Cortines criticizes Broad, calls on warring factions to work together for L.A. students
LAUSD Supt. Ramon C. Cortines, right, in conversation Wednesday with L.A. Times columnist Steve Lopez in the Chandler Auditorium at the Los Angeles Times. (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)
his first public criticism of a massive charter-school expansion plan, outgoing Los Angeles schools chief Ramon C. Cortines on Wednesday referred to philanthropistEli Broad, who spearheaded the proposal, as "ill advised."
In an hourlong conversation at The Times with columnist Steve Lopez, the L.A. Unifiedsuperintendent also said that he supports offering choices to parents, including charter schools, and said that warring factions need to learn to work together in the interest of students.
"Parents do need choices," Cortines said. "It’s not just one way.... We need to be collaborating together. Schools are struggling. Charter schools are struggling, parochial schools are struggling…. We need to get on a plan to work together.”
Lopez asked Cortines if the Broad plan, outlined in a confidential draft obtained by The Times, would result in harm to the district and its students. That proposal talked about raising $490 million to move half of Los Angeles students into charter schools. Some critics say that such a migration could threaten the solvency of the nation's second-largest school system.
Cortines did not directly address the fate of L.A. Unified. But he did briefly take on Broad and the proposal.
"I think he was ill advised," Cortines said of Broad. "I think somebody brought him an elixir without having it be tested to see if it will really do what it is promised to do.”
The superintendent noted, however, that after the plan became public, Broad’s foundation toned down its pro-charter rhetoric.
The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation has characterized the leaked proposal as a draft meant for discussion purposes. The Broad plan has led to the creation of a nonprofit that officials said will work to create high-quality schools of any kind, charter or otherwise.
Cortines defended traditional schools and the dedication of their employees.
"We are doing some things right," he said. "This district, this school system, does not get a fair shake."Cortines calls on warring factions to work together on behalf of L.A. students - LA Times: