LA Mayor Wants Outsiders to Run 'Failing' Schools

Teachers union says plan will lead to 'chaos in education system'
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 12, 2009 1:10 PM CDT
FILE - In this Feb. 9, 2009, file photo, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in the Los Angeles bureau.   (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
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(Newser) – The mayor of Los Angeles wants to allow outside groups to place bids for control of hundreds of the city’s schools, the LA Times reports. Antonia Villaraigosa’s education reforms would allow bidding by charter-school organizations and other education nonprofits to run 50 schools scheduled to open over the next four years. Controversially, the mayor also wants to extend such groups the opportunity to take over hundreds of existing schools ranked “failing” under federal criteria.

The teachers’ union is vehemently opposed: Villaraigosa’s reforms could lead to “chaos in the education system,” union president AJ Duffy said. Duffy points to studies that suggest charter schools don’t necessarily perform better than traditional schools. But Villaraigosa is determined. “This will not be easy,” the mayor said at a recent community meeting. The teacher’s union is “"the biggest defender of the status quo."