Supt. Roy Romer used today's "state of the schools" speech to stress that campuses are getting better under his watch and to blast Mayor Villaraigosa for deploying "propaganda" that undermines the cause. "We have certain people in this community that continue to describe that this is a failing district and that has tremendous consequences," the Daily News website quotes Romer saying. "If you indoctrinate and propagandize a population for a long time, they will believe that." Villaraigosa responded at an afternoon press conference, saying "the problems with our schools are not the fault of teachers, of parents or students, it's a question of leadership. We need new leadership at the LAUSD."
School reform leader David Abel (publisher of The Planning Report) sent out a strongly worded denunciation of Romer's posturing later in the day. It says in part:
It never fails! Constructive LAUSD reform efforts honestly meant to enhance the success of your youth that are advanced by respected civic and political leaders in Los Angeles are met with vitriolic and personal attacks by LAUSD leaders and their highly compensated PR flacks. The inference of LAUSD spokesperson is always: only LAUSD administrators and board members truly care about children; outsiders who complain are ignorant, conflicted and down right morally bankrupt.
This pattern again is being played out this week .. this time the villain is the Mayor of Los Angeles. He is the uninformed propagandist who would rob the children of LA of the extraordinary leadership being provided by the seven board members - and their highly paid PR consultants - and the thousands of school district administrators and their vendors.
Borrowing the observation of the former LAUSD Inspector General.. LAUSD leadership has a habit of deflecting, then denying, and then defending it's poor practices from all critiques.
I and many others, whether we fully agree with the reform plans now on the table or not, are rooting strongly for Mayor Villaraigosa to overcome LAUSD's traditional defenses to reform.
Villaraigosa is scheduled to host a parents' meeting on his reform plans this evening at Westwood United Methodist Church.