Firefights in L.A.

Los Angeles Superintendent (and former Navy admiral) David Brewer III wrote in a recent Los Angeles Times op-ed that anyone reading about the city's schools probably thinks "not a single thing is going right and that nothing is happening to fix what's wrong." Some things are indeed going right, including charter schools, which are trying to gain a bigger role in the City of Angels and deserve credit for the good work they've already done. But Walter Coombs and Ralph Shaffer--Cal Poly Pomona emeritus professors of social science and history, respectively--won't give an inch. These profs (who, as far as Gadfly can tell, have no experience at all related to K-12 education [see here, for example]), write that charter schools "have a tendency to pick and choose" who they enroll, "are unprepared to educate all students," and belong "in the circular file." Wrong. The Reason Foundation's Lisa Snell easily rebuts their nonsense with (here's an idea): actual data. As for the admiral's admirable efforts, we wish them well--but have more faith in charter-style reform. Coombs and Shaffer are retired--they should consider retiring their rhetoric, too.

"It isn't all bad at L.A. Unified," by David L. Brewer III, Los Angeles Times, May 15, 2007