What Do LAUSD And Haiti Have In Common?

After spending 5 months on paid administrative leave from my teaching job at LAUSD for reporting a corrupt graduation, I am looking forward to spending several months out of Los Angeles. Hopefully, and with the help of the Internet, I will still be able to post and receive stories for perdaily. My number one choice is to spend the summer in Haiti helping the country rebuild after an earthquake and over 400 years of racist polices designed to keep Haiti on its knees. In doing research about how I could be most effective in helping Haiti with my automotive and construction skills, I discovered that although billions of dollars are given to non-governmental organizations (NGOs), little changes on the ground in Haiti because little is done to create the infrastructure necessary for self-sufficiency in lieu of continued dependence. This reality was covered in their usual excellence by NPR's This American Life last weekend in a story entitled Island Time.

Knowing my obsession, are you folks ahead of me on this post? LAUSD and Haiti have much more in common than earthquakes and institutional racism. Both Haiti and LAUSD continue to expend vast sums of money and have nothing to show for it, because they do nothing to empower the people, while only spending money to maintain dependence.

Several days ago, I received an email from the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) with their encouragement that I support LAUSD Measure E with a yes vote on the June 8th ballot. Like Haiti, everyone knows how the economic downturn has negatively impacted public education throughout the United States as sure as if public education had been hit by an earthquake, so why would I object to a measure in favor of supplementing public education funding for LAUSD?

LAUSD Measure E: YES

This local measure would create revenue for the Los Angeles Unified School District by imposing a temporary $100 per year parcel tax on property within the district.

The economic downturn has severely affected the provision of public education nationwide. Without changes to address some of the lost revenues, education will face even more severe cuts, with a significant effect on the achievement of students in public schools. Public schools must improve to ensure that our economy has the skilled and educated workers that it needs in the future. MALDEF urges a "Yes" vote on Measure E.

The reason for my opposition to giving LAUSD more money under Measure E is based on the same opposition that I now have for unaccountable aid given to Haiti where the money goes in and is spent, but the reality on the ground does not change, because no infrastructure is created to prospectively eliminate the need for more dependency creating aid in the future. The first principle of any aid is that it creates an addiction to aid instead of addressing the more difficult task of creating self-sufficiency once and for all.

The following facts might make you question whether the motives of MALDEF and its President Tom Saenz is for the betterment of an LAUSD that is 73% Latino or whether it is to further establish an un-American Central American-like society where few have knowledge and privilege while the rest are ignorant and dependent:

1. Superintedent Ramon Cortines is a close associate of attorney Tom Saenz, who is also Antonio Villaraigosa's personal attorney. 

2. Cortines was Assistant Mayor for Education under Villaraigosa prior to being named head of LAUSD as superintendent.

3. Money is spent at LAUSD on programs that adapt to student dysfunction instead of pragmatically addressing it and eliminating it. For example, the Civil Rights Office of the federal Department of Education is presently investigating LAUSD's costly English as a Second Language Program (ESL), which students go into, but seldom come out of with language proficiency no matter how long they stay in this pricey program.

4. From school police, maintenance, a television station, technology support, food service, and many other programs, how much of what is spent could be handled by an empowered LAUSD student body and faculty? 

As a good teacher, it is not my job to do for my students, but to make sure they are capable of doing for themselves. Whether I wind up in Haiti or Central America this summer improving my Spanish, I will never paternalistically do for people, but rather teach them to do for themselves so that I become superfluous to their success as soon as possible
Tags: , ,

No Comments

Leave a comment