Teacher Town Halls: Real Talk on Education Reform

Home » Los Angeles Responses

We were thrilled to see each of our town halls packed with a capacity crowd, and we want to thank every teacher, parent, student and concerned citizen who showed up for a candid, lively and informative debate about the future of our schools. In fact, so many great questions were submitted by audience members that the panelists did not have time to answer them all at the events. However, George Parker, Michelle Rhee and Dr. Steve Perry have posted video responses to each and every unanswered question below.

Direct Panelist Questions

M. Rhee- what would you have done differently (in retrospect) as chancellor of DCPS?

Carrie L., Principal | Los Angeles, CA


To George Parker: Critics believe your joining StudentsFirst is motivated by money, not principle. On that score, what is your full salary and benefits package from StudentsFirst?

Daniel M., Teacher, All subjects | Los Angeles, CA


Well Michelle, you have been affectionately dubbed "The Erasure Queen" due to the high number of DC schools with erasure marks on standardized tests. How do you respond? Does this fact cast doubt on your authority.

Phil K., Teacher, English | Los Angeles, CA


Drop Out rate

What are we doing for the dropouts? Where are they? Aren't they by law to be in school?

David S., Educator | Los Angeles, CA


Overall Policy Improvements

Please address the many false allegations from students and/or parents that easily end the careers of dedicated teachers.

Alice S. | Los Angeles, CA


African American Males/Community Involvement initiatives in urban communities

Andrea A., Consultant | Los Angeles, CA


Our education landscape seems extremely polarized-charters vs. anti-charter; pro-union vs. anti-union; students & families vs. teachers. Is there ay common ground? Can we bridge this chasm?

Beatrice, Teacher Coach, Math/Science | Los Angeles, CA


Charter schools were initially created to be a learning lab for educational innovation but we all know that best practices are not disseminated in a way that actually effects macro, systemic change. What do you think are the barriers to authentic collaboration across school sectors?

Casey L., Former educator | Los Angeles, CA


How can US produce workers who are competent in technology and engineering? (To stop the need to "import" workers with this knowledge?) Also, how can we produce better and more educated voters?

Danielle L., JD | Los Angeles, CA


We're talking about accountability and the ability to push out bad teachers, but who are we replacing them with? How do we increase the talent pool?

Drew S., Teacher | Los Angeles, CA


Please address the fact that John Deasy overlooks abuse on children when it comes from one of the people in his inner circle. I know a principal who has a police report against her for stabbing a 4th grader who quietly sat doing his assignment. The principal is still at the school.

Elizabeth O. | Los Angeles, CA


How can we make schools smaller? Public 9-12 schools of over 1200 students don't seem ideal.

Greg W., Testing Coordinator, Art/Computer | Los Angeles, CA


How do we update our outdated education system to not only adhere to state testing but also include aspects into curriculum to include culturally responsive teaching and the like?

Jose' M., Teacher, All subjects | Los Angeles, CA


If the law shift Vergara v. CA succeeds in striking down the current tenure, dismissal and seniority based layoff laws next year, what is an optimum career structure to replace this system?

Kacey, Former Teacher, Science | Los Angeles, CA


CA recently announced an intention to prioritize preparing for the new CCSS aligned assessments. This means some challenges for initiatives linking student level achievement data with teacher and school performance. What do you think of this decision, and more broadly, how do we balance sometimes competing priorities within various priorities reshaping our ED system.

Kathryn H., Former Professor | Los Angeles, CA


How do we make leaders responsive to the views of educators/teachers who are either (1) not unionized (many charters) or (2) represented by a union that does't express the full views of its members?

Keith D., Teacher, Director | Los Angeles, CA


How will the current technology contribute to the advancement of student learning & what is the future of blended teaching? (online learning + traditional teaching)

Marie Q., Trainer/Coach, Professional Development | Los Angeles, CA


How merit pay will affect teacher collaboration and morale

Molly A., Teacher, Spanish | Los Angeles, CA


Why not influence legislators to fully fund Public Ed in all areas? Use the influence to lower class sizes! Why not?

Peter S., Teacher, Multiple subjects | Los Angeles, CA


Can you offer advice on how to strike a balance between discouraged/disinterested parents and teachers?

Renee B., Educator, All subjects | Los Angeles, CA


I think attendance boundary assignment is the key to keeping students in under-performing schools. What do you think?

Sterling D., Teacher/Admin Retired, Social Studies | Los Angeles, CA


Do you think people should be profiting from education? Is policy influenced by what is profitable?

Susannah R., Educator | Los Angeles, CA


What - if anything- should be different about teachers and schools for kids who have been involved with the juvenile justice system?

Tanya F., ED Law Fellow, ELA & History | Los Angeles, CA


School Choice

It seems as if a few charter schools (10%) are doing phenomenally well because they are attracting the top teaching talent from other schools. How do we increase the overall talent pool?

Drew S., Former Teacher, Math | Los Angeles, CA


What do you think of offering parents school choice as a way of depleting the influence of unions in education like giving to a Hispanic family with 3 kids the opportunity to send her kids to Catholic school?

Ginny S., Ed Activist | Los Angeles, CA


There are quite a bit of charter schools who get creative with their data to make their vision work. What real accountability is taking place to make sure the vision is real and constant?

Sergio N., Teacher, Spanish | Los Angeles, CA


What will happen to all the children who don't get into charter schools? The unteachables, if you will.

