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ERIC Number: ED502059
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Feb
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Los Angeles Takes over Its School District: An Overview of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's Bid to Restructure LAUSD. Policy Note
Ramirez, Hernan
Tomas Rivera Policy Institute
Across the nation, takeovers of schools or entire systems by mayors, state legislatures, or control boards have come as a result of increasing pressure to improve low performing schools, particularly those in central cities serving disadvantaged or minority students. Citing a need for improvement in the city's schools, Antonio Villaraigosa proposed a number of changes in the way the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) is run during the 2005 mayoral campaign. The new governance structure is outlined in California Assembly Bill No. 1381 (AB 1381). This legislation calls for a power-sharing arrangement in which the mayor, the elected school board, and the district superintendent would be responsible for overseeing different aspects of the school district. The school reform bill, set to take effect January 1, 2007, faced a legal challenge from school district officials and others who claimed that it violated California's state constitution. On December 21, 2006, a judge declared AB 1381 unconstitutional and blocked its January 1 implementation. Now-Mayor Villaraigosa promptly appealed the ruling, initiating a legal battle over the future of LAUSD that remains ongoing. This policy note places Mayor Villaraigosa's plan for reforming the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) in a national context, summarizes some of AB 1381's key provisions, and offers an overview of the debate over implementation of AB 1381. Although noting that urban school reform efforts are shaped by the varying contexts of individual cities and their schools, the report cites that mayoral takeover has been found to be related to gains in achievement among low performing schools in other cities, a finding that might be interpreted as favorable for Mayor Villaraigosa's plan to exercise direct control over three clusters of Los Angeles' low performing schools. Ultimately, though, the author concludes that it remains to be seen whether the current reform effort will improve education outcomes for the majority of students in LAUSD. (Contains 35 footnotes.)
Tomas Rivera Policy Institute. University of Southern California, School of Policy, Planning, and Development, Ralph and Goldie Lewis Hall, 650 Childs Way Suite 102, Los Angeles, CA 90089-0626. Tel: 213-821-5615; Fax: 213-821-1976; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Tomas Rivera Policy Inst., Claremont, CA.
Identifiers - Location: California