Los Angeles mayor: Education is our civil rights struggle
L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa visits Gompers Middle School, which is run by Partnership for Los Angeles Schools.
February 19th, 2013
05:00 AM ET

Los Angeles mayor: Education is our civil rights struggle

City of Los AngelesEditor’s note: Antonio Villaraigosa is the 41st mayor of the city of Los Angeles.

By Antonio R. Villaraigosa, Special to CNN

(CNN) - My story began like far too many people across this country. My father left when I was 5 years old. My mother, sometimes working two jobs, raised four children on her own in East Los Angeles. She was always my touchstone, the person who taught me my core values. It was her quiet grace, strength in the face of adversity and unflinching will that served me so well in life.

However, despite everything she poured into our family, we kids didn’t always make it easy for her. By age 16, I was kicked out of the Catholic school she had worked so hard to send me to.

I found myself at the local public high school, Roosevelt. It was a “drop-out factory.” I was put into remedial classes, which I found boring and unchallenging after my previous education. But even worse than that, I felt like the school had given up on me. So, I gave up on myself and dropped out.

My story could have ended there.

City of Los AngelesI could have become one of my many peers who didn’t graduate. But my mother would not accept that fate for me, and a Roosevelt teacher named Herman Katz took an interest in me. They saw my potential and fought for me. They pushed me back into school. They pushed me to finish what I started - and I did, graduating in 1971.

From there, I went to East Los Angeles Community College and transferred to UCLA, one of the finest institutions in the world. At UCLA, I was the beneficiary of affirmative action. Some would say I walked in through the back door. But one thing’s for sure, I went out the front. I had a diploma in hand, a future ahead of me and my head held high.

For me, public education really was the great equalizer.

That’s why I believe education is the civil rights issue of our time. As a high school dropout, I see a part of myself in every kid who wants to give up because they think the system has failed them. Sadly, the United States now enjoys less economic mobility than Canada and most of Western Europe. Those born into poverty in America lack genuine opportunities to change their fate because they lack access to great public schools.

Now, more than ever, the American dream is linked to our education system. So, as mayor of Los Angeles, I chose to make education a priority. Soon after I took office, we fought to take control of our school district. We were defeated in the court, but we did not give up on improving education for our kids. We worked to elect pro-reform members to the school board, we fought to turn around struggling schools, we expanded school choice and we dedicated ourselves to demanding accountability at every level, from the classroom to the administration. Now, we have a Los Angeles Unified School District that gives parents more power, that works harder to lift every child out of poverty and that strives to offer the same opportunity to every family.

We have not accomplished everything we set out to do, but we have made real progress. Notably, we have doubled the number of Los Angeles schools that meet California’s academic performance goal, nearly doubled the percentage of our third graders who are reading proficiently and made double-digit gains in our graduation rate.

How did we do it? First, we knew we had to expand access to better schools in order to serve our most disadvantaged children. So we passed an initiative that allowed charter organizations, teacher teams and other similar groups to run new and failing schools. One-hundred-sixty-four Los Angeles schools have undergone aggressive turnaround efforts. We have also tripled the number of charter schools in Los Angeles, increasing ninefold the number of successful ones - those scoring 800 or more on the state's Academic Performance Index.

Second, we created the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools, an innovative nonprofit that runs 22 of our worst schools, including Roosevelt High School. The Partnership allows us to implement new and creative solutions to our most difficult educational challenges and then export these practices to all district schools. We launched a school report card, increased access to gifted programs and established a Parent College to directly engage parents in their kids’ education. This year, if the Partnership were its own school district, it would be the most improved in California.

Third, we are building a system of empowerment and accountability. Every student deserves a great teacher, and our teachers deserve a system that values their contributions and supports their development. We negotiated a contract that places teachers at the forefront of school improvement efforts. We developed a stronger evaluation system and focused on changing broken tenure and layoff policies. And we worked to keep good teachers at struggling schools during the depths of the Great Recession.

Over the last eight years, we’ve taken important steps forward. We’ve made a difference in Los Angeles, and the policies and practices I’ve mentioned here can be emulated across the United States - as long as educators, parents, community members and government leaders all come together to make education a priority and enact change.

However, so much work remains ahead of us. We owe it to every child - no matter the color of their skin or the money in their family’s pocket - to build a world-class education system in this country. Because when we fall short of the promise of our schools, we fall short of the promise of our nation. This is simply a future we cannot permit.

The opinions expressed are solely those of Antonio R. Villaraigosa.

soundoff (223 Responses)
  1. AngryJew

    Why did he have to travel to Israel? If he wants to give a good example he should boycott Israel any chance he gets. That is unless he was running to be mayor of Tel Aviv and not L.A.

    February 21, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
  2. biaknabato

    Affirmative Action seems to run in the Viilaraigosa line. Loyola HI accepted his son while Villaraigosa Sr. was still a councilman in LA. Later on he enrolled at Princeton due to a racial preference or for being the son of the mayor of LA. No surprise form a self-serving school like Loyola or Princeton. Ah, George Bush all over again. The LALA land world of the Ivies and pirvate universities indeed . The world of make believe as far as private universities and high schools indeed.

    February 21, 2013 at 12:49 am |

      Curious you picked George Bush to talk about Affirmative Action. You know Obama is a creation of affirmative action, don't you?

      February 21, 2013 at 11:13 am |
  3. AngryJew

    Why did he have to travel to Israel? If he wants to give a good example he should boycott Israel any chance he gets. That is unless he was running to be mayor of Tel Aviv and not L.A.

    February 21, 2013 at 12:37 am |
  4. JOE

    Where do these clowns come from? We already know obamas a clown, now this guy. We're becoming a nation of clowns, and the low info voters like the circus,.

    February 20, 2013 at 7:44 pm |
  5. Aldo Matamoros

    Positive thinking always bring positive results. The Investment within Los Angeles community, whom ever blended in to, Chicanos, Latinos, Afro-Americans, Asiatics, Anglos etc. Those Graduates are part of the Country winners and will be the new Professional of America that we need. "We have the necessary resources" and we have to give them the opportunity to reach their American Life and goals. We do not need to import Professionals or Technitians from India, Manila, China etc.We can make them in America...Thank You Mayor Villaraigoza..

    February 20, 2013 at 8:19 am |
  6. way2college

    NICE BLOG!!! Education is the process of bringing desirable change into the behavior of human beings. It can also be defined as the “Process of imparting or acquiring knowledge or habits through instruction or study”. Thanks for sharing a nice information.

    February 20, 2013 at 2:41 am |
  7. jerseyguy36

    Could be they refuse to go to school ar at least try to learn. The speak English that is hard to understand and think that is their right. If they refuse to be educated then it is their problem.

    February 20, 2013 at 12:30 am |
  8. jerseyguy36

    It is not "Rights" that they want, it is "Special rights"

    February 20, 2013 at 12:27 am |
  9. jerseyguy36

    Best check the numbers of illegals which cross into which states and which states welcome them and which do not. As for Redneck states, well I don't live in one but have many friends that do and any of their states are better than living in California. You want to live there have at it. I left 50 years ago.

    February 20, 2013 at 12:16 am |
  10. jerseyguy36

    You seem to forget that Obama had a majority of both the House and the Senate and still accomplished nothing in 2 years except to lose the House

    February 20, 2013 at 12:11 am |
  11. jerseyguy36

    Speaking of the picture, Why are the kids seated backwards looking away from the teachers desk and the White Board? Do they Teach backwards as well?

    February 19, 2013 at 8:36 pm |
  12. Roger Cohen

    I think it's time we don't be pc and just be honest. Some races on average have lower IQ and need affirmative action. Asians have highest IQ. Sadly blacks and Latinos are genetically....well...I'm sorry...

