Thursday, August 24, 2006

Los Angeles School take over by Mayor

Antonio Villaraigosa, (D) Mayor of Los Angeles, has proposed having the Mayor’s office take over the governance of the Los Angeles school district in response to the persistent failure of the schools.
While there may be some advantages to the Mayor’s proposal, it requires a substantive change in governance.
The Bill is AB 1381
AB 1381 was heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee last Monday. As expected, the bill was sent to the suspense file on Monday but released and passed out of the committee on Thursday.

There were number of significant amendments to the bill, all of which were intended to remove opposition
Yes - Murray, Alarcon, Alquist, Ashburn, Dutton, Escutia, Ortiz, Romero, Torlakson

No - Aanestad, Battin
Absent, abstain, no vote - Florez, Poochigian

What could a progressive Mayor do to improve the schools that would not require a constitutional change?

Mayors could deploy police and probation to eliminate gang violence around and near the schools. School safety is a major issue.
Mayors could use their political capital to achieve adequate funding of schools. Note, California has under funded its schools for at least twenty- five years. Mayor Villaraigosa was Speaker of the California Assembly, the body which writes the budget. During his time as Speaker, California did not significantly improve school funding.
Mayors could provide safe after school facilities for recreation and home work help.
Mayors could provide safe and modern buildings for schools rather than over crowded temporary building.
Readers are invited to add to this list.
Duane Campbell

Also: see the important update on the Oaxacan teachers strike on the Ed Justice blog. Just click on the link on the right.
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