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LAUSD chief Ramon Cortines to step down by next spring

Cortines1 Ramon Cortines, the superintendent of Los Angeles public schools, plans to retire by next spring, he said Thursday.

There had been considerable speculation that Cortines, who turned 78 on Thursday, would step down, especially after he moved out of his office to a smaller space, said his spokesman, Robert Alaniz.

Cortines had turned his old office over to Deputy Supt. John Deasy.

He also had dropped hints about leaving before his contract was up, Alaniz said.

“I have to lay the groundwork for transition,” Cortines told the Daily News on Wednesday. “This district needs to have continuity, flexibility, accountability.”

Alaniz said the superintendent had not decided the exact date when he would step down.

-- Hector Becerra

Photo Credit: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (15)

Good riddance!

Under Cortines' stewardship, the LAUSD had continued its legacy of failure.

Let's all hope the school board selects a new superintendent who is actually experienced in running a school district this time. The fact that Cortines had to mop up the mess that was Superintendent Brewer is one more example of LAUSD negligence.

good riddance he should've retired long time ago.

LOOSER, GET OUT NOW. You have aded a system for worthless teachers and pedophiles.

I don't blame him - the district is broke, the payroll system is in shambles, and they are trying to say they overpaid teachers who were not overpaid. This district should have been broken up years ago. It is top heavy and I would guess that more money goes to pay non-classroom personnel in this district than ever makes it to the classroom. Add that to changing programs every few years - and discarding books and other materials for these programs that could be sold or reused - and you can understand why LAUSD is in bad shape.

Typical! This is not the first time Cortines has left us hanging! He take the money and runs. Wow, what a surprise!

LAUSD is sooo messed up that Cortines can't undo it.

I feel for all those kids, and teacher, The administrators, I can care less about, they are the ones that brought this upon themselves.

They should have looked up the word ADMIN before applying for their position, because they pretty much trashed the LAUSD.

Ho hum, so another goes. You can count of the fact that nothing will change, the union will continue to run the district. Into the ground that is.

How can you blame him for retiring. The LAUSD is a mess w/chronically under-performing students no matter how many billions we pour into that rat hole. Have a great retirment Ray! You did your best.

Its about time he retires. Now he has to answer to God for what he has done.


Ramon Cortines is a political machine who long ago stopped checking the classroom pulse of his district, and instead has bowed repeatedly to the political pressure applied by his LAUSD school board goons. Remember Mr. Cortines’ role in the inception of the “parental choice” model for new and poor performing schools – a disgrace. Even parents were left out of the loop when Cortines became the ultimate arbiter for doling out these schools. In addition, Mr. Cortines and his minions slobber about data-driven decision making in education as the new hot thing, but fail to use any reliable and supportive data that demonstrates school “reconstitution” as a worthy and researched form of school reform – the only data available says it’s not and isn’t. Mr. Cortines reconstituted Fremont because he carries Arne Duncan’s spit bucket. I am afraid that Los Angeles Unified School District has become unmanageable, and whoever is at the helm will only be able to survive by eating their young. No person can lift this organization out of the deep corrosive cesspool of mediocrity in which it soaks. Just when a hope-filled Beaudry Building window opens with the departure of one superintendent, the light that fills it will be quickly smothered by the emerging profile of a new political monster – John Deasy of Gates Foundation fame. What you cannot see below the windows’ edge framing Deasy’s mug high above Los Angeles, however, are his hands - hands busy sharpening cutting knives with blistering speed. Chop, chop, chop, sell, sell, sell. A year from now, in his opening salvo, the pain of his deft art will not be initially revealed due to the swiftness in which our new superintendent will move. Oh, how we will soon pine, warts and all, for that kindly old guy Cortines and his quaint and whimsical ways.

Regarding the comment: "Worthless Teachers,"

Not all teachers are worthless and to make such a comment is unfair. Step inside the schools. Every school has their fair share of wonderful teachers who have to deal with the immense district pressures to implement programs and curriculum that teachers know don't do anything for their students. There are teachers who day in and day out offer their help to students and care not about compensation. Teachers who go in a t 6:00am and leave at 4 or 5 pm. Teachers who truly care about their students and push them to be better and to want better. I agree that there are some people who shouldn't be teachers, and those should be removed, but to make a comment that lumps all teachers under "worthless" devalues the hard work that true teachers do. Teachers want to get back to true teaching and want to be to help their students succeed but how when district, state, and federal policy governs what they can and cannot teach and how to teach and when to teach. 9 times out of 10 accountability is only placed on teachers, What about the districts and the educational laws and policies drawn up by politicians who have never been involved in education or have knowledge of the learning process? Then you have the accountability that seemed to have been erased from parents. All these articles and studies on what teachers do and don't do, whatever happened to the parents role, and the students own accountability. Reform needs to start at the top. Education Laws and Policies must be changed. How much money would the state save if it practiced retaining kids who don't make the grade instead of moving them along? In the long run how much money do the people who cannot read and write cost the state? Start at the top with states and districts and a better screening process for teachers so good teachers stay and get rid of those that cause more harm than good. Just because its public education, doesn't mean that some parents get to do as they please and neglect their responsibilities. What about their accountability? Everyone seems to forget that one's first teachers are the parents.

Follow this analogy: If you germinate a seed before planting it in the ground, the seed will sprout and start to grow. On the other hand, if the seed is not cared for and germinated before being planted, it will not grow regardless of the richness of the soil. This model explains perfectly why LAUSD schools continue to fail year after year. Students who attend private schools and schools in upscale suburbs are the germinated seeds. Their parents read to them, engaged their minds at a young age, and taught them how to behave in such a way that they can succeed in a classroom. Conversely, the majority of LAUSD students have been raised in chaos and crisis. Most LAUSD parents place little importance on lawful and orderly behavior (to say nothing of academia), and the kids' performance reflects this.

LAUSD can have the best teachers, best administrators, and best superintendent in the world, but until the students of LAUSD are "germinated" properly at home, nothing will change.


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