Tue, Jun

‘We Shall Meet the Enemy, and .. He May Be Us’


LA’S SCHOOLS … AND OTHER MUSINGS-Bunker Hill Day. The 1775 Battle of Bunker Hill was actually fought one-hill-over on Breed’s Hill …and the British won. 

And Wednesday was the 43rd anniversary of The Greatest Day Ever in Rent-A-Cop History when a security guard at the Watergate Office Complex in ’72 noticed a door taped open and started events that ultimately brought down of the President of the United States.

It’s too late for dinner Wednesday night, but a table of us LAUSDcentric types linger past closing at a neighborhood restaurant, eating and sharing a glass of wine/water/iced tea and discussing+dissecting our common interest.

One after another our cell phones beep+vibrate: Something’s happening out there in the twitterverse.

There’s a shooting. In Charleston. In a church. The unfiltered details filter in. In a Black church. The shooter is a white man.

The conversation shifts to the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in ‘63. Medgar Evers. Columbine and Newtown and thousand other shootings: The nations’ unfinished business. An earlier strand of conversation about Donald Trump misusing a Neil Young song in his campaign kickoff returns Neil and Kent State to the conversation: “What if you knew her and found her dead on the ground, how can you run when you know?”

The details and the heartbreak and déjà vu comes in 140-characters-or-less-as the mainstream media makes breathless newsbytes out of cellphone video and paragraphs of terse sentences and none of it makes any sense at all. Mother Emanuel Church. Emanuel: Hebrew for “God is with us”. We learn of the pastor and the the track coach and the librarian and the sad pathetic shooter. Of an aborted slave revolt planned at that church for June 17, 1822 - 193 years before. There are offers of forgiveness and demands for the death penalty. There are murmurings of gun control and discussions about race and terrorism and the stars+bars-in-front-of-the-statehouse and mental illness. Photo ops abound.

There are nine dead. The librarian, Cynthia Hurd, was someone you+I all knew. Helpful. Generous. Selfless. Beloved. A mother. A ferocious volunteer. Four days from retirement. They’ll name a library after her and she will be a granite marker in a cemetery and a memory in many lives. We knew her and she’s dead on that holy ground in that sanctuary.

How can we run when we know?


BUT WHY BOTHER? A BBC story says we are in the beginning of the Next Great Extinction: http://bbc.in/1fo8oVY. We make plans and movies (“Armageddon”) about how we are now prepared to solve the problem of the Last Great Extinction: Hurtling asteroids. The cause for this one, the sixth in a series. was identified by Walt Kelley back in ’53: “There is no need to sally forth, for it remains true that those things which make us human are, curiously enough, always close at hand. Resolve then, that on this very ground, with small flags waving and tinny blast on tiny trumpets, we shall meet the enemy, and not only may he be ours, he may be us.”

The Pope has written an encyclical. Singer-songwriters from the 60’s can always be relied upon to put it all in perspective+pentameter:

“Monopoly is so much fun,
I’d hate to spoil the game.
And I’m sure it wouldn’t interest anybody
Outside of a small circle of friends.”


THE STATE LEGISLATURE AND THE BOARD OF ED debated their respective budgets on Monday and Tuesday – the board invested far more time in theirs than did the lege.
● The board heard from 75 public speakers and two parent committees and asked no questions of any of them. Thankyouverymuch …next! (The LAUSD budget is scheduled for a vote next Tuesday, the drop-deadline is June 30.)
● The lege passed their budget with less than two hours of debate (they don’t get paid if they don’t make the June 15th deadline) and sent the whole affair to The Big Three (The governor/the assembly speaker and the senate president-pro-tempore) …and they came up with a compromise (the “real budget’) in less than a day behind closed doors!

Headlines crowed “Good News Budget Deal Has Everyone Happy”. ‘Everyone’ being relative.

The Big Three Budget rejected the Legislature's higher revenue estimates and stripped nearly a quarter of a billion dollars for legislative priorities from the spending plan for the fiscal year that begins July 1 …and within a day or two the wonderfulness came into clearer perspective: Republicans lamented the lack of funding for Californians with developmental disabilities or who are elderly, blind and disabled.

Sen. Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, was disgusted by the elimination of extra funding for CalWORKS -- the state's welfare-to-work program for low-income mothers and their children –and refused to cast a vote on the budget.

Brown claims he’s being fiscally conservative because he doesn't want to see the state restore funding now only to cut it the next time revenue drops.

"We continue to say, 'Next year, next year’.” Mitchell said. “But I'm not sure when next year will come." Senator Mitchell and the Chicago Cubs fan base.


I AM GOING TO TRY TO AVOID WADING DEEPER INTO THE CONTROVERSY over the “teacher jailing” of Rafe Esquith:


The District has allowed itself to look additionally ridiculous. I’m pretty sure this has little/nothing to do with the reading of Huck Finn to middle scholars – or a not well thought-out joke about having students perform naked. I should know better than to read between the lines – but this looks like a case about a student field trip to attend the Oregon Shakespeare Festival which had not been authorized or sponsored by the district “…via the proper channels for field trip authorization.” A la Iris Stevenson.

The parents in Rafe’s school+classroom are entitled to have their students kept safe. They are entitled to have their kids benefit from Rafe’s skill+calling as an educator. They are entitled to straight answers to difficult questions.

Beaudry bureaucrats are entitled to their administrival paperwork and adherence to Bulletin 5525-2 …if that is the issue.

Rafe is entitled to equal protection, due process and a fair hearing. To be confronted by his accuser and to a speedy resolution. To return to last week’s history lesson: In English law, the right to a speedy trial was developed by the Assize of Clarendon in 1166 (a judge would be summoned if one was not immediately available) and Magna Carta in 1215 ("To no one will we sell, to no one will we refuse or delay, right or justice") …and the Sixth Amendment.

All of us: You and I and the general public and the administration and students and parents and Rafe Esquith are entitled to the facts.

If Rafe’s accuser is The District, then the investigation needs to be done by someone else. Otherwise this becomes a Star Chamber trial. Or a Guantanamo proceeding. Or something from the Spanish Inquisition.

ENTER Cardinal Ximinez, with Cardinal Biggles and Cardinal Fang: “NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition! Amongst our weaponry are such diverse elements as: fear, surprise, ruthless efficiency, an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope, and nice red uniforms.” – Python, Monty (1970)



(Scott Folsom is a parent and parent leader in LAUSD. He is the former President of Los Angeles 10th District PTSA and represents PTA as Vice-chair the LAUSD Construction Bond Citizen's Oversight Committee. Scott is a member of the California State PTA Board on Managers. He blogs at the excellent 4 LA Kids … where this perspective was originally posted.)





Vol 13 Issue 52

Pub: Jun 26, 2015

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