New leader of GPS Now says only goal is creating ‘successful schools’
The new executive director of Great Public Schools Now says a hostile LA Unified board resolution, angry union leaders or public opinion will not threaten the group’s goal to create successful schools, whoever’s in charge of them. If anything, said Myrna Castrejón, the widespread opposition to her organization, its plans and founder, Eli Broad, are...
By Michael Janofsky | January 15, 2016
Commentary: King was the right choice for LAUSD right now
I’ve never met Michelle King, but I’ve read enough about her and listened to enough people discussing her that one thing makes perfect sense to me: She’s the ideal superintendent for LA Unified. For right now. After all the time and expense — especially the time — district officials spent searching for a successor to...
By Michael Janofsky | January 12, 2016
Commentary: Don’t expect ‘super’ in LA Unified’s next superintendent
The finish line is in view. In all likelihood, by this time next week, LA Unified will have its next superintendent. Just who that will be remains uncertain to the world beyond the seven board members and a few district officials. The process has been moving along at a relatively brisk pace, considering the enormity...
By Michael Janofsky | January 5, 2016
Schmerelson revises anti-Broad measure — but unanimity uncertain
Scott Schmerelson has revised his LA Unified board resolution that attacks an outside group’s plan to expand the number of charter schools in the district. A majority of the seven board members has expressed opposition to the plan. But a shift in mission from the group — Great Public Schools Now, supported by the Broad Foundation and...
By Michael Janofsky | December 3, 2015
LA Unified losing $100s of millions in mandates unpaid by state, U.S.
A major contributor to LA Unified’s pending fiscal crisis is unfunded federal and state mandates that have deprived the district of hundreds of millions of dollars in recent years. The exact number is difficult to calculate because the total not only reflects the amount the district seeks in reimbursement but what percentage the governments return to...
By Michael Janofsky | November 24, 2015
Commentary: For LAUSD, maybe it’s not the time to hire an outsider
It’s getting down to crunch time: Thanksgiving . . . Christmas . . . Last day on the job for LA Unified Superintendent Ramon Cortines. By next week, names for his replacement will begin to flow with a list of candidates that could include such well-regarded figures from across the county as Rudy Crew, a former Chancellor of...
By Michael Janofsky | November 23, 2015
Charter group expanding mission to include support for LAUSD schools
In what would appear to be a strategic shift, the organization leading an effort to open more charter schools in LA Unified now intends to expand its mission to support traditional public schools that serve low-income children. The organization, incorporated as Great Public Schools Now, is an outgrowth of a plan by the Broad and...
By Michael Janofsky | November 19, 2015
Analysis: Six months later, financial warning to LA Unified unchanged
It’s one thing when LA Unified’s Chief Financial Officer appears before the school board and warns of budgetary troubles ahead, based on current projections and obligations. That’s her job. It’s quite another when a panel of outsiders, brought in to take a fresh look, reaches the same conclusions and expresses them in a hair-raising way...
By Michael Janofsky | November 9, 2015
Commentary: Disunity in finding a new boss for LA Unified
The effort to find a consensus candidate to follow Ramon Cortines into the superintendent’s office is playing out as difficult issues sometimes do in LA Unified, with good intentions undermined by political pandering and a bit of disingenuousness. While Steve Zimmer, the board president, has set in motion a thoughtful and reasonable approach to the...
By Michael Janofsky | October 28, 2015
Zimmer accuses Broad charter plan of strategy to ‘bring down’ LAUSD
Steve Zimmer, president of the LA Unified school board, said today that plans by Eli Broad and other philanthropists to expand the number of charter schools in the district represents “a strategy to bring down LAUSD that leaves 250,000 kids vulnerable to damage.” A draft report of the plan appears show how the organizations involved...
By Michael Janofsky | September 22, 2015