Community School Choice: An Alternative Way for LAUSD

posted Oct 13, 2009, 12:58 AM by RD Skeels   [ updated Feb 20, 2012, 10:46 PM by Robert D. Skeels ]

This is the final draft of the community counterproposal to Ms. Flores Aguilar's privatization resolution.

Community School Choice: An Alternative Way for LAUSD

  • We want schools that commit to educating every child in our communities. Special needs children, ELL/ESL, children with disciplinary problems, and others should never be excluded or let go to boost APIs. Schools should never "dump" students on other schools. We have a problem with institutions that consider certain students as "problematic." The obligation to educate every child is paramount to all things.
  • We want schools to have fair and accessible entrance requirements. Institutions that would take our taxes, but impose restrictions that all but a fortunate and select few are able to meet are the antithesis of equality and justice. Pitting families against each other for school selection when they are subject to adverse socioeconomic conditions isn't choice, it's divisive and discriminatory. Lotteries and other such methods of student selection should be discouraged.
  • We want schools to begin the process of desegregation now. We don't recognize the "right" of non-LAUSD schools, and non-traditional public schools to perpetuate "separate, but equal" philosophies at their schools. LAUSD should set the example by reversing its current practices of funding schools in higher income neighborhoods better than those in greater need.
  • We want LAUSD to stop educating our children on academic subjects based solely on what may or may not be on exit exams. We demand that their core subjects include courses about other cultures and traditions. We want our kids learning about the different histories of the different peoples of the world.
  • We want our students to be exposed to a myriad of courses in art, music, drama and other artistic endeavors that will open their minds to other forms of individual expression. In doing so, students will reach a certain level of expertise by the time they reach Jr. High and High School, allowing them to further develop their skills throughout their academic experience instead of focusing on things that will only serve to impede their progress.
  • We want LAUSD to continue funding and expanding their adult school programs so that parents without an education can become more involved with their children's education.
  • We want public schools to operate 100% on public money, as to avoid the inevitable biases and other conflicts of interest which come from private funding. Critical decisions on curriculum, vendor decisions, labor relations, and many other important factors are too easily compromised by unelected boards of educational institutions beholden to large benefactors. The potential of political agendas being forwarded as a condition of external funding is far too great, and our children's education shouldn't be hostage to the ideology of philanthropists of any stripe.
  • While we want LAUSD to allow choice in how schools will be operated, we want this tempered with the understanding that certain institutions, by their very nature, hold an unfair advantage over community based and other organizations in terms of submitting proposals to run schools. Organizations with millions of dollars in private funding at their disposal, employing a bevy of professionals adept at writing grant proposals, and with the ability to "market" themselves in the selection process, hold such an unfair advantage.
  • We want LAUSD to offer real choice to parents, by engaging them and the community with ongoing interaction over the operation of the school and its ability to serve the community.
  • We want LAUSD to recognize that union jobs for parents are good for our children and communities. Rather than accepting a false dichotomy between kids and adults, we see our communities as an organic, cohesive whole. LAUSD kids with parents who have stable incomes and benefits are far more likely to achieve better grades and participate in extra-curricular activities than those with low wage non-unionized jobs. Furthermore, our communities benefit when there are a number of fairly paid workers living in them.
  • We want teachers empowered by collective bargaining to have the ability to stand up to educational whims and trends which have no proven basis and practice. Political pressure from non-educators, which overlooks proven methods of pedagogy for the purpose of expediency must be avoided, and in some cases, resisted.
  • We demand that LAUSD find a better way of punishing those teachers who are truly deserving of any sanction for their illicit behavior rather than keeping dedicated and effective teachers in "teacher jail" because of capricious students or parents angry over their child's scores.

Mark up history follows below.