    February 19, 2013 at 8:33 pm |
    • Patrick in Wisconsin

      That's because they have been systematically been held down by society ever since the founding of America. IQ is tied to the education one has, and blacks and latinos, because they have lower incomes on average for the reasons mentioned above, score lower on IQ tests on average.

      February 19, 2013 at 9:57 pm |
      • leonardo

        Just curious what the facts say. What is the national average of graduation per culture/ethnicity per city? Certain cultures do score in the bottom in nearly every city they occupy. Not opinions, just the facts. Certain cultures also blame more than others also. BTW, I am Hawaiian, not Caucasion. However, facts are facts and this is what I have learned from the Dept of Education website, not my own theories. I know hundreds of clients from poor backgrounds that have succeeded….THEY HAVE WILLPOWER.

        February 20, 2013 at 7:57 am |
      • Tom

        So full of crap.

        February 24, 2013 at 8:28 pm |
    • martha

      Roger,your president is african american and I am sure much smarter than you!You are obviously upset that a white man did not win the presidency, so sad,go wipe your tears

      February 19, 2013 at 11:05 pm |
      • jrh0

        Adam, if you put all your money into math and science none of you rmoney into reading, social studies or history, you will have a generation who can figure out how to builds things, but not what to build, for what reason, and whether they should.

        February 28, 2013 at 11:57 am |
  13. anton

    Antonio is a CLOWN.

    Point to one thing he has done to HELP Los Angeles.

    His sole goal is promoting himself for next gig.

    Walk on the UCLA campus (or any other college), throw a dart in the sky and it will land at the feet of a thousand more immensely talented hispanics than this guy.

    Guy is a HOOD. Failed at everything, arrested a million times. Set the cause for hispanics back 50 years by going with a hood.

    As a Hispanic, I am embarrassed by him.

    February 19, 2013 at 7:12 pm |
    • Jen


      February 19, 2013 at 7:40 pm |
    • AngryJew

      He is a sell out to the "Israel First Lobby". He made his required trip to Israel to kiss the feet of his Israeli masters. I would not trust him.

      February 22, 2013 at 9:42 pm |
    • silence

      Villaraigosa also is not doing what he claims to be doing for public education. He is selling your public schools to the highest bidders who then turn them into for profit charter schools. Talk about a poverty pimp!
      Anyone interested in charter schools and turnarounds should go to YouTube and search Diane Ravitch. You will learn the true story of this charter nonsense.

      February 24, 2013 at 10:35 pm |
  14. bob

    This man went to college and law school based on affirmative action. How do I know he did not deserve it?


    How does it make sense to give this guy a spot at a highly ranked law school at the detriment to someone who actually deserved it, and can do something with it?

    February 19, 2013 at 6:54 pm |
    • anton

      YOU keep telling yourself your fantasy about affirmative action AND that is why you did not make it: you did not make it because of your lack of tallent.

      And by using slave labor (uncompensated) to build your white ancestry wealth SO you could fantasize today you are superior.

      February 19, 2013 at 7:16 pm |
      • White Guy

        Anton - In the 80's I tried to get into college straight out of high school. I had an overall 4 year average of 3.75. Applied to a few, got accepted at most. The problem came when I filed for financial aid. My father was in a car accident leaving him with the mentality of a 8 year old. My mom was the sole working adult in the house. My mom worked 2 jobs. I worked after school nearly everyday until 11 pm. But when the calculations were done, the income was too high. No Financial Aid available.

        So I am disgruntled about some of the affirmative action stuff. Yes – I do agree that it did serve a very valid purpose when it was started. But it was carried too long.

        Then to see people like the grand ole mayor be a recipient of it, just makes it that much more bitter

        And no slaves were present in my family history.

        February 19, 2013 at 7:48 pm |
      • jerseyguy36

        no slave labor built anything for my ancestors. Stop your using this as a cop out for everything in life. How many Ex slaves do you know? None? how many ancestors of yours were slaves? I bet none. Since when did your education become my responsibility? You want an education, work and pay for it like I and my parents did. No one gave us anything and we never ask. We were White and Very poor and very proud. Too proud to take any handouts. I sure get tired of this Slavery bit from 150 years ago holding someone back in life. it is a Joke!

        February 19, 2013 at 8:04 pm |
  15. lottie

    Time to leave LA should do just that. !!! To much hate on this post

    February 19, 2013 at 6:51 pm |
    • jerseyguy36

      I left 50 years ago. Never looked back

      February 20, 2013 at 12:12 am |
      • Shearra

        We can tell you left school 50 years ago. It is obvious that you never looked back.
        Do everyone a favor, and please keep going.

        February 20, 2013 at 7:23 am |
  16. Right

    Stupid comments must end!! End the right to all of these bigoted inappropriate hateful comments!!!

    February 19, 2013 at 6:31 pm |
    • jerseyguy36

      They are only stupid if you disagree with them. We know you are the only educated person on this post, so why don't you say something with some merit!

      February 21, 2013 at 11:53 pm |
  17. Time to Leave California

    Los Angeles is a cesspool, and California is right behind. This guy, due his last name, will get ahead and get the breaks. Meanwhile, the pandering continues and things will get worse. LA and CA deserve what they get, and the 60 percent Latinos will be happy, now that California resembles Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras and most other third world and third rate countries.

    February 19, 2013 at 6:02 pm |
    • dirtybrownwetbackisthatwhatyoucallus

      Jesus H. Christ, this is about as bitter, hateful, and racist as one can get. Are you unemployed or something?

      February 19, 2013 at 6:28 pm |
    • Adam

      California has an economy larger than 80% of the countries in the world. No budget problems. Tourist haven.

      Derp derp.

      February 19, 2013 at 6:39 pm |
      • jerseyguy36

        Just like those 3rd world countries that you mention, California is also near bankruptcy because of all the handouts. Someone has to pay and it sure is not those that get them. No wonder Mexicans flock to California for all the free goodies soon, very soon as the White population recedes, so does the money for taxes to pay for all these goodies. Good luck with your great big broke Country.

        February 19, 2013 at 8:17 pm |
      • Patrick in Wisconsin

        jerseyguy, Mexicans flock to California, because California BORDERS MEXICO. You'd also notice that Mexicans flock to Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, because once again, they all BORDER MEXICO. If you don't believe me, look on a freakin map.

        February 19, 2013 at 10:01 pm |
    • anton

      Without CA 7th largest economy in the world THE United States turns into a toilet......you move and keep fantasizing that you are not supported by the hard work of blue states.

      February 19, 2013 at 7:18 pm |
      • jerseyguy36

        The first thing we will do with that toilet is "Flush it".

        February 19, 2013 at 8:18 pm |
      • california sucks

        California can't subsidise itself (5billion in debt and climbing fast) let alone any other states, pull your head out of your butt. By the way its the 10th and falling fast, not 7th.

        February 20, 2013 at 9:31 am |
    • Patrick in Wisconsin

      I'd gladly live in California over a redneck state, which you likely live in.

      February 19, 2013 at 9:59 pm |
      • california sucks

        You will have to learn Spanish and how to put everything in a tortilla, they don't even sell white people products anymore or speak the language. Also buy a gun and grow eyes in the back of your head cause its really, really dangerous there. On the liberal up side though you can get so high that you won't notice how bad it is! Lol the place is a bad joke.

        February 20, 2013 at 9:35 am |
      • jerseyguy36

        Sure In California, Bell to be exact, they elect a Hispanic Mayor that never completed Elementary School, the a Council to match. They in turn vote themselves large pay raises to the point that the Mayor of this Blue collar California town was being paid $100,000 a year for a part time, no responsibility position. The town is now bankrupt, the elected official are on trial. Now hear this: The Mayor defense is "His is too uneducated to know that what he was doing was wrong". Only in California! just Google Bell California.

        February 22, 2013 at 12:01 am |
  18. martin robbins

    It's impossible to double "the number of Los Angeles schools that meet California’s academic performance goal" or "third graders who are reading proficiently" unless less than half were meeting the standard to begin with.

