While I believe that the answer to this question is pretty simple and straight forward, it does, nonetheless, require an honest and open dialogue and willingness to act about the factors that people and their politicians have always found difficult to address openly:
What's the alternative?
It is virtually impossible to talk to any honest city, state, or federal official knowledgeable about public education that has a positive view about it or really thinks that what they are doing is really likely to bring about the positive changes that they all know are necessary. The problem comes from the fact that virtually all of them then rationalize the continuation of long failed public education bureaucracies because there is the belief that any structure, even one that has failed for generations, is better than the chaos that would surely follow if an entity like LAUSD were dismantled. It should be clear to all that virtually any non-corrupt form of public education could not do a worse job provided it had safeguards in the form of built in checks and balances at all levels.
Affirmative Action does not a good educator make?
The aftermath of legally prohibiting segregation without implementing the real programs necessary to root out deep-seeded ignorance it has propagated over time still haunts LAUSD. In looking at the egregious grammar mistakes that were made in suspension charges filed against me by LAUSD administrators, it is clear that those running LAUSD are not this society's best and brightest. They did not arrive at their positions of power by mastery of any skill set other than the willingness to blindly obey failed LAUSD policies without the intellectual capacity to even understand what the ramifications would be to our society. It dawned on me a while back that LAUSD was the most anti-intellectual environment it had ever been my misfortune to be involved in. Not only are they really not willing and not capable of changing what they do, they are also irrationally hostile to anybody who actually might be able to accomplish real change as was proposed in the 1990s by LEARN.
With less than 6% Whites still going to very few schools in LAUSD, it is clear that the consequences necessary to make teachers and administrators do their best with students is missing in schools where those in charge have contempt for the parents and fear no consequences for not educating their children. In looking at what makes a school successful whether in the private, parochial, charter, or the few public schools that do achieve, there is always one factor that exists: both administrators and teachers know clearly that their jobs depend on students being well and competitively educated. Parents who are my ex-students from 24 years ago in the same failed LAUSD public school like Dorsey, Audubon, or Fairfax did not somehow get the knowledge to raise children or the social capital to effectively advocate on their behalf by getting pregnant at 14 or turning 18.
To Accommodate to Failure is Not Reform
All alleged public education reform deals with the consequences of failing to educate and then proposes solutions that do not in fact address the causes of this failure. I'll give you one simple example of this phenomenon that seems to elude the great minds in public education reform that keep having the same chicken or the egg argument over addressing student school failure by either socially promoting the student or retaining them in the same grade level, when clearly, neither works. Obviously, if you socially promote the student will not have the mastery of prior grade level standards to do the next years work, which will only get worse as the years go by. If you retain the student, that too will do no good, because you are just going to spend another year or two doing the exact same thing that the student didn't understand the first time around.
What kind of a moron would continue doing the same failed approach year after year while expecting a different result?
Clearly, the only viable solution lies in a causal based approach and goes to the actual subjective deficits a particular student has irrespective of age or peer group. Regress a student early enough, before irreparable harm is done to that student, and the better chance you have of getting that student caught up with their peer group. Fail to do so and continue to suffer the consequences.
If we finally address the six factors I have mentioned and many more that I haven't in an honest, open, and necessarily ego-painful dialogue among all Americans, we might finally achieve our potential as a society. To not do so supports my greatest fear that the powers that be in this country don't want to educate their Latino population for fear of losing an unlimited supply of cheap unskilled labor and doesn't want to educate its Black population because it would then have to come to grips with 400 years of incredibly shitty history.