• BREAKING NEWS ABC shows live and on-demand -- Download the WATCH ABC app!

Officials tracking factors of LA schools improvement

August 18, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
New tests show a big improvement in performance for some struggling Los Angeles Unified district schools. But in a surprising turnaround, the schools under L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's control tested lower than their conventional counterparts.

The average student in the Los Angeles Unified School District is improving according to recently released test scores. But now there is a closer look at the numbers: Which schools performed better, and who is running those schools?

Under fire, LAUSD handed the management of dozens of schools to charter organizations and other reform groups that said they could do better.

"We send our kids to school hoping that one day they are going to graduate," said Villaraigosa on August 30, 2006. "When they don't graduate, something is wrong. When 50 percent of them are not graduating, we are in a crisis."

The mayor's Partnership for L.A. Schools program took over six schools. Scores exceeded the district's for a time.

"As for as our schools, in the first two years, as you know, we outpaced the school district and the state. This year we did not," Villaraigosa said Thursday.

This year, the LAUSD-managed schools fared better.

"The pace or the improvement of the LAUSD schools is a little quicker than some of the partners we're working with. We are pleased with that," said LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy.

Does that blunt the mayor's criticism of LAUSD? "Actually not, actually not," said Villaraigosa.

Villaraigosa says city leaders held the district's feet to the fire and everyone got the message. The task now is to identify the winning factors at newly achieving schools.

"We are watching Garfield High School get better faster than any other high school," said Deasy.

Of equal concern are the underperformers, including Crenshaw High School, run by the Los Angeles Urban League.

"Crenshaw lost ground in both its graduation rate and its achievement rate. That is not a good situation and we intend to reverse that," said Deasy.

"We are going to get right back to the grind, to the stone if you will, roll up our sleeves and figure it out," said Villaraigosa.

"This is not a competition, it is about every student having the right to graduate college work-force ready," said Deasy.

Deasy gives a lot of praise to teachers that are making the biggest strides working in challenging circumstances during current education cutbacks.

Load Comments