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Daniel Weintraub

California Insider

A Weblog by
Sacramento Bee Columnist Daniel Weintraub

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November 16, 2005

Empowerment

Hundreds of marchers backed by the signatures of 10,000 parents, students and other residents of mostly poor South Los Angeles demanded Tuesday that the Los Angeles Unified School District relinquish control of a large, troubled high school -- aptly named Jefferson -- and turn it over to a charter school operator who wants to run it for the community. The school district is resisting but is trying to negotiate a truce that would break the school into smaller units, each run by a different outfit. Pretty soon a smart politician, could be from either party, is going to see that there is a massive groundswell building against ineffective, bureuacratic control of our public schools. The groundswell is strongest in the poorest communities where the schools, for whatever reason, are doing little more than warehousing the students on their way to a dysfunctional adulthood. When are the Democrats who claim to represent these people going to see that running the schools from Sacramento or downtown Los Angeles is not working, and that they need to do everything they can to tap into the energy of these parents who are desperate to create a better life for their kids? Republicans get this, but, unfortunately, won't act on their good instincts because they fear that decentralizing the schools will only further empower the teachers unions that have fought against reforms and accountability. As these Los Angeles parents realize, charter schools remain the best option for cutting through this knot and returning control of the schools to parents and the communities where it belongs while retaining oversight and accountability at the regional and state levels.

 
 

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Daniel Weintraub



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