Monday, June 19, 2006

L.A. Story

What's going on in LA makes me sick, especially as a Democrat:
That the Los Angeles Unified School District, the country's second-largest after New York, faces a crisis is hard to dispute. Some 81% of the district's middle school kids attend failing schools, which might be one reason that one in three eventually drops out. L.A. schools superintendent (and former Democratic Colorado Governor) Roy Romer dutifully notes that elementary math and reading scores have risen in recent years. But the fact remains that only 13% of students are reading at grade level, and 11% are at grade level in math. The only word for such results is horrifying.
Among minority students in the district, who comprise the vast majority, the situation is even worse. Last year, nine out of 10 black and Latino fourth-graders scored below proficiency in reading and math. Eighth-graders fared worse. Just 8% of black eighth-graders are proficient readers, and 7% are proficient at math. For eighth-grade Latinos, the numbers are 9% and 6%, respectively.
You might think that a Democratic mayor in a Democratic city would garner plenty of establishment support for fixing a system so poorly serving members of a traditional Democratic constituency. Think again.
Every Democrat in the country should be screaming bloody murder, yet there's not a peep and it's up to the Wall St. Journal to ask (correctly):
the fact that the liberal political establishment would fight one of its own to defend a status quo that is producing such atrocious results makes you wonder whether there's any education reform instinct left in the Democratic Party.
My goodness, there is a DESPERATE need for Democrats for Education Reform!
L.A. Story
June 19, 2006; Page A14, WSJ editorial
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is a Democrat with impeccable liberal credentials who wants to fix his city's dreadful public schools. He has one big problem: He's meeting fierce resistance from the liberal Democrats who run the teachers unions, dominate the school board and control the state legislature...

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