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LA’s Leadership Vacuum: Feds Fixed the Cops, Now They’re Fixing the Schools

Antonio
Villaraigosa promised that if elected mayor of the City of Los Angeles six
years ago he would fix the schools.

He
tried taking over LAUSD but ran afoul of the law so he went to fat cats who
wanted favors from the city and got the money he needed to elect a majority of
the school board, put his man in the job of superintendent and claimed
ownership of a dozen schools.

His
schools under-performed the rest of the nation’s second largest district, which
remained one of the poorest performing districts in the state and nation — so
poorly performing that President Obama’s Department of Education launched a
civil rights investigation into why the dropout rate was so high among Latino
and black students and why so many of those who did graduate had such poor
basic skills.

Here
in this bastion of lip service to the poor and disadvantaged, the poor and
disadvantaged were being denied a quality education available to other LA
students.

After
a year-long investigation, the Feds verdict: LAUSD was discriminating against
Latino and black students whether intentionally or not. 

Unlike
the civil rights lawsuit that led to the federal court consent decree that
produced massive reform of the LAPD, the Department of Education was happy to
work out a settlement directly with pliant school officials who were even allowed
to put a smiley face on it — the smiley face of the mayor himself as well as
Education Secretary Anne Duncan who participated in Tuesday’s press conference.

There
was happy talk about how the LAUSD settlement requiring a total overhaul of the
English language learners program and many other changes that will “become
a model” for other districts across the country.

“What
happens in L.A. really does set trends across the nation,” explained Russlynn
Ali, the assistant secretary of education for civil rights
 who
will closely monitor the changes the district makes and use student test data
to measure success.

Duncan
praised the “courage” of district officials while school board
president Monica Garcia thanked the civil rights law enforcement authorities
for “standing side by side with our students.”

Despite
the celebratory mood, it was hard to ignore the truth that it took a federal
court order and forced busing more than 30 years ago to integrate LA public
schools just as it did a decade earlier in Alabama. It wasn’t intentional
discrimination back then, just the result of the fact the city’s neighborhoods
were largely segregated. 

Over
the next three decades, many neighborhoods, especially in the Valley, became
much more integrated and diverse and the Latino population soared. 

LAUSD
went through an endless stream of superintendents, shifts in philosophies and
approaches to teaching English as a second language without ever making
significant strides. One reform effort after another from LEARN to school-based
management to mini-districts led nowhere. 

Now, the verdict of the Feds is LAUSD is an unequal educational system when it comes to resources and the quality of teachers assigned to overwhelmingly minority schools.

“We saw libraries that were woefully resourced,”
Ali said. “Books that weren’t there that were supposed to be. Books that
were there and not recorded.”

Even discipline is handled differently

“I was aghast at how disproportionately African American
students are disciplined in this district,” Ali said, especially in middle
schools.

Critics question the lack of details and benchmarks contained in the settlement and more importantly whether after all this time there is the political will to fix what is broken.

“I’m very
cautious, because the record is horrendous,” activist Larry
Aubry told the Times. “Political will is at the seat of this, and I hope that will is
here.”

The lack of political will — isn’t that what is wrong just about everywhere in L.A.

 

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7 Responses to LA’s Leadership Vacuum: Feds Fixed the Cops, Now They’re Fixing the Schools

  1. Wayne from Encino says:

    HOW ABOUT A FEDERAL CONSENT DECREE AND MONITOR FOR L.A. CITY HALL? Dennis Zine seems to agree as he he pushed for “all departments” to have to report “waste, fraud, and abuse” by motion and another one to reign in parking lot owners on paying the “parking tax.” Of course he’s running for Controller and couldn’t give a damn about the City except keeping the funds rolling in hard to give to AEG, CRA, and the Pork laden City unions who purchase politicians.
    Wednesday, a meeting at the Council had about 100 speakers and tents completely surround City Hall for a square block–yet not a peep in any radio, tv, or newspapers! Our sitting 14 corrupt useless Clownmembers had to face the “99%.” Then Bernard Parks scuttled immediate passage of a law to reign in local Banks.
    Every media outlet is frightened about these Occupy protests. They are part of the “1%” who need everyone to work themselves to death to PAY INTEREST on DEBT and wind up being 50 years old, in poor health, and not a damn dime left to live off of! The average home purchaser pays 300% the purchase price of a home on a 30 year mortgage. Without jobs, we thus have a CALAMITY in the streets now.

  2. Anonymous says:

    After the Watts riots, segregaton became the issue and at some point at the insistence of a woman named Georgeana Hardy on the school board =
    bus-ing became the siolution. Is bus-ing still
    going on? What a sham. The children were sent to other schools, waited for busses to take them
    and then waited after school for the buses to take them back home. The money used in this project should have been used for education.
    Meantime, segregation was outlawed and people can live wherever they wish. Now segregation is controlled by people not government and very slowly people are beginning to trust one another.
    But I hope bussing has been discontinued. The money is needed for the schools, teaching and
    administration. It teaches children that they are not wanted in their neighborhood schools.

  3. Anonymous says:

    In the wake of Occupy Wall Street, there needs to be a movement to retake our schools.
    http://www.examiner.com/public-education-in-los-angeles/it-s-time-to-put-the-learning-back-into-schools-lausd

  4. Wayne from Encino says:

    I couldn’t turn a station on AM talk radio without a replay of the “Jews control Wallstreet” quote by ONE PROTESTER out of tens of thouands on one given day!!! Now the whole thing starts to come full circle as it is seen clearly now that Jews put up a Black Obama to do their bail-out bidding started by Texan Bust #2. What they failed to see, and what I’ve been stating for a decade now is that THE WEALTHY MUST ENSURE A HEALTHY HAPPY MIDDLECLASS RULES AMERICAN POLITICS AND THE AMERICAN ECONOMY. I stated back 10 years ago or more this statement “what good is being rich if you can’t take your dog out for a walk at night or drive the family for vacation, or feel safe whereever you go?” Many of the rich LAUGHED at this “STUPIDITY.” Notice how our rich, wealthy, LIBERAL buddies out there AVOID these Occupants like the plague! The well-healed PURCHASED the POLITICIANS, REWROTE THE LAWS TO STOP DEPRESSIONS, and STOLE EVERY DIME THAT WASN’T UNDER GUARD BY A PITBULL OR A SOLDIER! Now, they own it, and like it always goes: I TOLD YA SO.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Hate messages dating back to the forties don’t
    conviince any but the ignorant. We are all equals here. Some are good and some are bad and too many are confused.

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