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School Reform

CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 24, 2013 | By Howard Blume
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg donated $350,000 to the L.A. school board campaign this week, records show. Bloomberg's contribution, which was filed Tuesday, will enlarge an already sizable warchest of the Coalition for School Reform, a political action committee led by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. The goal of the coalition is to back candidates who will support the policies of L.A. schools Supt. John Deasy and pledge to keep him on the job. Before the March primary, Bloomberg contributed $1 million for the three board races -- the largest contribution ever made in an L.A. school board campaign.
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NEWS
April 16, 2013 | By Karin Klein
Real Democrats don't back school reform, apparently. Or maybe the message is that Democrats don't let Democrats shake up the school scene. In any case, real Democrats clearly aren't allowed to disagree with the California Teachers Assn. It's more than a little disturbing to read that the California Democratic Party voted to condemn groups that lobby for major change in the schools, such as Democrats for Education Reform, and called them fronts for Republicans. I'm a frequent critic of what I see as excesses of the reform movement - its failure to demand as much of charter schools as it does of public schools, or to keep them from “counseling out” students who don't make their numbers look good.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 14, 2013 | By Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times
They hail from New York, the Silicon Valley, Arkansas, Los Angeles and elsewhere. They are a rich and diverse lot, including Republicans, liberals, Hollywood notables and international corporate executives. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, L.A. philanthropist Eli Broad, Netflix founder Reed Hastings, pomegranate juice titan Lynda Resnick, anti-Obama mega-donor A. Jerrold Perenchio and the widow of Steve Jobs. Together, they smashed records for spending by outside groups in last month's L.A. Board of Education elections.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 11, 2013 | By Kate Linthicum and David Zahniser
Los Angeles mayoral candidate Wendy Greuel laid out her plans to improve public schools on Thursday, pushing for tougher evaluations of teachers and principals, while opponent Eric Garcetti secured endorsements from a handful of African American leaders. Speaking to students and parents in the library at Granada Hills Charter School, Greuel pledged to be "the education-reform mayor. " She vowed to advocate for rules that would make it easier to dismiss underperforming teachers and to support the so-called "parent-trigger," which allows parents of children in struggling schools to force aggressive changes, including handing it over to an outside operator.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 5, 2013 | By David Zahniser
Los Angeles mayoral candidate Eric Garcetti picked up the backing of school board member Tamar Galatzan on Friday and responded to criticism over his statements on a measure targeting low-achieving schools. Standing outside a school in Porter Ranch in the San Fernando Valley, Galatzan - who has been on the school board since 2007 -- praised Garcetti as someone who would work closely with Los Angeles Unified School District. Minutes before Galatzan spoke, rival Wendy Greuel's campaign sent an email asserting that Garcetti had given mixed messages on the so-called “parent trigger,” which allows parents at a low-performing school to force aggressive changes, such as handing it over to an outside operator.
NEWS
April 2, 2013 | By Alexandra Le Tellier
Growing up, I became an expert test-taker at my college prep private school. There wasn't a fact I couldn't memorize and I was determined to ace every exam. Problem was, I wasn't actually learning much of anything. That sad realization didn't come to me for years until a friend introduced me to her new school, a humanities magnet that forced students to think critically, to debate in class, to make persuasive arguments in essays, and to have real-world experiences that put all of this new knowledge into perspective.
OPINION
March 30, 2013
Re "'Radical' educator takes on state's unions," March 27 I've always viewed the policies and philosophy of Michelle Rhee, a former District of Columbia schools chancellor, with some ambivalence. While she's to be commended for her determined efforts at school reform, I always felt her over-reliance on standardized test scores as a significant barometer for teacher assessment was misguided. As a newly retired teacher with 34 years of experience, it was always my belief that a teacher's true effectiveness could be determined not only by student test scores but also by myriad other factors, including creativity, utilizing proven instructional techniques and using technology whenever possible in lessons.
OPINION
March 14, 2013
Re "Pushing 'God's law' on Egypt," March 12 Mohammed Zawahiri, an Egyptian engineer and brother of Al Qaeda leader Ayman Zawahiri, states that women shouldn't become president because they're "weak and could not make decisions at tough times. " Perhaps he has never heard of Cleopatra, Catherine de Medici, Queen Elizabeth I, Catherine the Great, Margaret Thatcher or Hillary Rodham Clinton. Not a weak one in the bunch. Mary Jane Bagby Carlsbad ALSO: Letters: The Wal-Mart moviemaker Letters: Doctors, drugs and addicts Letters: School reform we could use
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.
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