Poll: Education Small Factor in Mayoral Voting


Screenshot of poll showing where education factors in voters’ decision-making.

The most recent LA Times / USC poll has candidate Eric Garcetti up 7 points over his rival Wendy Greuel in tomorrow’s Mayoral runoff.

However, the poll suggests that education is not a very big factor for voters making up their minds — despite all the policy proposals, campaign trail back-and-forth between the candidates, and school appearances of the past few weeks.

When asked by pollsters what the main reason for voting for Eric Garcetti, only 2 percent said “Better for schools/education.” The number one reason, with 15 percent: “Lesser of the two evils / don’t like Greuel.”

As for Greuel voters, 3 percent said “Views on schools / education.” The number one reason, with 13 percent: “She’s a woman / need a female mayor.”

Previous posts: Still No School Board Endorsement From GarcettiGarcetti & Gruel Debate EducationGreuel Endorses Sanchez, Garcetti UndecidedMayoral Debate Reveals Few School [Policy] Differences

Charts: School Board Voting Could Decline

There a few really great charts in today’s LA Times article about our ever-sinking voter turnout, including the one above. The Times shows that voter turnout in Mayoral runoffs increases an average of 18 percent from the primary.

But according to sources we’ve spoken with, voter turnout in School Board District 6 next week could actually be lower than it was during the March primary, when less than 18 percent of registered voters cast ballots.

Previous posts: Final: Mayoral Candidates Lack Commitment Reformers & Teachers Want;  Mayoral Candidates Divided by High SchoolGarcetti & Gruel Debate EducationGreuel Endorses Sanchez, Garcetti Undecided

Mayoral Debate Reveals Few School Differences

Photo by Timothy Norris, c/o KCRW

Tuesday afternoon’s KCRW Mayoral debate — about half of which focused on public education — began with a bold assertion by candidate Wendy Greuel:

“There’s probably no other subject where my opponent and I differ than on education.”

But in a debate that covered topics such as the publication of teacher ratings in the LA Times, the School Board runoff, the district’s failed Race to the Top application, and teacher dismissal legislation, perhaps the only real issue on which Greuel and Garcetti disagreed in an obvious way was over whom to endorse for District 6 — and only so because Garcetti hasn’t yet met with both candidates.

“I kept listening for an actual difference and I didn’t hear one, said Joe Mathews, the California editor of event sponsor Zocalo Public Square. “It made me yearn for a different kind of debate — maybe a Survivor-style contest.”

Continue reading

Mayoral Debate: Teachers Give to Garcetti Super PAC

Garcetti meeting with parents of 24th St. Elementary via Parent Revolution

The American Federation of Teachers and its California chapter, CFT, have just given a combined $60,000 to a super PAC named  Lots of People Who Support Eric Garcetti for Mayor.

Although UTLA, the local teachers union, endorsed Garcetti back in February, this is the first time a teachers union has spent any money on the 2013 Mayoral election.

“I think the AFT is sending a loud and clear message that the status quo — ensuring that the worst teachers are impacting students — is still the law of the land,” said political consultant Michael Trujillo, a strong (though unpaid) supporter of Garcetti’s opponent, Wendy Greuel. “And they’re gonna hold Eric Garcetti’s feet to the fire.”

The union contribution may come up later today, when the candidates will take part in an education-focused debate hosted by KPCC.

Continue reading

Garcetti and Greuel to Meet With “Trigger” Parents

Eric Garcetti and Wendy Greuel

Mayoral candidates Eric Garcetti and Wendy Greuel will meet with parents on Monday, May 6 at 24th Street Elementary, the first school in LAUSD to be taken over by parents using the parent trigger law.

Parent Revolution, an education advocacy group that has led the parent trigger effort in California, will host the meet and greet. Garcetti and Greuel will visit the school at separate times to hear from parents about their successful school overhaul and to have a Q&A session on the future of education in Los Angeles.

The candidates’ positions on education policies and the parent trigger law have evolved over the course of their campaigns. Garcetti, who is endorsed by the teachers union in LA, initially seemed to oppose the parent trigger movement (read about it here), but he eventually expressed unequivocal support for the option (read the story here). Greuel aligned herself with education reformers earlier in the campaign process and has consistently said she support the trigger option as a way to fix failing schools (read about it here.)

Previous posts: One Mayoral Candidate Opposes Parent Trigger – Sort Of; Garcetti Praises Reform Strategies; Mayoral Candidate Greuel Supports Garcia, Parent Trigger

Reminder: Monday Voting Registration Deadline

The runoff election that will decide Los Angeles’ new mayor, the LAUSD Board member for District 6 (East San Fernando Valley), and several other city offices is now less than a month away.