    The statement is technically true if they went from 99% failing to 98% failing,

    February 19, 2013 at 5:41 pm |
  19. Tc

    Key was his mother never gave up.

    February 19, 2013 at 5:14 pm |
    • btldriver

      He points to his mom as someone who got him back into school, when do we hold other parents accountable? People blame the teachers and try to fix teachers and think of other ways to help teachers or blame them for the failures but when do we start holding parents accountable? When do we start trying to fix the family who says "it's OK, education is not important?" When do we do we start holding people accountable when they tell their children "you don't need an education, you can live off welfare like I do." Maybe we need to hold the media accountable when the shows they broadcast have their stars make fun of education and revel in how they don't do their school work while the ones who are successful are shown as geeky or nerdy and unpopular and usually not the star of the show. When we solve these problems, I think many of the other problems will fix them selves.

      February 19, 2013 at 6:46 pm |
      • jerseyguy36

        Bigger problem: Where are the parentS. Where was his missing father. This problem is one of the most difficult in America today. The Missing Fathers! The father Children and then disapear someplace else to father more. This my friends is a very big problem.

        February 19, 2013 at 8:22 pm |
  20. gumbasha

    no white kids in the class?!? shame.... a once proud nation... drowned in *color*

    February 19, 2013 at 5:12 pm |
    • Time to Leave California

      Of course, they will not be satisfied until California is once again part of Mexico. And CA along with most of the southern tier, will blend right in with it, with the violence, uneducated and chaos that will consume the remnants of once proud California.

      February 19, 2013 at 6:04 pm |
      • dirtybrownwetbackisthatwhatyoucallus

        What a witless pea brain. Take off your white hood and join the human race, buddy.

        February 19, 2013 at 6:32 pm |
      • Patrick in Wisconsin

        No. Just no.

        February 19, 2013 at 10:02 pm |
    • dirtybrownwetbackisthatwhatyoucallus

      So you're equating "proud" with "white." That's your definition of pride. Pride that you killed off most of the Native Americans? As your people say to non-whites: Go back to where you came from! LOL 🙂

      February 19, 2013 at 6:30 pm |
  21. KMAC

    I'm reading alot of mixed comments but mostly how he is not a good mayor yet nobody is going after CNN for posting this story. Seems like the story is to clean up his image for the American audience and also to take the public eye off the recent shooting spree and the LAPD corruption. Hmmmm! Media is such a joke!

    February 19, 2013 at 5:09 pm |
    • Thomas

      Love the quips about his education.

      ......Fails the Bar Exam 4 times.

      Wants children to be properly educated.

      ....Denounces LA Teachers Union as obstructionists. Before public office, he was a member of this union. Cut ties to avoid improper appearances.

      .....LA budget – never balanced.

      .....Stance on Immigration reform ... Must ask Mexico's President.
      .....Wife had cancer .... Cheats with News Anchor.
      Story about his father ... This is from his side. The Father, step siblings all see a different person.
      MayDay parade in LA. He is seen on a balcony chanting "For the People (latino) Everything, For the Outsiders Nothing"

      The man is a Cluster F*** of problems, and a lot of people wish he would just go away.

      Trying to get a minute of his time? Turn a camera on and point it at him. But the second you turn it off, you lost him.

      February 19, 2013 at 6:11 pm |
      • Fail Burton

        So much for affirmative action. It doesn't uplift, it puts morons where they have no right to be.

        February 19, 2013 at 6:47 pm |
  22. wildling

    and like most drop outs, he became a democrat...

    February 19, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
    • John

      The 10 least educated states are republican.

      February 19, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
      • Fail Burton

        Those states have some of the highest percentages of blacks in the country. Liberals often list Mississippi and other states in such a fashion but never mention that.

        February 19, 2013 at 6:48 pm |
      • Patrick in Wisconsin

        What liberals have you talked to? Let me tell you, I don't know a single one who would even dream about living in Mississippi. I have to train at Camp Shelby and that will be the first and last time I ever visit the state which is lead by that imbecile known as Hailey Barbor!

        February 19, 2013 at 10:04 pm |
      • martha

        Love it

        February 19, 2013 at 11:11 pm |
    • JCQueipo

      Had he stayed as a drop-out he would have been a REPUBLICAN !!!

      February 19, 2013 at 5:24 pm |
    • jerseyguy36

      But of course!

      February 19, 2013 at 8:25 pm |
  23. missing the point

    The point is, he fell off the horse. Dusted himself off and got back on and continued where he felt he could not. So the take away-s are, either learn to ride a horse or not but do not give up, and if you are going to give up then it better be on "giving up".

    February 19, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
    • David N

      I don't recall too many drop outs at Roosevelt back in those days. Tony was my neighbor and friend (he dated my sister) and he had a normal 'teenage years' hanging with us guys WD's (Woolwine Drive boys) and we played alot of sports, however, Tony did not play much with us. He was intelligent, maybe a little egotistic and mouthy but a nice guy note the less. He was by no means a Tuff guy, diffinitely not his makeup. I had a feeling he would be in the public eye someday and he is right, his mom taught him all his far left La Raza liberal ways.

      February 19, 2013 at 5:23 pm |
    • Fred Fisher

      Sounds to me like he got knocked off his horse, and didn't just fall off of it. I was there too, only in NJ where an antiquated educational system pushed me out of high school. I didn't stop there. Despite many reversals I was admitted to a major state college, without a high school education. You have to learn to work around the dead wood. Dead wood is present in both the business and education field. My answer to poor educators. Teach the kids to read. If you can't read you can't learn. I would start special remedial educational classes in the early AM or late afternoon where the students would do nothing but read a major newspaper out loud each day until they got it. That's what they did in the first and second grades, and that what's required. Without a firm foundation you can't get ahead. I read five newspapers a day in the local candy store in the nineteen sixties when I was denyed a high school education and I got the best education in the world. If you know how to read you can beat the defects in the system.

      February 19, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
  24. Ammara Ansari

    Sure, he might have failed the bar. Sure, he might not be the sharpest. But at the same time we have to look at his attempts here. Is he actually making a difference here for the people of California?
    I respect that he is calling for educational reforms across America.
    And although not everyone can favor him, we can at least respect that message, because education is a huge aspect of American lives. It brings progression and change in our lives and calls for a better future.

    February 19, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
    • Frank

      Finally, an intelligent comment. Thank you Ammara

      February 19, 2013 at 5:22 pm |
    • Victor

      Making a difference includes making things worst.

      February 19, 2013 at 5:57 pm |
    • David

      Yeah, drive through the cespool known as LA, pull over, talk to the people (if you can speak the language). Get a feel for what a wonderful job this guy has done.

      February 19, 2013 at 6:17 pm |
  25. Dennis

    How about this moron being a member of the racist hispanic group La Raza (The Race) and encouraging even more illegal aliens into the LAUSD. Since it's illegal to ask (which is ridiculous) how many students are not citizens of this country, much less the county, it's only estimated that over 30% of the students in the LAUSD are not even citizens. Over half don't speak English and over half don't graduate from LAUSD and this guy is somehow PROMOTING himself as a savior of the Los Angeles Unified School District?? Only in Los Angeles, only in California.

    February 19, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
    • Daniel

      30%? Where did you get that statistic?
      Keep in mind that kids born in this country are US citizens and have the same rights as the kid who descends from pilgrims.

      February 19, 2013 at 6:07 pm |
      • David

        30%? I heard more like 50% illegal, working under table, don't pay taxes and collect benefits. 60% drop out of high school, cause they either can't read/write the language, go into gangs or school just isn't cool. Thats a wonderful contribution to our county, eh?

        February 19, 2013 at 6:22 pm |
    • california sucks

      Amen to that

      February 19, 2013 at 9:46 pm |
  26. Rose

    He still acts and speaks as if he is in the 9th grade.. disgusting and you can tell he has no historical references by the way he speaks, doesn't know anything about Civics, etc.

