Saturday, July 18, 2009

'Outrageous' state race gap in math

Keep the PUBLIC in public schoolsThe article 'Outrageous' state race gap in math examines the huge disparity in proficiency along racial lines in Illinois. We've looked at the disastrous legacy of Arne Duncan before, so this sad news isn't surprising.

Unfortunately LAUSD Board Vice President, Ms. Yolie Flores Aguilar, feels this failed model of "competition" and "innovation" is right for Los Angeles as well. The evidence is clear what this privatization model leads to, and our communities need four LAUSD members to say we don't want the Arne Duncan model (espoused by EMO/CMO charters et al) which exacerbates racial inequality in our city!

Notice also how the "'Outrageous' state race gap in math" article states "teachers [need] to make math more interesting," which has been progressive educators response to NCLB and all the other teach to the test models all along. Now, the same folks saying route learning was the way forward are beginning to see the results of their so called school reform. This is a topic we need to revisit soon and discuss more fully.

I've been discussing this article and a range of similar articles with a variety of parents, educators, and community organizers. Here's what one teacher from Santee Education Complex had to say about it:

"I think this is what you get when Charter Schools and Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education and former CEO of the Chicago School System, take over your education system. Why it that the poor, people of color and the most disenfranchised are always get hit the hardest, ALWAYS get left behind and are ALWAYS forgotten?"

The Beverly Hills Barrister Ben Austin crowed at the July 14, 2009 LAUSD Board meeting that he wants to "make schools great by forcing them to compete." [1]. The staggering achievement gap in Secretary of Education Arne Duncan's former state is a direct result of applying these failed free market ideas to pedagogy. If I was more cynical, I'd say this was intentional. Especially after learning Warner Avenue Elementary, the one LAUSD school Mr. Austin calls wonderful, is 77% white. The unmitigated gall to tell us that competition works while we are reeling from the effects of a housing bubble disaster is beyond reprehensible. We were all told when banks and mortgage underwriters are forced to compete everyone wins. We're living in the aftermath of that outrageous lie. With the exception of Goldman Sachs and a few other fat cats, we all lost. We can't allow such malfeasance in our school systems.

I've brought this issue of stark racial inequality aspect of EMO/CMO/Charters up to the LAUSD Board Vice President, but haven't heard anything back from her. Here's the body of the note I sent her:

Nearly 65 years after Mendez v. Westminster, and 55 years after Brown v. Board of Education, LAUSD is considering a resolution that could all but ossify the segregation of Los Angeles public schools. Given the track record of EMOs and CMOs of creating supposedly separate but equal facilities, this will be inevitable as these institution garner more of our schools. However, we all know that separate is NEVER equal. For the life of me I can't reconcile "putting kids first" and reestablishing Jim Crow. Can you?

Vice President Flores Aguilar I implore you to read "Using "civil rights" to sell charter schools, a second look" and explain to our communities how you don't feel the apartheid system created by corporate EMOs and CMOs isn't outrageous and racist. In fact, unless you incorporate language demanding corporations like Brightstar, Alliance, and Green Dot provide detailed plans on how they will desegregate their so called public schools, then you shouldn't reintroduce your resolution.

On July 14, 2009 LAUSD Board Members Marguerite LaMotte, Steve Zimmer, Tamar Galatzan, and Nury Martinez had the courage to stand up to privatization and corporate money. Our communities need to thank them, but more importantly, we need to provide them with support and everything they need to say yes to our childrens' and communities' futures by saying NO TO Board Vice President Yolie Flores Aguilar's Orwellian-named resolution "Public School Choice: A New Way at LAUSD" on August 25, 2009!


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