LAUSD: Reform Vote at Westchester & Crenshaw

When Locke High School voted to go into Green Dot Public Schools, LAUSD had to scramble to provide a viable alternative to these charters.

Enter the creation of the Innovation Division, referred to as the “iDivision.” A small list of struggling school was invited to join. The stakeholders of the school (jargon for teachers, staff, parents, and students) were to vote on induction to the iDivision.

Yesterday and today, Westchester and Crenshaw held their votes. Both are in Local District 3. My birdies have informed me that Westchester has voted to enter the iDivision, but I did not hear an official final count. Crenshaw also voted to enter the iDivision, and this final count stands at 91 yeas and 23 nays, with 9 eligible voters who did not cast a ballot.

So what the hell is the iDivision?

LAUSD is a large bureaucratic monster, no doubt. Within the larger district, there are eight smaller, local districts. The bureaucracy is mind-numbing. The iDivision plans to alleviate the headaches of bureaucracy by making the school more autonomous: with charter-like freedoms over everything from budgeting to personnel. The iDivision is the brain-child of our superintendent, the Admiral and is a “part of [his] efforts to transform the LAUSD into a high-performing, world-class district.” Sure.

They would have “network partners”. These would be non-profit organizations who would help the faculty, staff and administration develop and implement their reform plan.

Right now, it appears both Westchester and Crenshaw have ratified entry into the iDivision. It is yet to be determined whether any of this will, in the end transform these sites into world-class schools.

More updates to come.

5 thoughts on “LAUSD: Reform Vote at Westchester & Crenshaw”

  1. My concern is that the network partners become another layer of people to sell on a process or change which would only make for more politics. Of course, just getting “network partners” will be politics and pandering as well unless some parameters are set early on.

    Just a concern, its an interesting idea and trying with 3 schools is a good way to test the waters…but “iDivision” is the right name? It would imply a connection to Apple and Steve Jobs would it not?

    I do look forward to more on this in the future as any chance to make a difference with our kids is worth trying.

  2. i thought the choice of the name “iDivision” was LAUSDs hokey attempt at seeming cutting-edge or pioneering. They wanted to give off this vibe of “with-it-ness” that (as far as I’m concerned) is a bit ridiculous. Actually, it reminds me of when Homer was trying to have an internet start-up and he came up with names like CutCo and EdgeCom and InterSlice. They are trying to brand it as “new and improved”, “modern and fresh” but I wonder if LAUSD is not cursed with the anti-midas shit-touch. I mean these are the same assholes who can’t create a functioning payroll system.

    The only hope is that Brewer (and UTLA) really might finally get it and expunge the bureaurcratic tentacles out of these schools and let ordinary teachers and support staff members do their fucking jobs.

    the idea that “network partners” become another layer of the bureaucracy has certainly been discussed among educators at these sites. It is my understanding that they will more or less be answering to the school’s governing body. I know UCLA, USC, Loyola Marymount, the Urban League and a few others have already made agreements with some of the purported iDivision schools, but am unclear on their extent of their role.

  3. Good to see that things are moving forward with Crenshaw and Westchester. At Roosevelt we just held our first meeting with the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools, our network partner, after our December yes vote to join the iDivision. The mood overall is optimistic, but we know there’s a lot of hard work ahead.

    I see this as a positive development primarily because it seems like one of the best ways to create a positive reform model within the public school district that shows that we can be progressive and get away from the bureaucratic malaise of LAUSD, while still reaching all of our students in our neighborhood schools.

  4. As a Roosevelt alum from the 90s myself, I welcome any positive change. What exactly would the changes discussed be so far RHSTeacher?

  5. Art, so far we have officially only discussed the planning process for transitioning to the Partnership next year. We are trying to decide who will do the work and who will be making the decisions. After we decide how to decide, then the decisions can start!

    Unofficially, there is definitely a significant group of teachers who would like to see the school follow a model similar to some of the large high schools in San Diego that have broken into autonomous small schools sharing the same campus. That small size combined with the curricular autonomy we are fortunate to have now would allow us to be more responsive to our students’ needs and interests.

    There are also plans to work more closely with community-based organizations, integrating them into the school more effectively and creating more after school programs and support for students and their families. There’s a lot, but like I said, we are just getting started.

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