LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — It was the most expensive school board election in the nation’s history
Backing one side: the teacher’s union. Bankrolling the other: supporters of the charter-schools movement.
And the winners were: the races funded by charter-school supporters.
School Board President Steve Zimmer lost his bid for re-election to Nick Melvoin after $8 million were put into the race.
What does this mean for the future of education in Los Angeles?
UCLA Professor of Education Pedro Noguera is a leading expert in public education.
“I think it means something for democracy generally, that money wins, that the candidates that were able to get the most money most of which came from out of LA won in this election what it means for the future of schools in LA is unclear,” Noguera said. “The problems facing the district was not at the forefront of the campaign.”
Noguera says the new school board members will have to deal with huge budget deficits and a desperate need to improve the quality of education. Issues not addressed by the candidates in the election.
“What they’re not talking about is the big challenges,” Noguera said.
USC professor of education Lawrence Picus agrees.
“Its not clear to me whether they won because they have the best ideas or whether they won because they had the most money, and I’m worried that it’s the latter,” Picus said.
These two leading experts in education say it’s too early to tell what kind of affect the election will have, now that a majority of board members are seen as supporters of the charter movement.
But what is clear, they say, is now that the campaigns are over, its time for the new board to take on the real challenges of educating the children of Los Angeles.
Picus says whether they’re charter schools, magnet schools or regular plain public schools all of those schools need to work all of the time for the children.