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LAUSD Encourages Teachers to Cheat

Leonard Isenberg: One can only be astounded by the blatant hypocrisy of LAUSD in going after Crescendo Charter Schools for some of the same practices that continue to take place on a regular basis in LAUSD schools
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LAUSD Encourages Teachers to Cheat on Assessments, So Why Get Angry When Crescendo Charter Does It?

As most of you know that follow my writing, I am in the process of being dismissed by LAUSD for alleged wrong doing that the school district steadfastly refuses to authenticate or support with evidence, other than what their administrators can fabricate. The fact that I had a 23-year teaching career with excellent teaching evaluations and no prior negative marks against me seems to have no relevance to LAUSD that hit me with four notices of unsatisfactory acts and 4 suspensions totaling 49 days, starting less than a month after I reported their own assessment fixing and fraudulent graduation of 79 students from my school with low elementary school reading abilities on the STAR Reading Assessment with some as low as second grade.

Now, one can only be astounded by the blatant hypocrisy of LAUSD in going after Crescendo Charter Schools for some of the same practices that continue to take place on a regular basis in LAUSD schools, where teachers like myself are given answers to assessments that we are supposed to administer but not score. So why do we have the answers? Hmm...

No one at the school district in administration or on the Board questions this or the results in their own schools, when students with low elementary levels in English, math, science, and social studies, somehow get passing grades on assessments that they objectively do not have the foundational skills to even understand, let alone do well on.

In addition, clearly written on the proctor's copy of these assessments are statements that these assessments are going to be give again, so what the teachers not just at Crescendo, but throughout LAUSD are tacitly encouraged to do is help their students cheat.

So why would honorable teachers do this? Could it have anything to do with the not so subtle threat that LAUSD administration holds over their heads with value added assessment (45% margin of error), negative teaching evaluations, and overt threats if these teachers don't knuckle under to the dishonesty that is promulgated by the school district administrators who are more concerned with creating the appearance of education then actually doing something that would accomplish it. Ask any teacher how their administrator would respond if they gave an "F" to a student who did no work, was habitually truant, and deserved it.

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Implicit in LAUSD's approach is an accommodation to failure in our public schools, rather then pragmatically addressing it once and for all. Worse yet is the misbegotten tacit acceptance of racial inferiority that makes the school district leadership think that Black and Latino students are incapable of achieving unless we fix the assessments, which only ensures their continued unnecessary failure- instead of doing something really radical for LAUSD like actually educating them. While the school district is quick to talk about all students going to college, its longstanding failed approach to education is designed to assure that the predominantly Latino and Black population of its schools never reach their potential.

For 7 years, this exact scenario was practiced at NYC Public Schools, where assessments were fixed and Black and Latino students' parents were falsely told that their children were doing better. Finally, the State of New York gave an independently proctored assessment that showed that Black and Latino students were actually doing worse than they were 7 years ago. Did any of the corrupt NYC Public School administrators lose their jobs for this fraud?


LAUSD's latest little program of education illusion is the online Apex classes that cost the District $350 per student. This is money taken away from actual teachers, but the school district likes it because it makes a school appear better by being able to offer more and higher level courses, irrespective of whether the students can actually do the work. The fact that Apex gives the same assessments for credit to all students taking the classes for credit or the rampant cheating that goes on, where students who take the assessments in 1st period share it with everybody else who takes it the rest of the day, doesn't seem to bother LAUSD as long as it looks good. At LAUSD appearances are everything and substantive public education hasn't carried any weight for a long time.

So at Crescendo, John Allen, the founder of Crescendo becomes the scapegoat for cheating, which is applauded by incoming LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy who said, "While it's a long time coming, it's definitely the right decision." Sad that Romer, Brewer, Cortines, and now Deasy couldn't clean their own house before going after others.

If "Integrity is the essence of success," I think we can clearly understand why LAUSD has not been and continues not to be successful in the rather straightforward process of educating all students. The regrettable conclusion is that they have precisely the purposefully failed system of institutionalized racist public education that they want. Getting Black and Latino administrators to go along with it doesn't make it any better than when Whites were doing it.

leonard isenberg

Leonard Isenberg