Maybe it's just me, but I can't look at David Brewer without thinking "short termer."

I mean, I can't see the guy hanging on to his new job as Los Angeles school superintendent for long.


After all, he was snuck into his new post as superintendent of Los Angeles schools when his soon-to-be boss, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, was out of the country. Then Brewer promptly said he was going to chop the roster of administrators and get rid of bad teachers.


So, in only a couple weeks, a superintendent who wasn't chosen by the guy above him quickly frosted off two big groups of entrenched employees below him. Is that a formula for long-term employment?


Brewer seems like a nice guy and all that. He was a vice admiral in the U.S. Navy, so he clearly knows how to be successful in a bureaucratic setting. But still, the fumbles are piling up so fast I feel like I'm watching an Oakland Raiders game.


Take Brewer's meeting with reporters and editors at the Los Angeles Times in which he said he intends to get rid of bad teachers. "We're gonna get them out," he was quoted as saying. "The question is, how is the system going to react to the way we get them out?"


I know very little about the L.A. Unified School District, but even I know the question is not how the system will react but whether the system will allow him, or anyone, to do such a thing. A strong union protects bad teachers. As the Times pointed out, the district tried to fire less than one-third of 1 percent of teachers in the last decade, but couldn't even manage that very well.


A.J. Duffy, president of United Teachers Los Angeles, was quoted as saying the incoming superintendent has a lot to learn about the school district.


"We will continue to fight tooth and nail to protect our folks," Duffy said, in a line that kind of sounded like, "Go ahead. Make my day."


That's not the end. Brewer has no experience in education. He said it's in his DNA, since his parents were both educators and his wife is a teacher. That's the right thing to say, and the kind of thing you'd say if you were in his position. But most people know better. If your parents were postal clerks, would you be qualified to be postmaster?

Prev

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, CLICK HERE.