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The Anatomy of an LAUSD Firing

FIRST PERSON--After 40 years of systematically dumbing down critical thinking skills in public education- skills that are a prerequisite for truly understanding Gregory Salcido's actions in context- it is no wonder that today's (1/31/18) KPCC Larry Mantle's Air Talk- as usual- missed the point- since Mantle's usual concern is to be nice, while giving the illusion of not being bias or going into depth on any issue.

 

I would have addressed Salcido's regrettably necessary comments by putting them in historic context: 

  1. The United States has not fought a war as required by the U.S. Constitution to be declared by Congress, since 1941. All other "wars" since then have been in derogation of Congress's exclusive right to declare war and rather under the President's authority as Commander-in-Chief. And, of course, once the troops are on the ground, Congress as of yet hasn't had the backbone to stand against the will of the executive branch...for the last 78 years. 
  1. We no longer have a draft, where in theory all Americans served and had a vested interest in what is- or is not- the war about with what was an army made up of diverse classes that have now found it easier to have a "professional army," where neither they nor their children's lives are at stake. 
  1. In the Judgment at Nuremberg, it was American judges who established the notion in relation to Germans' actions that there comes a time when even if the government orders soldiers to commit certain actions, the soldiers have a higher moral duty not to do certain things- and that takes precedence. Maybe one of the main reasons that so many of our veterans are committing suicide on a daily basis is because what they have been asked to do and have done in these non-war wars. 
  1. We are now 64 years after Brown vs. Board of Education said, "Separate but equal...is not equal." And yet, public school district like those in L.A., Chicago, and NYC and others- cut from the same (de facto) segregated clothe- remain as much as 90% African American and Latino, where no critical thinking skills are ever taught. So, if you socially promote students grade after grade without mastery of prior grade-level standards or any attempt at giving them the critical thinking skills that predominantly White people take for granted, it is no wonder that these purposefully under educated minority students either drop out or leave school with a diploma that isn't worth the paper it is written on and with few options outside the military or other areas having to do with maintaining exclusively for-profit motivated corporate hegemony. 

In this context, does Social Studies teacher Salcido's comments make sense in explaining who is in our military...and why? 

Like Salcido, I have been fired from LAUSD and labeled a racist for pointing out that if you systematically treat people as inferior and make no attempt to develop in them the same potential they have that all people have- if developed in a timely manner- then it is not surprising if our military is now populated by something other than a democratic cross-section of all people in our society, who, like the Germans before them, are only following orders.

(Leonard Isenberg is a Los Angeles, observer and a contributor to CityWatch. He was a second generation teacher at LAUSD and blogs at perdaily.comLeonard can be reached at Lenny@perdaily.com.)

-cw