Garcetti Praises Partnership School, Differs with UTLA Poll
Hillel Aron | April 18, 2013
On Wednesday, Mayoral candidate Eric Garcetti toured 99th St. Elementary School, one of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s 22 Partnership for Los Angeles schools.
Appearing at the Watts school with Partnership CEO Marshall Tuck and a handful of others, Garcetti was full of praise for nearly everything he saw.
“This and the other 21 other Partnership schools will be a core part of the educational system in Los Angeles,” said Garcetti, who missed a City Council meeting in order to appear at the school.
However, the Mayoral candidate took issue with several recent education developments, including the recent UTLA poll on LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy, the California Democratic Convention resolution against school reform, and the polarizing language Garcetti says is being used by education opponents to mischaracterize each other.
His campaign also told LA School Report that an education-focused debate with opponent Wendy Greuel would likely take place on May 6 or 7.
During the tour of 99th Street Elementary, Garcetti praised many of the things he saw, including the school’s strong emphasis on the students’ California Standardized Test scores, its “blended learning” classrooms where students use tablet computers, and its parent center, which is furnished by DirectTV.
When asked if he would support a corporate partnership in public schools, he replied, “absolutely.”
“I don’t want to see DirectTV High,” he said with a chuckle, “but absolutely. We have, for too long, seen our corporate partnerships, our community partnerships dwindle.”
The candidate also responded to questions about hot-topic education issues that have been in the news lately.
Asked about State Democratic Party’s recent resolution condemning the efforts of StudentsFirst and Democrats for Education Reform, Garcetti, a Democrat, said: “Resolutions like that, I reject.”
As he’s often done in the past, Garcetti called for a bridge between the two sides of the education divide:
“I think that we have wedged each other too much on education. We’ve turned people who are reformers into privatizers, people who just want to make a buck in schools, and vice versa — people who care about teachers are suddenly painted as union lackeys. There are people who care on both sides of this issue.”
“I’m a big fan of the Superintendent, I think he’s doing great work,” said Garcetti. He also noted that the results don’t have any direct effect on the district’s leadership. “At the end of the day it’s the School Board that appoints the Superintendent.”
The membership of the School Board is still in flux. However, Garcetti said he hasn’t yet endorsed a candidate in the District 6 race between union activist Antonio Sanchez and LAUSD teacher Monica Ratliff.
“It’s tough to sit down and have the conversations with candidates while you’re running yourself, and I think endorsements are due at least a conversation,” said Garcetti.
“I’ll see if I have time –– I will, as Mayor, certainly be involved in School Board races.”
Interestingly, Garcetti himself was endorsed by UTLA without being formally interviewed.
Garcetti and his opponent, Wendy Greuel, squared off last night in the second of a long series of debates, which will include a debate solely focused on education on either March 7 or 8, according to a Garcetti spokesman.
Previous posts: Mayoral Candidates Respond Differently to UTLA Vote on Deasy; Greuel Endorses New Teacher Evaluation Plan; Greuel to Garcetti: Let’s Debate Education Today, Garcetti Calls for Education Debate