Rev. Irene Monroe: We live in a society that is hypercritical of failure and super exuberant about success. As a culture, we have developed a false and damaging dichotomy about the relationship between failure and success that success has become a public affair of celebration and failure a private funeral of condemnation.
Anthony Samad: While graduations have become passé’ and informal for some, the older generations dress up for the occasion like they’re going to church on Easter Sunday and praise, and shake, and shout, “Thank ya, Lordie” just as much. I always wondered why my Uncle Buddy always wore a tie to everybody’s graduation. He said it was to “honor them” for achieving something very special.
Carl Bloice–September is four months away and one thing is certain: the public is not be adequately alerted to the seriousness of the situation and mobilized to do anything about it. We would know far less about how critical things are in the schools had not students in California – where thing are really rough – set off nationwide protests about the cutbacks. And, as soon as that happened, on cue, voices popped up to declare that the protesters were deficient because they had no real analysis of the cause of the crisis and offered no solutions. The obvious response was: so what? Isn’t it the job of professionals in politics and government to provide those things?
Tom Degan: But other than those little candles in the darkness, I’m not particularly crazy about Texas. Truth be told, I believe it to be one of the nation’s glaring shames. Molly Ivins (rest her soul) once wrote that all Texans owe a deep debt of gratitude to Mississippi. But not for that state, Texas would be dead last in everything! And to think we fought a war over the place! I would suggest giving it back to Mexico but they have enough problems as it is. Why add to their burden?
Ron Briley: Unfortunately, this debate over standards often rages with little input from history teachers who are expected to implement mandated curriculum. This attitude derives from a fundamental lack of respect in our culture for teachers. Thus, it is assumed that dentists and real estate agents are better equipped to make curricular decisions than are history educators.
Shamus Cooke: The anti-teacher hysteria looks diverse on the surface, but underneath, this public controversy seeks to dislodge teachers unions: the right-wing trashes teachers’ unions outright, while the “liberal” media takes a more subtle, sophisticated approach, blaming the state of public education on “bad teachers” who must be fired and replaced.
Ron Wolff: Oh, by the way, country and western music will be studied as a cultural movement. High school freshmen will probably be assigned the task of writing lyrics to twangy melodies — when they’re not studying about the Contract with America, the Heritage Foundation, the Moral Majority, and the National Rifle Association. Yes, they’re all “in.”
Sikivu Hutchinson: It’s simply not acceptable to blame the university’s egregious disregard for the needs of students of color on the bigoted acts of ignorant white or “minority” students. UCSD’s gross underrepresentation of Black students reflects the UC system’s institutional neglect of recruitment and outreach to African American high schools.
Shamus Cooke: The first battle tactic against public education was to starve it. Politicians have consistently lowered taxes on corporations and the rich for the past three decades, thereby lowering state revenues that have created the budget crises in nearly every state. Consequently, public education is in a state of shell shock.
Joseph Palermo: Sadly, the clear winner in recent years has been the California of small things and small ideas. Through an outdated flaw in the structure of governance, one-third of the Legislature has a stranglehold on the state’s finances. The other two-thirds (the majority) knows the state is heading in the wrong direction. Yet given its lack of control over the purse strings, it’s left flailing around passing a lot of symbolic laws that go nowhere.
Maria Elena Durazo and Maria Brenes: Sadly, the promise of economic and social mobility via our public educational system is going unfulfilled for the children of poor and working class parents in the City of Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Unified District (LAUSD) whose student body is over 70% Latino and 11% African American must focus on stopping the drop-out crisis and addressing the lack of student preparation for college and the 21st century workforce.
Sharon Toji: Los Angeles is certainly not alone in wasting bond money. San Francisco passed bonds some years ago specifically to do ADA upgrades, an administrator used the money to upgrade his house, among other illegalities. After a federal suit was brought, because the ADA upgrades were never made, they had to go back to the public for more money, and the public gave again. This time around, we actually prefer to work in San Francisco because their paperwork demands are not as ridiculous and we can concentrate more on signs. Also, their bond work is definitely not in the luxury class. They are doing only what is necessary, with no frills and much less waste. Otherwise, the public would mutiny, after having had their money wasted once.
Harry Mok: More than 3,000 youth in California age out of the foster care system every year without having a permanent family to support them. Nationally, studies have shown that just 7 to 13 percent of foster youth pursue higher education. Of those who do go to college, only 2 percent obtain a bachelor’s degree, compared with 24 percent for the general population, according to a Casey Family Programs report.
For the past three years, a group of black men within 100 Black Men of Los Angeles have been studying the successful publicly funded single-gender school of our New York chapter, The Eagle Academy for Excellence, as a possible solution to the dilemma facing black boys in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD).
To me, that makes education crucial to this country’s future. What will be required to avoid losing? If people detect either that they are no longer being challenged by their work, or if they find themselves reading beer bottle labels under tables, then I would suspect that the country is on its way to History’s Great Dustbin.
As Governor Arnold Swartzenegger and the Democratic-controlled state legislature strip education funding wholesale to meet California’s budget collapse, Pasadena’s public school district offers a microcosm of the woes besetting school districts that are already in crisis across the state. Recent months have seen a drumbeat of distressing reports of alarmingly high dropout rates in Pasadena’s [...]
The Superintendent of the second largest school district in the United States, Ray Cortines, recently announced that the Los Angeles Unified School District will be canceling summer school as a cost-cutting remedy for the district’s $400 million dollar budget shortfall. Who thought of this bright idea? Can the School Board really be serious? The city [...]
The education bubble is going to burst. It has to happen. On a daily basis, we hear about the bursting of the housing bubble. Housing values were over inflated. Millions of people found themselves with mortgages they could not afford to pay—whether through hard times and job loss, racial profiling and predatory lending by unscrupulous, [...]
Yolie Flores Aguilar, Los Angeles School Board member and long-time children’s advocate, thinks that the city’s school system will implode if something dramatic isn’t done—and soon. The ouster of Superintendent David Brewer is a regrettable, but necessary part of that change, in her view. Last weekend, we reported Brewer’s views on his ouster and the [...]
by Tom Hall – Amidst all the talk from both conservatives and “progressives” about how President-elect Obama’s cabinet and economic-recovery choices are destroying either the nation or his own commitment to progressive ideas, it might be useful to think about Georgia Congressman, Paul Broun, who identified President Obama as a Marxist, communist, socialist, fascist.
The Los Angeles Times has rarely offered a fair and balanced portrayal of the black community. It usually was (is) a strategic player in the witch hunt to depose black leaders, no matter who they were (are). Whether it was former Lt Governor Mervyn Dymally, the late Mayor Tom Bradley, former Police Chief Willie Williams, [...]
he Department of Education released their new definition of a “Drop Out” and the tracking system that will have cost us taxpayers over $33 million dollars when complete. The new system requires each student to be assigned a special number that follows them throughout their school life. This is necessary in order to know when [...]