Will You Help Create Better Schools? (Sept. 18, 2013)

A recent development in Los Angeles gives new meaning to a question that some have dared ask before: What are each of us willing to do to achieve better schools?

This past week, LA Unified School District Deputy Superintendent Jaime Aquino resigned his key position, and according to the Los Angeles Times, called the Los Angeles Board of Education dysfunctional and warned that academic progress is at stake.

Deputy Superintendent Aquino’s loss is considered a major one and worthy of attention because he is the top manager for implementing new curriculum standards.

Elise Buik, President of United Way of Greater Los Angeles, told the Los Angeles Times that “Students can’t afford to lose key advocates such as Dr. Aquino.. he has played a lead role in implementing policies that are especially vital to the success of students of color and low-income students.” In explaining the reason for his departure, Aquino cited the school board majority’s micromanagement and a political climate that is not in the best interests of the students.

The real story here is that the Los Angeles School Board, which is now largely controlled by the political arm of the teacher’s union, seems intent on making life so difficult for Superintendent Deasy that he too eventually resigns. As the LA Times editorial board said about Aquino and Deasy, “Their union friendly opponents on the board sound as though they are trying to create jobs programs for employees rather than educational opportunities for students.”

It would be a shame for the Superintendent to be forced out, as LA Unified has already shown positive results under Deasy’s leadership. Despite having been on the job for only 2 1/2 years, test scores have gone up and instruction has improved – particularly for English-learners – under Superintendent Deasy’s leadership.

What can you do? Are you willing to sign an important petition online and also add your name to a group dedicated to improving our schools?

First, please sign Parent Partnership for Public Education’s online petition of support for Superintendent Deasy at http://supportoursuperintendent.com/

Secondly, please join me in supporting a group committed to fighting for reform and putting our children first – Students First. Please visit www.studentsfirst.org to learn more about them.

I’m passionate about education reform – it’s not only the right thing, but is absolutely necessary for our children and our nation’s future. I hope you agree.