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Giving L.A. Unified's principals more authority can make bad schools even worse

Giving L.A. Unified's principals more authority can make bad schools even worse
LAUSD Supt. Austin Beutner speaks at Jordan High School on Sept. 7. (Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Any teacher will tell you that good schools have good principals and mediocre schools have indifferent principals. Always overlooked in improving the schools is the major role that principals play. (“Remember the iPads? L.A. Unified needs more transparency and caution on reorganization,” editorial, Dec. 27)

Giving more purchasing power to the schools is an invitation to fraud. L.A. Unified controls more than 900 schools and often makes poor decisions like the iPad giveaway. But a district-wide template is necessary to keep purchasing orders from going to hastily formed companies run by somebody’s brother-in-law.

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Supt. Austin Beutner’s desire to decentralize L.A. Unified is the antithesis of today’s best-run companies. Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg are examples of hands-on executives who made their companies excel and dominate.

Would Apple be Apple if Jobs had divided the company into 32 fiefdoms?

Bob Munson, Newbury Park

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