February 01, 2001 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Progress Report: Do Los Angeles’ public schools work? L.A. Weekly investigates in a collection of stories featured in its December 1-7 issue. First, a group of the newspaper’s editors and writers talk to Roy Romer, the former Colorado governor who became superintendent of the troubled Los Angeles Unified School District about six months ago. “We’re in such shape, we’ve got to think of every idea,” Romer says. He reveals his top priorities: “to increase the ability of teachers to teach and to increase the ability of principals to manage instruction.” One of Romer’s ideas is to team up beginning teachers with experienced, “master teachers” for on-the-job training. Romer also wants to give LAUSD principals back some of the authority that has been taken away from them—particularly the power to assign teachers as they see fit, and not necessarily based on seniority—and then hold them accountable for what goes on in their schools. “You can’t put principals in charge of schools and hold them responsible for performance without giving them authority,” he says. The section on education also includes a conversation with a panel of L.A. teachers and excerpts from Samantha Trumbo Campbell’s 1997 journal, in which she chronicles her frustrations as an uncredentialed first-year teacher in the city’s tough South Central area. On her first day at school, she confesses, “I am terrified.” In November, she writes, “I don’t belong here,” as she describes her school’s system of playground punishment, in which troublemakers are forced to walk around the schoolyard perimeter with their hands behind their backs until recess ends. “I can’t shake the prison image.” To Campbell, the district’s weekly training program for uncredentialed teachers is a joke. “I come faithfully,” she writes, “but rarely learn anything I can practically apply in the classroom.” As time goes on, Campbell alternates between “bouts of elation and despair.” By the end of the year, Campbell feels as if she’s finally getting somewhere. “To actually see the children’s accomplishments, whether on their papers or their faces, is enough to keep my hope alive that someday I’ll know what I’m doing, someday I’ll live up to those impossible expectations of what a teacher should be.” Burned out after three years of teaching, Campbell is currently on a one-year leave of absence from the profession but plans to return.

Schools They Like: In its January/February issue, the American Enterprise profiles 14 schools “where kids really learn.” The conservative magazine “emphatically did not seek institutions that turn out all Harvard students,” Editor in Chief Karl Zinsmeister explains in his introduction, but picked schools that “push kids and demand effort.” The public, private, and charter schools on the list are culturally very different but share common traits: strict discipline, high standards, a rigorous curriculum, a dress code, an insistence on patriotism, a sense of purpose, and an emphasis on old- fashioned virtues and morals. And, lumped together, Zinsmeister contends, they make an argument for school vouchers: The schools, he says, offer “a glimpse of how rich and multi-faceted childhood education could be in a freer world of de-monopolized education.”

—David Hill


Classroom Technology Webinar Building Better Blended Learning in K-12 Schools
The pandemic and the increasing use of technology in K-12 education it prompted has added renewed energy to the blended learning movement as most students are now learning in school buildings (and will likely continue
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Student Well-Being Webinar
A Whole Child Approach to Supporting Positive Student Behavior 
To improve student behavior, it’s important to look at the root causes. Social-emotional learning may play a preventative role.

A whole child approach can proactively support positive student behaviors.

Join this webinar to learn how.
Content provided by Panorama
Student Achievement Webinar Examining the Evidence: What We’re Learning From the Field About Implementing High-Dosage Tutoring Programs
Tutoring programs have become a leading strategy to address COVID-19 learning loss. What evidence-based principles can district and school leaders draw on to design, implement, measure, and improve high-quality tutoring programs? And what are districts

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: November 17, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Nearly a Million Kids Vaccinated in Week 1, White House Says
Experts say there are signs that it will be difficult to sustain the initial momentum.
4 min read
Leo Hahn, 11, gets the first shot of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021, at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle. Last week, U.S. health officials gave the final signoff to Pfizer's kid-size COVID-19 shot, a milestone that opened a major expansion of the nation's vaccination campaign to children as young as 5. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Education How Schools Are Getting Kids the COVID Shot, and Why Some Aren’t
Some district leaders say offering vaccine clinics, with the involvement of trusted school staff, is key to helping overcome hesitancy.
5 min read
A girl walks outside of a mobile vaccine unit after getting the first dose of her COVID-19 vaccine, outside P.S. 277, Friday, Nov. 5, 2021, in the Bronx borough of New York. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)
Education Biden Administration Urges Schools to Provide COVID-19 Shots, Information for Kids
The Biden administration is encouraging local school districts to host vaccine clinics for kids and information on benefits of the shots.
2 min read
President Joe Biden, and first lady Jill Biden walk to board Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021. Biden is spending the weekend at his home in Rehoboth Beach, Del. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)