Pass / Fail | So Cal education, LAUSD, the Cal States and the UCs

University conference hopes to rally Southland education reformers

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A TEDx conference at Loyola Marymount University on Saturday seeks to turn the traditional education conference on its head.

“When we get a group of educators together and we try to mobilize for ed reform, a lot of the discussion is old and tired,” LMU graduate student Jonathan Ortega said.

Ortega and fellow graduate students in LMU’s school of education are organizing an education-focused conference they hope will spark new thinking about how to improve schools.

Organizers believe that competing ideologies, little cooperation, and “finger-pointing” are keeping public schools in Los Angeles from improving. They hope this conference is an opportunity for teachers to “come together and sacrifice ideology for the sake of creating community, sharing ideas, and springing into action that will transform the education system, as we now know it,” according to the event’s web site.

In the spirit of the decades old TED conferences that blend disparate speakers to spark creative thinking, the LMU organizers have invited actor, comedian Rob Benedict, Air Force Captain Casey Whitson, former NFL scout Bucky Brooks, and Game on nation vice president Blair Bloomston, among others. “She’s going to be talking about game dynamics,” Ortega said, “she’s going to be sharing with us how to get people’s attention, how to get them to connect and communicate.”

LMU’s school of education educates nearly 2,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The school's dean, Shane Martin, is a strong proponent of charter schools having served as chair of  Green Dot Public Schools. Martin has also given strong support to controversial education reforms championed by L.A. Unified Superintendent John Deasy.