L.A. voters will have a powerful choice on March 8 when voting for the members of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Board of Education. The results of this ballot will determine whether LAUSD continues the aggressive reform of the last two years spearheaded by Superintendent Ray Cortines and Board President Mónica García.
The Chamber is encouraging the re-election of incumbents Tamar Galatzan, District 3, and Richard Vladovic, District 7, and the election of two new board members Luis Sanchez, District 5, and Rev. Eric Lee, District 1. These four candidates will build on the foundation of a successful turnaround of LAUSD.
The turnaround began with the hiring of Ray Cortines two years ago and its boldest component was adopting the public school choice process in August 2009. This process allows for an open competition of both internal and external operators to take over the management of new and existing schools. The current Board and Superintendent Cortines have demonstrated uncommon valor and determination by including more than 100 schools in the first three rounds of the public school choice process. This bold, yet controversial process, is arguably one of the most robust commitments to school turnarounds of any district in the United States.
Further, the Board, Superintendent Cortines and Superintendent designate John Deasy have taken on the challenge to completely retool the performance system for teachers and administrators. And recently the Board approved a settlement that will bring more fairness to the layoff process in the most challenged schools by transcending seniority as the sole determinant of which teachers in the district are laid off first.
The Board and its leadership have also emphasized an aggressive agenda of engaging the community in a collaborative fashion through the L.A. Compact, which the Chamber and UNITE-LA spearheaded in 2009.
The most important decision a Board is charged with making is the selection of a great leader that embraces student success and holds everyone in the system accountable for that success. The School Board selected the right leader with the appointment of Ray Cortines two years ago. Last month the Board chose wisely again when it selected John Deasy as the next superintendent.
Last year, the district's scores on the academic performance index API increased to 16 compared to 13 for the state average. LAUSD's achievements have finally begun to outpace the state as a whole and are a signal that a turnaround is underway.
A vote for the slate of Tamar Galatzan, Richard Vladovic, Luis Sanchez and Rev. Eric Lee will be a vote for accelerating reform and greater success for the students of LAUSD.
And that's The Business Perspective.
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