LOS ANGELES (Aug. 9, 2012) – Despite slashed budgets for public education, Superintendent John Deasy said today during an annual speech that Los Angeles Unified School District has made significant progress toward goals that he described as “nothing short of remarkable.”
Stressing his mantra of District graduates being college-prepared and career ready, Deasy spoke enthusiastically in a wide-ranging speech about academic successes from the previous year, while emphasizing his core belief of “all youth achieving.”
“The progress toward these goals has been nothing short of remarkable,” Deasy told 1,500 principals, administrators and senior executives of the nation’s second-largest school district at Washington Preparatory Senior High School in Los Angeles. “If the LAUSD was an Olympic team, we would be medaling in every event so far.”
For instance, he said the District’s goal of reducing suspensions by 5% last year to 43,500 plummeted to 26,200, a 44% drop. Two out of three students in the 10th-grade passed their state high school exit exam in math and English on their first try, the highest-rate the District has ever recorded.
More than 42,000 students last year took Advanced Placement tests, which allow students to earn college credit, advanced placement or both, while still in high school. What’s more, those who passed the test grew 8%, the highest-rate since records have been kept. African American students recorded the highest growth in passing the tests.
“Our students are succeeding,” Deasy said to warm applause. “The accomplishments we’ve seen have been overwhelming.”
The annual address, typically held before the first day of school, accommodates the early start of the 2012-13 school year on Tuesday, August 14. The new calendar will apply to most campuses throughout the District. Only three--Del Olmo Elementary, Cahuenga Elementary and Bell High School—will continue to operate on a year-round schedule. Next week, the District also will open 20 new schools.
Dr. Deasy, during his speech, also held a moment of silence for victims of abuse, as well as for youth and District colleagues who lost their lives last year. “I, for one, pray that our lawmakers summon the courage to strengthen laws that make it easier to fire anyone who abuses a child.”
The annual address will be broadcast today at 6:30 p.m., on Friday at 6:30 a.m. and on Sunday, Aug. 12 at 6:30 a.m. on the District’s own television station – KLCS.
Contact: Daryl Strickland (213) 241-6766
Photo: Superintendent John Deasy (Daily News)