L.A. Board Of Education Makes a Historic Vote in School Reform for Public School Choice
Board approves motion to partner with internal and external partners to expand models of excellence across the District
Tuesday, August 25, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Board of Education made a historic vote to bring large-scale, student-centered reform to the second largest school district in the nation. The motion opens the doors to internal and external partners, such as LAUSD, charter operators, unions, teacher collaboratives, and other public, non-profit entities, to bring models of excellence and innovation to newly constructed schools as well as schools that have been underperforming for five or more years.
Â “The challenges facing our students and the schools in our district require bold and innovative solutions–not business as usual,” said Board Vice President Yolie Flores Aguilar. “Today we opened the door for us to act with conviction and courage to transform an archaic school system that has not served all children well.”
This motion-introduced by Board Vice President Yolie Flores Aguilar, and co-sponsored by Board President Mâ€”nica Garcâ€™a and Board Member Dr. Richard Vladovic-is in response to the many parents and communities who demand better schools and more options, as well as voice in how their schools are run. The motion is based on four main ideas: replication and expansion of successful school models; choice; parent input; and collaboration and partnerships.
“Today we took another major step in the road to 100% graduation for our students,” said Garcâ€™a. “We have a lot more work to do together to implement this bold and aggressive policy change. I expect to see a major expansion of the Pilot Schools-a highly successful in-District approach to better serve our students through smaller, more personal, and more responsive schools.”
“Our children cannot wait. Our communities deserve the right to personalize the education for their children. It is time to usher in a new level of accountability,” said Vladovic. “I support the Superintendent as we move forward with a sense of urgency to ensure all of our children are successful.”
The resolution is focused on inviting operational and instructional plans from school planning teams, local communities, and also internal and external stakeholders for new schools, and now also PI 3+ schools (as determined by the Superintendent), to allow for the replication of models that have demonstrated outstanding results (e.g. traditional schools, Pilot schools, iDesign schools, charter schools, small schools, and magnet schools).
“There is no defense for the status quo,” said Marqueece Harris Dawson of the Community Coalition. “We are failing our kids and they deserve better. They are the key to our future and we have to make sure they are getting a quality-education that will prepare them for life. That’s what this plan suggests and that’s real change.”
“This is a victory for parents and all our students,” said Maria Casillas, President of the organization Families In Schools. “It is especially a victory for teachers and all the hard working people who believe that the children of this district can achieve at higher levels.”
The motion also provides a mechanism and process for parents and community to have a voice in identifying what they want for their local neighborhood school. This process will be developed over the next 30 days, and the application process will commence for the schools to be opened in Fall 2010, as well as the underperforming schools identified by Superintendent Cortines. Recommendations from the community and the Superintendent will be provided to the Board of Education in January 2010.