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Mayoral Candidate James Proposes Trade Diploma

Hillel Aron | February 1, 2013

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Before Monday’s debate, the topic of education had been largely AWOL from the Mayoral campaign.  This might have seemed odd, considering what a huge role education issues played in outgoing Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s eight years in office.

However, the five leading candidates are now beginning to stake out positions on education in order to attract voters, endorsements, and campaign funding.  Candidate Eric Garcetti won an endorsement from UTLA on Wednesday night, thanks largely to his comments in defense of teachers.

Kevin James, the gay Republican former talk show host, City Hall critic and dark horse candidate (pictured), has proposed the creation of a trade-tech diploma within LAUSD (see his Huffington Post commentary about it). The diploma would give high school students the option to get a technical training degree instead of getting a normal diploma.

According to James, a trade-tech diploma isn’t lowering expectations for kids to go to college, it’s “increasing options for students” rather than “setting some up” for failure. “Not every kid is college bound or wants to be,” he said.”We need plumbers and electricians and construction-type jobs. We need them every day.”

James was opposed to Mayor Villaraigosa’s attempt to take over LAUSD.  But he approves of the “parent trigger,” which Villaraigosa also supports, and he gives the Mayor credit for making education a priority and for “shining a light on the need for reform.”

Previous posts:  Mayoral Candidates’ Education ViewsWho Will Follow Mayor’s Ed. Lead?

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