Wednesday, August 12, 2009

L.A. Mayor Sees Privatization as Solution to Failing Public Schools

Mayor Villaraigosa has recognized that public education is failing in its mission as a result of too much control by the institution of education -- the teachers' unions and bureaucracy.

Under a bill introduced by School Board member Yolie Flores Aguilar, private operators could bid for control of 50 new campuses and hundreds of struggling ones.

-- From "Villaraigosa advocates letting outside operators bid for control of L.A. Unified schools" by Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times 8/11/09

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said Tuesday he will push the school district to allow outside operators to bid for control of hundreds of campuses, a move he described as the centerpiece of education reform for his second term.

The proposal drew the ire of the teachers union, which has strongly criticized the mayor's own school-improvement efforts at 10 schools, including Roosevelt High in Boyle Heights. Villaraigosa, in turn, called the union "the biggest defender of the status quo."

The mayor's goal, embodied in part in a proposal by Board of Education member Yolie Flores Aguilar, would let charter-school organizations, the mayor's nonprofit and other groups compete to run 50 new schools scheduled to open over the next four years. The school board is scheduled to take up that motion later this month.

Villaraigosa also wants to allow outside groups or the district to shut down and restaff hundreds of existing schools that have long been rated "failing" under federal accountability rules. Supt. Ramon C. Cortines and other officials have said that closing unsuccessful schools is a logical outgrowth of the Flores Aguilar plan.

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