    February 19, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
    • jerseyguy36

      Sad since he has a BA in History via AA

      February 20, 2013 at 12:36 am |
  27. Bob

    Nevertheless, bottomline, he made something out of himself versus what other dropouts do! Good Job Antonio, can't satisfy every muthaf**ker out there!!

    February 19, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
    • Jose

      ...and he's sure made something out of LA, as well, Muthaf**k*r. I have more respect for a dropout who has done nothing than one who has contributed to his town becoming part of the Third World.

      February 19, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
    • jerseyguy36

      Oh, he has satisfied those that you describe, it is the others that he has not satisfied

      February 20, 2013 at 12:19 am |
  28. Jose

    Among this man's numerous failures, CNN forgot to mention that he graduated from an expensive, but unaccredited law school and can't pass the bar. In typical Lib fashion, he has demanded that the California Bar Association lower the standards for admission, rather than striving to bring himself up to those standards.

    February 19, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
    • Hawkguy

      Your failure happened when you didn't look at who actually wrote the article. CNN didn't write it, Villaraigosa wrote it. CNN is just posting it.

      February 19, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
      • TomGI

        I doubt if he wrote it. His PR firm wrote it.

        February 19, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
      • David

        Hey, at least they translated it into English for us non-LA peeps.

        February 19, 2013 at 6:23 pm |
    • Hawkguy

      People's College of Law that Villaraigosa attended and graduated from is not expensive you moron. Its cheap, $4600 a year, which is why it has such a low rate of people that pass the Bar.

      February 19, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
      • jerseyguy36

        "Peoples College of Law" Sounds like an iron Curtain Marxist School!

        February 19, 2013 at 8:33 pm |
      • jerseyguy36

        This from the web page of the "Peoples College of Law":
        PCL was founded in 1974 as a non-profit (501(c)3 under the name The Guild Law School) community run law school to bring legal resources to under-represented communities and train legal advocated to secure progressive social change and justice in society.
        We only admit those students who, regardless of their quite varied political.spiritual, cultural or social backgrounds, have demonstrated a commitment to progressive social change, have an awareness of working class issues and will employ the skills gained at the school to further these goals in their own way.

        February 20, 2013 at 12:23 am |
  29. john

    let me get this straight.

    He quit PUBLIC school (really? just show up and pass.) on his own accord
    and then says that its a civil right?


    February 19, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
  30. John

    Why don't you talk about failing the Bar exam four times and giving up.... Seriously, you change your name to a Mexican sounding name and since California is basically mexico now, thats why he got elected. And LA is a disaster of a city thanks to this man, I don't know why anyone would let Mayor Villarigosa write such a misleading puff piece about himself when he is an example of everything going wrong in the US.

    February 19, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
    • TomGI

      He's positioning himself for another office. Remember he withdrew from the governor race. Maybe Congress or Senate. He wants to ride the Mexican wave into some other office. Certainly, he has a high power PR advisory staff.

      February 19, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
  31. The ghost of Jerry Buss

    Well at least he's holding his water bottle in the picture as if he's waiting for a rub and tug from one of the latina's in the class. Nothing ever changes with Tony Villar

    February 19, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
    • jerseyguy36

      Did you notice that in the Picture the class is seated facing the back of the class room, away from the Teachers Desk and away from the white board. Do they teach backwards as well?

      February 20, 2013 at 12:39 am |
  32. Miguel A

    This pendejito is an embarrassment. He has a bright future working for Barry destroying the country.

    February 19, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
    • Ricardo

      That was bush and believing this nation is going down since your being paranoid.

      February 19, 2013 at 6:09 pm |
  33. Darkseider

    And look how well L.A. is doing! High crime, high unemployment, high poverty, high illiteracy, huge budget deficit and buried in debt! Yup this is a success story all right. Every city should strive to be just like L.A.!

    February 19, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
    • dino

      Come to Detroit, a city where cops tell you to drive right through red lights because of crime. A place where the average EMS response time is 34 minutes. Everyday, we are progressing towards a new direction!

      February 19, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
    • patiat

      Violent crime in L.A. is at a 20-year low. The homicide rate is way down. You can blame certain things on Villarraigosa, who has been a very average to ineffective mayor, but you can't blame crime on him.

      February 19, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
      • lilgtogirl

        LA crime is NOT at a 20 year low. And considering how many of those crimes are committed by Latino, he should be ashamed for making it a haven for illegals. It is not a coincidence that cities run by non-whites are fairing the worst. LA, Detroit, half of Texas is pathetic. And the sad part is it isn't because of race as much as the simple fact is that "minorities" are too lenient. Just because he made something of himself he needs to see that most Latinos don't. It's time to get hard or get out.

        February 19, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
      • David

        If crime is down in LA, and I'd also doubt that, its most likely because of the Democrat run economy and people going back to Mexico.

        February 19, 2013 at 6:27 pm |
  34. K. Esther


    1.) His cheating on his wives causing us to question his personal values/ethics/morals/commitments.

    2.) Personal Ethics vs Professional Ethics - Should America be concerned about an individual who has no value system in the home and his/her only interest is to achieve fame and fortune? It really is only about them, isn't it?

    Thank you for reading and please, see below:

    "Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s Cheating Scandal
    Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who famously changed his last name from Villar to Villaraigosa when he married Corina Raigosa (to incorporate his wife’s surname), was caught in a cheating scandal that almost ended his career. In 2007, Corina filed for divorce in an LA courthouse citing irreconcilable differences. Villaraigosa acknowledged less than a month later that he was having a relationship with television reporter, Mirthala Salinas, who had covered his time in office extensively for Telemundo. The New Yorker magazine published a report shortly before the divorce painting the mayor as an egotistical womanizer whose actions infuriated those who helped him attain his political success. His 2009 reelection was a hard fought battle but he managed to eek out a victory with just over 55% of the vote."

    2.) https://www.google.com/search?q=personal+ethics+vs+professional+ethics&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a

    February 19, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
    • Miguel A

      He changed his name because of his wife? He's certainly fits the mold of a liberal testosterone-less male.

      February 19, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
      • TomGI

        Can't be classified as "liberal" when he essentially does nothing for the betterment of the folks in LA. Neither liberal or conservative. He does seem to spend a lot of effort on new suits, ties, haircuts and dental whitening.

        February 19, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
    • Jay

      I'm sure you've done some questionable things in your personal life that you would not want mentioned or questioned in regard to your job performance, either.

      February 19, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
      • TomGI

        Yeah, I like to ditch work, smoke a fatty and go fly fishing. But I'm not the mayor of LA

        February 19, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
    • patiat

      This is what's wrong with political discourse: people want nothing to do with the 'boring' bureaucratic details of political decision-making, preferring instead to cite as their No. 1 complaint an extramarital dalliance the mayor had, and claim it as some kind of great sign of fraying in society's moral fabric, as if affairs, especially among powerful and wealthy people, were something new.

      February 19, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
  35. Chris

    Must be nice having the benefit of affirmative action. As an Asian, we make up a smaller minority than Hispanics and blacks yet AA doesn't apply to us.

    February 19, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
    • Miguel A

      Why Asians vote Democrat makes no sense. Asians are smart hard working tax payers that don't view themselves as victims.

      February 19, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
      • Chris

        I think every race has hardworking people who don't view themselves as victims. AA should apply to ALL minorities, or have no AA at all

        February 19, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
      • Ammara Ansari

        AA should definitely apply to all minorities. And not taking into account all his...alleged misdemeanors, I think that his message is strong. Education should be available to everyone. If a latino is eligible for AA, so is every minority group.

        February 19, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
      • HoustonianviaLA

        Yes, but will AA apply to Anglos when they are in a numerical minority? Under the well established legal prinicipal of "Goosey-Gander" (what's good for the goose is good for the gander) it should.

