Setting the Standard in Education

The Future of LAUSD

In California, LA on July 31, 2010 at 4:45 pm

Back in June, I reported that LAUSD had hired John Deasy as assistant superintendent under Ray Cortines. It’s important to note taht Deasy is being paid more than Cortines, who also gave Deasy the bigger office. Clearly, the assumption is that Deasy will be superintendent when Cortines finishes his term. A little over a week ago, Cortines announced that will be sooner than what was previously expected. Cortines had a contract that lasted until the end of 2011, but he says he will be done next spring. This comes as a bit of a surprise, but it’s not a huge change from what the original plan was. By retiring next spring, Cortines will have served about 2 1/2 years of his 3-year contract. These past few years and his previous term were both fraught with difficulties. He presided over huge budget cuts and layoffs.

Cortines is retiring early to help transition LAUSD into a new era.

However, that seems like it was the plan all along. Cortines is seen not as a reformer, but as a budget-slasher. While he has done some great things for LAUSD like pressing for allowing wider school takeovers by CMOs and other organizations, his main issue has been navigating a financial crisis. LAUSD has been in dire straits since he came aboard in 2008 and he has worked his way into making things better. While the district is by no means out of the clear, perhaps this is a sign that Cortines thinks things should be better by next year. Or that he’s done dealing with the financial woes. What seems clear is that he’s creating a fast-track for Deasy to takeover next spring and put his own print on LA’s schools.

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  1. It never ceases to astonish me that a person like Ramon Cortnes with a 50 year career that is contemporaneous with the dismemberment of American public education is allowed to head off into the sunset with no comment as to his culpability in this process. Worse yet, he and others are able to lay off the responsibility on teachers, who have had no say in how public education is run. While public school teachers are presently far from our best and our brightest, one cannot expect to attract better given the no win and militantly ignorant culture that Cortines and his uninspired contemporaries have been allowed to continue with little or no effective objection from the more affluent members of our society that have their children in private school and think that by so doing they will avoid the consequences of dumbing down our next generation of citizens.

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