Board Should ‘Push The Envelope’ To Help Kids

Board Member Richard Vladovic (BD7) said that he was “so depressed” by the dismal performance of LAUSD’s highest-need schools receiving School Improvement Grants that he’s willing to “push the envelope” and try some “crazy plans” in an attempt to make them work for kids.

“It’s such a tragedy,” he said at a special Board meeting last Tuesday. “I’m convinced it’s not all about money. The millions and millions and millions and millions of dollars we’ve spent, we made no significant difference. So it’s not what you spend, it’s how you spend it.”

Both Vladovic and Board Member George McKenna (BD1) suggested that quality teachers and accountability were crucial to raising student achievement. McKenna also said that seniority did not determine teacher quality and suggested it should not determine salaries.

“In my opinion, the quality of the teacher had little to do with the length of time the teacher had been teaching,” he said. “The big elephant in the room is student outcomes. Who wants to be responsible for student outcomes? We compensate ourselves for effort. Everybody’s trying, but trying doesn’t make you effective. Because you may not have the skill set. If you don’t admit that, you still keep saying ‘It’s not my fault.’ Well, it’s got to be somebody’s responsibility.”

Vladovic echoed his sentiments. “To deny accountability is to deny you make a difference,” he said. “Anyone who says, ‘I’m not accountable,’ then I don’t need you. I can hire a stick body because you don’t make a difference.”

He went on to decry the intractable nature of low-performing schools and the need for better staff to fix them. “I’ve got to tell you, if we were sitting here in 1956, it would be the same schools,” he said. “That’s the indictment. It’s not about money… It’s about great leadership, great classified staff and great teachers. And we could pull that off. My suggestion is to form a district for those lowest performing schools, and the superintendent picks the staff and the principals.” Click here to read more: