Sat, Apr

Charter School Founder’s Run for Mayor Will Ensure LA Education has a Place in the Campaign Debate


EDUCATION POLITICS--The just announced candidacy of Green Dot Charter Schools founder Steve Barr (photo above) for the mayor of Los Angeles next year might just be a blessing in disguise. A campaign between Barr and present LA Mayor Eric Garcetti will have an almost impossible task of keeping their equally abysmal records on public and charter education out of the public debate. Could this finally lead to some overdue reform? 

In reality, when it comes to public education policy, there isn't a nickel's worth of difference between present Mayor Garcetti's unwillingness to address and reign in clearly and long failed public education policies at LAUSD and Steve Barr's equally failed model of supposedly viable public charter education, which in reality is as bad or worse than LAUSD, if you don't fudge the stats. 

Green Dot Charter's illusory promises and policies of supposed educational reform and achievement are verifiably non-existent, when it comes to any objective measure of minority students' actual academic achievement. And while LAUSD and Green Dot actual achievement has avoided any real public scrutiny in the past, this is not a fact easy to keep under wraps during the heat of what will surely be a vigorously contested general election for mayor. 

My first impression is that Garcetti will have an easier time changing his position on LAUSD to address growing public awareness and concerns about LAUSD than Barr will have in explaining his record at Green Dot Charter School where he has called all the shots. Barr is a scammer who personally built Green Dot Charter to fool the public and give minorities’ false hope by utilizing the support of the same corporate interests that now want to run him for mayor. 

Has Mayor Garcetti ever called for an audit of either Green Dot or LAUSD to show the obscene contracts for goods and services that both of these entities enter into on a daily basis at rates many times greater than fair market value? 

Barr's candidacy should only be seen as just the latest move to further the corporate agenda to increase corporate profits in a more and more privatized public sector, while further eliminating what should be the objective governmental regulatory function that is already nowhere to be found in Garcetti's present administration, which continues to put the will and needs of the people behind the primacy of corporate profits no matter what the cost to the public. Could that be just one of many reasons why over 70% of the public think the economy is rigged against them? 

Doubt what I'm saying about Green Dot or LAUSD? All that the public needs to do is go into any Green Dot Charter or LAUSD school and they can see for themselves the same failed model of assured academic destruction based on mindless repetition. In these schools there is no analysis or any academic rigor. This model never addresses the subjective needs, level, and understanding of its students from where they are actually at academically, but always ends with the social promotion of the student whether or not they have learned anything. 

These de facto segregated schools remain filled with inherently intelligent, curiosity, and trapped minority children whose native intelligence remains purposefully undeveloped in both charters like Green Dot or public school districts like LAUSD until it predictably is destroyed. The indifference of a White population whose own children go to private schools is the main reason these schools exist, which the landmark case of Brown vs. Board of Education was supposed to eliminate 62 years ago. 

There is a certain sick irony to the fact that Whites with the social capital to change public education seem not smart enough to understand what the effects are against them if they continue to allow such travesties to continue. 

(Leonard Isenberg is a Los Angeles observer and a contributor to CityWatch. He was a second generation teacher at LAUSD and blogs at perdaily.com. Leonard can be reached at [email protected])


Get The News In Your Email Inbox Mondays & Thursdays