Richard Riordan with Ariyana Leonard (Photo: Bret Hartman / For The LA Times)
Given the unrelenting decline of American public education and the war-failed economy, which is being used to justify its continuing premeditated destruction, one often hears in description of this sick farce:
"The definition of insanity is to continue implementing the same failed policies with the expectation of a different result.
While that seems to be a pretty good explanation of the militant ignorance that continues to drive public education policy into the ground, there now seems to be an even better definition:
"The definition of insanity is to continue using the same corrupt and mediocre people whose failed policies destroyed public education in the past to try and fix it today."
Case in point, Richard Riordan, Caprice Young, and Judy Burton -- to name just a few of the usual suspects that continue to implement simplistic charter school policies that elude scrutiny by the corporate controlled mainstream media in the implementation of a clear corporate agenda to privatize the $250-370 billion "business" that public education represents, while dumbing down public education's essential foundation of this democracy to assure that corporate actions motivated solely by greed go unchallenged.
Ex-LA Mayor Richard Riordan, who is now chairman of the board of cash-strapped ICEF Public Schools -- is one of the nations largest charters -- is now in the process of trying to get his board to vote control of the charter's 15 schools over to Alliance College-Ready Public Schools, another large, local charter-school group.
ICEF Chief Executive Caprice Young holds out hope that the group can remain independent and that the debt load, though bad, is not as catastrophic as Riordan fears. Could ICEF's bankrupt position have anything to do with the exorbitant salaries Caprice and others in the top-heavy administration of ICEF take, along with the sweetheart deals of those supplying goods and services to ICEF?
Alliance Chief Executive Judy Burton has said that any merger would have to protect Alliance schools from being damaged financially by ICEF's problems. As of this writing, it looks like Alliance isn't going to go for the takeover of ICEF.
So let me put this little incestuous game being played at the expense of Los Angeles students, educators, and ultimately California taxpayers into focus with a little historic context. Although charters have no data to show that they do any better than public schools, which initially came into existence at the beginning of the last century to deal with the corruption of small charter-like schools of that time, not the Los Angeles Times nor any other local or national mainstream media entity will do anything to question why failing charters are allowed to exist, but public schools need to be dismantled, instead of reformed.
The first thing that Riodan did when he left the mayor's office, was to bale out his friends at O'Melveny and Meyers, one of the oldest and largest law firms in the state, which had profited with a conflict of interest by representing both the Los Angeles Unified School District and the developer of the irremediable toxic waste dump that remains the Belmont Learning Center. Riordan was able to get Belmont occupied by predominantly minority children in order to knock out the necessary damages element of the prima facie case for conflict of interest against O'Melveny, so O'Melveny dodged the $350 million damages it would have had to pay.
Caprice Young was the president of the LAUSD Board when all this nonsense was going on, until Eli Broad offered to pick up the debt of the then nearly bankrupt CANEC charter association, if they would just make Caprice the boss. She's continued to fail upward every since. The present LAUSD Board as LEA oversight of most charters in L.A. doesn't seem to care much about the track record of those who operate charters like ICEF that she and Riordan now focus their incompetence on.
As for Judy Burton, she's also a good-old-girl from LAUSD who has also continued to fail upward from her last LAUSD position as superfluous Local District head, which continues to cost LAUSD a fortune, even though there is a $408 million deficit to fill. If she couldn't turn around LAUSD, why would she be qualified or expected to do any better with charters that only have only 17% doing better that LAUSD schools, 47% doing the same, and the rest doing worse. Not much on critical thinking involved here.
If you want to know what LAUSD and public education is about, since it is surely not competence, check out Leslie Dutton's Full Disclosure Network site, where she shows what was done at the Belmont site under the watch of Riordan, Young, and Burton. In addition, she shows how ex-Inspector General of LAUSD Don Mullinax uncovered $350 million in fraud at the Belmont site having to do with bogus construction deals, but neither the LAUSD Board nor the L.A. City Attorney would file charges.
Anyana Leonard, a 17-year-old Black student at View Park Prep, one of ICEF's schools might have unknowingly hit it right on the head when she mistakenly called Richard Riordan Richard Nixon, "I'm not a crook?"