The Business Of Education

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I rarely find myself in agreement with UTLA President A.J.Duffy and even when I do it is in spite of his usually flawed reasoning that I find much akin to that of LAUSD's leadership. Duffy along with several other commentators on education find it difficult to get their minds around the juxtapositioning of severe cuts to LAUSD's budgeting by its board in the form of 12 furlough days to address part of the looming $640 million LAUSD budget deficit, while contemporaneous passing authorization of "Certificates of Participation (COPS) to fund a variety of capital projects that should instead be funded through voter-approved bonds.

While I would like to call for different cops to deal with LAUSD's misguided leadership for their continuing poor choices in how to address this and next year's budgetary shortfalls, unlike Duffy, I would go a step further and question the necessity of anymore "voter-approved bonds" in light of the obscene waste of money that still is a byproduct of LAUSD standard operating procedure of designing programs to accommodate to failure, while using technology to increase expenditures instead of lessening them. While it seems a no-brainer to me that it is much more expensive to continue to accommodate to failed LAUSD's notion of public education than to definitively fix the system once and for all, that might just be my misguided and educated approach that we have been shown over the years has no place at LAUSD where rational thought is not even welcome as a tourist. LAUSD has been accommodating to failure for so long it has succeeded in getting the media and politicians to accept LAUSD's immutable dysfunctional presence as a given in all discussion of public education reform. This manifests itself in the false polemics argued by both sides to any supposed public education reform debate that avoid positing any definitive solutions that dare challenge the hegemony of LAUSD incompetence. Real public education reform must challenge the Don Gotti teflon status of LAUSD leadership for it stands to reason that if they are never held accountable nobody in the food chain below them down to the students will be made accountable.

While we have talked about some of these proposals in the past at perdaily, it seemed like a good time to talk about them again and once again ask why none of these have been instituted or stand a chance of being implemented under LAUSD's present petrified leadership:


2. In Japan, there are no school custodians. Students clean up the school after themselves. Not only would this represent a significant savings to the District as retiring maintenance workers were replaced with students, but it would also create a student culture where vandalism and specifically grafitti would be diminished by holding students responsible for the condition of their schools in the most rational of ways. 

3. At Northridge Junior High School when I was a student, we had an agriculture class that not only planted a variety of foods in the school garden, it also entered and won the L.A. Beautification Project each year. Students taking agriculture classes 6 or more periods a day and during the summer could easily keep school campuses beautiful at a fraction of the cost presently incurred.

4. At some point in almost everybody's life they work in food service. With the rich ethnicity that presently exists in Los Angeles, school cafeterias could be a vital part of a students education not only in food preparation, but also as a vital adjunct of its important place in all cultures as an expression of different people's culinary sensibilities.

5. As I have said many times before, only a fraction of students will ever finish college due to the limited number of spaces in these colleges and the limited necessity in our society for everyone being a college graduate. What schools need to do more of is train students in the ever increasing technologies that are necessary in a post-carbon based technology society. This requires the ending of a short-sighted LAUSD policy of closing industrial arts and other occupational classes which has only succeeded in blocking more potential opportunities for our highly diverse student population.

6. Get LAUSD out of the television station business and other technologies that are more and more Internet based at a fraction of the cost of maintaining the expensive overhead that LAUSD continues to maintain even in these times of drastically reduced budgets. For example, publishing books online would not only be accomplished at a fraction of the cost, they would be continuously upgradeable without the huge periodic expense that school districts are forced to incur every few years.

While I challenge you all to go on and look at the many other expenses that keep LAUSD's budget far greater than that of the City of Los Angeles, I would also point out what must be the only reason that others have never tried to implement these changes. LAUSD is not now nor has it ever been about education. It is about business -- alot of pigs feeding at the trough of tax dollars extorted from taxpayers whose children continue to be held hostage. While this game worked when the United States was the world's leading economy, that time is over. Education is the only way that we can remain competitive with the Europeans and the Asians and the sooner we realize it and create a lean and mean highly efficient public education system, the better chance this country and its dreams have of coming still coming to fruition.

I would like to take this opportunity to put my hat in the ring to replace Superintendent Ramon Cortines. While I have a rich 24 year experience in education at both the secondary and university levels, I also have a legal and business background that presently has no place in LAUSD's misguided culture that has ex-teachers running one of the largest business entities in Los Angeles County with no relevant education or work experience. But the two considerations that I think make me far and away the best candidate for the job are: 1. It would be hard to do a worse job that the present LAUSD Borg (see Star Trek) administration and 2. I will do it for my present teacher's salary...well if they wanted to throw in an auxiliary class to cover the extended hours, I wouldn't complain.

17

05 2010

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