Monday, May 6 is the last day you can register to vote for the May 21 runoff. If you still haven’t registered, go here to register to vote online.

Click below for other deadlines for applying to vote by mail and to drop off a vote by mail application. Continue reading

Morning Read: Lawmakers Stall on Teacher Evaluation Bill

Bill to Alter Evaluations of California Teachers Fails Again in Senate
Legislation that would alter how California schools judge teachers flunked another test on Tuesday, failing to advance for the second time in a week. Sac Bee
See also: LA School Report

Duncan Says It’s Still Possible for State to Get NCLB Waiver
California remains interested in receiving a waiver from sanctions under the No Child Left Behind law, and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said Wednesday it remains possible for the state to get one. EdSource

L.A. Mayor’s Race: Wendy Greuel Uses Web Chat to Target Women
The chat participants, including Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina, L.A. Unified President Monica Garcia, longtime civil rights activist Dolores Huerta, Assemblywoman Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) and operatives from the Feminist Majority and the Planned Parenthood Advocacy Project, urged Los Angeles viewers to join their canvassing efforts on Greuel’s behalf. LA Times

Poll: Should Breakfast Be Banned From the Classroom?
Should under-nourished students be allowed to eat in the classroom? The issue became a hot topic this week after Los Angeles Unified Superintendent John Deasy passed on making a decision, putting the future of a pilot breakfast program into the hands of the school board. KPCC
See also: LA School Report

Continue reading

Morning Read: Board Likely to Back Classroom Breakfast

L.A. Unified Board Will Back Classroom Breakfast Program
A majority of L.A. Unified School Board members said they will vote to continue a classroom breakfast program that feeds nearly 200,000 children but was in danger of being axed after sharp criticism by the teachers union. LA Times
See also: LA School Report, KPCC

The Messy Complications of Breakfast in the Classroom
The Los Angeles Unified School District is in a period of tremendous upheaval that, it’s hoped, will result in better education for its students. With so much changing and so much at stake, of course there are more than a few daggers drawn. But when the teachers union and district administration can’t even get together over feeding hungry kids, something sick is going on. LA Times Opinion

Pre-K Funding is Delivered Another Blow
California state funding per child fell by more than than $400 compared with the previous year, and only 41% of 4-year-olds were served by public pre-K programs and Head Start in the 2011-12 school year, the institute reported. LAT

Washington and Sacramento Must End Cold War on Education
It is too late for California to get more than the sliver of Race to the Top funds it has already received. But the administration’s rejection of California’s NCLB waiver request is too important an issue to accept without further urgent efforts on both sides to reach a resolution. EdSource (opinion)

Walton Foundation Gives $8 Million to StudentsFirst
A foundation associated with the Wal-Mart family fortune has expanded its support for the education advocacy group run by former District of Columbia schools chancellor Michelle Rhee. LA Times

Continue reading

Morning Read: Study Praises Teacher Evaluation Tool

First Academic Study of Controversial LA Unified Teacher Evaluation Program
An academic study of a teacher evaluation method that looks at how much teachers are able to improve students’ test scores gave the pilot program a good grade. But the study comes too late — the teacher’s union and Los Angeles Unified School District agreed not to use the measure in the district’s new teacher evaluation protocols. KPCC

L.A. Unified Fight Focuses on Breakfast Program
Los Angeles Unified will eliminate a classroom breakfast program serving nearly 200,000 children, reject more school police, cut administrators and scale back new construction projects unless the school board votes to approve them, according to Supt. John Deasy. LA Times
See also: LA School Report, Sac Bee, LA Daily News, KPCC

‘Super PACs’ Negate Spending Limits in L.A. Mayor’s Race
As groups raising funds for Greuel and Garcetti pour money into the race — a record $6.1 million so far — voter-approved contribution restrictions become meaningless. LA Times

Eric Garcetti for Mayor
Perhaps most important, Garcetti has demonstrated the capacity to grow, learn and improve his performance. He admits mistakes, such as his vote in favor of a settlement allowing, for a time, virtually unregulated digital billboards. LAT (editorial page)

L.A. Schools Finish One-Two in National Academic Decathlon
After months of preparation, Granada Hills Charter High wins the title for the third straight year. Finishing second was El Camino Real Charter High, a six-time national champion. LA Times
See also: Sac Bee

