When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for a people to rest control from a huge bureaucracy that continues to provide examples of their basic inability to deal successfully with the most fundamental issues they are charged with, then it is time to provide drastic action to change the behaviour of that bureaucracy.
Such is the case with the Los Angeles Unified School District, and now is the time to deal with the issues, once and for all.
For too many years, bond measures have been passed by voters who are then 'entertained' with the results of their votes, with items like the Belmont Learning Center, the new High School for the Arts, near the Catherdral, and so many other items that I do not need mentioning, unless it becomes necessary.
Since Proposition BB, the approximately two billion dollar measure that preceded at least three other bond measures being passed by voters, what do we really have to show for all that money?
Do we have more students passing courses with better grades and better test scores? How is the dropout rate compared to times before Proposition BB was passed?
How do schools within LAUSD compare to schools in San Francisco, Sacramento, and San Diego?
How do standardized test scores and dropout rates compare to schools in New York City?
When do we stand up and state clearly, enough is enough?
We have the opportunity beginning Monday October 20 and ending on November 4 to state loud and clear that OUR community is no longer willing to fund what we can no longer afford.
We can no longer afford to build new schools in a failing school system. We can no longer provide the funds the LAUSD may want, but does not necessarily need.
Remember please, that the first look at the bond measure was for only 3.5 billion dollars, before the dollar value doubled, with very little consideration as to the need for the doubling.
Measure Q, the "Safe, Healthy, Neighborhood Schools Measure" is on the ballot with a request for voters to approve a bond measure that would supply at least $7,000,000,000.00 to a school system that cannot adequately prove that it needs that much money or that its bureaucracy deserves SEVEN BILLION DOLLARS.
In reading information supplied by LAUSD concerning the measure, there are many references to items that may come up, perhaps sometime in the future.
There are statements about school projects that have been 'mothballed' not necessarily for economic reasons and that may never be brought back for further discussion.
With the history of lack of real oversight in the school district, what might happen to too much money if voters approve the doubling of the funds originally asked for by the school district?
Now LAUSD has provided assurances that IF South Region High School #15 is approved for construction on the Upper Reservation of Fort MacArthur, it would be built using funds from previous bond measures and the district has basically guaranteed that the money is already allocated for the construction and finishing of that school.
Does anybody honestly believe these claims made by LAUSD? If anyone does, I hope they are proved to be correct in their belief.
LAUSD claims that the new bond measure would allow for many issues to be dealt with at San Pedro High School. How can or why should we believe that?
We have seen a long history of San Pedro schools being ignored by LAUSD and it is proved time after time that San Pedro area schools have been left out of much of the real improvement dollars.
Yes, we can be pleased with the additions to 15th Street School, but LAUSD is a long way off in providing necessary fixes and other schools in our area.
It is long past overdue that residents living within areas where LAUSD schools are located stand up and join together in demanding better quality education for all kids, in all areas.
The only way we can speak with one voice is at the ballot box.
The only thing that LAUSD's bureaucracy seems to understand is dollars, or the lack thereof.
We need to clearly demonstrate to all the 'suits' within LAUSD that they can not take their bureaucracy for granted any longer and that the people who actually fund their paychecks demand major changes.
We should expect to see higher test scores and lower dropout rates before voters approve any new bond measures.
We must receive the most benefits for our dollars spent and that is demonstrated when the students succeed in greater numbers than we have been seeing lately.
Since 1999, we have witnessed what LAUSD has done since we have repeatedly thrown money at them.
All students deserve the best education we can afford to give them. LAUSD has demonstrated that they have not provided the education so many students deserve, even with bond measures being passed over the last several years.
Before giving LAUSD any more bond money, we must demand that they recreate themselves from the top down.
It may mean that LAUSD can no longer afford both Superintendent Brewer AND Mr. Cortinez, someone who does much of the work that the Superintendent used to do.
It means that senior staff membership must be cut down more effective streamlining must be done, even though no new funds are provided to accomplish the streamlining.
It means that there is still quite a long way to go to pare down the number of 'bureaucrats', administrators, and staff members to a point where everyone is more accountable for more actions.
It means that when a document is produced, it can be tracked, traced, and dealt with at the lowest points on the pyramid of the bureaucracy.
It means that there must be fewer 'policy' makers and more teachers, coaches, teaching assistants and student-facing staff.
It means that more parents must become more involved with their children's education, whether they want to or not.
It means we provides the best opportunities at the lowest levels and not the best opportunities to those who are already in higher positions.
It may mean breaking up the entire Los Angeles Unified School District if is comes to pass that LAUSD cannot handle the loss of the bond measure now being debated.
It means that LAUSD must pass tests it does not wish to take but must take and pass for there to be more money provided, sometime in the future.
It means that as everyone else is now required to tighten their belts in tough economic times, so must LAUSD. Perhaps they need to come back with their original request for 3.5 Billion Dollars, at the next election cycle in 2009.
As LAUSD tests its students and hopes for higher grades and better test scores, it means that the administration within LAUSD must take and pass new tests and achieve higher grades and better test scores to be allowed to go forward if they want their same bureaucracy.
Especially in the Harbor Area, I hope Measure Q receives more NO votes than YES votes.
It may pass because other areas for YES for it, but if the Harbor Area stands together and holds LAUSD to higher standards than they have been preforming at, it will provide a swift kick with a boot in demonstrating that we are not going stand any longer for the continuing ways found within LAUSD.
Please vote NO on Q.