Snapping out of LA-LA Land

Los Angeles must have Folgers in its cup this week, finally waking up to the woeful state of that city's schools. On Tuesday, the LAUSD board passed a resolution that would open 50 new and 200 underperforming schools to external operators. Under the plan, interested parties--from unions to nonprofit education management organizations--would submit management and/or takeover proposals to Superintendent Ramon C. Cortines; the school board will make the final decisions. Though the usual contenders have lined up on both sides of this debate, notable support comes from Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Cortines, and rallying parent groups, such as Parent Revolution, a close affiliate of the Green Dot charter school organization. That charter organization, in fact, staged a hostile takeover of one of LA's worst high schools last year, begging the question of whether, with this push for outsourcing, LA-LA Land is just saving itself the trouble--and embarrassment--of more such seizures. Still, this is a big step for LA, albeit one taken before by Chicago, DC, Philadelphia, New Orleans and New York, among others. We're glad LA is waking up to reality, but we can't help but notice that it certainly slept through its morning alarm.

"School board approves plan to open up schools to outsiders," by Howard Blum and Jason Song, LA Now, blog of The Los Angeles Times, August 25, 2009

"Proposal Would Open Up Management of L.A. Schools," by Lesli A. Maxwell, Education Week, August 25, 2009 (subscription required)

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