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Zimmer, on success of public (ed) system in LA: ‘A very open question’

LA School Report | July 21, 2015



ZImmer Board Meeting March 3, 2014

LA Unified’s new board president, Steve Zimmer, had a recent chat with Politico, and some of his comments reached its Education Morning Edition today.

Nothing surprising until the final paragraph, when he expresses his hope that the selection of a new superintendent to replace the soon-to-be-leaving Ramon Cortines doesn’t “devolve into another ground war over schooling, pitting traditional public school advocates against education reformers,” as Politico put it.

Zimmer responds by saying he hopes to elevate the conversation, adding, “The premise, the baseline assumption, is that a large public system can’t work,” he said. “But that’s still a very open question in Los Angeles.”

He did not elaborate. Or if he did, it wasn’t included in the Politico report.

Elsewhere, Zimmer acknowledged the disruptive issues of the last year or so — iPads, MiSiS, questions over contract bidding, an FBI probe, the departure of former superintendent John Deasy —  and said, “We’re literally at a pivot point.”

“The bruises and wounds that John Deasy and all the controversy around him had left were almost as dangerous to the district as the budget crisis itself,” he added, describing Cortines as a major stabilizing force in helping to balance a budget and in reaching agreement with the teachers union on a new contract.

“So we have to transition from a person who is literally the most skilled school system leader in the country,” he said, “to new leadership in a community that is just healing.”

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