This blog has chronicled the pain and heartache of the budget cuts, the marginalization, and the massive teacher layoffs on the South Central community. In addition to these issues, we have had to deal with the skimming of the cream of the crop students by charters who have opened up shop in the neighborhood. While parent choice is important, it is also crucial for them to know what they are getting into. Do parents really know, or are they being blinded by propaganda? For sure, many parents have been let down by dysfunctional schools in the inner-city. But how much of that is the function of our society as a whole, which doesn't really seem to care what happens to black and brown kids? The state of California school funding reflects that value.
Do parents really want their children to attend no-frills, military-style schools such as American Indian Public Charter and KIPP? Do they want to expose their children to a governance system that does not allow for dissent? Will their child's teachers and support staff be around 3 years, 6 years down the line when they will need them for college guidance, or will they burn out? Are their children angelic, because if not, they may be expelled with much less due process than at public schools. Can parents volunteer 30-40 hours a year at the school?
Will the funding that is flowing so freely now be sustainable in the future? (Find the sentence buried in this glowing LA Times editorial: "Locke, which holds its graduation today, remains a troubled school, and Green Dot's strategy has relied on extra funds that may not be sustainable or readily replicable."
When the charters et al. have finished fleecing public schools, all that will be left are schools with the students no one else wanted. Our scores will go down, we will be certified as "failures" and we will be shut down. Then, all schools will be privatized, vouchers will be approved, and the last of the public school children will be forced to be absorbed by the new system. But by then, those that were the fierce advocates of charters, will have made a buck and moved on to bigger and better things. What will be left? New Orleans schools are a charter school experiment that we can monitor to see what can happen when you dismantle public education.
If you are interested in making your voice heard regarding the new proposal, you can attend community meetings scheduled in the next month. District 5, where LA Academy is located, will hold their public meeting at Griffith MS, Monday, August 10, 2009 at 6pm.
UPDATE 8/11/09: According to reports on Twitter, many parents and teachers were turned away at the door of tonight's "community meeting" in Maywood. Apparently, the meeting the night before at Griffith was packed with the majority of people voicing concern about the motion. It seems that tonight, the critics and opposition were excluded from the discussion. This blog post deconstructs Monday's meeting, perhaps explaining tonight's events.
Correction 8/12/09: The exclusion of attendees happened at Mayor Villaraigosa's "Townhall" held separate near downtown, not at the LAUSD meeting in Maywood.