LAUSD leaders need to confront racism in schools, UCLA educator says
Racism and stereotypes continue to plague LA Unified, and it’s up to leaders to change that, according to a UCLA professor who is holding seminars at some schools. Tyrone C. Howard, associate dean for equity and inclusion at UCLA’s graduate school of education and information studies, spoke to the Curriculum, Instruction and Educational Equity Committee...
By Mike Szymanski | October 11, 2016
Parent centers proliferating at LAUSD, leading to better test scores, attendance and engagement
One of the most popular classes at 20th Street Elementary School has 43 dedicated students who come twice a week. They’re all parents. The parents of this 600-student school just south of downtown Los Angeles come here to learn English. They do projects for teachers. They discuss school issues. Their children even help them...
By Mike Szymanski | October 6, 2016
JUST IN: LAUSD remains a huge water waster as state conservation efforts continue to slip
As the state reported today that Californians’ conservation efforts are slacking off, millions of gallons of water are still being wasted each year by LA Unified because of unnecessary flushing of the water fountains, a report revealed Tuesday. Plans to end the practice won’t take place until the end of the 2017-18 school year, but board...
By Mike Szymanski | October 5, 2016
Resolutions as the LAUSD board’s work-around: Too many with too little impact on classrooms, some say
Some frank talk among the LA School Board members recently led to questions about how many resolutions the board creates and how effective they are. But they’re also one of the best ways to get things done, members said. Every school board meeting at LA Unified has a flurry of resolutions: It’s National Disability Employment Awareness...
By Mike Szymanski | October 4, 2016
School board concedes they don’t have much to do with what goes on in the LA classroom, considers changes
Some school board decisions get ignored, all board meetings are too long and most decisions have nothing to do with what goes on in the classroom. That’s some of the conversation that came out of an all-day session Tuesday with the LA Unified School Board and superintendent. The meeting, led by a private facilitator, was held...
By Mike Szymanski | September 30, 2016
Strategic plan lacks clear mission, so board agrees to champion ‘100 percent graduation,’ but how?
LA Unified’s three-year strategic plan lacks a clear mission statement. That was the consensus of an all-day school board session Tuesday. So the seven board members decided to fix it, landing on the goal of a 100 percent graduation rate. Yet the draft of the strategic plan remains light on exactly how to accomplish it. Because...
By Mike Szymanski | September 28, 2016
‘The data is miserable’: LAUSD board members rake academic officer over the coals for ‘crisis’ in test scores
LA Unified’s chief academic officer came before board members Tuesday with an upbeat-titled report called “Breaking Our Own Records,” but instead of resting on the improvement in overall test scores, the four school board members in attendance grilled her for nearly two hours throwing out terms like “frustrating,” “depressing” and “disappointing” and saying the district is...
By Mike Szymanski | September 13, 2016
LAUSD tries to make it easier for charter families to address the school board
Charter families have lined up at dawn in biting cold winds holding babies. They’ve sweated it out for hours standing around ice chests or taking turns under canopies. They’ve waited hours—sometimes nearly a full a day—to get into an LA Unified school board meeting. Then, they wait hours more just to be heard. School Board...
By Mike Szymanski | September 12, 2016
UTLA launches media campaign with billboards, bus signs, online ads
Look around at billboards, bus benches and online and you’re likely to spot a message from UTLA about students, teachers and parents telling their stories about their experience with the LA Unified school system. These positive stories about traditional district schools are part of an unprecedented media campaign launched this week by United Teachers Los Angeles, the second-largest teachers union...
By Mike Szymanski | September 1, 2016
Exclusive: New health benefits help push LAUSD into debt, document shows
LA Unified Superintendent Michelle King signed off on new health benefits for teachers assistants and playground aides even though the agreement stated that it will help push district reserves into the red by half a billion dollars within two years. And the question in the document asking how the district would replenish those reserves was left blank....
By Mike Szymanski | August 31, 2016