Community School Choice: An Alternative Way for LAUSD
Edits by Martin Terrones in Maroon
Edits by Robert D. Skeels in Black

  • We want schools which that commit to educating every child in our communities. Special needs children, ELL/ESL, children with disciplinary problems, and others should never be excluded or later let go in order to boost APIs. Schools should never be able to "dump" students on other schools. We have a problem with institutions that consider certain students as being a problem "problematic." The obligation to educate every child is paramount to all things., especially test results.
  • We want schools to have fair and accessible entrance requirements. Institutions that would take our taxes, but impose restrictions that all but a fortunate and select few are unable to meet are the antithesis of community and democracy building equality and justice. Pitting families against each other for school selection when they are subject to adverse socioeconomic conditions isn't choice, it's divisive and discriminatory. Lotteries and other such methods of student selection should only be a last resort be discouraged.
  • We want schools to begin the process of desegregation again starting now. After the gains of the 1960's and 1970's, we've seen a return to segregated schools. LAUSD needs to lead in this area, especially recognizing the necessity of requiring less accountable educational institutions which fall under the board's oversight to submit plans to desegregate as well. We don't recognize the "right" of non-LAUSD schools, and non-traditional public schools to perpetuate "separate, but equal" philosophies at their schools. LAUSD should set the example by reversing its current practices of funding schools in higher income neighborhoods better than those in greater need.
  • We want LAUSD to stop educating our children on academic subjects based solely on what may or may not be on exit exams. We demand that their core subjects include courses about other cultures and traditions. We want our kids learning about the different histories of the different peoples of the world.
  • We want our students to be exposed to a myriad of courses in art, music, drama and other artistic endeavors that will open their minds to other forms of individual expression. In doing so, students will reach a certainly level of expertise by the time they reach Jr. High and High School, allowing them to further develop their skills throughout their academic experience instead of focusing on things that will only serve to impede their progress.
  • We want LAUSD to continue funding and expanding their adult school programs so that parents without an education can become more involved with their children's education.
  • We want public schools to operate 100% on public money, as to avoid the inevitable biases and other conflicts of interest which come from private funding. Critical decisions on curriculum, vendor decisions, labor relations, and many other important factors are too easily compromised by unelected boards of educational institutions beholden to large benefactors. The potential of political agendas being forwarded as a condition of external funding is far too great, and our children's education shouldn't be hostage to the ideology of philanthropists of any stripe.
  • While we want LAUSD to allow choice in how schools will be operated, we want this tempered with the understanding that certain institutions, by their very nature, hold an unfair advantage over community based and other organizations in terms of submitting proposals to run schools. Organizations with millions of dollars in private funding at their disposal, employing a bevy of professional staff tasked with writing grant proposals, employing a bevy of professionals adept at writing grant proposals, and with the ability to "market" themselves in the selection process, hold such an unfair advantage. This would be detrimental to our communities and many ways, and is tantamount to selling our kids' futures to the highest bidder and lowest common denominator.
  • We want LAUSD to offer real choice to parents, by engaging them and the community with ongoing interaction over the operation of the school and its ability to serve the community.
  • We want LAUSD to recognize that union jobs for parents are good for our children and communities as a whole. Rather than accepting a false dichotomy between kids and adults, we see our communities as an organic, cohesive whole. LAUSD kids with parents who have stable incomes and benefits are far more likely to achieve better grades and participate in extra-curricular activities than those with low wage non-unionized jobs. Furthermore, our communities benefit when there are a number of fairly paid workers living in them. Communities don't benefit when CEOs and executives of non-traditional education institutions take the lion's share of our taxes instead of the teachers and employees at those schools.
  • We want teachers empowered by collective bargaining to have the ability to stand up to educational whims and trends which have no proven basis and practice. Political pressure from non-educators, which overlooks proven methods of pedagogy for the purpose of expediency must be avoided, and in some cases, resisted.
  • We demand that LAUSD find a better way of punishing those teachers who are truly deserving of any sanction for their illicit behavior rather than keeping dedicated and effective teachers in "teacher jail" because of capricious students or parents angry over their child's scores.
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