Continue reading

Morning Read: Unions Oppose Teacher Evaluation Bill

Teacher Evaluations: Let the Battle Begin
On Wednesday, the state Senate Education Committee will take up a bill by Sen. Ron Calderon, D-Montebello, that would adopt a formal state standard for evaluating teachers. SD Union-Tribune Editorial

A Student With Promise, a Teacher Who Had to Help
Brought to the U.S. as a baby, Itzel Ortega had no way to get financial aid to become an architect. Then a former teacher, recalling her own story, stepped in. LA Times

L.A. Unified Teacher Arrested for Alleged Child Porn Possession
Douglas Randolph Collins, 46, of Valencia, was taken into custody at the Van Nuys Education Center, where he had been sent after being removed from the classroom after authorities began investigating child porn allegations in October. LA Times
See also: LA Daily News, HuffPo

LA Mayor’s Race: How the Candidates Stand on Your Issues
Even though the mayor doesn’t have any direct authority over the Los Angeles Unified School District, many voters said they want the next major to play a role in education. Neither Greuel nor Garcetti has indicated they would follow Antonio Villaraigosa’s lead. KPCC
Continue reading

Mayoral Candidates Schedule May 7 Education Debate

The Mayoral debates now flow like wine as the campaign enters its final month. A recent poll put candidate Eric Garcetti ahead by 10 points, so it was his opponent, Wendy Greuel, who was largely on the attack last night as the candidates debated on the USC Health Sciences campus. (She also admitted, twice, to being a bad campaigner).

The education section of the debate was predictably brief. Greuel trotted out her familiar talking points about being a mother of kids in LAUSD, and about her proposals such as a students’ bill of rights.

Most interestingly, she said she would “expand” Mayor Villaraigosa’s Partnership for LA Schools, although it’s unclear if she meant adding schools (there are already 22) or simply adding students.

“I am going to be as active as this Mayor was,” she said.

Garcetti said his goal would be to cut the truancy rate in half, and expressed support for parent colleges and vocational education — perhaps taking a page out of the book of former Mayoral candidate Kevin James, by whom he’s been endorsed. Garcetti also pledged to campaign for School Board candidates, and name-dropped one School Board member in particular: Steve Zimmer.

The two candidates will take part in a debate focused on education on May 7, at 2 PM, at the Petersen Automotive Museum. It will be broadcast on KCRW. (A previous version of this post said the debate would focus ‘solely’ on education. In fact, it will only mostly be about education.)

Previous posts: Garcetti Praises Partnership School, Differs with UTLA PollMayoral Candidates Respond Differently to UTLA Vote on DeasyGreuel Endorses New Teacher Evaluation Plan

Morning Read: Garcetti, Greuel Debate Who’s Best for LA

Garcetti, Greuel Debate Who Can Best Lead Los Angeles As Mayor
The two candidates for mayor of Los Angeles made robust cases for themselves in a televised debate Monday night from the USC Health Sciences Campus east of downtown, but they became most passionate when they squared off, again, on the question of who would be the most independent leader. LA Times

Saving the California Dream: ‘Parent Trigger’ Profiles
Parents at Weigand Elementary School in Watts are the most the recent group to organize and deliver a petition, and they say it’s been a tough fight so far. “The courage it takes to sign a petition when you know there’s going to be a battle is tremendous,” says Alfonso Flores, a former LAUSD “Teacher of the Year.” Fox LA

Attack Shows Education  Reform Gaining Ground
The passage by delegates at this month’s California Democratic Convention of a resolution condemning Democrats, including me, who support education reform illustrates an ongoing battle among Democrats across the nation. O.C. Register Opinion (Gloria Romero)

Burbank Teacher Suspended After Breaking State Standardized Testing Rules
At least one elementary school class has had their test scores invalidated, and the district’s ranking could be in jeopardy. NBC LA
See also: KPCC

Continue reading

Early Voting Starts Today, Can Determine Elections

Monday, April 22 is the first day Los Angeles voters will receive and can apply for vote-by-mail ballots for the May 21 East Valley District 6 runoff election, which means that campaigning will finally begin in earnest. (Go here to apply for a vote-by-mail ballot.)

The election will pick between Monica Ratliff and Antonio Sanchez for the LAUSD Board’s District 6 seat representing the East San Fernando Valley. Voters will also elect LA’s next mayor and a number of other city offices.

Early voting might seem like a sleepy issue, but it plays a big role in election outcomes. In the LA Daily News, Rick Orlov wrote about its “increasingly important role in all elections,” making up 46 percent of the total vote in the primary election. We saw  proof of the impact of vote-by-mail ballots in the March primary, when District 4 (Hollywood/Westside) LA School Board incumbent Steve Zimmer beat his challenger Kate Anderson thanks to a significant early voting advantage. (Read the story here.)

