Synopsis of ‘The George McKenna Story’: He risked it all to make the grade
The tag line of the film “The George McKenna Story” (also known as “Hard Lessons”) is a punny George McKenna-ism characteristic of the man it profiled. “He risked it all to make the grade,” is how the movie was advertised. In it, the heroic principal sacrifices relationships, career and safety to do the right thing for...
By Mike Szymanski | March 7, 2016
You can graduate, but LAUSD doesn’t want to settle for D grades
Although LA Unified stands to potentially have its highest graduation rate ever this year, the district doesn’t want students to settle for D grades. In fact, the percentage of students maintaining a C or better in college prep or A-G classes has more than doubled in 10 years, according to the latest LA Unified statistics. In a...
By Mike Szymanski | February 24, 2016
After passionate debate, LAUSD goes on record: ‘No’ to Broad plan
The LA Unified board today put itself on record as opposing a proposal that originated with the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation to expand the number of charter schools in the district in the years ahead. By a 7-0 vote, the board made it clear that it would do what it could to discourage the...
By Mike Szymanski | January 12, 2016
LAUSD board member websites range from active to somnambulent
Months after LA School Report found confusion, dated information or simply no information on the websites of LA Unified board members, a number of them still appear to be squandering them as their most direct social media asset to reach constituents. In a self-described era of board openness and transparency, some members have made significant improvements on their...
By Craig Clough | November 2, 2015
LAUSD asking public to rate qualities necessary in next superintendent
The whole world can now prioritize the characteristics necessary for LA Unified’s next superintendent through an online survey the district released last night. The question is — as some school board members pointed out before the survey launched — why would anyone want anything less than all 21 qualities included in the survey? With a pull-down...
By Mike Szymanski | October 7, 2015
LAUSD panel unsure why girls score better than boys on English tests
One of the most interesting and surprising results of LAUSD student test scores this year was that across the board, girls outscored boys in English Language Arts. It didn’t matter if they were in traditional schools, magnet schools or charters. It didn’t matter the grade level, area of LA Unified, nor the racial breakdown. Girls...
By Mike Szymanski | October 6, 2015
LA Unified board nitpicks survey for superintendent search
Even before the superintendent search team passes out the first public survey, members of the LA Unified school board yesterday raised questions over questions that they want the community to consider in finding a successor to Ramon Cortines. The board held most of the discussion in a closed meeting last night with the search team...
By Mike Szymanski | September 16, 2015
Students face LAUSD board, demanding end to military weapons
The LA Unified board endured a long and unusual protest last night as about 50 students demanded specific actions to get military-style weapons out of the hands of district school police. The students, some of them wearing bullet-proof vests, chanted for 20 minutes at the start of a meeting — “Back to school, no weapons”...
By Mike Szymanski | July 31, 2015
Zimmer names McKenna, Ratliff, Vladovic as LA Unified reps
After Steve Zimmer was elected unanimously last week as the LA Unified board president, one of his first orders of business was appointing a Vice President and finding members to represent the district to a series of organizations. In his first move, he named George McKenna, the District 1 representative, as board vice president, which didn’t...
By Mike Szymanski | July 6, 2015
LAUSD officials in Sacramento to talk trans-k, adult ed and budget
LA Unified officials are in Sacramento today lobbying for adult education and transitional kindergarten programs. Oh yeah, and the budget, too. Among those joining in on the road trip are Chief Deputy Superintendent Michelle King, Chief Financial Officer Megan Reilly and board members George McKenna and Steve Zimmer. They planned to meet with Senate President Pro...
By Vanessa Romo | May 21, 2015