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School District Holds Its High Tech Pep Rally
In Opening of Schools Address, Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho accelerates the LAUSD’s move away from collaboration with stakeholders.
“This speech is going to be long”
– Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho
If there was any doubt why some refer to LAUSD Superintendent Alberto Carvalho as “Mr. Hollywood,” the 2023–24 Opening of Schools Address put it to rest. Following several student performances highlighting the breadth of talent in the District, a booming Awards-show Voice brought Carvalho to the stage using phrases like “Outstanding Educator.” It was clear that modesty was not in his toolbox.
Like last year’s presentation at the Microsoft Theater, the address was a highly polished affair. While, thankfully, the smoke machine was left behind, loud music that was meant to be inspiring and slickly produced videos punctuated Carvalho’s Tony Robbins-inspired performance. He paced the stage wearing his hidden wireless mike, dropping celebrity names like Dr. Dre, Snoop Dog, and Taylor Swift along with random pop-culture references. While it looked like the speech was being delivered from memory, the teleprompters could have just been hidden better than they were last year. It would not have been surprising if he had dropped to the floor to do one-armed pushups or copied some other stunt from past Oscar ceremonies. Maybe next year he will figure out a way to skydive into the festivities.
At points in the presentation, I began to suspect that the flash, like the Superintendent’s designer suits, is masking his insecurities. It was clear that his ego is still bruised from the Los Angeles Times’ negative coverage of his unilateral decision to decimate the Primary Promise literacy and numeracy program. Twice during the presentation, Carvalho found it necessary to call out the reporter, Howard Blume, by name; the first to draw attention to the presentation’s length and then to emphasize the point where…