Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Town Hall on LAUSD Governance TONIGHT!


Invite you to a community meeting on

LAUSD Governance and Accountability

With Special Guest Speaker:

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa

Wednesday, June 21, -2006
6:00 p.m.
South Gate Park Auditorium
4900 Southern Avenue
South Gate, CA 90280

Mayor Villaraigosa will join elected officials from the Southeast Cities to discuss proposals to reform LAUSD governance, including a proposed joint powers agreement (JPA) among the five Southeast cities that would give local elected officials greater responsibility for key decisions on leadership, funding and programs in (LAUSD) Local District 6.

For further information please contact (323) 563-9502.


from the The Education Coalition: MAYORAL TAKEOVER IS NOT THE ANSWER

Mayoral Takeover is Not a Proven Reform
Mayoral control of urban school districts is a flawed approach to school reform that has not been found to be a panacea for improving outcomes for students.
• Studies of districts with mayoral centered governance have found only moderate improvement in student performance at the elementary level, no improvement at the secondary level and no progress in closing the achievement gap. Consider Boston, which has seen no improvement in closing the achievement gap over the last 20 years, in spite of being under mayoral control for the last 10 years.
• “It is difficult to ascertain that mayoral takeover actually causes improvement to student achievement.” Results linking improved student achievement and mayoral control are “preliminary and primarily correlational.” (Rand Report to Presidents’ Joint Commission on LAUSD Governance, Dec., 2005)
• Some urban scholars argue that a change in governance, like other kinds of “structural” reforms, is a politically attractive “magic bullet.” Although it may be quick, tangible and easy, it is not effective. Positively impacting student achievement requires improving teaching and learning, which is hard work.

At LAUSD, REAL reform is underway, and it’s working
LAUSD “is not a failing district despite its ample challenges and the rhetoric of its fiercest critics.” (Council of the Great City Schools Review of the Organizational Structure and Operations of the Los Angeles Unified School District, Dec. 2005.) The district has made dramatic improvements academically and is fiscally sound despite assertions to the contrary.
• LAUSD’s strong 30 percent growth on California’s Academic Performance Index (API) beats other urban districts in California and the statewide average.
- The number of schools in LAUSD scoring above 600 on the API has soared from 27% to96% in seven years.
- By targeting help to the most challenged schools, the district has reduced the number of schools in Deciles 1-3 to 35%.
• More than nine out of 10 LAUSD teachers are fully credentialed or highly qualified, up 14 points in just three years.
• Wall Street loves LAUSD – the school district has one of the highest bond ratings among urban school districts in the country.

A Long-Term Strategic Plan for Even More Improvements
LAUSD’s strong progress didn’t just happen by itself. These improvements in student achievement are the result of a long-term strategic plan by the school board and superintendent who are committed to continuous improvement to educate “all students to high levels of achievement.” The district has embarked on an aggressive effort that includes:
• A $19.2 billion school construction and repair program that will let more students stay in their neighborhood schools and end the need for year round school.
• The transition of instructional aides into fully credentialed teachers.
• An action plan for better high schools, which includes:
- Getting every student ready for college by requiring them to complete the A-G curriculum, a qualification for admission into the University of California and California State University.
- Securing $7.4 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to make schools smaller, more personal and more effective.
- Rigorous intervention programs to prepare students to pass the CAHSEE (California High School Exit Exam).
- Working with basketball legend Magic Johnson on the Diploma Project to stop at risk students from dropping out of high school.

Mayors CAN Help
There is an indelible connection between schools and their communities. Children need safe housing and good healthcare. Children need civic and government leaders like the mayor to help by:
• Keeping criminals off the streets and out of the neighborhoods so they can go to school safely.
• Making healthcare and other support services available to children and their families.
• Taking action to create more affordable housing for teachers.
• Working hand in hand with the school district to make the best use of public space.

The Legislature CAN Help
In 1998, the Legislature enacted the Public Schools Accountability Act (PSAA) to create a comprehensive accountability system. LAUSD is meeting the expectations of PSAA. To continue to improve, LAUSD needs the Legislature’s help, including:
• Adequate resources that are commensurate with the high standards their students are expected to reach.
• More flexibility to spend dollars where they will help children the most.
• Better funding and support for targeted professional development for staff, including teachers of English Language Learners and leadership in schools that need it the most.
• Fully funding the California School Information System (CSIS) to provide real information on critical issues such as the dropout rate.

Locally Elected School Boards are the Embodiment of a Democracy
Public schools are the foundation of a free and democratic society. Locally elected governing boards are the embodiment of representative government: they are of the people, by the people and for the people.
• Elected public representation provides the checks and balances that make schools better.
• A school board appointed by the mayor does not have to answer to parents and voters – an elected board does.
• Parents in urban areas deserve the same democratic rights to directly elect their school board members as parents in suburban or rural areas.
• Governance reforms should strengthen, not weaken democratic processes.

The Education Coalition
Working together to support and improve California's public schools

Association of California School Administrators (ACSA)
representing nearly 15,500 school administrators

California Association Of School Business Officials (CASBO)
representing more than 4,000 school finance and administrative managers

California County Superintendents Educational Services Association (CCSESA)
representing all 58 county superintendents throughout California

California Federation of Teachers (CFT-AFL-CIO)
representing nearly 90,000 education employees

California School Boards Association (CSBA)
representing nearly 1,000 K-12 school districts and county offices of education throughout California

California School Employees Association (CSEA)
representing more than 230,000 classified school employees

California State PTA
representing more than one million parents, teachers, and students in California

California Teachers Association (CTA)
representing over 335,000 educators

Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
representing more than 50,000 school employees in California

June 2006