Cortines On Fremont High: "Whoops, Do-over"

It takes a lot of nerve to be an integral part of failed public education policy in this country, as Superintendent Ray Cortines has been during his 50 year career, and rather than own up and take responsibility for his part in this failed system, he instead places the blame on teachers.

While there is some truth to the mediocre level to which the teaching profession has descended in LAUSD, a more reasonable explanation for this phenomenon is that once idealistic and highly motivated teachers have been allowed to get their brains beat out trying to teach under irrational policies that LAUSD leadership has tenaciously clung to for the last 50 years.

Supt. Cortines's reconstitution of Fremont High School will fail as other purported LAUSD reforms have done in the past, because they do not address critically important underlying realities at Fremont and other failing LAUSD schools. For years, LAUSD disingenuous edspeak rhetoric has refused to enforce discipline for fear of losing state Average Daily Attendance payments or stop socially promoting students through grade after grade, when they have not mastered the fundamental skill sets/prior grade-level standards necessary for success at the secondary level. Teachers are coerced by administrators to be complicit in passing these ill-prepared students, which assured failure of middle and high school, because to buck this process would bring retribution in negative job performance evaluations and promotion possibilities.

Boston College education professor Dennis Shirley: "...policymakers seem to think there's this limitless pool of people who want to work in the most impoverished and struggling communities."

The ripple effect of this misguided approach can be seen at the junior college level, where 60% of the students who arrive at junior colleges like Los Angeles City College are not sufficiently prepared to do college level work without significant remediation. Obviously, if such remediation took place at LAUSD, LACC would not have to clean up their mess, which presently threatens its accreditation as a college. 

So now, all teachers will resign and the school will be reconstituted with allegedly better teachers, who will have no greater success, because it is not the teaching that is at fault, but rather the insistence by LAUSD that students, the vast majority of whom have low elementary school English and math abilities, must be put, according to prevailing LAUSD policy, into courses that they are objectively incapable of understanding.

The final irony of this proposed reform is that principals will use this reconstitution to settle old scores with those teachers who have had the guts in the past to say that Emperor Cortines and his equally blind predecessors on the LAUSD throne have no clothes. 

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