Monday, March 04, 2013

THE IMPERFECT STORM: Bloomberg gave a million; here are my two-cents on why – and how – we need to vote tomorrow.


By smf for 4LAKidsNews

4 March 2013 :: It’s hard to work up a weather allegory in Los Angeles where generally every day is just another perfect day in paradise. Sure it gets all-those-shades-of-grey in May and June – but the gloom is complemented by the lavender blooms of the jacaranda – which form in the dark, dark branches and hang in sky - and then fall in drifts on the yards and sidewalks and roadways in an exquisite soft carpet. The show is every bit as good as the cherry blossoms in DC – just as long as the Jacaranda cuspidifolia aren’t on your yard and the fallout isn’t on your car!

But today, the day before the election, the weatherman says the rain is coming. And though the sun is streaming though my front window and the cat is luxuriating in the warmth (and, let’s face it, the weather bookies in LA never get it quite right) I’m going to go for the storm clouds threatening metaphor and try to work up to the cliché of The Imperfect Storm.

Oh, a storm is threat'ning
My very life today
If I don't get some shelter
Oh yeah, I'm gonna fade away


Our mailboxes have been filed with the election mailers, the airwaves are now filed with spots about the candidates. The mayoral wannabes have handwrung about how important education is – but thankgod none have declared themselves to be The Next Education Mayor.

The Special Interests of both sides - PAC’s and campaigns have plumbed the depths of the gutter in their electioneering. I am in favor of one side and opposed to the other - but much of the mail for the side I’m for embarrasses me.

In politics as in war Truth is the first casualty.

In one of the races I’m supporting The Anyone But Ticket …though the tempting vote would be for None of the Above – if that would bring stronger candidates and more reasoned debate to the conversation.

That is not an option; the choice is between a rock and a hard place. And if you saw the movie 127 Hours you know how difficult that gets.

The choice is not between ®eform and Teachers Unions. The choice is not between urgency and incremental progress or even between success, failure or and the status quo. The choice is between What’s Good for Billionaires and What’s Good for Children.

There’s a lot of money to follow and  are a lot of dots to connect and a lot of ways to connect them.

  • Reform is NOT “the reorganization and improvement of something such as a political institution or system that is considered to be faulty, ineffective, or unjust[i]” - it has become a brand: ®eform.
  • And the brand itself is faulty, ineffective and unjust. It is however, a revenue engine.
  • Remember all those “sky-is-falling” evils that the liberals predicted would happen if capitalism triumphed? The subjection of the working class, the disenfranchisement of labor and the Glorification of Competition and the triumph of The Corporate State? They are kind/sorta happening to public education.
  • We have Privatization and Charterization and Corporatization of Public Education on the agenda of the Powers that be/The Forces of ®eform, Inc. at LAUSD.
  • ®eform, Inc. would outsource many programs like online learning – even Health Ed - to the venture capitalists and hedge fund managers. We have billionaires investing millions in school board campaigns (which isn’t the same as investing in public education. Common Core Standards are a product of the Testing Companies – which are a subset of the Textbook Publishers. Rupert Murdoch says Public Education is the next big investment opportunity. The head of the Wal-Mart Foundation –who used to work for The Gates Foundation- was nominated today as Director of US Budget Office.
  • John Deasy has said the Los Angeles is just like the rest of America, only sooner. L.A. is ground zero for the Charter movement, the numbers are bigger here, the investment greater, the possibilities more possible, Their successes are more successful, their failures more visible. I’m not going to begin to list either.
  • They have installed their school board, inculcated+indoctrinated with the ®eform Agenda. Tuesday is an opportunity to change that. Neither side can afford to lose these contests and obviously one will.



I was asked by a school board candidate: "What will we do if we don’t win?" That's easy - because on Wednesday morning we will Fight On Win or Lose.

WE NOW HAVE SEQUESTRATION ON THE MENU – and this brings the last factor in the Imperfect Storm to the weather pattern.

UCLA/IDEA blogs in their Themes is the News: “Sequestration casts a dark shadow over the optimism and enthusiasm of the entire education enterprise”.

I am glad that the UCLA Ideologues find optimism and enthusiasm in the enterprise – sometimes I need help finding it. The morale of the troops is not good. And apparently the floggings will continue until the morale improves.

The Sequester, which would cut 5% of the federal aid to LAUSD means cuts of $37 million.

Doing a little algebra:

  • ·85% of LAUSD’s budget is personnel. The easiest+quickest way to cut the budget is to cut people.
  • ·The rule of thumb is that $1 million equals eleven teaching positions for a year.
  • ·So the potential in the Sequester is to eliminate 407 teachers.

Unfortunately the tendency around Monica, Deasy+Co. will be cut teachers – or programs like Adult Ed, Early Childhood, Afterschool, Arts & Music.

  • ·They will not consider eliminating or reducing programs like Standardized Testing, Teacher Accountability, A–G graduation requirements; or Common Core State Standardss, Tablets for All and the alphabet soup of API, AYP, AGT and P.I., etc. …because those programs loom large in their legend! But just perhaps we don’t need the alphabet noodles – maybe some veggies with food value would be better?
  • Sacramento has already proposed cutting or elimination the STAR test – and Deasy reacted like the sky was falling. How would he evaluate teachers without test scores …after all, isn’t evaluating teachers what it’s all abaout?
  • ·The federal funds drive the No Child Left Behind agenda – perhaps a cut in those funds should prompt a reduction in the commitment to that agenda? Ya think?

When push comes to shove the pushing shoving and union bashing will escalate.

If you’ve already voted thank you. If you have voted but haven’t mailed in your ballot, take it to the polling place tomorrow. If you vote in person, go do it.

  • Please Don’t Count the mailbox fliers and vote for the tallest or shortest stack.
  • Please Don’t Vote for candidates just because UTLA or Mayor Tony …or even 4LAKids supports them.
  • Please Don’t Vote against the billionaires who advocate ®eform just because they are billionaires. Vote that why because what they want is bad for children.
  • Please Don’t Vote against Deasy+Monica+Kate – or Mayor Tony, Mayor Mike or Michelle Rhee because I say so, Vote that why because what they want is  bad for children.

The Children can’t vote. Your job on March 5th is to vote for them!


Because Children are the most important thing, everyone else can’t have everything else they want.


[i] Encarta Dictionary

  Z C & ABM  

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