Tobey S., Teacher, English | Los Angeles, CA


School Funding

How will the new Local Control Funding Formula and associated accountability changes (L CAP, etc) impact student achievement in CA?

Andrew B., Teacher/Board of ED, Math/History | Los Angeles, CA


The highest price tag I have seen on the complete installment of the Common Core State Standards for the 45 participating states (+ DC + 3 territories) is $25 billion. Is it/ can it be worth it?

Bill Y., Instructor/Sup., English | Los Angeles, CA


How will we make funding in education stable and robust enough to foster innovation and competitiveness?

Emily S., Teacher, History | Los Angeles, CA


What is your response to the recent legislation passed by Governor Brown and that my district is already spending our 4.2 on raises for teachers without reducing class size?

Lynette L., Teacher/Admin | Los Angeles, CA


Standardized Testing

Why don't you look into alternatives to high stakes tests? Project-based learning? Portfolio based assessments? Students want to feel like their work matters. They want to feel invited to exercise their creativity. There is plenty of evidence that these methods WORK and plenty of evidence that shows high stakes testing DOESN'T.

Alexis E. | Los Angeles, CA

The LA Times reported yesterday that CA is lifting the requirement to tie a teacher's achievement to that of his/her students test scores. By what other objective standard should CA now measure performance based achievement of its teachers?

Christine T., Owner of ED Co., Multiple subjects | Los Angeles, CA


I believe any child can learn, as do the 3 speakers. Can anyone explain WHY there is an imbalance in test scores between schools in poor communities and schools in affluent communities -specifically here in LAUSD?

Amy B., Parent | Los Angeles, CA


Should factors of poverty and social conditions be factored in when evaluating the performance of teachers, based on their student's test scores? Right now, they are not.

Dan M. | Los Angeles, CA


How do we encourage the teaching of understanding rather than teaching to the test? Can you discuss measures of teaching effectiveness?

Francis S., Professor, Mathematics | Los Angeles, CA


Much of the current reform movement focuses on student test scores as a way to measure teacher performance. How is this a valid measure when the tests are low-stake situations for students? Low stakes = students are neither penalized or rewarded for their results?

Shawne H., Teacher, English | Los Angeles, CA


Why is there a continual attack on great teachers from so called reformers who emphasize test scores over everything?

Steve S., Teacher, All subjects | Los Angeles, CA


Student Involvement

How can students get involved and help drive change? Has school input been taken into consideration during the creation and implementation of educational policy?

Audria A., Student | Los Angeles, CA


Students with Disabilities

How do we fully include students with disabilities while still supporting their needs?

Julie B., Resource Specialist, Special ED | Los Angeles, CA


CCSS assessment for students w/ special needs -- it took several years to develop the CMA/CAPA, how long will it take to create an assessment accessible by all students w/ the common core?

Lindsey P., Special Ed Teacher, Math/Science (secondary) | Los Angeles, CA


What kind of reform is needed in a district, like my son's, which is doing well in all areas and addressing his special needs.

Vincent P., Teacher | Los Angeles, CA


Teacher Preparation

What do you think of teacher and administration preparation programs like Stanford's STEP and Harvard's Ed.L.D.?

Gary K., Dad of Teacher | Los Angeles, CA


How to approach career counseling?

Gwen E., Founder of GPS Univ., Entrepreneurship | Los Angeles, CA


I became a teacher in 2004 through TFA and am now in my 10th year at my original placement school. Each year, I've noticed that right before state testing, our school will enroll an increasing number of students who have been "expelled" or "counseled out" of many of the charter schools in the neighborhood. Why should our district schools seek any type of collaboration when it doesn't seem like many cheaters "play fairly"?

Kyle H., Teacher, Math | Los Angeles, CA


What are you currently doing or what guidance would you offer to create and promote clear professional pathways for educators that are properly funded and allow us to use our expertise?

Lisa A., Teacher, Language Arts | Los Angeles, CA


I have worked with youth all of my life-always known that I wanted to be a teacher. I now work as a teacher at a high-performing private school in Los Angeles. I am only where I am today after being rejected from The New Teacher Project twice- once in New York and once in New Orleans where I lived. How does TNTP help me? What opportunities are being provided to new teachers? I have several friends who have become "teachers" through TNTP- they want to be doctors, politicians, coaches. I ask again, what can TNTP do for ME? How has TNTP helped me, besides showing me the meaning of perseverance?

Maya S., Fellow/Intern, English | Los Angeles, CA


The focus of dollars in public school is on blended learning. Facilities, technology, etc. Everything but teachers, and yet as all 3 of you say, it's about great teachers and great professional development can turn a good teacher into a great teacher. But professional development is broken. How can we bring the focus back to teachers and making them better?

Perry K., Education Consultant | Los Angeles, CA


The Common Core

How do you feel about the Common Core and related testing and Murdoch's purchased CA testing?

Lisa L., Educator | Los Angeles, CA


Union Involvement

Michelle, what do you say to those union representatives out front who claim you are "bashing teachers"?

Bruce S., Principal | Los Angeles, CA


Teachers are naturally self-sacrificing, rarely acting in their self-interest. Unions have helped prevent the exploitation of this trait. What role do teacher unions play in your vision?

Dan B., Teacher, English | Los Angeles, CA


What is your position in union corruption + politics and leading our schools into impossible positions? Ex union leaders not caring about kids but politics.

Lynette L., Educator | Los Angeles, CA