Los Angeles faces critical back to school challenges

Los Angeles school officials began the new school year Monday with a sense of urgency over the pending release of low and declining standardized test scores, a scramble to get the best professionals helping students and the ongoing search for an estimated 20,000 “missing” students.

Supt. Alberto Carvalho responded to these massive challenges by promising a “year of acceleration” in the nation’s second-largest school system. Part of that initiative was undertaken in a public event last Friday as counselors and administrators, including Carvalho, worked the phones and hit the streets to identify students who have missed too much school, failed to reenroll or never enrolled in the first place.

“Obviously, we cannot teach the absent child,” Carvalho said Monday at the end of the first day of classes. “That is why we have launched the iAttend initiative that began last week with our first day of recovery, a day that’s going to be repeated for as long as we need it.

“We have a lot of lost kids in Los Angeles,” he said.

Many of these students were not around to take last year’s state standardized tests. But even for the students who mostly made it to class, the…


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