The Villaraigosa Plan for LAUSD
The biggest news of the past 24 hours has been Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's plan to increase mayoral influence over the Los Angeles Unified School District.
The Times, which has been in favor of mayoral control for almost a year, came out against the mayor's plan, writing that it dramatically reduces accountability, thereby undermining the main goal of mayoral control. Villaraigosa shot back in an op-ed, defending his plan and saying it would bring education to the forefront of mayoral and city politics. Reaction across the blogosphere has been mixed:
* Bob Sipchen and Janine Kahn at the Times' School Me Blog have been tracking the likelihood of a mayoral takeover. They woke up this morning with more questions than they had yesterday:
It's good that teachers will gain more control over cirriculum--unless the bad ones protected by union aversion to firing use their freedom to dodge responsibility. And who's going to step in? The board? LA's mayor? Superintendent-in-waiting Jackie Goldberg?
I don't like it, and I suspect it'll be worse for the kids in the long run. I think increased diffusion of responsibility, especially with new governing parties introduced into the pot, will make it more difficult to get anything done, this in a system when it already is just about impossible to get things done.
* Boi From Troy says: "Romer is against it, so it may not be so bad after all."
Will this new bueraucracy structure change what's fundamentally wrong with LAUSD (i.e. fiscal and staffing disinvestment, unequal distribution of resources, placing priorities of passing standardized test as opposed to real, life-long learning, et al) or will it just pass the buck and make it worse?
But with one person, and the mayor able to veto anyone he doesn't like, making the decision for spending over $25,000, look-out world, LAUSD is about to over-pay for some more falling-apart and falling-down buildings!
* And Mike Antonucci at Intercepts agrees with the Times:
The deal does provide one critical element that all parties to the agreement want: ass-covering. When this goes wrong (and believe me, it will), no one can be singled out for blame.