I founded LA School Report more than three years ago on the belief that there is an urgent need for quality journalism in the education arena; that without vigorous scrutiny, decisions made by elected officials, special interests and district bureaucrats go unchecked. Why the urgency? Because the Los Angeles public school system – which ranks among the worst in the country – is profoundly failing the vast majority of students, especially those who are not white and middle class. At the same time the district’s sheer size and diversity make it a national player. If this district can turn itself around, the whole country will benefit.
Since our launch, LA School Report has sought to bring some of the critical issues facing the public school system to the forefront. In this short time, a lot has happened: we have seen in quick succession the district bailed out of a budget crisis with a windfall from the state only to be faced with predictions of bankruptcy; a statewide suspension of academic progress tests that leaves the district – and parents – with no accountability measures, and a fractious, erratic school board that has hired three superintendents in five years and, in a recent clumsy move, put charter schools in its crosshairs instead of targeting its failing schools for improvement.
Amid these events and others, from our daily coverage of the Vergara trial to our in-depth reporting on school board elections, LA School Report has broken stories, won awards and helped galvanize a resurgence of education reporting in Los Angeles.
I believe that more attention and more public discourse spell good news for the 650,000 students in Los Angeles public schools, and in joining forces with The 74 – which takes its name from the number of public school students nationwide – the deeply rooted challenges facing this enormous and unwieldy district will now get a national audience.
With The 74 roster of smart, veteran journalists, we are ready to expand our reach and deepen our coverage. We usher in this next phase with a new executive editor, Laura Greanias, who has been a journalist in Los Angeles for nearly 25 years, including 15 years at the L.A. Times and most recently as city editor of the L.A. Daily News.
Along with our own seasoned staff, who under the leadership of managing editor Michael Janofsky has brought you quality reporting day in and day out, our new partnership will allow us to continue to bring you quality reporting with context and analysis – always with one primary question in mind: What is in the best interest of students?