Last week's election in Los Angeles settled—at least for a few months—the question of who is going to be "on the bus" at L.A. Unified. So, as the school district welcomes George McKenna to the horseshoe shaped board table, let's talk about the process of building a new bus. For the last 30 years, at least, reformers have tried to reinvent public schooling in the City of Angels. None has succeeded, and virtually all their plans have been built around the same four elements. But their implementation has tended to get things backward.
Steve Barr Tries to Bridge Union-Reformer Divide in Reboot of California's 'Democrats for Education Reform'
Steve Barr has organizing in his DNA, and he, along with retired union leader Joe Boyd, have announced an effort to recreate the California chapter of Democrats for Education Reform as a union-friendly environment. They want to go beyond wedge issues and toward big picture ideas that have broad support. But just getting used to saying pro-union and DFER in the same sentence is a stretch.
Tuesday, voters will go to the polls in Los Angeles to elect a member in school board District #1. The race between retired school administrator George McKenna and aspiring politician Alex Johnson has turned negative and nasty. It's enough to make you think that there must be a better way. Maybe, just maybe, some political energy could be directed toward capacity building rather than regime politics.
Readers have asked us how to keep up with what's happening in California. Reading 'On California,' and following us on Twitter, is a good way, the best in our estimation. But what do we read? And what do we recommend to our readers? Here's an incomplete and changing list.
I saw the Roger Ebert homage movie, Life Itself, and came away thinking about both Roger and the Daily Illini, the student newspaper that formed our rite of passage into adulthood.
The Common Core will work in California if its adoption is driven by instruction rather than testing. Making this happen challenges the state to slow the consequences of testing and to find ways to invest in a modern educational infrastructure.
Sometimes the lack of news is actually a story. The widely expected train wreck during the California field testing of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium exams didn't happen. But history suggests that lack of a deep political coalition around the Common Core and its tests could present a problem next spring and beyond.
Reality in California is different from that posited by Vergara plaintiffs. Most teachers in California don't get tenure after two years, and the system of evaluation they are subjected to does not differentiate between effective and ineffective teachers, write guest bloggers Julia Koppich and Daniel Humphery.
California's new accountability plan proves to be complex, and it is only one of many that district's need to complete.
A public opinion poll released Thursday shows that a large majority of Californians supports the restrictions on tenure and due process that were the subject of the recent Vergara decision.