Wednesday, November 28, 2007

LA Times Blogs Fall Short on LAUSD

When the LA Times recently rolled out their blogs, I wondered whether they would echo the same leftist tripe as their regular bird cage liner. It seems I was correct.

When teacher-blogger Nick Giulioni posted this story about a teacher who diffused an on-campus fight, I posted a comment. After an hour or so, my moderated comment was up. Within hours, others challenged my information. You can read those comments. I responded within an hour.

After 24 hours, my new response is not yet posted, leaving the appearance that I was unable to answer their questions. Ask yourself why the Times refused to post them... exlib

Evelyn, Clay, & Guy:

I’ll answer all your questions.

My grandson attends a WASC-approved private school with standards FAR ABOVE NCLB. I wouldn’t send him to a lower-performance school.
Here’s one of MANY links regarding the educators who send their children to private school.

I’m not sure where Nick teaches, but his description was consistent with LAUSD’s ongoing disaster. While I agree that the criminals are not the teachers, only 25 percent of LAUSD’s teachers vote on union issues. Teachers can turn LAUSD around or they can acquiesce. Most acquiesce because those who make waves are subjected to freeway therapy and classrooms filled with psychopaths, addicts, and gang members.

For more anecdotes, feel free to read
my earlier LAUSD posts.

Having lived and worked in cities like Calcutta, San Salvador, Pacoima, and South LA, I’ve found that MOST parents, regardless of economic status, care deeply about their child’s education. While some do not, many parents I know get tired of being blamed for school problems. Yes, it would be better if Joe’s parents were more responsive, but that’s not my problem unless Joe’s behavior begins to affect my son’s learning environment. Most (if not all) private and charter schools maintain high standards.

Take a look at
Vaughn Street Charter Elementary, in the heart of Pacoima. Surrounded by gangs and illegal aliens, this school outperforms area schools, maintains high standards, and pays their teachers above LAUSD union wage! They succeed because the principal can fire teachers and remove disruptive children. And parents WANT to participate with their children.

Parents have a stronger voice when they control school funding. As long as union teachers continue to support/fund Democrats who won’t fire your wasteful bureaucracy, teachers are part of the problem. In 2005, unions spent
tens of millions to defeat the Governor’s reform proposals. Where did impoverished union teachers get that kind of cash?

As for
LAUSD’s Academic Decathlon, yes I know about the Valley’s award-winning schools. But as I said, schools like North Hollywood, El Camino, and Taft are not representative of schools like Santee, Manual Arts, Venice, or Dorsey High School. If teachers truly cared about their students, they’d demand fully-funded vouchers so parents can decide where their child attends school.

Unions loathe competition because they cannot compete. Great teachers need unions as much as great basketball players do.
Jaime Escalante (Stand and Deliver) admits that unions care nothing about education or children. If you doubt this, ask yourself where UTLA’s union contract describes accountability or children. The contract is all about protecting bad teachers. Union dues are the lifeblood of the Democrat Party that began to destroy LAUSD before I graduated in 1975.

As for “dropout factories,” that characterization was from
Harvard University’s Civil Rights Project (2005), not me. According to them, half of all black and Latino 9th graders would not graduate high school in California – an achievement that segregationists like Gov. George Wallace (D-ALABAMA) would have envied. Whether it was their specific intention or not, America’s teacher unions have effectively circumvented Brown vs. Board of Education – keeping low income minorities far from their own children’s private classrooms.

I know many active and former teachers. While many work hard, their bloated school administration is the biggest obstacle to teaching in America. Teachers can keep the status quo, or they can become agents of change. Teachers can support the vouchers and charters that will make that happen. Good teachers have nothing to fear, while mediocre teachers have much to fear.

So Clay, I’ll be glad to visit you and your classroom sometime under one condition – that you also tour one or two Green Dot schools with Steve Barr and me. I’ll also be glad to tour a private school with you.

Believe it or not, teachers and cops share similar frustrations, particularly what I call “responsibility without authority:” e.g. we have tremendous responsibility to accomplish the mission but no real authority to do so. And the bureaucracies that control cops and teachers enjoy tremendous authority but share no responsibility to perform.

As for the numbers… yes, LAUSD’s $19.2 billion is a multiple year number. But why are we building more public schools when
LAUSD’s enrollment is declining?

According to the LA Times story last month, enrollment was at
653,215. (You’ll have to scroll down– the Times no longer offers a link to that story).

Yeah, the $13.367 billion is big, but that was Romer’s own numbers before LAUSD took down that link. I won’t get into the weeds of LAUSD’s amorphous numbers. I know where every dollar is spent at my grandson’s school, and I didn’t have to pay for a
$100 million payroll system. LAUSD’s budget depends largely upon the date, time, and location, and who you talk to. And if a link embarrasses the LAUSD, it mysteriously disappears.

As for LAUSD’s real budget and enrollment, I’d trust Enron’s numbers before LAUSDs. As for the difference between LAUSD’s $13 billion 2005-2006 budget and their proposed $7.5 billion budget, to what do you attribute that drop? Will teachers get paid half? Are layoffs pending? How do you explain that? As for enrollment,
Julie Korenstein told me that many Latino dropouts were probably just returning to Mexico! If Julie doesn’t know, how would we know?

What’s wrong with letting parents control education funding with vouchers? Vouchers are usually set at a few thousand for the same reason LAUSD granted a charter to
Academia Semillas – to discredit the charter and voucher movements. Yeah, getting back $2000 will defray part of my education costs, but why am I paying taxes to support public schools that my grandson won’t attend? It’s MY money! Take your $10K/year number… what’s wrong with giving parents that kind of power? If LAUSD offers a better plan than area private schools or charters, why not let parents choose?

More here