        February 19, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
      • David

        How about we judge people by their character and performance, and not the color of their skin? Wouldn't that be refreshing?

        February 19, 2013 at 6:30 pm |
      • Jack

        Higher-educated people tend to vote democratic, and Asians tend to be better educated than other races. It has nothing to do with victimhood.

        February 19, 2013 at 6:47 pm |
      • Patrick in Wisconsin

        That is exactly why they vote as Democrats as opposed to the party which hates everyone who does not accept their demented ideology.

        February 19, 2013 at 10:07 pm |
    • john

      This is whats wrong with our current "rights" in america.

      There are gay rights, black rights, woman rights, left rights..... too many rights! they make it sound like there are a ton of light switches that need to be flicked on and these people dont have rights until they do. There should be no such thing as these rights. i thought we were all human, with god given human rights? If someone is rejected due to their skin color or ethnicity thats a violation of human rights, not a certain minority groups.

      On the same side of the coin. FORCING different ethnicity to get hired, or receive money is just as bad. if a business owner for example, hates blacks, and is forced to higher a black guy he will find a reason to fire him. on paper itll be something different, in his mind itll be skin color. You cant stop that and only add a hoop for them to jump through

      February 19, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
  36. jmar

    At least he's cute.

    February 19, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
    • patiat

      That's what the anchorwoman from Univision said.

      February 19, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
  37. Ian

    As a citizen of Los Angeles this guy makes me sick. We can start with morals, 1) he cheated on his wife while she was battling thyroid cancer with his good friends wife. 2)he cheated on her again with a news anchor and made her look like a fool 3)he took his wife's name because it sounded more ethnic to help his political aspirations.

    ethics: 1) he hired hi daughter to a position she was way under educated for at a tax payer cost of close to 70K per year. 2) he was under investigation for campaign finance issues. 3) he accepted tens of thousands in free tickets to events hosted by AIG and later allowed the city to foot the over 3 million dollar bill for AIG biggest client Michael Jackson's memorial. 4) he pushed for a increase in city sales tax with the promise it would all go to hiring new police. To date 67% of that money is unaccounted for and only 1/3 of the money was used for hiring police. %) one summer he spent only 11% of his time on city business and that 11% was mostly spent with his special interest groups behind closed doors
    common sense: 1) he pushed the 405 project through for billions of dollars and it only adds ONE lane of carpool to connect a few miles of road. That project is now projected to run well over budget and have minimal effect on commuting times. This project has hurt thousands of businesses along that corridor because of the constant gridlock it has created. 2) he criticizes people for not improving public schools and has his own children in private. 3) he came out and chastised Angelinos for using too much water and said we all have to do our part, yet he had an estimated 50% increase in water on his property when compared to his direct neighbors. 4) he refused to debate a singular challenger during his reelection bid for no reason. I hope this is specific enough for some of the blind supporters of this clown who do not even live in Los Angeles

    February 19, 2013 at 2:36 pm |
    • K. Esther


      1.) His cheating on his wives causing us to question his personal values/ethics/morals/commitments.
      2.) Personal Ethics vs Professional Ethics - Should America be concerned about an individual who has no value system in the home and his/her only interest is to achieve fame and fortune? It really is only about them, isn't it?

      Thank you for reading and please, see below:

      "Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s Cheating Scandal
      Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who famously changed his last name from Villar to Villaraigosa when he married Corina Raigosa (to incorporate his wife’s surname), was caught in a cheating scandal that almost ended his career. In 2007, Corina filed for divorce in an LA courthouse citing irreconcilable differences. Villaraigosa acknowledged less than a month later that he was having a relationship with television reporter, Mirthala Salinas, who had covered his time in office extensively for Telemundo. The New Yorker magazine published a report shortly before the divorce painting the mayor as an egotistical womanizer whose actions infuriated those who helped him attain his political success. His 2009 reelection was a hard fought battle but he managed to eek out a victory with just over 55% of the vote."

      2.) https://www.google.com/search?q=personal+ethics+vs+professional+ethics&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a

      February 19, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
  38. Vialagrossa

    Worst mayor EVER!!!!

    February 19, 2013 at 2:30 pm |
    • patiat

      I take it you were alive and observant during the Sam Yorty years, huh?

      February 19, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
      • David N

        As bad a Yorty was, Tony Villar is worse.

        February 19, 2013 at 5:33 pm |
  39. Tom

    "At UCLA, I was the beneficiary of affirmative action." As in they took in someone who was not qualified, passed them through and filled a quota. He didn't graduate because he learned anything, only because of his race.

    February 19, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
  40. vad

    Great story. I think the majority of Americans are for Government Aid but there has to be a return on the investment. The person on the receiving end must become a productive member of society and return what they got with taxes they earn. The problem is that isn't happening enough. The balance is out of order. We are giving too much money to people who won't ever get on their feet. That is not even mentioning the huge amounts of fraud which quite frankly I think the Government is too afraid to let us know how big that problem really is. The well is running dry. No matter how nice the program sounds there has to be money to pay for it.

    February 19, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
    • Giovanni T.

      So true! Their host is dying and they don't care or just don't realize it.

      February 19, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
  41. Mike A

    Gee Mayor who has been running our public education schools all these years – Conservative Republicans?

    February 19, 2013 at 2:11 pm |
  42. Alex

    He is turned LA into CHICAGO

    February 19, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
    • Chris

      apparently, you missed the improved education...

      February 19, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
      • Steve

        Aparently you missed the spin CNN put ON education to say its "better". LA has the worst scores and highest drop out rates compared to other large cities...its pathetic and sad. Although it probably has nothing to do with the mayor since the school are run by the California teacher mafia. A high school in LA spends 44,000 per kid per year. Think of that 44k PER kid. Thats the corruption and money pit education is..we could send them to a university for less.

        February 19, 2013 at 2:10 pm |
      • Chris Honry

        Look at that picture- looks like a school in Mexico.

        February 19, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
  43. andres

    Don't like the guy at all. But you do have to admire his ability to rise above his lack of intelligence, his inability to pass the bar, his inarticulate speech, to become the mayor of LA. This give great hope for incompetents the world over.

    February 19, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
    • Mike A

      If the country can put a guy with zero experience in economics in charge of the world's largest economy any clown can make it.

      February 19, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
    • deb0155

      Andre: I don't admire his ability to rise above anything – HE represents what we have in government throughout the country! What we have to do as citizens is question ourselves as to how we can vote for corrupt, lying, arrogant, and self-serving opportunists we call public servants! He's been riding high on the taxpayers for most of his life! That's nothing to admire.

      And if this is what affirmative action produces – it is very much a program wasting taxpayer dollars! And, another thing, why isn't affirmative action for everyone? Why does it have to be a minority? There are plenty of Asians, Caucasians and American Indians who need financial assistance but do not receive it because they are not African-American or Hispanic.

      February 19, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
  44. Jill

    Dear Mayor VillaLaCaca or whatever your latest name scheme is, you state that your mom was your pillar and instilled values. I rather doubt that she showed you how to cheat on your wife with someone half of your age. I doubt that she told you to talk about public education while sending your kids to private colleges that cost hundreds of thousands a year in tuition. How do you manage that on your meager salary ? And I doubt your mom told you to state that you have done a lot for public education when a third of public high school students never graduate.

    February 19, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
  45. DookyFart

    well maybe he had to dooky

    February 19, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
  46. FactChecker

    I tried to engage the mayor in a conversation at a city function where our company was one of 3 being honored. I was the principal executive present. Stood next to the mayor for a photo op. I tried to engage the mayor in a serious conversation about business in the city. He ignored me....not interested in job creation. This man is an empty suit. A mayor as a game show host . Obama is right to keep him at arms length.

    February 19, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
    • Mike A

      Are you kidding me, Obama makes this guy look competent.

