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Honig Changes Mind on UCLA School Move

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A delegation of parents flew into Sacramento Monday and persuaded State Supt. of Public Instruction Bill Honig to support their campaign to keep the University Elementary School on the UCLA campus and not move it into the Santa Monica public school system.

Until Monday, Honig favored the move because he likes the idea of university-run lab schools in public school settings. Honig’s staff was working with UCLA administrators and officials of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District to smooth the way for the move.

After meeting with the lab school delegation and members of his staff for 45 minutes Monday afternoon, Honig changed his mind.

“They had a good idea--taking that school and making it not just a research institution but a place where we can take some of these curriculum framework ideas and figure out how this could happen in regular schools,” Honig said.

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Honig was referring to new state curriculum requirements in math, science, history, English and language arts. “I hope UCLA will give this suggestion serious consideration,” he added.

Part of the parents’ plan endorsed by Honig also calls for the 450-pupil University Elementary School to remain on campus, working closely with a new Center for Human Development and Cultural Diversity.

Kathy Seal, a member of the delegation that met with Honig, said the parents “got what we came for.”

UCLA officials want to move the lab school, the last in the state, to Santa Monica to make way for a $76-million Graduate School of Management.

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They also have argued that the lab school could fulfill its research function better as part of an urban school environment.

However, the Family School Alliance--the lab school’s main support group--has pointed out that the Ocean Park neighborhood of Santa Monica, where the school would be relocated, is rapidly becoming gentrified and upper-income and no longer offers much of an urban mix.

They also question the wisdom of building a $7-million to $10-million school in Santa Monica-Malibu, a district where enrollment is declining.


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