Previous posts: Calendar: Registration & Vote By Mail Schedule; How Steve Zimmer *Really* Won

Morning Read: District 6 Runoff Ramping Up

In L.A. School Board Race, Sky-High Spending Continues
Record spending will continue in the last remaining race for a seat on the Los Angeles school board, as a political action committee has put together a war chest of about $600,000 to use on behalf of a candidate endorsed by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. LA Times
See also: LA School Report

State Probes Burbank Third Grade Cheating Report
Burbank school officials say a third-grade teacher has been put on leave after a student reported a got help with answers on state standardized tests. KPCC
See also: LA Times

State Toughens Regs for Interns Teaching English Learners
The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing will now require non-credentialed Teach For America teachers and other intern teachers to receive more training in how to teach English learners and to get weekly on-the-job mentoring and supervision. EdSource

Democratic Party Schism Over Scandalous Schools: Gloria Romero, Slimed by Teacher Unions, Says Sober Up
A few days ago, the teachers union wing of the California Democratic Party tarred the growing numbers of breakaway Democrats who, in sync with President Obama, point the finger at teachers unions as a big obstacle to fixing crappy schools. LA Weekly

Continue reading

Morning Read: State Democrats Pass Anti-Reform Resolution

California Democrats Blast Efforts to Overhaul Schools
California Democrats on Sunday condemned efforts led by members of their own party to overhaul the nation’s schools, arguing that groups such as StudentsFirst and Democrats for Education Reform are fronts for Republicans and corporate interests. LA Times

L.A. School Reform Effort Draws Diverse Group of Wealthy Donors
Republicans, liberals, Hollywood notables and global corporate executives are among those who gave to the Coalition for School Reform. LA Times

LAUSD Chief John Deasy Draws Fire as He Pursues Aggressive Reform Plan
The reforms that Deasy enacted – and just how aggressively he’s pursued them – have put the fast-talking New Englander at the center of a heated debate over the future of the nation’s second-largest school district. LA Daily News

Interest in Teaching Continues to Drop in California
Interest in teaching is steadily dropping in California, with the number of educators earning a teaching credential dipping by 12% last year — marking the eighth straight annual decline. LA Times
See also: EdSource

Continue reading

Listen: What Do Ed Leaders Want From LA’s Next Mayor?

What LA’s next Mayor should do to help make the schools better has been on everyone’s minds this week, and KPCC interviewed three education leaders to get their views.

Elise Buik, president of the United Way of Greater Los Angeles, wants the mayor to help the district “replicate high-performance schools and transform low-performing schools more quickly.”

Marshall Tuck, CEO of Partnership for LA Schools, wants to know if the future mayor understands the state of LA schools and what they need to succeed:

And Gloria Romero, director of California’s Democrats for Education Reform, wants the new mayor to have more direct involvement in all LA schools — not just the lowest performing ones:

You can also read and listen to the full story at KPCC.

Morning Read: Teachers Vote “No Confidence” in Deasy

UTLA Delivers No-Confidence Vote to LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy
LAUSD’s teachers union issued an overwhelming vote of no-confidence Thursday in the leadership of Superintendent John Deasy as he finishes his second year, while a rival survey released by civil rights groups showed strong support for his reform strategies and called for an even more aggressive approach to improving student achievement. LA Daily News
See also: LA Times, KPCC, LA School Report, WSJ

Greuel Vows School Reform as Garcetti Seeks End to ‘Division’
Los Angeles mayoral candidate Wendy Greuel laid out her plans to improve public schools on Thursday, pushing for tougher evaluations of teachers and principals, while opponent Eric Garcetti secured endorsements from a handful of African American leaders. LA Times
See also: LA Daily News, LA School Report, LA Times Now, LA Weekly

Education Leaders Divulge What They Want From LA’s Next Mayor
There’s been a lot of talk about what the next mayor of Los Angeles should do for public education. KPCC talked to three leaders in the education field about what they expect from the city’s next leader. KPCC

Imagine That: Happy Ending to a ‘Parent Trigger’ Petition
The “parent trigger” movement underwent a maturation process in its latest campaign, a petition to restructure 24th Street Elementary in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Unlike in previous campaigns, there were no lawsuits against the district, no claims by parents that they had been duped into signing the petition. LA Times Op-Ed

