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Our Schools. Separate But…Unequal.  Still?

EDUCATION IN AMERICA - We are 68 years after the U.S. Supreme Court held in the case Brown vs. Board of Education that, "Separate but equal...was inherently unequal" ...

and yet public-school districts in L.A., NYC, Chicago, and elsewhere are significantly more segregated today (90% Black and Latino minorities), which goes unreported in the now corporate owned or financially dependent mainstream media. 

In my generation of the 1950s and 1960's, everyone was taught the Brown case as a core subject in their social studies class. Now, most people under 40 have never heard of the Brown case. I believe this is a conscious omission to maintain a system of racism in this country, which is kept alive by yet segregated schools. I believe segregated schools are the single most important factor in maintaining a racist America in 2022. 

It is hard to maintain racial fantasies about people if you grow up with and see them every day in school. 

Solutions: 

  1. Change the way schools are presently funded from being property tax based, which favors the richest neighborhoods to whole school finance system, spending the most money in the lowest Academic Performance Index (API) schools, whatever their ethnic makeup. This would make the best schools with the smallest class sizes and the most teachers and multiple levels of instruction and remediation to assure these schools would get all students to grade-level functioning as soon as possible, while keeping them there, because they finally have sufficient financial resources to do so. 
  1. Most big city school districts spend money on everything but lowering class size and with the billions they have, those running the schools seem more concerned with their "agreed upon vendors" and their own salaries than they do about educating all kids. Contrary to the economics of scale rule that those buying the most goods and services pay the lowest price, school districts like LAUSD pay more than an individual buyer, because they can only buy from their “agreed upon vendors.” 
  1. Most White people would go to integrated schools and not presently pay for expensive private schools if they thought they could get as good or better education for their kids. But they know that overcrowded LAUSD classes with most students far below grade level make that impossible. And since schools are paid based on Average Daily Attendance and not whether the students are actually getting educated, there is no enforcement of school discipline, since that would cause the District to lose money, which is what all the administrators are taught to care about...if they want to keep their jobs. Therefore, students way behind grade-level fall further behind and, therefore incapable of understanding what amounts to the foreign language the at grade-level is using under the false assumption that she thinks they understand what she's saying. 
  1. Minorities and their supporters need to be willing to boycott public schools, which would cut off these schools' money supply, which is presently based on in-seat attendance and not whether they are actually educating minority children. Such action could not be ignored. Remember, when Dr. King wanted to integrate the Selma-Montgomery buses, he was ignored until they boycotted the bus system to the point of bankruptcy. LAUSD given the same choice would choose integration also. You might use retired teachers to give parents a place to send their kids until the District settled. 
  1. Make the top of the salary scale for tenured teachers with years of experience, which would stop the constant present turnover of teachers, who presently either leave teaching altogether or go into higher paying administration positions. Who works harder, a teacher with 5 classes a day or an administrator?


(Leonard Isenberg is a Los Angeles observer and a contributor to CityWatch. He was a second- generation teacher at LAUSD Edited for CityWatch by Jim Hampton.)