Lenny Isenberg2.jpgFor quite a while now it has occurred to me that the longstanding, predictable, preprogrammed, and well orchestrated failure of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and other public school districts like it around the State and around the country can only be changed for the better by a radical restructuring of its openly entrenched self-serving bureaucracy that by it very nature has up until now put the interests of its vendors before the interests of its students, teachers, families, and communities.

What was until recently an underpaid part-time LAUSD Board has and remains completely dependent on a self-serving bureaucracy for making all of its decisions. Now what I offer is a possible decision and real alternative for the first time in the selection of the next Superintendent that could finally take the first step toward being a truly pragmatic and independent governing body, if they choose me as their next superintendent to run LAUSD.

Why me? Well the answer is simple:

1. My 10 year war with the morally compromised people who have been running the District shows that I cannot be intimidated or bought into silence by an LAUSD that keeps socially promoting its students into assured failure, because of its refusal to put student needs above vendors needs;

2. Unlike my predecessors in the Superintendent position, I actually have significant non-teaching experience in the law, real estate, and business acquired in the motion picture business as a producer and in construction obtained before I became a teacher 30 years ago. Let's face it, LAUSD among other things is the largest business in L.A.;

3.Whether it is building a Belmont Learning Center on a toxic waste dump, the RFK Learning Center built at a cost three times market value, an IPad scandal, or many many other unnecessarily compromised projects, it is important to mention that none of this blattant corruption was hidden. Its just that either nobody was looking, had the skill set necessary to understand just what was going on, or were willing to confront corruption the way I have with a willingness to lose my job if necessary;

4. Unlike existing administrators, I have not come up through the ranks at LAUSD administration in a process that requires conformity to failed policies as a precondition for advancement;

5. I would do the Superintendent's job for the same top of the salary scale rate that teachers get or about $80,000 a year and not the $440,000 given to John Deasy or the $330,000 given to Michelle King. Given the number of excess hours beyond the normal school day, I might let the LAUSD Board talk me into $10,000 more as an auxillary, but that would be it, since I don't equate my success in this life with how much money I amass, but rather by the ultimate success of my students. And of course, I don't need a car and driver or other unnecessary perks that only take away from the money available for educating students;

6. Given that I have not been alone in incurring the wrath of present LAUSD administration for standing up to their blattant corruption, I have come to know a great many well qualified people with significant experience in public education and other relevant disciplines who also don't have a price and who would be willing to work in conjunction with the LAUSD Board and me as Superintendent to finally turn things around.

Now, when it comes to some of the specific programs that I would implement to change the culture and educational success rate of LAUSD in reality and not in vacuous Edspeak rhetoric, the following is by no means a comprehensive list, but should give you an idea as to how my approach is different:

1. Whether they be books or other educational material, LAUSD should be the owner of the copyright and pay- share the copyright with its own teaching staff- to keep these materials up to date in real time using existing computer technology. This would eliminate the costly unnecessary expenditure of periodically replacing all books, when they can now be updated in real time and at little of no cost. The huge savings in this area could be passed on to things like lowering class size, so that students subjective needs could be more fairly addressed in a timely manner.

2. With a total capacity of 30% of high school graduates, U.S. colleges and universities can in no way address the needs of all students, when it comes to career training. It was not so long ago that LAUSD had a vibrant Industrial Arts and vocational education program. And it is worth mentioning that the skills I learned in Wood Shop, Drafting, and Metal Shop helped pay for my college education. One might also ask just how much of LAUSD maintenance could be accomplished by students at an incredible savings in school budget that could be passed on to academic costs. In addition to my teaching credential in Social Studies, I also have one in Industrial Arts. So why have I been unable to get a job teaching something like welding to students, when certified welder starting salary is $40,000 a year?

3. 50% of teachers quit within 5 years at a great expensive to LAUSD because of the untenable behavior issues they are required to deal with without support from administration. To the extent that negative student behavior is a function of students having been socially promoted grade after grade into classes they cannot function in and which humiliate them, how much of this behavior would disappear, if we placed students in classes based on actual ability and interest and not age?

When one compares the $78,000 a year cost of dealing with a young person in the juvenile justice system, one has got to think it is cheaper to educate them into being productive tax paying members of society... unless you are a corporation running a prision and using it as a factory where you pay your workforce $1 a day.

Got some ideas of your own? Feel free to share them in the comments section below.


Keep fighting the good fight, Leonard!!

Leonard Isenberg is a brilliant man of integrity. He knows what learning looks like, and what teachers need to support LEARNING. HE IS A HERO... Elect him and he will SEE THAT CHANGE HAPPENS!

In France and other countries the track for being a teacher or being an administrator are two completely different tracks, because they require two completely separate skill sets.

Rotate teachers in and out of the principals positions like they used to and may still do in Montebello. Principals and out of school administrators were dying to get out of the classroom. Once they leave the classroom they forget what it was like to teach and to deal with students, parents, administrators, colleagues, etc. Is there any principal anywhere who likes to cover classes?

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