New L.A. schools chief says single-sex campuses could attract families to district

The ideas of new Los Angeles Unified School District Supt. Michelle King include opening more all-boys or all-girls schools.

The ideas of new Los Angeles Unified School District Supt. Michelle King include opening more all-boys or all-girls schools.

(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)
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In her first extended interview since taking office this week, Los Angeles schools Supt. Michelle King cited single-sex schools as one of several ways to potentially improve academic achievement and make the nation’s second-largest school system more attractive to parents.

She also wants to better integrate science and math education into all grades, and expand programs popular with parents — such as those that help students become fluent in a second language at an early age.

Speaking with The Times’ editorial board, King also criticized a controversial charter school expansion effort. When proposed last year, the goal of that plan — developed by the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation — was to raise $490 million to more than double the number of charter campuses and to enroll half of L.A. Unified students in them over an eight-year period.


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“I don’t agree or support any initiative that says we’re going to take over or take part of L.A. Unified’s kids,” King said.

But, she said, she is not hostile toward charter schools: “I support all schools that serve our kids.”

The Board of Education on Monday voted, 7-0, to name King as schools chief. The veteran administrator has worked her entire 31-year career in L.A. Unified and was hired after a national search.

She had been serving as acting superintendent since Ramon C. Cortines turned over day-to-day management in mid-December.

Cortines, a three-time Los Angeles schools chief, formally retired Jan. 2. Before her promotion King, 54, was chief deputy superintendent under both Cortines and his predecessor, John Deasy.


In the model of Cortines, King said she favored a collaborative style, including with independently managed charter schools.

Charters are exempt from some rules that govern traditional public schools. Most are non-union.

King proposed a forum for charters and traditional schools to share ideas.

“What a great idea to bring everybody together,” she said.

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The Times receives funding for its digital initiative, Education Matters, from one or more of the groups quoted in this article. The California Community Foundation and United Way of Greater Los Angeles administer grants from the Baxter Family Foundation, the Broad Foundation, the California Endowment and the Wasserman Foundation to support this effort. Under terms of the grants, The Times retains complete control over editorial content.



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