LAUSD INSIDER-In the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), the land that time forgot, the motto remains: We've Always Done It That Way...No Matter What The Human Cost, Financial Cost Or Legality.
Case in point: The squandering of billions of dollars of bond money on things like IPads without any coherent plan to coordinate the most effective way of maintaining a rapidly deteriorating physical plant, where the average school building is now over 50 years old. It seems that not only are those from Superintendent John Deasy on down not capable of teaching critical thinking skills, they also seem completely incapable of using them.
The reason for this is that career upward mobility at LAUSD has always depended on not making waves by deigning to engage in what might be interpreted by your superiors as threatening critical and rational thought supported by an educated analysis of the objectively bleak reality the district presently faces.
So, to show I bear no hard feelings for my own continuing mistreatment by LAUSD, let me suggest a possible plan of action where LAUSD might efficiently fix schools, while addressing the fact that the vast majority of LAUSD's predominantly poor and minority students of color are leaving 13 years of LAUSD education without the necessary skills to either continue with their schooling or with any skill set necessary to get and maintain gainful employment.
The only rational justification for maintaining the existence of a dysfunctional behemoth like LAUSD is the economics of scale, where LAUSD should be able to get the best price on IPads, air conditioners, computers, or pretty much anything else it uses in prodigious amounts. However, the reality is exactly the opposite- LAUSD with its "preferred vendors" pays more than you or I would pay if we went to our local Fry's or Home Depot.
What if, instead of phasing out the LAUSD industrial arts program as has been the misguided reality over the last few decades with the lie that "all students are going to college" in a reality where the total capacity of all colleges and universities in the U.S. is 30% of high school graduates, it was revitalized and students were taught the skills necessary to do much of the maintenance and replacement of worn out infrastructure that now dwarfs the dwindling billions in bond funds.
One could kill two birds with one stone: Students would learn the practical skills that might either pay for a college education or give them a well-paying trade, while fixing rapidly deteriorating school infrastructure.
Alas, in the black and white thinking of those presently running LAUSD into the ground for their own deficiencies in critical thinking skills- along with existing special interests of vendors and labor unions- fear would only see the loss of vested interests and privileges, instead of the building of a revitalized highly skilled and well-compensated unionized labor force capable of fixing the rapidly deteriorating infrastructure of the country at large, while finally allowing students to excel based on knowledge, practical experience, real choices, and increased buying power that are far less expensive than the present over incarceration of 2.4 million of our fellow citizens who had the misfortune of attending de facto segregated inner city public education as presently constituted.
(Leonard Isenberg is a second generation teacher at LAUSD. He blogs at perdaily.com … where these comments were first posted.)
● Note: If you or someone you know has been targeted and are in the process of being dismissed and need legal defense, get in touch: Lenny@perdaily.com
Vol 12 Issue 18
Pub: Feb 28, 2014