07/29/2011 by Tom Salyers
Forward Thinker Yolie Flores steps outside the box to improve LA schools
California Forward has named Yolie Flores a Forward Thinker for her work to reform the dysfunctional LA school system by stepping outside of it to find solutions.
Very few people have experienced the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) as both a student and a member of its Board of Education. Yolie Flores has those unique qualifications, and they have strengthened her ability to be an exceptional advocate for the children of Los Angeles.
“It’s a real shame that LAUSD – the second largest school district in the country – was once tops in the nation but has lost its way and is now in the basement,” says Flores.
The system's severe dysfunction inspired Flores to propose a radical method of reform: allowing outside entities to operate new and under-performing LAUSD schools. This bold initiative – Public School Choice – became a lever to change a bureaucracy that was failing children.
“When I realized LAUSD couldn’t do a better job, my strategy was to get somebody else in who could push the system from a place of accepting mediocrity to one of embracing positive change,” Flores says.