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There is an exquisitely sick irony to the fact that segregated and purposefully maintained inferior inner city public education could not be maintained at the Los Angeles Unified School District and elsewhere in this country without the administrative participation of the same minorities it keeps in their unachieving places.

Inner City Schools

Why Inner City Schools Keep Failing—Leonard Isenberg

Unless minority administrators were willing to turn momma's picture to the wall and follow orders—for a six-figure salary and a place at the privatization feast at public expense—real positive change in public education could rather easily be achieved at far less expense and in a relatively short period of time.

The willingness of minority leadership to sell out the inherent intelligence of Black and Latino children to assure that they never reach their potential is both deplorable and at the same time a negation of racism.

I say ironically because the willingness of minority leadership to sell out the inherent intelligence of Black and Latino children to assure that they never reach their potential is both deplorable and at the same time a negation of racism. Why? Because irrespective of race what all human beings have shown themselves regrettably capable of is a willingness to do pretty much anything for a large enough pile of bucks and benefits.

The minority administrator's rationale goes something like this: Better I initial play along with what I know to be a racist system of public education to get into a position of power. Then, once I have the power, I will be able to effectuate real change.

But as these minority administrators continue moving up and compromising their core values, they never seem to get to a place where they can effectuate meaningful change without jeopardizing their of careers—and that is not something that most human beings are willing to do as they continue to abdicate any individual moral imperative to change this racist system.

By cloaking themselves in being a part of some collective LAUSD leadership identity—sound familiar for all you history buffs—where no individual is ever held responsible for their individual acts as long as they continue to blindly support The District, no matter what it does, this dysfunctional system has now gone on for generations destroying the lives of inherently clever young people, who are never given the opportunity to reach their potential.

While there are people of integrity that cannot be bought, LAUSD has a system of choosing prospective administrators that filters out any "troublemakers" long before they get an administrative position, no matter what their objective qualifications might be. And for the few honest administrators who slip through this selection process, they learn to keep their mouths shut, while reciting the vacuous slogans of, "No child left behind" and "Every child is a life-long learner," that could easily be contradicted and seen for the nonsense they are, if one bothered to actually walk into a classroom and see the chaos that continues to be allowed.

Many of the administrators of LAUSD who wind up being chosen to address the problems of this generationally failed system are themselves a product of this same failed education system and as such have neither the will nor education necessary to effectuate the necessary and long overdue changes.

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Simply stated, they are chosen through a process of affirmative action by people whose sole criterium is that they do not threaten the existing dysfunctional LAUSD order. This creates leadership that is actually hostile to poor minority children being taught the educational fundamentals they so desperately need to be successful students.

The hostility these administrators evince toward the notion of actually educating students of color is rooted in the reality that many of these administrators themselves did not do well in school. So, when some teachers have the temerity to try educating all students to grade level standards, they are told, "This is a Black school" or "You are not being culturally sensitive," as if the very notion of minority excellence and achievement was a fantasy to be avoided at all costs.

This leads to students being socially promoted without the necessary foundational skills—reading comprehension and fundamental math, to almost assured academic and subsequent career failure. Of course, this will most likely make these once inherently clever young people a lifetime unnecessary and easily avoidable expensive burden on our society.

Most people positing reform in public education have never actually been in a de facto segregated inner city public or charter school and seen the abysmal academic level and chaos caused by students who are profoundly behind grade level. While these students deficits could be addressed, this hard work is scrupulously avoided in favor of empty rhetoric of putting students in uniforms or naming a school College Ready or Lifeline Charter, while doing absolutely nothing to make successful college completion even a remote possibility.

In her latest book entitled The Prize: Who's in Charge of America's Schools, Dale Russakoff lays out the failed efforts of New Jersey politicians Cory Booker, Chris Christie, and Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg—complete with his $100 million donation to turn around Newark Pubic Schools. One of the factors she cites as responsible for their plan's failure was its imposition of reform on this poor minority community without including the community's input in the plan.

Sounds good, if one wants to be politically correct and project onto a poor uneducated minority community that has had failing public schools for generations a skill set that doesn't exist. That which is necessary to meaningfully address the problems in their public schools never seems to be part of the equation in disingenuous public education reform, where the sole goal is financial corporate profit not academic success.

What proves this is that no attempt is ever made to reach the minority folks in the community or elsewhere that would have been an asset to reforming Newark's schools. Instead, only those politically connected and willing to rubber stamp anything they're told to, irrespective of merit or relation to the Newark's actual low-function reality, is given voice.

If minority children were finally given the excellent public education they are entitled to, the simplistic agenda of successful politicians like Congresswoman Karen Bass and Attorney General Kamala Harris might finally be meaningfully questioned. Rather than having a community forum like Bass recently had on reintegrating Black and Latino inmates back into the community, she might have such a forum on the causes of their initial incarceration as a function of not having received a meaningful education.

Clearly, the most important reason for those in power maintaining failed public education is to stop our citizenry from having the skills necessary to keep them in check as was anticipated by our Founding Fathers.

leonard isenberg

Leonard Isenberg