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05
Wed, Oct

LA’s School Leadership Confused: Accountability Without Responsibility is Meaningless

EDUCATION POLITICS- ‘Accountability’, I’ve noticed, is a term generally employed by those seeking to avoid it, by bullying into silence those susceptible to its attendant shame. 

 

A lot of shameless behavior, decisions and actions have come to light at LAUSD-central of late, and precious little ‘accountability’. 

Four highly-paid executive “sponsors” stood (and one sat while several recused themselves altogether) in front of the school board on June 18, presenting a plan so sketchy for “one of the most high-profile contracts this board will ever approve“ that they relegated school board members tasked with approving their plan to beg their assurance in feeling “absolutely comfortable moving forward that we have followed all legal guidelines and we have had a completely rock solid air-tight procurement process on all this”? 

Since we’re on the subject of feelings, please permit an indulgence of my own: I felt embarrassed hearing that the deputy superintendent of instruction (now resigned) held as an unassailable benchmark that he could “sleep tonight — after you vote this contract — with my conscience very clear that we did the right thing for our kids”. 

Because as it happens there seems little that is clear at all about the integrity in this process. And it is not this man’s conscience that was on presentation at the board; miscreants are rarely known for high moral standards. It was evidence of strong, ethical, thoughtful, careful, competent, cognizant professional behavior that was required. 

Yet as it happens, the answer to the question about air-tight process, was: “No”. It has taken remarkably little time to reveal just how ill-conceived and poorly planned, not to mention probably illegal this rushed effort to rollout the largest technology plan ever has been. 

Appearances suggest this effort was rushed egregiously. Appearances suggest very little that is virtuous in this rushed effort and a whole awful lot that is suspicious. Could it be that LAUSD was forced to a rushed judgment in order to secure corporate contracts before insiders with ties to those corporations moved on? Appearances suggest this deal has defrauded our children of one billion dollars intended for the maintenance of their educational institutions. Appearances suggest there is very little of the “civil rights” about this maneuver. 

The basic entitlements of all among us are best served by making sure limited resources are utilized equitably, wisely and frugally. Siphoning dollars intended to fix unsafe structures and repair decrepit bathrooms is underhanded and wrong. The sleight of hand that morphs ephemeral technology into durable infrastructure is wrong. 

The effort to bully those tasked with watchdogging this process is wrong. The result of depriving the most vulnerable among us, our children – our public school district children – with less than they deserve and are entitled to: that is wrong. 

Our public school students want what everyone wants, and those with money make sure is afforded for their own. They want a sylvan campus with relaxing, attractive spaces for studying. They want classrooms led by a teacher who has the time to pay them attention, a classroom with 15 students in it. They do not want to be in a classroom with 50 students, and they do not want to hear the lie that these sorts of conditions are acceptable.  They are not. Asserting otherwise is like such infamous aphorisms as “life is cheap to them” or “’they’ like being slaves”…. No one likes enduring inequity. By definition. 

So when there is a hue and cry about the ‘difficulty’ of firing ‘bad’ teachers and a witch hunt on for ‘accountability’ among them, why is clear-cut incompetence, insubordination and conflict of interest tolerated among our school district’s top administrators? 

I am really tired of selective ‘accountability’. I’m tired of that term altogether. I just want my child to get some focused assistance in learning alongside her peers in tolerably pleasant and safe conditions. 

There are thousands of excellent teachers in our vast public school district. They could use some glue to hold them together and let them get on with their job properly.

 

(Sara Roos is a politically active resident of Mar Vista, a biostatistician, the parent of two teenaged LAUSD students and a CityWatch contributor, who blogs at redqueeninla.com

-cw

 

 

 

 

CityWatch

Vol 11 Issue 80

Pub: Oct 4, 2013