Choose Your Illusion?

The winds of educational change are blowing, but who the heck knows what’s going on? The LA Unified School District is holding elections where people can vote on different proposed plans to let private companies or the present public administration manage 36 underperforming LAUSD schools. It’s barely in the news. Is it because it affects almost entirely only working class people of color? (KPCC, Daily Breeze, The Wave.)

These votes don’t actually choose the plans, but, they will poll the stakeholders to get a sense of what they want to see at their schools. The school board makes the final decisions.

LAUSD has a web page with all the proposals. On that list are several eastside schools: new Esteban Torres HS, Garfield HS, Lincoln HS,

What do people think about this whole thing about bringing in outside management? Have you read any of the proposals? Are you voting?

[I added a link to the proposals and clarified who will run schools.]

7 thoughts on “Choose Your Illusion?

  1. Billy and Marisol’s education brought to you by Wal=Mart?!? This is PUBLIC education being sponsored by PRIVATE companies?!? THIS IS NOT OK! Private corporations have no business in the public sector. So, I will pay my taxes to (happily) help fund public education but the corporations will get to decide how the money will be used, etc?!?!? How is this not news? How are people not rioting in the streets? I understand that LA Unified had a lions share of issues but this is NOT the solution!

  2. I think the ultimate goal of those who have the most influence over our government, which is by far the business world, is to end public school. With private ownership of all schools, it’s much easier to invoke a lesson plan for children that involves training them to be whatever the business world would want to see them in 20 years, as opposed to teaching them critical thought and creativity. They want to make schools how they were before the ’60s. Training grounds for the business world. And, this is considering they would even provide schools for all children. Considering schools themselves would specialize in vocational training, you have to believe that areas left without a school would instead have an emphasis of police and prisons. My problem isn’t with the private sector having more control than government. My problem is with who runs the private sector. The reason why I’m for government having control of schools at this point is because I don’t believe the private sector has earned our trust, and the Reagan/Bush era set them back to just about zero as far as trust goes. When we invest in new industries, like green industries, and replace the crooks in the business world now with a better class of people, then I’m all for privatizing many things that were once public, like schools. But not now. If we put our public services in the hands of the modern day business world, it will be worse than any sci fi thriller you’ve ever seen or read on the topic.

  3. Public education is the foundation of our democracy. As an Eastside public school teacher my experience has shown that public education holds little value to mainstream America- especially when the students live in the hood.
    It seems every attempt by either political party or interest group is a set up to make inner city (and rural) schools fail.
    Honestly, as a teacher I do not know what to think about this. I do not trust my union. The district is so afraid of Charter Schools and so desperate to retain enrollment- which equals money that they will do anything to save face.
    On a positive note, the popularity of charter schools has forced many local schools to step up and make serious improvements to retain students.
    Obviously there is no single answer to fixing our schools. Many teachers, like myself, are so entrenched in the day to day work that its hard to stay on top of this. Many of us do not know who to believe- especially when the union management is just as corporate as the district!
    My fear is that private managment of schools will lead to the neglect of special education students and English Language Learners (the two populations that tend to pull down performance indicators), and which happen to be my favortie students to teach.

  4. (I forgot to link to the LAUSD proposals page, so that’s been corrected. It’s really hard to find on their site.)

    I think business is okay with public schools as long as they serve business interests – which is to produce a labor force. It’s an externalized cost to them, and doesn’t affect their profits.

    Also, the needs of the labor market in 20 years is going to be different from the needs today. Businesses don’t forecast that far into the future, unless you’re GM or Disney. The public sector can think a bit farther into the future, and try to educate for the future. Probably not far enough, judging from the results, but better than any “market” can.

    These school takeover proposals, I think, reflect the shortsightedness of the market. A lot of work-oriented theme schools.

    On the other hand, it’s also a fact that the working class is barely given a chance to rise within the existing system. There’s a glass ceiling. These are mostly working class POC schools, and, generally, the way the working class who labor physicially also become the new working class who labor intellectually. If you go into any accounting department, engineering department, editor’s office, graphic arts department, nursing staff and doctors, there are a lot people of color in there. A lot of immigrants too. A lot more than you see in the management.

    So there’s some practical reasons for these work-oriented theme schools.

    There’s a tradition of work-oriented high schools in LA. Two of our oldest schools are Manual Arts HS and Polytechnic. I think that Manual Arts was out in the sticks, and Polytechnic, which was located where LATTC is at now, was in the city. So you could become some kind of “polytechnic” engineer, or “work with your hands”. Depending on how poor you were and how far from the center of the city you lived.

    Which is fucked up, but something to think about.

  5. I for one think that charter school management is a good thing for LAUSD. It puts a second player in the game and puts LAUSD and its unions into a whole different set of mind, because they actually now have a second player to contend with for results, aside from themselves and self policing.

    Aside from actually challenging LAUSD to improve, I think that these charter schools will offer parents a third choice public (LAUSD),private, and charter.

    I for one am ready and ok with the idea of having a second player in the game. I still don’t get why people are upset when LAUSD has had years to show something for their work with little to no improvement. Its obvious that LAUSD ideas and methods aren’t working and I for once would like to see my tax dollars actually trying to fix a problem not just to throw more money at it.

    So why are people standing up for LAUSD when its obviously failed its students for years. Read the article link. (73% of LAUSD’s 700,000 students are hispanic and 35.4% will drop out of high school.) I think people should be less paranoid about the charters schools and let these pilot programs show some results.

  6. Check out the link to the proposals. Some of the LAUSD proposals sound like Green Dot’s scheme where they split a school up into modules, and basically make it operate like a 500+ person school.

    Some of the other proposals seems a bit flaky, but, others seem sound. It’s interesting that Montebello Unified wants to take over operation of Garfield. It’s also interesting how the big charter companies are going after the newer facilities.

    Also, I think it’s unfair to say LAUSD is failing all over. It just fails at some schools. The current strategy to use magnet schools seems to work great for kids and parents motivated to get in and attend.

    They just don’t do a good job running big, crowded schools for working class kids.

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