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LA Times endorses McKenna for District 1 board seat

LA School Report | April 29, 2014



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Los Angeles Times logoVia Los Angeles Times | By the editorial board

The seven candidates for the District 1 seat on the Los Angeles Unified School Board include several teachers, a reality-show contestant and a former member of the board. The one who stands out, though, is former principal and district administrator George McKenna.

In 1985, years before “school reform” became a buzz phrase, McKenna was profiled in People magazine for refusing to accept the high truancy, campus crime and terrible academic performance at George Washington Preparatory High School in Westmont, where he was principal. He enlisted help to clean up the rundown, low-performing school physically, socially and academically. Students signed behavior contracts, teachers were required to submit lesson plans and assign daily homework, and truancy plummeted. A year later, his efforts became the subject of a made-for-TV movie.

Though there are several qualified candidates on the ballot to replace longtime board member Marguerite Poindexter LaMotte, who died in December, McKenna strikes us as the one who would put the needs of District 1’s largely low-income and minority students above any particular ideology or political alliance. The victor in this election will serve out the last year of LaMotte’s term, which ends in mid-2015.

Read the full endorsement here.

 

 

 

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