FIRST PERSON-For the generationally entrenched, self-serving LAUSD administration and the vendors who own them, the collection of Average Daily Attendance (ADA) money from the state and federal governments for students present at school -- whether they are learning anything or not -- will always trump any other consideration. This includes students’ justifiable safety concerns about what seems to be the ever more frequent use of guns to kill students on campuses across the country.
While a walkout by students across the country would be an excellent way to express this concern and further a democratic dialogue about the issue, LAUSD administration is predictably against it. Why? Because it would cut into their collection of ADA funds, which is, regrettably, their ONLY concern since it would negatively impact the money available to pay their vendors who exploit the school district with dishonest contracts. These contracts often charge LAUSD two and three times market value, gouging a public education system that has been captured by predatory vendors and their law firms for generations.
The same issue involving money available for dishonest vendors came up with the issue of undocumented students at LAUSD, a group that represents a significant percentage of LAUSD's total student population. In this case, LAUSD's desire to collect ADA for as many students as possible, despite their legal status, was the true concern of LAUSD administrators -- not the actual well-being of the students.
What is disconcerting about the financially and educationally corrupt system of public education at LAUSD (and elsewhere in California and the nation) is that no attempt is made to cover up the corruption. But with a corporate-owned commercial media that refuses to investigate or report on it and a foundation-dependent NPR and PBS, which are financially dependent on these same criminal elements for 56% of their budgets, there remains a complete blackout of this in all media. An exception is the more progressive blog sites which are now trying to organize a silenced majority asking for a better, more accountable public education system that serves all needs -- not just the needs of dishonest vendors and their attorneys who have been unimpeded in exploiting public education for their own profits.
And finally, looking at the profile of students who have brought guns onto campuses around the country to kill their fellow students, the majority were young people who failed to be engaged in what could have been a productive process of education. That engagement could have precluded their insane murdering of innocent fellow students and teachers.
(Leonard Isenberg is a Los Angeles, observer and a contributor to CityWatch. He was a second- generation teacher at LAUSD and blogs at perdaily.com. Leonard can be reached at Lenny@perdaily.com.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.