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PBS SoCal asks: Can LA Unified be saved? Or is it too big?

LA School Report | November 3, 2014

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Can LA Unified be saved? This difficult question is examined in the in latest episode of the PBS SoCal show, “Studio SoCal.”

The episode features an in-depth discussion among the hosts Elizabeth Espinosa and Rick Reiff, reporter David Nazar and California Teachers Empowerment Network President Larry Sand, a frequent critic of UTLA, the LA teachers union. It also includes an interview with LA Unified board member Monica Garcia.

The show did not include anyone from UTLA.

The panel discussion points out that while district graduation rates and test scores have improved, the results are still below the national averages, leaving the district still searching for solutions to fix what many see as an unfixable system.

“There are so many problems I don’t know where to begin,” Sand said in the episode. “Test scores may go up a little bit, maybe the dropout rate goes down a bit. But nothing really changes, the district is just too big to manage.”

The episode discusses the recent resignation of former Superintendent John Deasy but only as a launching pad to dig into the broad issues facing the district, including the debate over the power of teacher unions, the Vergara case, the huge size of the district, language barriers in classrooms and political power struggles on the school board.

Click on the embedded link above or go here to see the episode.

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