Archive for May 2014

LAUSD ENDS TEACHERS JAIL- WHY NOW?

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(Mensaje se repite en Español) The simple answer as to why LAUSD General Counsel Holmquist has reversed his position on housing teachers without any justification is that these targeted teachers had finally started to become proactive and were using their time incarcerated together to organize effective legal opposition to the witch hunt against them.

IS THERE ANY LEARNED COLLECTIVE MEMORY IN MEMORIAL DAY?

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(Mensaje se repite en Español) The last war that the United States fought was World War II. I say this because according to our constitution, wars have to be declared by Congress and not by the president and the executive branch of government. How many Americans do you think know this? Our Founding Fathers gave the actual war power to the Congress, because they wanted something with the unequaled long term consequences of going to war to be determined by the most numerous branch of our government in our representative democracy.

LAURA'S LAW IN CONTEXT

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(Mensaje se repite en Español) When Ronald Reagan was governor of California between 1967-75, he systematically dismantled the state mental health system by proposing the idea that it was a civil right not to be hospitalized if you didn't want to be, irrespective of any objective medically substantiated psychological profile. Reagan's main motivation for doing this- supported by what has now become longstanding right-wing rhetoric of less government- was to lessen the amount of money the State of California was spending on these "unnecessary services that deprived people of their civil rights," while allowing them to be free and homeless in the streets. If they knew their name, the date, and didn't want to be in a psychiatric facility, they walked. With this mandate, major psychiatric treatment facilities throughout the state were closed at significant short term savings. Rather then invest more money at the time in dealing with the objective needs of the mentally ill in California in a timely and appropriate manner, mental health facilities were emptied and what resulted was a shift of this disabled population to our regular hospitals, jails and prison, augmentation of our homeless population, and a generally more expensive overloading of our all emergency public facilities- a rather foolish decision in retrospect.

DECONSTRUCTING THE RENAISSANCE

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(Mensaje se repite en Español) In looking at the long term failure to achieve a viable public education system in the United States by those charged with its efficient implementation, it seems clear that this lack of success has a great deal to do with leadership at all levels of public education that is more concerned with politically correct slogans than a pragmatically driven system of public education that sets its priorities based on the objective needs of our society. To illustrate this point, one need only take note of recent unemployment figures here in California that point out a rather disturbing piece of information: While there is a significant increase in the number of jobs being offered, there remains a dearth of well-trained and qualified applicants for these positions. While the aggregate cost of public education has reached an annualized figure of close to $1.2 trillion a year and student debt has also reached the trillion dollar level, the actual level of employable skills achieved at both the K-12 and college levels remains abysmal. More than half of college graduate, who now graduate with a mortgage-sized student debt- but without the house to go with it- are working at relatively low-paying jobs that do not require a college degree.

The LAUSD Dinosaur: Dismantling The Economics Of Scale

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(Mensaje se repite en Español) The only justification that I have ever heard for the continued existence of LAUSD is the economics of scale. Simply stated, this is the notion that larger organizations can buy goods and services for significantly less money than smaller organizations, because of the quantity and consequential discounts they are able to get because of their size.You can see this principle in practice in a companies like Costco or Home Depot, where these companies abilities to buy larger quantities for less gives them a significantly lower unit cost, which ultimately gives them a market advantage over smaller businesses whose unit costs are higher. At LAUSD, the second largest school district in the country, where economics of scale should thrive, nothing could be further from their daily reality, since the majority of what they purchase is acquired from "agreed upon vendors," whose status as such insulates them from market competition that might ultimately have given them lower costs in educating students. In addition, not only does LAUSD not benefit from the economics of scale, they rather incorporate the worst ills of any too-large organization that suffers from the lack of coordinated management that comes from being so very large, cumbersome, and unaccountable. Cue the dinosaur business model.