LAUSD teachers and administrators have started training sessions that the district says will help them move away from a “one-size-fits-all” approach to educating students.
Parents, teachers and school administrators have complained for years that they feel restricted by the district’s lengthy rules and regulations, and by union teacher and administrator contracts. But all three groups have now signed an agreement that’ll let schools decide on an instruction model that best suits their needs.
Rachel Bonkovsky, who manages instructional support services for LAUSD, says schools can operate autonomously under all three of districts new education plans.
"They all share a number of similarities," says Bonkovsky. "I think the best way to think about this is that we have schools that have freedoms from the district and then we have schools that have some freedoms from the union contracts."
Bonkovsky says the model called “Expanded School Based Management” allows the most freedom from district policies. That means schools will be able to design their own assessment systems and choose their own curricula.
Pilot schools, on the other hand, are not bound to teacher or administrator contracts so they can set their own work hours and work conditions.
"If I’m a teacher who wants to go and work at a pilot school, I annually sign a contract for that school," said Bonkovsky. "And the staff sit down and say, 'What are our hours going to be? What kind of duties do we agree to? What’s the vision of our school?' And as a teacher I would sign onto that vision and onto those responsibilities."
The Local Initiative Schools give administrators license to create their own process for choosing department chairs.
All three models comply with state and federal laws. There’s no limit on the number of schools that can convert to these models — but LA Unified requires them to apply.