      February 19, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
      • deb0155

        Obama is that guy!

        February 19, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
      • Kuratali

        I see the brainiacs are out

        February 19, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
      • Patrick in Wisconsin

        He must be God then.

        February 19, 2013 at 10:08 pm |
  47. nunyabizness

    So for some reason I'm reminded of Cheech and Chong's Born in East L.A..

    February 19, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
  48. FedUpInSeattle

    I am less concerned about how terrible this mayor is than the constant propaganda of the MSM. Yes you have your token conservative views posted from time to time but it’s always about propping up the Left. There seems to be no lack of stories about how this Liberal or that Liberal overcame the great odds to become leaders in the community. Conservatives leaders are never sought out to be highlighted for their struggles to become great leaders. It’s a narrative of CONSTANT conditioning readers to see the Left in the kindest light while always finding the lowest denominator to highlight on the Right. A simple example was the dismay by the press at Bush’s golfing while two wars and a recession was developing. That same outrage is a “none story” for Obama while he had golfed much more in 4 years than Bush did in 8. The fact is that a President can do his job while sitting on the toilet if need be. The problem is the perception that is shaped to demonize one person you support vs. another who is equally good or bad. Raising gas prices under Bush were pushed as a conspiracy, yet rising gas prices under Obama are again a “None Story” and even reported as a positive to push Green Energy. The fact is that Obama did not win this election based on his first term record, the press and his Celebrity persona and the constant demonizing of the Right pushed him over the top. If not for articles like this used to promote those the MSM likes over those they don’t people like Villaraigosa and Obama would not get elected. It has nothing to do with overcoming Race Politics and everything to do about being politically correct. Even if every benchmark of a good leader is lacking it no longer matters as long as the politician fits that Celebrity Like craving we seek. It's great that Villaraigosa overcame great odds and he can be an inspiration to others following in his footsteps but there are many worthy of elevating in the press, even if they don't fit your Liberal check list of worthiness.

    February 19, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
    • Sam

      If you think that Obama has it 'easy' in office, you are sadly living in the made-up reality that people on the far right claim to live in.

      The fact is, upon winning the presidency in 2008, Republicans in Congress made it a goal to have Obama out of office after 4 years. (I think Boehner said it like 8 weeks into Obama's Presidency.) Does the MSM portray Obama as a better leader and person than his Republican counterparts? Yes. But do the Republicans in congress portray Obama as a socialist, rich-hating, peace-loving, Muslim African? Yes.

      Truth is, everyone is just speaking opinions. Most of them are wrong, sifting out the true ones proves to be troubling for everyone.

      February 19, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
      • John

        And what ever you say is fact eh? Sounds like an opinion to me.

        February 19, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
      • Mike A

        Nice to hear from the low information Obama voter...

        February 19, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
      • Dave

        Could it be because he is a socialist, rich-hating, peace-loving, Muslim African? Yes. Peace loving?!?!?! are you kidding me?! President Drone Strike?

        February 19, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
      • Kuratali

        Conservatives and republlicans have only themselves to blame for the way the MAJORITY of people in this country see them. You girls crying here doesn't change the fact that your reps made it a point to try and oust Obama in 1 term rather than govern and conduct business for the good of the country. Now you and they are paying the price. Actually too funny for words. Keep the same dumb stump and there will be an even higher price to pay in the mid terms.

        February 19, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
      • Patrick in Wisconsin

        Conservatives, do you know why many Americans stereotype you as being stupid rednecks? Do you think it may be because you only retort is name calling as opposed to sound arguments like the one above? Think about it (if you can).

        February 19, 2013 at 10:09 pm |
  49. AngryJew

    Why did he have to make his obligatory trip to Israel. Was it to kiss the feet of his Zi0nist masters? He is the mayor of L.A. Not Tel Aviv.

    February 19, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
  50. Alex

    Education is to train your mind, not train you to pass the test.

    February 19, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
  51. TravisM

    This guy named Tony Villar until he switched his name to get the Latino vote failed the BAR 4 times. He never passed, just gave up. He had no business running a city (he ran it to the ground though).

    February 19, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
  52. y2jr16

    Mayor VillaRetardo is what he is.

    February 19, 2013 at 12:50 pm |
  53. gatecrasher1

    Still waiting for the "From the Choom Gang to the White House" article, about that Cheech & Chong fan, Barry Soetoro.

    February 19, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
  54. Robin

    great for him but So Florida schools don't fight for kids to stay in school, they actually encourage them to drop out

    February 19, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
  55. Dial from SoCal

    No way, no how did Tony Villar write that piece. Our affiirmative action mayor is not that articulate.

    February 19, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
    • John jo

      My thoughts exactly.

      February 19, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
  56. Trugh

    Hispanic and African American kids aren't the only ones who are poor, and live in poverty conditions with no hope of achieving. but it is OK to call them names or hold them back. There is no media outcry or political points being made condemning the use of the words – white trash.

    February 19, 2013 at 12:19 pm |
    • Austin

      That's where you are wrong. He did not say latino, african american or anything else. He's talking about kids as a whole, why do we always have to use race as an issue? grow up man

      February 19, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
  57. Al Sanchez

    I'm Latino, and I can tell you that this mayor is the ABSOLUTE WORST MAYOR that L.A. could have ever gotten!!!!! Everything is just pro-Latino and illegal Latino for this guy. He doesn't care about anyone else except if you are a super liberal Democrat, like he is, who will vote in HIS people first! Good riddance to this piece of chit. . . . .

    A. Sanchez

    February 19, 2013 at 12:11 pm |
    • Ollie

      Amen Amigo

      February 19, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
    • MC

      Personal opinions without specifics add very little to an intelligent discourse. It one thing to say someone is bad or worse; it is another thing to "show" that someone is bad without so stating i.e. The economy, education, quality of life, quality of the climate, improvements or lack of infrastructure, employment etc citing how HIS decisions or policy has made it so and suggesting how he could have done better.

      February 19, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
      • Benla76

        Ok there comment board moderator, take it back a notch. I think he did a pretty good job of citing examples... maybe in a simpler, slightly low brow way but he did it all the same.

        February 19, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
      • Trey

        Very well spoken MC and I completely agree. So what makes him a bad mayor?

        I enjoyed the article and hope that we could have the same progress here in DeKalb County Ga. Our school system is a disgrace.

        February 19, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
    • Mike A

      This Hispanic in Texas thinks all of you Latinos, Chicanos or whatever else you call yourself in California give the rest of us a bad name.

      February 19, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
      • Mike A

        Didn't mean to vent at you. You are obviously not on of those low life "Latinos" in California.

        February 19, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
  58. Saher

    This guy just can't go away soon enough for me! He is so unpopular here in L.A. that he has to sell his image as being some sort of civil rights equivalent of MLK or Ceasar Chavez at the national level, and I guess because he is one of the most high profile Hispanic Democrats there is (and a friend of Obama and Bill Clinton), he gets to sound off despite the fact that he is woefully lacking leadership skills. He has used his post as "Mayor" to only further advance his own social whirlwind of parties, traveling and banging female newscasters. He can't say two words without someone putting them together for him and the fact that Angelino after Angelino (and democrats at that) are lining up here in the comments section to point that out ought to tell you something. He is not at the same wattage as the brighter lights in the room and no more time and resources should be wasted to to illuminate him as such. Please Democrats do yourself a favor and find a better example of a Democratic Hispanic to prop up because this joker isn't cutting it.

    February 19, 2013 at 12:08 pm |
    • JD

      Amen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Took the words right out of my mouth. He is the worst mayor we have ever had. He has done nothing for the people of Los Angeles. I don't care if you are Mexican, El Salvadorian, Black, White, Chinese, Cambodian, etc, he is NOT the answer.

      February 19, 2013 at 12:19 pm |
      • Nick

        Why did you elect him then?

