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June 15, 2015

The Future for L.A. Schools: Little Hierarchies or Big Network?

People are again talking about breaking up the country's second largest school district. I think that networks of schools would work better than smaller hierarchies.

May 20, 2015

2 Incumbents Ousted in L.A. Board Race Fueled by PAC Money

In a low-turnout election Political Action Committees spent more than $4.7-million to replace one union-backed board member with another.

April 20, 2015

Good Deal: L.A. Teachers Settle, Avoid Strike

After months of strike talk, demonstrations, and threats of layoffs, United Teachers Los Angeles settled on a new labor contract with the L.A. Unified School District.

March 04, 2015

Incumbents Falter in L.A. School Board Races

Even more than we expected, incumbents in Los Angeles school board races failed to capture majorities. Three are headed toward runoffs. Charter supporters are ascendant as big money pours in.

March 02, 2015

L.A. Board Election Critical for District's Future

Angelenos will pick a majority of the board members in the nation's second largest school district on Tuesday. A critical election? I think so.

December 18, 2014

Why California's Accountability Reforms Are a Big Deal

More California exceptionalism: the state's new school funding law, and the local engagement lawmakers built into it, fundamentally change both school finance and accountability.

October 31, 2014

California K-12 Schools Chief Race Is a Study in Contrasts

Torlakson and Tuck disagree on fundamentals: how to improve student learning, how to organize the K-12 system, and how to build political support for public education.

August 19, 2014

What Happens When Teachers Run Schools?

Teacher-led schools are often defined by what they don't have: a conventional administrator. At the Mission Hill School in Boston, the subject of a PBS Newshour report on Monday, the school as a whole makes decisions and the principal doesn't even have a proper office. Though still rare, these schools carry valuable lessons about how to expand responsibility and authority for teachers. Yet, the real payoff occurs in how students step up and take responsibility for their own learning.

August 12, 2014

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.

July 14, 2014

The Nonstory Story of Smarter Balanced Field Tests

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.

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