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Friday, March 23, 2007

Another Student Murdered At An LAUSD High School

This past summer, a student was murdered near Hamilton High, near Robertson and the 10. Early in the school year, a student was killed at Venice High. Today, a student was stabbed to death at Washington High in the Athens area, near the intersection of the 110 and the 105.

Parents should not have to send their children to dangerous, mismanaged institutions just because a bunch of career politicians, who send their own children to private schools, are willing to sacrifice others' children to win the approval of the teachers' union.

Parent who want to opt out of the LAUSD should be able to do so, and should receive vouchers to help pay for private school. If you want to send your children to schools where they might be murdered, that's your choice. But let other parents elect for safer private schools if that's what they want for their children.

And what kind of thing is our City Council focusing on in times like this? Well, naturally, they're working on a way to stop people from smoking in public parks. Forget the murders, forget the fleet of trucks that's on its way from Mexico with no emissions controls. The highest and best use of the City Council's time is to protect you from a whiff of Macanudo. Perfect.

Here's the NBC Channel 4 URL on the murder: http://www.nbc4.tv/news/11351098/detail.html?treets=la&tml=la_break&ts=T&tmi=la_break_1_07240103232007

Here's the lastest on banning smoking: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-smoke24mar24,0,17241.story?coll=la-home-headlines


Anonymous Anonymous said:

This is just fatuous, Walter... the very definition of a straw man.

March 24, 2007 9:22 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Most violence committed at LAUSD H.S.'s are committed by non students. Put all the H.S. students in uniforms. This simple act will help school administrators, School police and students to quickly identify people who do not belong and perhaps save a few lives.

March 24, 2007 11:02 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

You're correct in your premise Walter: this city is going downhill fast and the clueless City Council and ethnocentric mayor are doing nothing substantive to address the diminishing quality of life here --bad public schools and otherwise. They accept campaign contributions from developers, pander to the illegal alien lobby, and attack businesses like the immature, spoiled Garcetti just did. This is why the middle class is fleeing this city in droves.

Regarding the dirty, dangerous Mexican trucks that may soon be flooding our decrepit roads, there is a bit of good news (at least temporarily). A Senate panel on Thursday voted to delay the plan by requiring the Bush administration to publish details about it and to give the public time to comment on it.

March 24, 2007 11:03 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

So you blame LAUSD for gang violence? If you want safer schools, you're going to have to spend substantial sums of money. High school campuses are 20+ acres each, with perimeters of a mile or more. You'd need ten times the number of security personnel now available to even begin to cover it.

As for vouchers, there's an answer for the parents of this city - perhaps $5,000 toward the vastly more expensive (up into the mid 20,000s) tuition charged by private schools.

You're clueless!

March 24, 2007 11:44 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

I pay $7,000 per year for to send my son to a private high school. This is far less than the per student funding costs of the LAUSD.

95% of his graduating class are expected to go on to college.

You only get one shot at your childs education, It is about time we take away control of our childrens education from teachers unions and give it back to parents in the form of vouchers.

Most LAUSD teachers with school aged children send their children to private schools. The Mayor sends his children to private schools. All parents should have this option.

March 24, 2007 11:55 AM  

Anonymous west valley progressive said:

Walter, you're exactly correct, no parent should have to choose to send their child to an unsafe school. The city, state, and nation (yes, the federal government has a responsibility here) should not allow our public schools to be dangerous places. There should be a partnership at all levels of government for funding of locally-controlled programs to prevent violence in our public schools.

As a matter of public policy however, vouchers are not the answer. For one, they don't address the problem of why violence exists or how to stop it. More importantly they wouldn't help make our schools better educational institutions. In homogeneous communities where the disparity between the wealthy and poor is somewhat smaller (Minnesota's twin cities for example) vouchers have had some moderate success. But in a city like Los Angeles, the models indicate that a voucher system would not have the desired effects: the likelihood is that those students who could afford private options would leave the public schools causing further ghettoization and probably increased despair/lawlessness/violence in the public schools. Of course, it's also likely that tuition rates at private schools would rise with the availability of vouchers thereby keeping out lots of kids and undermining the purpose of the vouchers.

There's no easy solution to improving the schools in all the myriad ways they need to get better. LAUSD schools are, on the whole, underperforming as educational institutions. Increasing learning is complicated, but it would seem that making the schools 100% safe is at least the first step. Universities in California have their own police and perhaps it's time that elementary and secondary school's did as well. Maybe a student/police partnership (a la ROTC) would be a good program.

Whatever the solution is, we need smart thinkers at the helm of our schools. Beholden politicians have proven they can't act in the best interests of the school when they are being pulled in so many directions. Until the School Board elections are publicly financed and we have real education experts on the board, I'm afraid the solutions won't be found. Knowledgeable and caring citizens who understand education exist, but we won't run for those important offices until the big donors are made as important as the average voter. Right now the big donors control the elections and thus the schools.

My $0.02.

March 24, 2007 12:08 PM  

Blogger Walter Moore said:

The last time I did the calculation, the LAUSD burns up nearly $11,000 per child.

Parents who want to opt out should get a voucher for that amount. If they find it is insufficient for a private school education, they will be no worse off than they are now. However, if they find that it makes the criticial financial difference between affording private school, then they should have that chance.

As for all the talk about how the public schools should be better, it's just talk. Unless and until the schools actually teach, and are safe, I think it's obscene to force the poor to send their children there. If you want to send your kids, go ahead. But others deserve freedom of choice.

March 24, 2007 3:01 PM  

Anonymous Charlotte Laws said:

I agree, Walter.

My daughter's private middle school cost only $4200 per year, and her private high school cost only $5000 per year. Both provided her with an excellent education in comparison with the public school she attended in her elementary years.

There are many low cost private schools, and more would spring up with the implementation of a voucher program.

I have never understood why LAUSD cannot do the job for twice the amount.

I agree uniforms in public schools should be mandated.

Charlotte Laws

March 24, 2007 7:33 PM  

Blogger Walter Moore said:

Hi, Charlotte!

Thanks for adding your comments.

And I agree: once we create a voucher program, we'll see qualified people open schools right and left. Teachers are just as fed up with the LAUSD as parents. Many, given the chance, would prefer to open their own schools and deal directly with parents, rather than with an army of middle-management administrators.

They could, moreover, make substantial incomes under a voucher system, with smaller class sizes. A class of 20 students, with a tuition of, say, $7000, means a gross income of $140,000 for just nine months' of work. If six teachers form a school with six classes of 20, they can pay for the overhead and still each have a six-figure income.

March 24, 2007 8:35 PM  

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