        February 19, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
  59. Adam

    Funny, he didn't mention anything about later failing the BAR four times, and then never trying again. No, he didn't fail it four times and then pass it on the fifth try – he failed four times and then STOPPED TAKING IT. That's a great educational example to set for the young people, Tony. Oh, and cheating on your wife multiple times – that's also a great example for the youth. Tony Villar is the worst public official LA has ever employed, and he has single handedly done more to run this city into the ground than any of the City's previous mayors.

    February 19, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
  60. Barack

    Tony Villar is the worse Mayor Los Angeles has ever seen. Thins guy is a skirt chaser and thief. Thank god he is out of here next month, may be getting a gtreat new job with his pal The Great Barry O'Soetoro.

    February 19, 2013 at 11:59 am |
  61. Jacob

    What I find funny, is that most school districts are run by the Teachers unions and the liberals. My kids will never go to public schools. If I have to work 4 jobs to pay for private, I will.

    Many studies have proven that it does not matter how much money you spend on each child. Most poor school districts spend double to triple what middle class schools spend. It is all about parent involvement.

    February 19, 2013 at 11:49 am |
    • kelly

      You seem to contradict yourself. If it's all about parent involvement, then what does it matter whether your kid goes to public or private school? If you're going to be involved, then he or she should have no problem, and you won't have to work 4 jobs, right?

      February 19, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
      • Will

        The bozo has to work 4 jobs to afford private school because he barely graduated high school and has no education beyond that, so he's virtually unemployable at any job that pays more than $8/hour.

        No wonder he hates public schools so much – too dumb and arrogant to pass himself, and jealous of people who were smart enough to not only pass, but to teach it themselves.

        Fox News needs to turn its comments section back on so these Southern trailer park dim wits go back and leave us alone.

        February 19, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
    • Jacob (Some Trailer Park, Florida Panhandle)



      February 19, 2013 at 12:11 pm |
      • Wondering

        That was funny Jacob....thanks for the laugh....needed it today!

        February 19, 2013 at 2:30 pm |
  62. mecheng

    The key here is that his mother valued education, cared about him and pushed him to graduate and succeed. Some people think that that can be replaced with more government spending, government daycares, lowing academic standards so that kids don't get their self-esteem hurt, on and on and on. Until the problems AT HOME and with the PARENTS are fixed, throwing more money and reserving more slots for people of certain ethnicities won't work.

    February 19, 2013 at 11:42 am |
  63. jefnvk

    Step 1: Tie all government assistance to having a diploma or GED.
    Step 2: Watch kids actually have a reason to finish school.

    Even if you are in a horrible school system, only one person can make the decision to drop out, and that is the student. I have no sympathy for those that choose to quit.

    February 19, 2013 at 11:32 am |
    • mecheng


      February 19, 2013 at 11:44 am |
  64. Jorge

    It's not a civil rights issue, it's a financial issue.

    February 19, 2013 at 11:30 am |
    • Tom

      It's a cultural issue.

      February 19, 2013 at 11:42 am |
  65. Jerry

    Well. Oh, OK!

    February 19, 2013 at 11:25 am |
  66. NorCalMojo

    The civil rights movement was 50 years ago. The problem is ghetto values now.

    February 19, 2013 at 11:23 am |
    • Rod

      That's very simple of you...are there people with poor values in the ghetto, yes, does it lead to a perpetual lifestyle of poverty, yes...can you expect a child born in that environment to develop the exact same way kids from more "pleasant" or less distracting backgrounds, sure just like you can believe in Unicorns...Don't patronize these kids, they don't choose where they are born and have no means of getting out without education, however, their academic systems are not par with the other private or public (in wealth counties) school systems...it is a civil rights issue because you are asking kids to have an academic "race" to success and give some kids an advantage over other kids...if you agree with that social darwinistic concept...then fine...if you don't then don't talk down to a bunch of kids in an environment beyond their control that hinders their growth

      February 19, 2013 at 11:37 am |
    • Tom

      You are totally correct.

      February 19, 2013 at 11:43 am |
    • Miguel A

      You are correct. When I hear non-black kids talking like they grew up in the ghetto I wonder what in the work would cause a person to model themselves after black America. Ghetto culture is doing to the country what it has already done to blacks.

      February 19, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
  67. Kyle

    Where is the part of the story on how he changed his name from Tony Villar to Antonio R. Villaraigosa to run for office to entice a certain demographic to vote for him.

    February 19, 2013 at 11:19 am |
    • Jerry

      Excellent question!!!

      February 19, 2013 at 11:27 am |
    • Warren Pryor

      Or how he failed the bar FOUR TIMES....

      February 19, 2013 at 11:28 am |
      • Rod

        failing the bar four times doesn't discredit you from running for Office...plenty of politicians (credible and not) that didn't even take the bar...if this dude produces a quality solution and gets impoverished kids educated and producing to society (instead of joining a gang, on drugs, or whatever traps lie for them) what do you care about his law credentials...? take off your rhetoric and put on your logic...as my debate coach (an attorney that didn't fail the bar) would say...

        February 19, 2013 at 11:45 am |
    • kelly

      He changed his name to combine it with that of his wife Corina Raigosa, when he got married. This is public information. Both are Spanish names, so what is your point?

      February 19, 2013 at 12:08 pm |
      • Miguel A

        He's a wimp.

        February 19, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
    • RichG

      He's the mayor! What are you, idiot?

      February 19, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
    • PDXjoan

      He is just another phony, his birth name wasn't good enough for him. LA will be better off without him. Everytime he speaks his lack of knowledge or common sense is obvious. Please don't encourage the man to become a national spokesman, just let him fade away.

      February 19, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
      • Miguel A

        I'd love to have this clown run for higher office as a Democrat.

        February 19, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
    • r garcia

      and then when he got into office he divorced his wife and started dating a local TV reporter (he also had an affair with another reporter during the time he was married) I live in LA and he has not been a very honorable mayor – he's constantly traveling and rarely in LA doing LA business (unless it happens to be seeing his girlfriends)

      February 19, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
  68. candycoatedapple

    Schools run by the gov't are doomed. I see a lot of these news articles showing non-white children in class rooms. Does this mean that a lot of white kids are in private/charter or being home-schooled? They're not the minoirity, yet. Why don't we ever see news articles with white kids... are they doing so great that they don't need any attention or is this biased?

    February 19, 2013 at 11:19 am |
    • Sunshine100


      Head Start program works! Fed Gov't underfunds it by a stupendous amount. Head Start prepares our youngest children, our future, to enter kindergarten and 1st grade on par with their peers. Head Start admission is income based with the poorest of the poor children. The Head Start children are more likely to graduate high school than children deprived of the Head Start experience and education.

      February 19, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
  69. Solomon Walker

    Education is not a civil right.

    Education is a privilege for citizens of the United States. It was not established as a public form of education initially. Minorities were not the only Americans that were unable to attend private schools.

    Education is not supposed to be provided to illegal immigrants as a priority over and above United States citizens. This was not the intent. This article suggests it by the subject matter, the person putting forth the information.

    We have so very many people in this country that were unable to complete their higher education which costs more money and should be a priority.

    That debt is not going to disappear until Congress and the Executive Branch attract corporate to provide jobs again.

    Our nation is floundering in politics and because of politics that quarrel with innocent Americans that suffer the results of oppression.

    School is used in this way.

    Stand your ground.

    February 19, 2013 at 11:05 am |
    • Bubba

      Spoken like the true Christian you most likely claim to be. You are a sad, sad, very sad, angry man. But at the end of the day Mr. Villaraigosa is one thing you cannot deny. He is the Mayor.

      February 19, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
      • Puppy

        Very nice, well thought – out reply where you didn't resort to name calling and presented facts to backup your argu.....wait. That's not what happened.

