The Desk

October 14, 2007

The Talent Crisis and the State of Education

Filed under: Hiring — Yvonne LaRose @ 4:31 PM
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What is it about Los Angeles schools and the caliber of education in this city? It’s difficult to tell whether the phenomenon of producing poorly educated individuals is unique to the Los Angeles schools, to particular zip codes within the sprawling city, or whether it should be attributed to the caliber of teachers who are employed here. With a small turn, it seems the problem isn’t isolated to just Los Angeles. It’s a state problem. It’s a national problem. It’s epidemic. Approximately half of those who enter high school will graduate four and a half years later. Of that number, there will be the usual spread of achievement and proof of quality education.

Some give up in deference to the many external pressures impacting them. Some are the usual profile of get by with the minimum amount of effort. Some of those numbers will blossom at a later time, when they realize the importance and value of knowledge and the path to achieving their goals in an acceptable way.

Our Mayor proposed a solution to the issue of education. After all, it impacts the quality of product one can expect from the City, it’s a form of interstate commerce, this “Made in Los Angeles” stamp that graduates of our schools carries. And the lackadaisical attitude impacts other products that are actually manufactured and marketed in other states and cities, in other parts of the world. So much so that employers are still reluctant to hire individuals from a particular zip code.

Quite a flurry was started when last year the question was put to the recruiting industry as to where the responsibility for education our youth should reside. The question arose out of the controversy started as the Mayor sought to have control over the School Board, to supplant the Superintendent of Schools with himself. Villaraigosa has succeeded in his striving to take over the running the school district and he did so by making an ally of his potential rival, Superintendent Brewer.

It was announced on October 1 that Villaraigosa will have oversight of two “families” of schools, which turn out to be the lowest performing of all the schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District, 44 schools in total (27 high schools, 17 middle schools that feed into those high schools).

I’ve delayed addressing the October 10 announcement of the school district’s spin-off district because there was a need to research which are the affected schools. That information is not easy to ascertain using the resources I was initially able to access. It seems another report from the District’s site should have been used.

But one thing seems to be consistent: There is no one, single solution to the education (therefore talent) crisis. Impacts are multiple and that means solutions also need to be wrought from many areas that work toward the core. However, one study conducted by a California State University at Los Angeles Assistant Professor, a Ph.D. candidate, and a representative from LAUSD found that teacher confidence in their self and the abilities of their students had a direct correlation to the success those students achieved. This “get what you expect” syndrome has been researched at other times in management and human resource areas. The results are consistent.

It looks like the reminder needs to be given on a repeated basis. You get what you expect. Expect the best and treat the candidates as you would want to be treated. Those are just two steps in overcoming the talent crisis as it is affected by the education issue.

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  1. Thanks for your interest and the request. We’ll consider additional aspects of the preparation phenomenon as time passes in order to see what some workable solutions can be developed.


    Comment by Yvonne LaRose — January 30, 2008 @ 11:07 PM | Reply

  2. I would like to see a continuation of the topic


    Comment by Maximus — December 20, 2007 @ 1:20 AM | Reply

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