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L.A. School Decentralization

While the Los Angeles Unified School District must address a wide range of critical issues in order to ultimately deliver the caliber of education our children need, on one specific issue we should all agree--the district’s central office must be made to function effectively and efficiently. That’s why we applaud the willingness of Supt. Ramon Cortines to search for ways to do just that (Feb. 24).

While the details of his proposed decentralization plan will deserve careful scrutiny, this much is clear: Well-run organizations run lean headquarters. They push resources and autonomy to the front line. It is important to reform the LAUSD central office in a way that is as fair as possible to the people who now work there, but those committed to improving student achievement should be glad reform has now begun.

WILLIAM OUCHI

VIRGIL ROBERTS

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Co-Chair, LAAMP/LEARN

Regional School Reform Alliance

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Your article states, “Principals, teachers and support staff members work very hard [Cortines and Howard Miller, the district’s chief operating officer] said, but ‘they are not necessarily doing the right things’ to ensure that children learn.” Thank goodness our superintendent doesn’t think we’re lazy. He just considers us incompetents.

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MARGHERITA D’AMATO

Teacher, LAUSD

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If we are going to give teachers report cards on how well they educate their students, I think we need to employ a system for rating parents as well. Parents who make no effort to attend parent-teacher conferences, who neglect to send their children to school regularly and who do not monitor homework also need to be taken to task.

The best teacher will not achieve the best results without participation, support and cooperation from the home.

KAREN HELLER MASON

Los Angeles


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