Continue reading

Morning Read: Greuel to Release Education Plan

Greuel to Release Education Plan
Greuel might have wanted her staff to do a little better advance work, because Garcetti is well liked at the school — Camino Nuevo Charter Academy — which he helped get a $700,000 grant to help build a new soccer field,” reports The Times. KPCC

Eric Garcetti Avoids Schoolyard Tussle With Wendy Greuel
On the heels of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa calling on the two mayoral candidates to step up and communicate their education platforms during his State of the City address Tuesday night, Wendy Greuel stepped up with a challenge to Eric Garcetti. KPCC
See also: LA School Report, Annenberg News, LA Times

LAUSD Superintendent Fires Lemon Teachers
The speed with which Deasy moves and speaks is well documented. He brings an uncomfortable impatience to the LAUSD supe’s job as he moves to increase the types of schools available to students (known as School Choice), raise achievement on test scores and graduation rates, and require accountability from L.A.’s more than 20,000 tenured-for-life teachers. LA Weekly

Education Coalition Wants to Stay Course in L.A. Unified
A coalition of groups, including the United Way of Greater Los Angeles, has launched an effort to put education at the center of the mayoral race and civic attention. LA Times
See also: LA School Report

Operation Back in School Sweeps up Truant Kids
Operation Back in School, a multi-agency task force in the Harbor area Wednesday to sweep up truant kids who should be in school. No citations were issued in a friendlier approach to the problem that offered counseling for kids and parents. Daily Breeze

Parents Choose Unique School Takeover Model in ‘Trigger’ Vote
In the latest test of California’s controversial “parent trigger” law, South Los Angeles parents have voted to transform their struggling neighborhood school into a charter school hybrid beginning this fall, organizers announced Wednesday. Hechinger Report
See also: LA Times, LA School Report

Continue reading

Greuel to Garcetti: Let’s Debate Education Today

Yesterday, mayoral candidate Eric Garcetti challenged opponent Wendy Greuel to an education debate. Today, her campaign responded.

“Wendy Greuel is not only willing to debate Eric on education, she is ready to debate today,” wrote Greuel spokesperson Shannon Murphy. “Rather than holding a political press conference calling for an education debate, let’s use that time to HAVE an education debate.”

Greuel’s camp suggested that the debate take place today at 2:15 PM at Camino Nuevo, a charter school in Silver Lake where Greuel, conveniently, was already planning on visiting. School board President Monica Garcia who, conveniently, has endorsed Greuel, was invited to moderate, along with former board President Yolie Flores and UTLA President Warren Fletcher. Sounds like a blockbuster!

Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like it’s gonna happen. Garcetti, as Kate Linthicum of the LA Times pointed out, had a press conference scheduled at the time.

“This is another political stunt from Controller Greuel,” said Garcetti spokesman Jeff Millman in an email. “Let’s end the political games and get serious about education. We have been approached by the Urban League and KCRW to have a debate in May on Education, and we have accepted.  We are working out the dates with them.”

Previous posts: Garcetti Calls for Education DebateMayor Wants More Education from Greuel & GarcettiBoard Members Split on Mayoral EndorsementsGreuel Speech Includes Strong School Reform Language

Morning Read: State & District Graduation Rates Rise

Graduations Up, Dropouts Down in LAUSD, Statewide
High school graduation rates for Los Angeles Unified and districts across California increased last year, with Latino students showing larger gains than their white and Asian classmates, the state Department of Education said Tuesday. LA Daily News
See also: LA Times, KPCC

Villaraigosa Criticizes Mayoral Candidates Over Education Goals
In the last major speech of his mayoral career, Antonio Villaraigosa chastised the two politicians seeking to replace him for not laying out visionary education goals, urging the candidates to look to other big cities for inspiration. LA Daily News
See also: Associated PressLA School Report

The Greuel-Garcetti Conundrum
Here’s why two San Fernando Valley voters have switched allegiances, and why a third is still pondering. LA Times Column (Steve Lopez)

Los Angeles Unified School District Hires Security Aides to Watch for Threats
Tenth Street Elementary is in the Pico-Union district of Los Angeles, a few blocks west of the Staples Center and downtown skyscrapers. It’s a tough neighborhood; school security is always an issue. KPCC

Apples to Apples Comparison of Brown’s Funding Formula
Twenty-two of the 50 largest districts in the state would receive more money under Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed K-12 funding formula when it’s fully funded, potentially in seven years, while 28 districts would do better if additional money were simply divvied up under the current system, with no reforms, according to data provided this week by the state Department of Finance. EdSource
See also: SI&A Cabinet Report

Continue reading