“The one thing I don’t want us to do, I don’t want us to cause this district to slide back into the theory of the month,” Romer said. “We need to stay the course. This management structure works, and rigor in the curriculum works. But you can only get there if you demand it on every level.”
With his easels and bar graphs, Romer’s political presence proved nearly as formidable as Villaraigosa’s. But with the superintendent eyeing the door, none of the foes of mayoral control seem to know who will deliver a message to counter the mayor. Canter, while passionate, has an occasionally whiny tone to her advocacy. And the teachers union has had an image of disarray ever since the chaotic primary election to replace former school-board member José Huizar.
United Teachers Los Angeles met two weeks ago with Villaraigosa chief of staff Robin Kramer to discuss its own L.A. Unified reform plan — one that relies on a full-time school board, a vigorous campaign for more state funding and a devolution of decision-making to local campuses. Unnerved by Kramer’s frequent references to L.A. Unified as “the beast,” the union’s policy makers failed to deter Villaraigosa from a takeover. One week later, union leaders decided to promote their reform plan a different way, writing radio spots that will serve as a counter to Villaraigosa’s campaign.