Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Los Angeles Times Round II

Let students vote with their dollars

By Lisa Snell

While transforming Los Angeles Unified will be a difficult job no matter who sits on the school board, I believe there are two significant impacts that could come from a win by the Mayor's candidates—Tamar Galatzan (District 3) and Richard Vladovic (District 7).

First, since they are more open to charter schools, they could help increase the number of high-quality schools in Los Angeles Unified through the direct approval of more charter schools or the support of Mayor-authorized charters. These new schools would be an immediate escape valve for those students languishing in low-performing schools like Locke high school. In addition, the competition from charters will continue to put pressure on the district to change its practices and make district-schools better performers.

Secondly, the Mayor's candidates could help the Mayor push for a school empowerment plan within Los Angeles Unified itself. In Mayor Villaraigosa's education reform plan, The Schoolhouse: A Framework to Give Every Child in LAUSD An Excellent Education, he calls for decentralizing public schools by driving more money into the classroom, empowering principals to make key decisions affecting their schools, and giving schools autonomy over school budgets. Under his plan, money would follow students into schools. Tamar Galatzan has also mentioned local control of budgets as her solution for dealing with district bureaucracy and inefficiency.

Read my whole thing here.

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