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LAUSD ranks low on ‘bang for buck’ list; Cortines planning exit?

LA School Report | April 16, 2015

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Sometimes, it seems, the hits never stop coming for LA Unified.

The latest blow comes from the financial website Nerdwallet and its article, “Best School Districts for Your Buck in California.”

The story ranked all the state’s districts based on the criteria of affordability to live there, standardized test scores, college readiness and class size.

So how did things shake out for LAUSD on the list?

Not well. Out of 375 districts, LA Unified ranked 369th.

According to the list, the Davis Joint Unified School District offers the best bang for the buck in California. The list also found that some of the highest performing districts were small, rural ones and that you “don’t need to spend a mint to live in a good school district.”

Cortines leaving?

Rumor and Speculation Department: LA Unified Superintendent Ramon Cortines has told people at district headquarters that he does not intend to stay in the job for another year beyond this current one.

“He’s contemplating his replacement,” said someone who asked not to be identified due to the sensitivity of the issue.

His departure would bring to an end his third tour of duty as LAUSD superintendent, following his hiring last year to replace John Deasy.

Who could the next superintendent be? If the district stays inside, the best guesses are Chief Deputy Superintendent Michelle King, Deputy Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction and School Support Ruth Perez and CEO of Educational Services Thelma Melendez.

If the board goes outside? Could be anyone — although probably not John Deasy.

UTLA calls for leniency for convicted Atlanta educators

“Unexpectedly harsh” sentences were given to eight former Atlanta educators this week as they were convicted of racketeering in connection with falsifying their students’ standardized test scores, the New York Times reported.

With prison terms of up to seven years, some teacher unions are saying the sentences go too far, and the LA teachers union, UTLA, agrees. There were many calls for leniency, but Judge Jerry W. Baxter made it clear where he stands when he called the scandal “the sickest thing that’s ever happened in this town.” For a city that has seen a horrific child serial killer, a bombing at the Olympics and its burning to the ground during the Civil War, that is saying a lot.

UTLA is among the unions calling for leniency and on its Facebook page posted a link to a petition calling for the educators not to receive jail time. “Their conviction, however, fails to recognize the real racketeers–the corporate reformers who created the high-stakes testing regime and profit off its failure,” the petition states.



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