        Congratulations on point out the fact he's mayor - that brought a lot to the discussion after your name calling.

        Tony Villar is one of the worst Mayors in LA history - education is worse, transportation is worse, and he's nearly bankrupting the city. But you stand behind him why, because he's a Democrat or because of his skin color?

        February 19, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
    • Sunshine100

      Solomon, Education is not a civil right.

      Education is a privilege for citizens of the United States. It was not established as a public form of education initially. Minorities were not the only Americans that were unable to attend private schools.

      Education is not supposed to be provided to illegal immigrants as a priority over and above United States citizens. This was not the intent. This article suggests it by the subject matter, the person putting forth the information.

      We have so very many people in this country that were unable to complete their higher education which costs more money and should be a priority.

      February 19, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
      • Sunshine100

        So sorry, but right after I copied Solomon's words into my comment box, my son moused to "post" button and clicked on it. So, NEVER mind.... lost my train of thought.

        February 19, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
      • deb0155

        You are right. Education is not supposed to be a priority for illegals – but the very liberal, progressive Democrats want votes – so education, medical benefits, welfare, food stamps, section 8, drivers licenses, etc. have become a huge priority for the left to hand out to illegals at the taxpayer expense. Just last night I was listening to the news – we the taxpayers spend $2 BILLION dollars for illegals to use the ERs around the country every year – and that is just the start. Basically, the United States government officials have kicked their own (the American people) to the curb in exchange for votes!

        February 19, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
    • Ammara Ansari

      I do not think that race is the issue here. It's the quality of education itself and whether the children are provided with the opportunity. In today's America, I believe it is unethical to consider a child unable to enter a school because of his or her race.

      The idea here is that we need to put more emphasis on education because it is a huge part of America's future.

      February 19, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
      • california sucks

        Its not about race its about legal status, and the vast majority of illegals in California just happen to be Mexicans, its not racist to state facts

        February 19, 2013 at 9:55 pm |
  70. Johnson Everstan

    I live in L.A. There is NO WAY this mayor could have crafted this piece. He can hardly complete a sentence without stammering and stuttering. He's a moron; plain and simple. His message is simple as well. White people don't belong in schools.

    February 19, 2013 at 11:03 am |
  71. DMG2FUN

    "Education is our civil rights struggle"
    Not when you force others to pay for it!

    February 19, 2013 at 10:49 am |
    • briana

      so you don't want to pay taxes to fund education? that is the most ridiculous thing i have ever heard. how completely selfish of you. without the youth getting the proper education, your tax dollars will go to supporting them in prison.

      February 19, 2013 at 11:02 am |
      • Tom

        Bull, why should people who sacrifice to better themselves have to constantly have taxes raised to support these cretins?

        February 19, 2013 at 11:45 am |
      • DMG2FUN

        "how completely selfish of you."
        Well how completely selfish of you to demand I pay to educate your children. You had them, you pay for them!

        February 20, 2013 at 9:45 am |
  72. empresstrudy

    Tony Villar failed the CA bar FOUR TIMES.

    February 19, 2013 at 10:38 am |
    • kelly

      ....which is why he does not practice law in California. Passing the bar is not a requirement for public office. If it were, only lawyers would run the government and we'd all be in trouble.

      February 19, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
      • burrito

        You do realize that most politicians are former lawyers, right? He failed the bar 4 times. He is not qualified to be the governor of California.

        February 19, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
  73. magister1

    nice speech, but it rings rather hollow as CA has no real commitment to education – the old adage "follow the money" is no less true here. if one looks at per pupil funding, CA ranks 47th/46th in the nation....it seems that there is an inverse correlation between rhetoric and funding, i.e., as political speeches get more intense and shrill, the less money is allocated for the classroom (N.B. i said THE CLASSROOM, not private parties who make billions of dollars selling administrators assessment programs and "teacher training/assessment schemes" that do not work – sort of like our multi-million dollar ISIS and payroll systems!)

    February 19, 2013 at 10:37 am |
  74. RA

    Sounds like he's a strong proponent of affirmative action...an idea our Founding Fathers would likely not have embraced (nor should any clear-thinking individual). Jeez...what's with these Democrats?

    February 19, 2013 at 10:34 am |
    • briana

      didnt know that leveling the playing field and allowing equal opportunities regardless of color was such a horrible idea. You're right, the founding fathers probably would have been against it. But they arent perfect role models. Owning slaves, not speaking out against slavery, having babies with slaves etc.

      February 19, 2013 at 11:04 am |
      • Tom

        Affirmative action doesn't level the field, it cheapens accomplishments

        February 19, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
  75. Nah

    Yes, yes. Everything is a civil rights struggle. Let's try to borrow legitimacy by comparing everything we do to MLK and black oppression.

    February 19, 2013 at 10:34 am |
  76. Carlos Gonzalez

    When you did not want the educational opportunity you were offered, you dropped out. When you wanted back in, lo and behold, school was a place you wanted to be and it was available to you. Spending millions of taxpayer dollars to over-hire and over-pay teachers and administrators had NOTHING to do with that. Americans do not value public education the way that they used to. And for good reason. It sucks. It is designed for the lowest common denominator and the bar is continually dropping, not in support of student self-esteem, but for the teacher and public officials who graduate uneducated students en masse to demonstrate their own self worth. Most college degrees are just as worthless. In this state, education is no longer the key to mobility or prosperity, only stagnation and student debt. With the editorial you encourage the cycle of that deterioration. I hope you "feel good", Mr Mayor, about your contribution to the growing American underclass.

    February 19, 2013 at 10:25 am |
  77. Peter Grenader

    Mary: Those of us who live in Los Angeles know a about this mayor., and it's not good. He's a democrat. I'm a democrat. I should be supporting him. I can't. This is a campaign stump speech. His terms here completed, he no longer can be our mayor (thankfully), but it seems he has his eyes on other offices.

    February 19, 2013 at 10:22 am |
  78. dubious_thinker

    Propaganda to divert the attention away from the recent Dorner debacle to shift the perspective of city officials. Great cause, but don't use the kids as a way to shift the attention away from the obvious.

    February 19, 2013 at 10:17 am |
    • Roy Blodgette

      You are ridiculous. Apparently, anything that you do not find interesting is a diversion.

      February 19, 2013 at 10:25 am |
    • Sunshine100

      My guess is you went to either a religious school graduate or dropped out of school. You're thinking process appears to be just 2 dimensional and not the 3 dimensional thinking that most college graduates learn. Perhaps you may want to consider additional formal education?

      February 19, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
  79. Mary Leonhardt

    Mayor Villaraigosa, this is a very moving, inspiring piece. I just have one more suggestion:

    Turn your schools, all of your schools, into centers of reading. Increase school library funding. Give teachers money to build classroom libraries. Investigate the possibility of getting e-readers donated. Once kids have e-readers, they can find online a wealth of free and low cost books.

    Make developing your students as avid readers an absolute priority. Avid readers read better, write better, concentrate better, and have wider frames of knowledge so they can do better in all of their subjects. Once your students fall in love with books, you'll find many intractable problems (discipline, dropping out etc.) fall away.


    February 19, 2013 at 9:23 am |
    • Adam

      As a teacher in NYC, Mary is describing the problem I see in way too many elementary schools. The focus is on reading when it should be on MATH. The jobs of the future are all focused around math and science. Math should be the priority. Most schools budget at least two times as much time for teaching reading than is budgeted for teaching math.

      February 19, 2013 at 10:40 am |
      • Adriana

        I'd like to see an illiterate kid do high-level math, which is often based on solving complex word problems and finding mathematical solutions to discrete real-world problems presented via language.

        True, adding requires no reading, but try being an engineer without being able to read. Try learning science and learning to convey complex scientific ideas without language. A reading-based learning system does not need to exclude math and science, but a math and science based learning system cannot succeed without literacy.

        February 19, 2013 at 11:17 am |