In the nation's second largest school district, we're seeing a case of life imitating art--if the Three Stooges can actually be characterized as art. Los Angeles's mayor, school superintendent and the teacher union president are tripping over one another in a quest to be seen as the true ed reformer. Here's a run down on the latest:
Communities at seven of the city's schools have thrown Mayor Antonio Villagairosa a bone, allowing him to take control over these schools from the district. Though he had wanted control of the whole school system, that attempt was a bust with the city council. Villagairosa remains determined to earn the right to manage city schools by winning the approval of teachers and parents, school by school. A vote by parents and teachers at a school turns over school management to Villagairosa's new non-profit management organization, Partnership for Los Angeles Schools.
On the same day that these seven schools gave the Mayor the nod, district Superintendent David Brewer put forward his own proposal, the High Priority School Initiative, to remedy 34 of the cities most troubled middle and high schools, including the seven that opted to join the Mayor's partnership.
And finally, UTLA President AJ Duffy, determined not to be sidelined by the other two guys, has released a "Dear Santa" wish list on behalf of his union. Among the more notable items, Duffy wants the district to cede control of the hiring and firing of school principals to teachers and parents (always a good idea to give employees the right to fire their employers) and eliminating the district's minimal dress code for both students and teachers. Claims Duffy: "There is no research that indicates that teacher attire has any effect on student learning or respect for adults."