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OVER THE RAINBOW-Hollywood leaders have a history of dreaming BIG and making things happen that might not happen elsewhere. The Hollywood Sign is a perfect example. Hollywood entrepreneurs put it up on the hillside, and the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce rescued it when it was falling down in 1948. It has become the symbol of Southern California. 

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PROTESTS AND POLITICS--Welcome again to Upside-Down World, where every day is "opposite" day and when, after repeated promises that crazy stuff will neeeeeeever happen suddenly--and whadaya know--DOES happen! 

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AT LENGTH-San Pedro is once again waiting at the threshold of another round of redevelopment and speculation, based upon the Port of Los Angeles’ commitment to waterfront development and the “about-to-be-signed” lease on Ports O’ Call Village, newly minted as the “San Pedro Public Market.”

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PERSPECTIVE-When State Senator Bob Hertzberg announced his tax proposal, SB8, in late 2014, he made no secret of using it as a tool to raise taxes by a net $10 billion – that is, per year.

The senator tried to pass it off as “tax modernization.” 

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SKID ROW- Since 2016 is an “election year” for all levels of government -- from neighborhood councils to the White House – it’s usual for the topic of “homelessness” to come up freely and often, with empty rhetoric abounding aplenty.

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COUNTY WATCH--On Tuesday, May 3, LA County’s Supervisors will consider a ballot measure that could create parks and recreation options for communities that need them most. It’s a once-in-a-generation opportunity to improve a long-standing injustice against low-income communities of color, which have been left behind in the allocation of these resources.

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ANIMAL POLITICS--Falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus is a Latin phrase most familiar in legal circles meaning if a witness lies about one thing, you may assume that he lies about everything.

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THIS IS WHAT I KNOW--Few film buffs can forget Howard Beale’s rant in Network (1976.) – “Things have got to change. But first, you’ve gotta get mad! You’ve got to say, I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!” 

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WESTWATER’S DOWNDOWN--A few years ago, four finalists were telling Downtown LA & Boyle Heights residents why they were qualified to design and build the replacement for the fabled 6th Bridge that had long connected the two communities.

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ANIMAL WATCH-On April 20, Mayor Garcetti released his proposed budget for 2016-2017, which includes over $800,000 for a report on the estimated 3 million feral cats roaming Los Angeles and whether they have an impact on public health, wildlife and the environment. 

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LEGAL AMNESIA-We hear that a lot of people in Hollywood are upset over the proposed high rise construction planned in their neighborhoods. We also know that tall buildings with rotten foundations fall down. The same is true with the law. 

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EDUCATION POLITICS-According to the Declaration of Independence, "All men are created equal and are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights." That is unless they have been systematically and purposefully subjected for generations to what remains a measurably inferior racist public education model specifically designed to assure their non-attainment of potential and the "unalienable Rights to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness," which in no small part is dependent on the achievement of such an education.

Predominantly students of color continue to exclusively be subjected to a non-education system of rote regurgitation of multiple choice answers with little or no writing or analysis. Their Pearson lessons consist of fragments of texts comprised of words and concepts they have never been taught. What most educational reformers ignore, who either have never been in an inner city classroom or do not care about dealing with the subjective reality they would find there, is that both teachers and students in these schools have an acquired aversion to the Socratic method of dialogue between teacher and student and the critical thinking it is designed to stimulate in both the student and the teacher.

The teacher's excuse is that they are faced with students who arrive in their class already years behind grade-level and their peer group. The majority of these students have continually been socially promoted grade after grade without prior grade-level standards mastery. Teachers now faced with this reality and no administrative plan or support to do otherwise have opted in their own Pearson subsidized self-defense to give these unprepared students multiple choice busywork to preempt the chaos that would be sure to follow from the boredom of students whose youthful vitality and potential has never been addressed in school. Can anyone explain to me the educational value of a word search on a grid of mixed letters?

As for the student, who has been socially promoted into subsequently harder grades with few if any critical thinking skills ever having been taught to them, the very act of now trying to educate these students in a relevant educational process that is asking them to think and not just choose A, B, C, or D is a destabilizing activity that will more than likely lead to a classroom rebellion against an activity of thinking they have never been asked to engage in before- perfectly predictable and understandable.

Social promotion or fraudulent credit recovery programs that offer students with profound academic deficits a passing grade in courses they objectively cannot pass by any honest measure is only deferring the students failure, while wasting the precious time of their youth, which could be more profitably used by honestly identifying and teaching the necessary academic foundation standards they literally have never been taught.

As for White folks- 94% of whom are out of public education- they literally have no idea as to the abysmal level of their local public school, because 62 years after Brown v. Board of Education, they are still able to avoid going to these schools by putting their children in private schools. Probably the quickest way to improve public education would be to require attendance for all in public schools as is done in Finland- the best educated country in the world.

Human beings are creatures of habit. And it is not easy work to finally teach a minority student what they should have been taught from pre-kindergarten and beyond. But there is literally no other alternative to doing this, if we want to finally break the cycle of racism in the United States.

Racist inspired underachievement has become such a part of American society that one does not even question why such a large part of the African American community- that which is under-educated- still speaks with an accent, while other immigrants have long since been incorporated into the fabric of American society.

Truly successful public education reform can only take place where there is both recognition and factoring in of the damage that institutionalized public education racism over generations has made our present day dysfunctional public school reality.

(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)

-cw

 

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