ILLUSTRATION: United Way L.A.United Way of Los Angeles strongly supports the demolition of public education. (A reader pointed out that this stance is not typical of other United Way organizations. This post is about the United Way of Los Angeles.)

In 2011, United Way-L.A. partnered with the National Council on Teacher Quality (see Mercedes Schneider’s series about NCTQ, whose board includes reform luminaries such as Michelle Rhee and Wendy Kopp) to produce a report calling for tougher teacher evaluations based on test scores. Who knew that United Way was expert on the subject of education? Wonder how they reacted to the suicide of Rigoberto Ruelas?

Here is a conference the United Way is sponsoring, right before the Los Angeles school board election, featuring mayors best known for closing public schools, battling the teachers’ union, and giving public money to private entrepreneurs without accountability. You will hear no complaints at this event about how billionaires corrupt democracy by buying state and local school boards.

If you want to know how to reform the nation’s schools, why not ask the mayors of some of the lowest performing districts in the nation? Newark has been under state control since 1995. Chicago has had mayoral control since 1995. Los Angeles is not likely to learn much from either of them.

Mayors Cory Booker, Rahm Emanuel and Antonio Villaraigosa Headline United Way of Greater Los Angeles’ Education Summit Market Watch

LOS ANGELES, PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — Three of the country’s leading “Education Mayors,” Cory Booker (Newark), Rahm Emanuel (Chicago), and Antonio Villaraigosa (L.A.), will gather for the first time to discuss the challenges of urban education reform at the United Way of Greater Los Angeles 2013 Education Summit on February 27th from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Through frank conversation among some of education’s most progressive, if controversial figures, the Summit will address the greatest obstacles to improving our schools, particularly those that have chronically struggled. All 1,200 seats are sold out.

The Summit will honor Mayor Villaraigosa for championing education reform. Looking ahead to the future of L.A. education, the event will feature a panel discussion with the five top mayoral candidates to share their visions for improving our schools. Eric Garcetti (invited), Wendy Greuel, Kevin James, Jan Perry and Emanuel Pleitez will debate pressing education issues, including teacher evaluations, school choice, budget cuts, the relationship between the District and UTLA, and parents’ roles in schools.

“Given that we’re heading into a local election March 5th, it’s important to hear from our potential leaders about their plans for addressing the immense challenges facing our schools,” says Elise Buik, President and CEO of United Way of Greater Los Angeles.

“This Summit is an opportunity for everyone who cares deeply about education in L.A. to learn from one another, and to confront the complex issues that demand our attention,” says LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy, one of the event’s featured speakers. Other speakers include philanthropist Eli Broad and school board president Monica Garcia.

The Summit will also include two breakout sessions with key education,
business and community leaders about improving education in high-poverty areas. One session will focus on how businesses can impact struggling schools. The other session, whose panelists include UTLA President Warren Fletcher, will investigate how innovative practices can strengthen teaching.

This is the second Education Summit that United Way of Greater Los Angeles has held at the Convention Center. The first was in 2011 and featured keynote speaker U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan. United Way has positioned itself as a leader in the fight to improve education for all of L.A. County students.