Good news on chronic absences and the budget, despite a ‘structural deficit’ — a wrap-up of board action
This Tuesday, the school board will meet in a non-voting session, called the Committee of the Whole. It will be the first meeting of the board since last week’s revelations of felony charges against school board President Ref Rodriguez. That news came just after last Tuesday’s board meeting, the second that Rodriguez presided over as...
By Mike Szymanski | September 18, 2017
LAUSD board President Ref Rodriguez on DACA and his parents’ sacrifices for his education: ‘I’m someone’s dream deferred, so I could have something better’
For this school board president, the end of DACA is personal. Ref Rodriguez’s dad has only a third-grade education, and his mom left school at sixth grade. They were migrant workers in Mexico who came to the United States to offer their children a better future through education. So Tuesday’s announcement that the Trump Administration...
By Esmeralda Fabián Romero | September 6, 2017
‘Equity’ and ‘urgency’ beat out ‘respect’ and ‘transparency’ as board chooses core values for LAUSD
“Respect,” “transparency,” and “teamwork” only got one vote each. Oh, and so did “humility.” The seven members of the largest school district in the country with an elected board gathered Tuesday at their first off-site retreat of the year, where they took a deep dive into health benefits but also hashed out core values for LA...
By Mike Szymanski | August 31, 2017
Labor unions not feeling part of ‘One LA Unified’ after being left off school board’s agenda
Labor leaders who work with LA Unified were surprised their regular labor report was not on the agenda at the first board meeting of the new school year. Dropping the “labor partners update” was part of new board President Ref Rodriguez’s “Kid’s First” focus, so he began Tuesday’s meeting with students talking about their schools...
By Mike Szymanski | August 24, 2017
STEM school vote highlights LAUSD divisions as resolution against a state-run school fails
A controversial resolution condemning a legislative proposal to start a STEM school in Los Angeles that would be outside LA Unified’s control failed after a heated debate Tuesday. The first school board meeting of the new year was supposed to display board President Ref Rodriguez’s “Kid’s First” agenda. A new help desk was set up to...
By Mike Szymanski | August 22, 2017
‘Kids First’ Help Desk launches at first LAUSD school board meeting of new school year
When parents show up at Tuesday’s school board meeting to complain or gripe or advocate for their child, they will be greeted by something new: a “Kids First” Help Desk. As part of his newly passed resolution to put kids first at LA Unified, school board President Ref Rodriguez said that people who used to...
By Mike Szymanski | August 21, 2017
Gonez introduces ambitious resolution to ensure LAUSD students succeed in college and careers
New school board member Kelly Gonez is introducing an ambitious resolution that calls for making detailed data available to the public to ensure students are supported and able to complete college and “access a rewarding career.” With this resolution, called “Creating Pathways to Lifelong Success for Our Students,” Gonez is fulfilling a key campaign promise to...
By Mike Szymanski | August 18, 2017
Back to school, ALL together now: For the first time in 36 years, all LAUSD district schools will start on the same date
For the first time in 36 years, all LA Unified district students are starting school at the same time, now that the last school — Bell Senior High School — has ended its multi-track schedule. In 1981, Bell and nearly 80 percent of the district’s schools went on a year-round schedule to alleviate overcrowding. Even though...
By Mike Szymanski | August 1, 2017
Student activists fear that LA Unified’s vegan pilot program may just wither away
(Click on photo to play video of the school board meeting.) It was one of the most uncomfortably dramatic moments at any LA Unified School Board meeting in recent memory — maybe the oddest of any in the country this year. Flanked by her friends, 15-year-old Lila Copeland stood in silence for a minute and a...
By Mike Szymanski | July 20, 2017
Austin Beutner explains the purpose of the LA Unified Advisory Task Force, and 7 other things you should know about how it will help kids
*UPDATED Philanthropist and former LA Times publisher Austin Beutner said he doesn’t see the new task force he is co-leading as a body that has any intention of usurping the new LA Unified School Board, or telling the superintendent what to do. “We are here to support Michelle King, and offer suggestions,” Beutner said in...
By Mike Szymanski | July 19, 2017