A variety of reforms - along with novel school organizations - have sprouted within the L.A. Unified School District over the past two decades.
Severely overcrowded schools in the 1990s sparked plenty of civic action. Voters approved over $22 billion in revenue bonds to finance 130 new campuses. The district board created small high schools and personalized communities inside conventional schools. In 2009 the board began to hand off new campuses and low-performing schools to charter companies and teacher-led designers of semi-autonomous pilot schools. Family demand for magnet schools continued to outpace available slots.
The L.A. schools began working with UC Berkeley researchers in 2007, motivated by the pressing question, Are these varying investments - nurturing a robust blend of diverse elementary and secondary schools - paying off for students and teachers?
The LASI Project has published a variety of findings, ranging from field work in the Southeast Cities, where local communities are engaged in designing new schools, to how teacher turnover varies across charter schools, new facilities, and older campuses.
Student mobility varies among types of L.A. schools, perhaps undercutting student achievement and engagement with peers (2011)
Teacher turnover, since 2002, quite high in L.A.'s charter schools (2011)
Summary of findings, policy implications in the Los Angeles Times
L.A. schools move to a portfolio of diverse schools and nonprofit managers, the charter and choice initiative (2010)
Quick overview of how overcrowded schools, required bussing of kids spurred civic action to invest in new facilities across L.A.
Activists and parents give mixed reviews to L.A. officials' outreach in the Southeast Cities ñ siting and designing new schools (2009)
L.A. voters display uneven support for school bonds across differing neighborhoods over the past decade (2008)
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