Los Angeles has a champion in education reform: Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. “If a great neighborhood is anchored by great neighborhood public schools, then great global cities have to be anchored by great public school systems,” Villaraigosa tells genConnect. In urban schools today, “this issue of education and education reform is the economic issue of our time,” he adds. It’s also the “great democracy,” civil rights, and security issue of our time.
Watch Mayor Villaraigosa talk about how he is improving education in his city and why it is an important national issue:
In the last seven years in Los Angeles, there has been a doubling of successful schools at city public schools, failing schools have been reduced from thirty-three percent to ten percent, failing schools are closing down, and the city has doubled the number of charters – as long as they are successful – even in the poorer areas where public schools have failed.
“Successful schools have strong principals,” Villaraigosa said. “We’re focused a lot on teacher training, and really focusing our efforts on developing really strong teacher leaders in the classrooms.”
And even though American children may be more creative than other kids around the world, that won’t help much if they can’t keep up in topics like math and science.
“We’ve got to get behind the reform effort,” he said. “There’s a real urgency among us to really do what we can to improve the quality of our schools.”
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