What the Education Lobbyists and the LAUSD have In Common … Both are Out of Touch

ALPERN AT LARGE--As the proud parent of two wonderful LAUSD students, and as someone who has pushed for numerous spending motions on local students within the boundaries of the Mar Vista Community Council, and as a proud Boy Scout dad (and former Eagle Scout), I am joining the ranks of so many Angelenos who are fed up by an out of touch LAUSD Board and administration. 

You guys at the top really are the worst--and the more we (the taxpayers) feed you, the more out of touch and self-absorbed you become. 

Lots of money in these school board races, right? 

It is very difficult to proclaim that the charter school champions (Funded by billionaires, I tell you! BILLIONAIRES!) are awful candidates when the education unions fund THEIR champions. 

Frankly, why the devil would anyone trust either group, when it appears to be all about the money? 

Seriously, what would happen if the "for profit" charter systems and the "for profit" education unions were put on a results-only, strict diet that had their operations "graded" by the parents and recent graduates of our public school system? 

But I live in the real world--charter schools may be where I lean--no, I don't think Eli Broad is a bad guy, and the parents voting with their feet to flood the charter schools can't keep being ignored by the disgusting UTLA--but the stories of charter school abuse can't be ignored, either. 

And the money train isn't going away, either... at least for the time being. 

In the Westside, I think there is a tough decision between two overall fine candidates:  both Nick Melvoin and Steve Zimmer are two honorable men who would do well by their constituents. 

So long as the constituents that get top billing are the students and their parents. 

And in this world of diversion--as in let's talk non-stop about how much we hate Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos while we locally slam one stiletto after another between the ribs of the taxpayers and helpless students--there are so many issues to be addressed: 

1) Common Core is hated by liberals and conservatives alike. 

2) The bait-and-switch of extending and then contracting the 2017 summer break on the part of the LAUSD school board is hated by liberals and conservatives alike. 

3) The lack of vocational training for students who should be taught a vital and necessary skill is hated by liberals and conservatives alike. 

4) The misappropriation of K-12 funds, and the lack of budgetary control and new UC/Cal State university construction, is hated by liberals and conservatives alike. 

5) The out of control need to take Advanced Placement courses aplenty while not allowing students to test out of high school at an early age, and proceed to local junior colleges, is hated by liberals and conservatives alike. 

And so it goes.  Trump and DeVos are worthy of all sorts of criticism, but that has nothing to do with the fact that there are armies of miserable and victimized students and their parents, as well as sincere and underpaid teachers, who are held down by the figurative and collective boot of California education lobbies--a boot that will not stop stepping on their victims' figurative and collective neck. 

My patients (and I see them virtually every day, now!) who are leaving this state to achieve not only a more affordable cost of living but a chance to achieve an affordable college education for their children, can't all be crazy. 

The majority of high school-aged students' families pursuing public school education that is affordable, but also independent of UTLA and many LAUSD constraints, can't all be crazy. 

And those liberal and conservative education reformers can't all be crazy, either. 

Really, you "education gurus".  You, really, REALLY are the worst.


(Kenneth S. Alpern, M.D. is a dermatologist who has served in clinics in Los Angeles, Orange, and Riverside Counties. He is also a Westside Village Zone Director and Board member of the Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC), previously co-chaired its Planning and Outreach Committees, and currently is Co-Chair of its MVCC Transportation/Infrastructure Committee. He was co-chair of the CD11 Transportation Advisory Committee and chaired the nonprofit Transit Coalition, and can be reached at [email protected]. He also co-chairs the grassroots Friends of the Green Line at www.fogl.us. The views expressed in this article are solely those of Dr. Alpern.)