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Don’t blame teachers

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREOregon Ducks football players get stuck on Disney ride during Rose Bowl event160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! FOR years, the Los Angeles Unified School District’s leaders blamed students for the district’s low achievement. Now school board president Marlene Canter has a better idea it’s the teachers’ fault. Talking to city and school officials last week, Canter urged focusing on other reforms, and not breakup or mayoral control, as the way to turn the LAUSD around. “Governance is something that can be tweaked,” she said, “but it’s not the lever for change.” Really? We would have thought that in an institution that’s been chronically out of touch with the people it’s supposed to serve over a span of decades systemic corrections might be necessary. You know, like breaking it up into manageable parts. Something more than mere “tweaking.” Not according to Canter, who has joined the old guard’s chorus defending a bloated and inefficient bureaucracy that squanders fortunes and squelches teachers. “I know people get antsy and they want to change direction,” said Canter, “but you need people in who can develop programs with sustainability.” So don’t think about tossing out the current board and replacing it with mayoral appointees. Don’t think about getting rid of the bureaucratic deadwood. Don’t think about putting the millions saved by streamlining the administration into classrooms and the pockets of top teachers. So who is to blame for the LAUSD’s problems? Teachers and principals! Among the reforms Canter is urging for the LAUSD is changes in teacher quality. “I want us to get rid of terms like must-place’ teacher and the dance of the lemons’ when it comes to principals.” Fair enough. We’ve long supported greater teacher accountability including scrapping tenure and instituting performance-based pay. But let’s not pretend such reforms would be a cure-all for the LAUSD. And let’s not forget that district officials are to blame for the current lack of accountability. Canter, for one, has been on the board for nearly five years. LAUSD teachers, most of whom do heroic work given the circumstances, aren’t the problem. And they shouldn’t be scapegoated to fight off genuine reform.last_img

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