Saturday, April 04, 2009


By Mack Reed | LA Metblogs


Just when I thought the LAUSD and the California Legislature couldn’t possibly make me any angrier, our school parents’ group publishes an online poll today that goes something like this:

In order to face the upcoming deep LAUSD budget cuts, we need to make some hard choices.

Which of the following services do you believe we can afford to lose the least? Please mark these in order of priority - 1=most important, 7=least important:

  • Academic coaches
  • Technology/computer program
  • School library
  • Physical education
  • Kindergarten aides
  • Teacher training to match instruction to student skill levels.

Here’s the pathetic part - these are all services funded BY US BECAUSE LAUSD DOESN’T PAY FOR THEM. Our school community had to raise $150,000 last year just to keep the three (vital) academic coaches. Now we have to try raising more than $320,000 to keep them AND all the other stuff.

Dozens of parents have been laid off from their jobs and it’s plain that we’re not going to hit our mark.

And we’re in Silver Lake, in one of L.A.’s most affluent district schools   - I can only imagine the horrible choices being faced at more-average schools in L.A. where people can’t afford to backfill the gaps left by a stingy, short-sighted and horribly mismanaged state educational policy.

For years now, the Legislature has been underfunding education across the state and in Los Angeles in particular, and the Los Angeles Unified School District has been squandering what little money we have on a bloated bureaucracy and wishy-washy, half-assed improvement initiatives without ever attempting the bold innovation or real top-down reforms.

Everyone in power - from the district leadership to the teachers’ union - seems to be doing what it takes to maintain the status quo and cover their little slice without considering what all this is doing to the people who will be working in and running Los Angeles 10, 20 years from now.

As a result, California ranks almost dead-last in education among the United States.

And what’s the solution to the basic bottom-line debacle that all this adds up to? Pull seasoned teachers out of the classroom and replace them with Beaudry Street bureaucrats who haven’t held a piece of chalk in years.

Yes, I’m ranting.

But that’s because it’s plain to me that this situation no longer deserves simple pitchforks-and-torches-to-Sacramento anger. We’ve tried that.

This warrants prosecution because it is a[n expletive deleted] crime.


●● smf's 2¢: Gentle reader, 4LAKids has not censored the above because we don't want to offend anyone's sensibilities; if your sensibilities aren't already outraged you haven't been paying [expletive deleted] attention and/or it's time to adjust your medication. 4LAKids distributes its message to many subscribers with email addresses and the automatic software censors on the servers will not deliver email with certain words - a list that I'm sure includes George Carlin's Seven and a few more - including descriptions of the meaty parts of cut-up chicken.

By process of deduction (and following the links) it's easy to figure that Mr. Reed writes about Ivanhoe School - one the best schools in LAUSD - and one of the most budgetarilly challenged. But the challenges at Ivanhoe will be echoed to a lesser (and sometimes greater) extent at every single LAUSD school.

The closer to the middle-of-the-middle-class the demographic profile the harder will be the hit to the school.


Mack Reed lives in Silver Lake. He and his wife have 1.8 kids and some cacti and puddles. He grew up in Connecticut, but has lived in L.A. since the 3rd month of the 9th decade of the last century. He rides his bike too often and burns too seldom. He founded in 2002 after escaping a bright future in print journalism and the first dot-com bust. He believes in extraterrestrial life, fuel injection, Apple computers, brutal honesty, animated gifs, the Muses, great blue herons and the hot mustard you put on your lamb sandwich at Phillippe's. He is probably lying right now. When not wasting your time or obsessing over his other blog, he gives a lot of advice. He is 98 years old and eight feet high on the internet. Or is it the other way around?

No comments: