Isaiah Washington’s Dr. Preston Burke packed his bags on the season finale of “Grey’s Anatomy” but that doesn’t mean the actor is being dumped by the show, his publicist said Friday. “We fully expect to be back in the fall,” spokesman Howard Bragman said. “The deal’s not done but we have no reason to believe he won’t be putting on the scrubs.” A furor over Washington’s use of an anti-gay slur had provoked speculation that his job might be in jeopardy. Thursday’s finale seemed to open the door for the departure of Washington’s character. Burke was on the verge of marrying Dr. Cristina Yang (Sandra Oh), but her doubts at first delayed and then derailed their splashy wedding. ABC declined comment Friday. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
Still, given the LAUSD’s decades of neglect of this problem, the long-overdue proposal is welcome. It would replace past, piecemeal attempts at dealing with dropouts with a comprehensive, systemic approach. The plan is also a testament to the difference that a little pressure, correctly applied, can bring to bear. Whether or not Villaraigosa succeeds in his broader efforts to reform the LAUSD, the threat he poses to the status quo is clearly spurring some action, just as the San Fernando Valley secession movement forced City Hall to finally start paying at least a little attention to the city’s neighborhoods. The pressure must not let up. With the mayor leading the charge – and the people of L.A. lined up behind him – real change just might be possible in the LAUSD.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESanta Anita opens winter meet Saturday with loaded card For a while, the LAUSD tried to ignore the mayor. Then officials tried to downplay the dropout problem. Romer and his staff finally turned to angry denunciations, claiming that the 50 percent figure was a wild and irresponsible exaggeration. The rate was only a quarter or maybe a third, they said. They even set up a private P.R. fund to bolster the LAUSD’s public image and attacked Villaraigosa for grandstanding. But that strategy went nowhere. Who were you going to believe: the LAUSD or the mayor? And so now Romer is doing what he should have done all along: Start getting serious about the dropout issue. The superintendent has proposed a multifaceted, $20 million plan that would focus on intervention, remediation and parental involvement to reach kids in danger of dropping out. It would monitor students’ progress closely, and provide counseling and assistance to those who need extra help. The school board still needs to sign off on the plan and come up with the money, and even then, it wouldn’t be fully implemented until sometime in 2007. And then there are serious questions about whether the plan is the right approach or sufficient to reduce the problem. When education became the No. 1 issue in last year’s mayoral campaign, cynics scoffed. The mayor, they said, has no authority over the Los Angeles Unified School District. He can’t make a difference. The cynics were wrong, as usual. LAUSD Superintendent Roy Romer’s new plan to curb the district’s dropout rate is a testament to the power of the mayor’s bully pulpit. For months, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has called out the district, citing its high dropout rate, which he put at 50 percent. He has called on City Controller Laura Chick to audit the district, and even proposed taking it over himself.