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Boston-style takeover of L.A. public schools

Re “Learning from Boston: A tale of two cities’ schools,” four-part editorial series, Aug. 6

I wish the mayoral takeover of the Los Angeles Unified School District were more like Boston’s, where the mayor has been in power since 1993. In L.A., we have term limits and a mayor who is running for governor so we can’t count on a sustained commitment.

The Boston Public Schools district has only 58,000 students and 145 schools, so any changes happen faster and additional money has a greater impact. Before the mayoral takeover, there was public dialogue and parents and people of the city had two opportunities to vote on the issue.

ZELLA KNIGHT

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Sun Valley

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Re “Learning from Boston: High marks for a mayor,” editorial, Aug. 7

The Times gives Mayor Thomas Menino the credit for the success of the Boston Public Schools. Menino should get some of the credit for improving the schools, but the lion’s share should go to David Driscoll, the Massachusetts commissioner of education; Jim Peyser, chairman of the Massachusetts Board of Education; the business community; the four (Republican) governors since education reform was signed into law in 1993; and the state Legislature.

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Without Driscoll, the person who has been on the front lines 24/7, education reform in Massachusetts might well be in the same sorry condition as exists in California.

PAUL HOSS

Marshfield, Mass.

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In the Aug. 9 editorial “Learning from Boston: A board that clicks,” I was quoted regarding my initial frustration at a recent Los Angeles school board meeting.

The editorial failed to disclose that the board subsequently and overwhelmingly approved my motion to increase the budget by $5 million for additional security staffing at our secondary schools. Does anyone really think that by adding 27 mayors, five county supervisors and maybe now 15 L.A. City Council members we will improve the Los Angeles Unified School District’s ability to get things done? AB 1381 is about politics and politicians saving face; it isn’t about holding people accountable or doing what is best for children. I do agree with this editorial lauding both brevity in discussion and more accountability in education, but AB 1381 is bad legislation, end of debate.

MIKE LANSING

Board Member

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Los Angeles Unified School District


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