the Los Angeles Unified School District board approved an initiative in 2009 that lets outside operators apply to run some of the lowest-performing schools, it included a provision for advisory votes by parents, teachers, neighbors and in some cases students as a way to give the public some say in reform at their schools. Two rounds of voting, however, have produced low turnout and disappointing results. Many voters were ill-informed about their choices, and there were troubling attempts to unduly influence the outcomes.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 2, 2000
If a Pulitzer Prize were awarded for the most depressing article of the year, "School Reform Pays Off--for Executives" (June 25) would be a major candidate for the prize. Did anyone seriously think the Los Angeles Unified School District "reform" would have any other result? We're about to be treated to 11 bloated bureaucratic centers, and you may be sure they will all be carpeted and with air-conditioning that actually works; and the people who staff it will consider it part of their job description to avoid going to school sites as much as possible so as not to see at firsthand the realities of classroom problems.
OPINION
September 20, 2013 | By The Times editorial board
The Los Angeles Unified School District did the right thing by setting some new requirements for "parent trigger" petitions for school reform. But the small changes a local district can make don't go nearly far enough to amend a sloppily written and poorly implemented state law. After years of ignoring the resulting dysfunction, the Legislature and State Board of Education need to step up and fix their mistakes. The biggest problem with the parent trigger law has always been the dismaying lack of transparency.
OPINION
September 7, 2013
Re "Fostering compassion in children," Opinion, Sept. 2 About three decades ago, some educators and psychologists sold the public on the ridiculous notion that schools should give students self-esteem. Participation trophies were handed out. Children grew up with the false notion that each of them was the center of the universe. Result: two generations of narcissistic, maladjusted twenty- and thirtysomethings, drifting in the wind because they discovered they are not special or entitled.
OPINION
September 2, 2013 | By Arlie Hochschild
Are the ideas on offer to reform America's schools really the best we can come up with? Texas has embraced reforms, for example, that call for increasing the number of charter schools and eliminating some of the exams required to graduate from high school, including one in world history. Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad just signed an education reform bill allowing parents who home school their kids to teach driver's education. And 30 state legislatures have introduced bills authorizing some K-12 teachers to carry loaded guns to school.
OPINION
July 15, 2013 | By The Times editorial board
What can the education world conclude about charter schools after their first couple of decades in existence? Something so simple that it's almost earth-shattering: The best ones benefit students enormously, especially those students who are low income, African American or still learning English. And the bad ones are far worse than if the students had stayed in their public schools. It's not hard to ensure that charter schools are good; it just takes a modicum of oversight and the political will that too many school boards have been unwilling to exercise.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 3, 2013 | Dan Weikel
When the Garden Grove Unified School District was preparing to seek voter approval for a $250-million bond measure, it hired a securities broker to play a key role in the campaign. State law bars school districts from spending money to influence the outcome of elections, but not brokers such as George K. Baum & Co. The firm gave $35,000 in political contributions and, in accordance with its contract, polled voters, wrote the ballot language and provided campaign services. The 2010 bond measure passed, and Baum -- hired without competitive bidding -- earned $1.43 million for selling the initial $130 million in Garden Grove notes.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 22, 2013 | By Howard Blume
Antonio Sanchez has conceded to Monica Ratliff in the contest to represent the east San Fernando Valley on the Los Angeles Board of Education. Sanchez congratulated Ratliff in a Facebook posting. "Her commitment to the children of this district is unquestionable," said Sanchez. "Her desire to raise education standards in our schools should not only be commended but also strongly supported. " Sanchez, 31, also talked about his efforts to win the seat. Live video analysis: Wednesday, noon to 2 p.m. "I dedicated night and day to this campaign," he said.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 21, 2013 | By Howard Blume
The race for an open seat on the Los Angeles Board of Education was close in early returns between Monica Ratliff and Antonio Sanchez, with Ratliff holding a lead.  The two candidates are vying for District 6, which stretches across the east San Fernando Valley, on the seven-member school board. In the Los Angeles Community College District Board of Trustees election, incumbent Nancy Pearlman was leading challenger David Vela, according to early returns. All voters within the college district can cast ballots in this race, which covers a vast swath of L.A. County.
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