FROM Yolie Flores Aguilar
Can Education Reformers Bypass UTLA and Governor Brown? President Obama's Education Secretary Arne Duncan has encouraged states to compete for education reform money under the program called Race to the Top . California's applications have failed every time, most recently because Governor Brown refused to commit to using $49 million federal dollars in ways opposed by the California Teachers' Association . Now, Duncan has warmed to a proposal by big city mayors — Bloomberg of New York, Emanuel of Chicago and LA's Antonio Villaraigosa. Individual districts, including LA Unified, might be able to apply on their own.
Does LA Unified Really Want School Reform? Mayor Villaraigosa says the LA Unified School District has delivered " a terrible blow to reform ." The elected school board has given control of 36 new and underperforming schools mostly to groups organized by administrators and teachers who already work for the District. Only four went to charter operators and three to the Mayor's reform organization. One charter operator says the move shows that "big labor has…control over these school board members." Yolie Flores, the board member who pushed for outside control, says some of her colleagues "are still beholden to unions."
LAUSD Votes to Hand Over Schools to Charter Groups The chief of the California Charter Schools Association calls it a “once in a generation opportunity.” The teacher's union calls it illegal. Last night, the Los Angeles Unified School Board agreed to open up 250 schools to outside operators, 50 new ones and 200 that are “failing” under No Child Left Behind .
LAUSD Board to Debate Management of New Schools The LA Unified School District will be opening no less than fifty new schools in the next few years. Tomorrow, the elected School Board will take up a proposal that could give outsiders a chance to run them. Proposals would be accepted from charter operators, unions, the Mayor's office and community groups. Mayor Villaraigosa is all in favor , but organized labor has problems . The LA Times is supportive, but in an editorial today warns against what it calls "a load of troubling amendments" including "poison pills…apparently intended to appease the teachers union." Board Vice President Yolie Flores Aguilar is the author of the main proposal . Steve Zimmer is one author of amendments the Times doesn't like.
Trump fires FBI Director James Comey Vice President Mike Pence took the Administration's lead today in explaining why the President fired the Head of the FBI, saying, "The president made the right decision at the right time." Trump's action is being compared to the so-called "Saturday Night Massacre" that led to President Richard Nixon's resignation in 1973.
A New York Times op-ed on climate change sparks uproar The New York Times is embroiled in a public furor over a new columnist, who wrote that scientific uncertainty is reason for debate about climate change. Many conservatives are delighted. Is America's leading liberal newspaper fostering climate denial? This is the latest in our series, "The Emotional States of America."
Trump's 'America First' goes missing abroad In the Middle East, President Trump is changing some policies of the Obama Administration—and reversing his own campaign attacks on Islam as a religion that "hates us." We hear about his visit to Saudi Arabia and what's at stake for the rest of his foreign excursion.
Should we 'hack the climate' to fight global warming? The Paris Agreements won't be enough to reverse global warming, whether President Trump pulls the US out or not. Is it time to try altering the atmosphere by what's called "geoengineering?" We hear about unintended consequences, international relations… and ethics.