LAUSD Board Adopts UTLA Contract 7-0
With the aim of fostering local control and developing high-quality schools along with services to support teacher and student needs, the Los Angeles Board of Education voted 7-0 to adopt the new United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) contract in a special Board meeting Dec. 19.
“I am convinced that this is a big win for our children,” said board Vice President Dr. Richard Vladovic. “We have officially institutionalized and unleashed the spark of reform and creativity and the power of our school families, and that our youth will benefit from this action.”
Nearly 70 percent of the teachers, counselors, nurses and librarians who recently cast ballots voted in favor of the three and a half year contract. The contract, known as the Local Schools Stabilization and Empowerment Initiative of 2011, is being hailed by supporters as a liberating force for schools, allowing individual school sites to opt for reforms they believe necessary to improve student achievement.
“There are good charter schools; there are good district schools. We want them all to be good schools. Right now they aren’t. That’s the whole intent,” board member Marguerite LaMotte said. “I don’t care where your child chooses to attend; they have to be quality schools. And with this sustainability effort that we have, I know that’s going to happen.”
Both UTLA President Warren Fletcher and Superintendent John Deasy, new to their positions this year, are being commended for their leadership in bringing new flexibilities to schools so teachers, administrators and parents can support all students. The emphasis of the contract is on creating local control, developing high-quality plans and providing support services to schools, all common ground areas for both entities.
“This is our moment to take the courage to turn away from our traditional adversarial roles to work together and what I would call a new conspiracy of hope,” said board member Steve Zimmer. This new effort will take, “every bit of what we can bring together in a whole new way that honors the potential of our children and the dreams of their parents,” he added.
Board member Nury Martinez, who represents the Northeast San Fernando Valley, thanked the teachers in her district for their commitment to their students.
“They have absolutely written some of the most magnificent, amazing plans that put kids first and I think this is really about them. We are very proud of the work we’ve done together and this just validates their work,” she said.
Although some of the details remain to be sorted, board President Mónica García said she believes that the new contract represents a system-wide change for all schools that want it.
“It is an opportunity for LAUSD to do better and stand behind people closer to children, and stand behind dollars creating solutions in neighborhoods [where] one size fits all has not worked,” García said. “It is uncomfortable work when only 56% of our kids get to graduation. The time has come to do things differently and work together.”
By: Lydia L. Ramos
Posted: December 20, 2011