Teachers called key to reforms

first_imgDespite high-profile attention over Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s call for a takeover of Los Angeles Unified, school board President Marlene Canter on Thursday urged officials to focus on other areas for reforming the district, including the quality of teachers. “Governance is something that can be tweaked, but it’s not the lever for change,” Canter said for a presentation before the President’s Joint Commission on School Governance, which is studying ways to reform the Los Angeles Unified School District. “I’ve looked at the issue of governance for a long time and the real issue is the leadership and the quality of the people in place. … I know people get antsy and they want to change direction, but you need people in who can develop programs with sustainability.” Canter and the school administration have been at odds with Villaraigosa for months over his call to take over the school district. Canter said school officials also have to develop a new relationship with the teachers union. “We have to include accountability when we talk. I want us to get rid of terms like `must-place’ teacher and the `dance of the lemons’ when it comes to principals.” Both terms have been developed by LAUSD critics when they talk about the inability of the district to get rid of poor teachers and administrators. In a report to the City Council late last month, the governance panel said reform of the nation’s second-largest school district cannot rest solely on whether the mayor takes over. The panel’s report and recommendations are scheduled to be submitted in June. Leaders have said district reform is inevitable – even if it stops short of full mayoral control. Rick Orlov, (213) 978-0390 [email protected] local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREOregon Ducks football players get stuck on Disney ride during Rose Bowl eventThe panel studying how to improve the nation’s second-largest district has heard a number of recommendations including expanding the school board, creating subdistricts, establishing more charter schools and changing the role of school board members to full-time jobs. Villaraigosa did not return phone calls. In her appearance before the panel – of which she is a co-leader – Canter said she wants to see the panel look at how the district can hire better teachers and principals as well as work with other institutions to refine classroom curriculum. Canter said she also wants to see a district program in which all teachers contact the parents of each of their students at the beginning of the school year to ensure they are involved in their child’s schoolwork. “We have to do all we can to make those connections between the teacher and the parent,” Canter said. last_img