03/17/2011 02:31 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Choosing Success at LA Unified

Today, the lives of more than 20,000 LA Unified students and families changed for the better thanks to one of the most innovative school reform processes anywhere in the country. Public School Choice is a new, powerful and ambitious program that hits the restart button on our failing schools, cutting through a lot of red tape along the way.

The program allows a variety of school operators -- pilots, charters, network partners, teacher collaboratives, the District itself, anyone with a proven track record of success and clear vision of achievement -- compete to run new and failing schools.

We must work together to give LAUSD students and families more and better choices so our kids can have more and better chances. By the end of this year, nearly 100 schools and thousands of students will have been given a new chance to succeed.

Like most reform efforts, this process is far from perfect. But we were able to take the experience from last year's first round to look at what worked and what didn't and make improvements.

Without a doubt, we have seen success in this second round.

We received 48 applications for 13 campuses -- a sign of healthy competition we should continue to encourage. A number of schools were awarded to internal reform models that give teachers more autonomy, two schools will operate under a new model with a reformed contract, and a high-performing charter was given the chance to revamp and revitalize one of the three focus schools in this round.

The variety in this latest round shows significant improvement over last year. But only by working together will we be able to strengthen this process and continue to use this tool to make bold changes that will empower our local schools, our teachers, and our students.