Antonio Villaraigosa on Education



Stop making excuses for lack of success in schools

A former union organizer who went on to become speaker of the state Assembly and a mayor, Villaraigosa has long criticized the state's lack of education spending. However, over decades of working on education policy, at times bitterly at odds with teachers unions, he said, "if you want the taxpayers of this state to buy into investing more, we got to do more with the money we got."

"We can't be afraid of innovation. We can't be saying 'no' to technology. We can't keep on making excuses for the lack of success, sometimes," Villaraigosa said. Then, he said, the state should reward schools with more money, focus on teacher training and empower parents. "The next leader of this state has to say, 'This is the most important issue. It will be job No. 1,'" he told the audience in response to a question.

Source: Sacramento Bee on 2018 California gubernatorial race , Feb 1, 2017

Mayoral control of 22 poorly performing schools

Villaraigosa said he tried to take over the schools, winning passage of a state law that was later overturned by the courts. Villaraigosa changed his tactics from trying to take control to helping seat a new Los Angeles Unified Board of Education that agreed with his views on educational reform. He also took direct control of 22 poorly performing schools, which he said have turned around.

Also, his added focus on graduating students helped the district reverse its drop out rate, he said. "In 2005, there were only 48 percent of kids graduating," Villaraigosa said. "Last year, it was 64 percent. Almost two-thirds of the students."

Source: Huffington Post on 2014 California Governor race , Jun 23, 2013

Police in the schools, every day, but not all day

Q: What about this idea of police in schools? What is your feeling with that?

VILLARAIGOSA: Well, in L.A., we are patrolling every school. We have officers coming to every school in our city.

Q: Every day?

VILLARAIGOSA: Every day. Not all day, but at various parts of the day while school is open, they are visiting the campuses to make sure things are going well. I don't agree with the NRA that we should be arming our teachers. But we should have discussions in our classrooms about bullying and violence and resolving conflict without violence. And we've got to do a lot more around mental health, and we do need sensible gun safety laws in the United States of America. You know, the Republicans in the House and Senate have blocked the approval of director of the ATF for the last seven or eight years. We've got to beef up and really move away from the kinds of things we've done in the past.

Source: Face the Nation 2013 on 2014 California gubernatorial race , Jan 13, 2013

Charter schools and competition to improve education

We will ensure that these new schools are run by the best school operators. As a part of this process, we will create a competitive process in the fall of 2009 that will allow charter operators, Partnership schools, local districts, universities, groups of teachers and others to compete to operate the new school. The operator's record of performance will determine who will operate the new schools opening in 2010 and beyond.
Source: City of Los Angeles Mayoral website, "Education" , Dec 12, 2011

Academic performance measures need to be more comprehensive

For over a decade, the Academic Performance Index (API) has functioned as a compass by which schools and districts steer their efforts to improve. However, the API has been hindered by its over-reliance on one determining factor--standardized test scores--to assess a student's achievement. It is time to hold schools accountable for preparing our kids for college and careers in the workplace of the 21st century. An index that takes into consideration a more comprehensive set of factors is needed.
Source: 2011 L.A. Mayoral press release #015525 , Sep 13, 2011

Invest in our schools to reform Latino education

With a persistent achievement gap in schools across Los Angeles, we must continue to invest in and reform our schools. The Boyle Heights Promise Neighborhood Initiative seeks to create a better learning environment, decrease the dropout rate, increase college preparedness and raise the next generation of Latino leaders.

The five-year action plan to improve education and college preparedness and overall housing and health options in Boyle Heights will be submitted soon.

Source: 2011 L.A. Mayoral press release #015448 , Aug 24, 2011

Parent Trigger: supports right to demand good education

Since day one, I have supported the Parent Trigger as a grassroots effort that brings communities together in support of strong schools. This law empowers parents and gives them a voice and a vote to demand better. I hope to see more parents throughout Los Angeles and California take action to set higher standards for our students and achieve better results for our neighborhood schools.
Source: City of Los Angeles Mayoral press release #015069 , Jul 13, 2011

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Former Mayors:
Rocky Anderson (I,Salt Lake City)
Tom Barrett (D,Milwaukee,WI)
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Julian Castro (D,San Antonio,TX)
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Phil Gordon (D,Phoenix)
Tom Menino (D,Boston)
Dennis Kucinch (D,Cleveland,OH)
Michael Nutter (D,Philadelphia)
Sarah Palin (R,Wasilla,AK)
Annise Parker (D,Houston)
Jerry Sanders (R,San Diego)
Antonio Villaraigosa (D,Los Angeles)
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Page last updated: Mar 25, 2021