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.
After Syria strike a new Trump doctrine emerges The President who promised an end to entanglements in the Middle East and snuggled up to Vladimir Putin has now outraged Russia with surprise missile attacks on Syria. That's raised questions about who's running the White House? We hear a variety of answers.
GOP 'Nukes' the Senate filibuster on SCOTUS nominees Senate Democrats today blocked Judge Neil Gorsuch's appointment to the US Supreme Court… but just for the moment. The Republican majority has changed the rules to force a likely confirmation as soon as tomorrow.
Will the march for science politicize objective research? Protesters are gathering all over the country for tomorrow's Earth Day March for Science. Since President Trump has proposed massive cuts in basic scientific research, will the movement be perceived as partisan politics — whether scientists themselves like it or not?