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As parents in Los Angeles, my wife and I often hear horror stories about how bad the public schools are. A major problem, I believe, is the anti-competitive attitudes among teachers’ unions and top-level bureaucrats in the Los Angeles Unified district. We now have some more evidence of such attitudes.
Recently, the Los Angeles Times requested, using the California Public Records Act, data about performance of L.A. Unified teachers. Specifically, the Times wanted results showing how student performances on standardized tests increased or decreased with individual L.A. Unified teachers. L.A. Unified officials did not comply with the request, at least not fully.
David Holmquist, the general counsel for the L.A. Unified school district, explained to the Times why the district would not comply with the request:
Holmquist cited several reasons why the district declined to release all the information The Times requested, saying it could cause jealousy among teachers and lead to poor school morale. He said that the public release could harm teachers’ ability to get future jobs and that parents could demand instructors with high ratings, leading to unbalanced classrooms. Holmquist also said the release could make it more difficult to fire teachers.
If those are the attitudes of the people teaching the future leaders of Los Angeles, it’s difficult to be optimistic about the future of Los Angeles.