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(Mensaje se repite en Español) 

Probably the best indicator that racism is still alive and well in inner city public education in this country - and more specially at the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) - is the fact that nobody wonders why Latino and African American students continue to do so abysmally- it's as if it's expected of them. There is a tacit assumption that these students are somehow inherently incapable of learning and competing with more affluent predominantly White and Asian students. In offering poverty as the sole excuse for underachievement, forgotten is the critical function of public education in prior generations of poor immigrants to be accommodated to American society by the mechanism of a rigorous public education for all.

Last week I was talking with a retired African American LAUSD administrator friend of mine, who told me that her sister was trying to move to France, because her 2nd grade child, who they had initially home schooled, was coming home and talking about how school was boring, because of the complete and utter lack of expectation and rigor. The problem was that this child's initial home-schooling had concentrated on stimulating the kid's ability to think. At LAUSD, asking why or saying that something was boring would only get you in trouble.

If one were to stand on a platform in space and look down upon the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD one would see a completely dysfunctional public education system that has been doing things wrong for so many generations, it clearly doesn't know what to do to make things right. But worse than that, LAUSD is a militantly ignorant racist culture that will target anybody that actually tries to pragmatically address the longstanding problems of the district and intelligently address them. 

One of my biggest Ah Ha moments took place several weeks ago when I was talking to one of the now never ending parade of teachers who call me to tell me they have been targeted for removal from the classroom, incarcerated in teacher jail, and now more swiftly had LAUSD move for their termination. It dawned on me that precisely the same behavior that has led these hundreds of teachers to be targeted in LAUSD would make them teacher of the year in an upscale suburban public school.

My insight for this week is that nobody, that remains a part of a racist lower the bar and coerce teachers to socially promote and give passing grades to all irrespective of ability, is any less guilt than Superintendent John Deasy and those at the top of the food chain at LAUSD. All that separates any of them is the amount of money and perks they accept for selling out students and their families. Whether its administrators, teachers, students, or parents, all are complicit in failing to confront the fact that the LAUSD emperor has no clothes.

I went to a little social gathering for United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA), organized by UTLA activist Lisa Alva. She sincerely would like to see UTLA do more to stand up for teachers, students, and their families. But wishing, without a concrete program of specific actions does not make a new reality for teachers and their students. By the end of the get together nothing new was offered for concrete actions that in anyway deviated from UTLA's missing in action attitude in addressing LAUSD's attack on teachers and longstanding failure that continues to be measured in destroyed students and teachers lives.

When I asked UTLA Secretary David Lyell what measurable gains has UTLA attained, he smiled a great deal, hemmed and hawed, and said nothing- he'd have to talk to me after the meeting...something that never took place. President Warren Fletcher waxed profound about how the war on teachers was really attributable to the drop in LAUSD attendance. Neither Fletcher, Lyell, nor any UTLA officer of staff member ever challenges what LAUSD tells them. They would never ask why has LAUSD attendance fallen so precipitously, they just accept. Fletcher tried to be upbeat by saying that Proposition 30 was going to give LAUSD more money. But was he or the money going to address the longstanding systemic problems with LAUSD? Hell no.

If you or someone you know has been targeted and are in the process of being dismissed and need legal defense, get in touch:


01 2013

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