AJ Duffy, The Video                 

school refoms 2005-2011

During my tenure as Present of United Teachers Los Angeles (2005-2011), the second largest teacher’s union in the country, I was able to introduce, with the help of others, both internally and externally, several significant school reform models. What follows is a description of some of these models.

1. ESBMM (Expanded School Based Management Model) ESBMM gives selective schools charter-like freedoms while staying under the entire UTLA contract. It is a significant breakthrough as a school governance model and melds teachers, classified and parents into the management model along with the administrators.  

ESBMM Presentation
ESBMM Overview
ESBM Contract (for entire contract, go to: UTLA.net)
Woodland Hills Academy  (First ESBMM School in LAUSD)

2. Pilot Schools: Pilot schools represent a significant break from the traditional contract that existed between UTLA and LAUSD. To begin with, that contract is significantly smaller and more streamlined while at the same time maintaining basic rights and protections for teachers and giving flexibility to management, of which teachers are a part of in determining key education outcomes. 

Belmont Zone of Choice Agreement
Pilot School Agreement

For additional contract language on the LA Pilot School agreement, go to: UTLA.net

3. iDesign: After the iDesign Division was brought into being, and the concept of seeking outside partners was established, UTLA played a significant role during my presidency in working with the district to determine the guidelines and parameters of these partnerships. 

Schools, often with their feeder sites, join the iDesign division (formerly called the Innovation Division) with a network partner. Partners can include the Partnership for L.A. Schools (under Mayor Villaraigosa), an academic institute (such as Loyola Marymount University), or other community-based groups (such as the Urban League).

School leadership councils control budget, staff hiring (including the principal), curriculum, assessments, professional development, and scheduling in consultation with their partner. Schools are no longer part of the local district and have more control over their public funds. Their community partners also can provide additional resources and funding. There are currently 19 campuses in the program.


All three of these models represent a significant change in the relationship between the district, the teacher’s union and the community. Some of these models work very well, others are struggling and some should be revisited and revamped. None of them should be abandoned because they are in fact a work in progress.


4. Family of Schools: The family of schools was a concept that I developed, but was unfortunately not able to bring into being. The idea was to link groupings of ESBMM schools, which would include early childhood centers, elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, continuation and adult schools. I envisioned these groupings as autonomous units within the district, but having expanded autonomy.  I hope someone picks up and runs with the concept in the future.

Family of Schools