Thursday, August 31, 2006

Will a Bad Schools Bill Get Worse?

Here's the LA Times's editorial board's latest take on the bill that just passed:

Will a Bad Schools Bill Get Worse?

Last-minute Sacramento tweaks to mayoral takeover could remove the good parts and keep all the bad.
LA Times editorial, August 28, 2006

SUPPORTERS OF MAYOR Antonio Villaraigosa's flawed attempt to acquire a say in how Los Angeles schools are run tend to give one of two reasons. Either they're afraid of displeasing the politically powerful mayor and the Legislature's Democratic leadership or, though the bill falls far short of full mayoral control, supporters say it at least gives Villaraigosa a foot in the door.

Nothing can be done about the first argument except to exhort politicians to grow some backbone, which is a hardy perennial for editorial pages. As for the something-is-better-than-nothing claim, the problem with this something is that the mayor's bill, once his union allies were done editing it, blurs responsibility and muddles decision-making powers.

We've been through all that before. The more immediate problem with AB 1381 — as it heads toward probable passage and then an almost guaranteed legal challenge — is that its backers might never see the mayor run a cluster of schools or get to pick the superintendent. But they could be stuck in any event with the more regressive parts of the legislation that have nothing to do with mayoral involvement.

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