Titanic Victims Argue Over Color Of Lifeboats (Bill Grundfest)
In the battle over possible mayoral control of the failed LA school system, the LA Times has once again rushed to cover the south end of the north-facing teachers’ unions.
Presenting not one pixel of the picture of the disaster that is LAUSD, the Times article wants us to believe that ALL PARENTS oppose mayoral control – nay, ANY change – of LAUSD operations. Let’s look at some highlights:
…disgruntled parents in Los Angeles warned the school board about the shortcomings of mayoral control.
Really? L.A. parents are so happy with LAUSD’s 50% high school dropout rate, and the graduation of high school kids who can’t compete in the real world because they read and compute at a 4th grade level that they want the people who did this to their kids to stay in charge? Is that believable to anybody?
Look at the failing – no, FAILED – LAUSD middle schools. What percentage of 7th graders are proficient in math? Well, in the HIGHEST scoring middle school, the answer is… 62%. That was the best. In the middle school my family is faced with, only 23% of 7th graders can do 7th grade math. And the numbers range down to… 3%.
Could the Times have printed that? Sure. So we know what they’re agenda is. After all, would it not show how insane the arguments are for minor tinkering–or as the status quo-ers call it, “working in partnership with us”?
Mary Bergan, president of the California Federation of Teachers, which adopted a resolution earlier this year opposing mayoral control of schools, (said) “I don’t know what kind of upheaval it would bring.”
Any change to the status quo will be vilified by the teachers unions as “upheaval”. The fact is that upheaval is exactly what LAUSD needs.
Let’s be clear: The job of the teachers union is to protect the JOBS of teachers, NOT to advance the education of your kids. If there is a reform that would educate the kids, but cost teachers jobs, the unions will OPPOSE it and call it very bad names. After all, it is NOT the LA Students Union or the LA Parents Union – it is the TEACHERS’ union.
…at (an) Los Angeles Board of Education… meeting… with one exception, no effort was made to present the mayors’ points of view.
Forget about LAUSD having hearings in public – how do they have the guts to show their faces in public?
Shanta Driver, a parent from Detroit, (said) “Any time you have a proposal for improving the schools that you can’t get a majority of the school board to back, you know that proposal stinks,” she said.
On the contrary; if the school board opposing it is LAUSD, it means you may be on to something terrific.
L.A. Unified board member Julie Korenstein (said) Mayor “Villaraigosa doesn’t care who he knocks aside along the way.”
Hopefully this will include Julie Korenstein. Meaningful change requires that people get knocked aside. She continued…
“How wonderful it would have been,” she said, if Villaraigosa had offered a partnership instead of a challenge to the school board. “Can you imagine having a mayor say, ‘Let me help you raise money for the schools?’ …. But that was never up for discussion.”
FEMA had all the money in the world, and yet their massive INCOMPETENCE left Katrina victims to suffer and even die. Would more money help FEMA? No. How dumb does Ms. Korenstein think we are, that we will continue to believe that more money poured into LAUSD’s FEMA-like incompetent system will help anything?
The status-quo-ers accuse the Mayor of playing politics. If the Mayor was concerned about politics (ie: re-election), he’d stay AS FAR AWAY FROM THE EDUCATION SYSTEM AS POSSIBLE. He’d do what previous mayors have done – stand on the sidelines, muttering “hey, it’s not my job, but yes, isn’t it awful?”
This mayor is a hero… he knows the kids of LAUSD are in crisis. What the Board of Education and LAUSD are doing is going down with the ship – and dragging our kids into drowning with them.
The mayoral lifeboats don’t guarantee anything, but they are the only hope we have. It is time to lead, follow or get out of the way.
Next time: Formation of a new National Parents Union.
Bill Grundfest is a happily married (he is told) parent of 2 boys and owner of several dogs and birds. The fish mentioned in last week’s article has gone on to his reward. In his spare time, of which he has none, he is forming the National Parents Union. If you’d like to take part, he can be reached at bgrundfest at aol dot com.