Alberto Carvalho was selected as LA Unified School District’s new superintendent today. He spent more than a decade as the head of Miami-Dade County Public Schools, the fourth largest school district in the nation. Still, LAUSD has almost twice the number of students. Carvalho is taking the job at a difficult time for LA public schools, as hundreds of employees were fired for failing to meet the vaccine mandate, and nearly 35,000 students have yet to receive their first dose.
Carvalho became Miami-Dade’s superintendent in 2008, says Los Angeles Times education reporter Howard Blume. He turned around the district and created stability, and even received an A letter grade for his district recently.
He gained massive popularity during his tenure. And over the years, he’s also won awards such as the Broad Prize for Urban Education.
“He's a charismatic figure. There's a question of whether his strong personality will be the right fit for LA. But he wasn't always this sort of demigod of South Florida,” Blume explains. “He had to, at one point early in his career, overcome some difficult connections and make ties with Republicans and Democrats as well. So he does have political skills and it will be interesting to see how well he fits into this particular political climate.”
The needs at LAUSD
Due to LAUSD’s teacher shortage, none of the employees fired were teachers, although seven had teaching certificates, and the district may need them to teach remote courses to unvaccinated students, Blume says.
Teachers who claimed religious exemptions were likely to get one too, he adds, and a total of 808 teachers got them. And it might be those educators who could start teaching with the district’s online, independent school for students. That’s because a large influx of students might not be able to come back to school in time for the January 10, 2022 vaccination deadline.
“They're going to have to pull some teachers out of regular schools. They’re gonna have to redo schedules. It could be that some of these families will just say ‘sayonara’ to LA Unified and look for a schooling option elsewhere,” Blume says.
It’s still unclear how many students will not be able to make the deadline, but Blume says that LAUSD is predicting there are many students who have been vaccinated and just haven’t uploaded their statuses yet.