Wednesday, May 10, 2006


LAUSD: DuncesI received this note from a former LAUSD teacher regarding Title I students. He didn’t know the source of this report but that his experience at LAUSD corroborates the comments.

In describing the waste of students who took advantage of the schools’ free breakfast and lunch:

These meals include cereal bars, fruits and juices that would make a Marriott proud. The waste of this food is monumental, with trays of it being dumped in the trash uneaten.(Teachers) estimate that well over 50% of these students are obese or at least moderately overweight. About 75% or more of them own cell phones.
Cell phones? — No wonder they can’t afford meals at school…
“Some of these schools provide day care centers for the unwed teenage pregnant girls (some as young as 13) so they can attend class without the inconvenience of having to arrange for babysitters or having family watch their kids.”

“(The teacher) was ordered to spend $700,000 on her department or risk losing funding for the upcoming year even though there was little need for anything; her budget was already substantial. She ended up buying new computers for their computer learning center; half of which, one month later, have been carved with graffiti by the appreciative students who obviously feel humbled and grateful to have a free education in America.

“(The teacher) has had to intervene several times for young and substitute teachers whose classes consist of many illegal immigrant students here in the country less than three months who raised hell with the female teachers, calling them “putas” (whores) and throwing things (bringing many teachers to tears).

After stonewalling efforts to audit LAUSD incompetence, graft, and the serial retardation of millions of students since 1972, school board member Jon Lauritzen says that LAUSD’s charter schools need more oversight and that some may be closed down.

Talk about nerve…

As I wrote here and here, the reason charter schools and vouchers fail is because they are deliberately underfunded by school districts that oppose them. LAUSD’s $13.4 billion annual budget (not counting Title I and other funding) translates into $18,431/year per student, but only a fraction of that reaches classrooms.

If schools like Fenton Charter received the full $18,431 for each of their 1300 students, their $24 million annual budget would easily provide the resources necessary to educate their students. Lauritzen cuts these schools short and then complains that charters and vouchers are failing. And when we demand to know where the wasted funds go, the LAUSD board refuses to tell us.

Which brings us to Alameda County Superior Court Judge Robert B. Freedman, who seems to recognize the dysfunction.

In his tentative ruling this week, he has decided that 46,000 high school seniors who flunked the mandatory high school exit exams should get their diplomas anyway because, as Attorney Arturo Gonzalez says, If the state is going to deprive a student of a diploma based on a single test, then they must ensure that every student has an equal chance to prepare for it.

This is consistent with my arguments.

In affluent neighborhoods, parents and children served by public schools enjoy competition that low-income students do not. When public schools fail in affluent neighborhoods, parents can pull their children out and place them into private schools. LAUSD directs the best funding, teachers, and resources toward affluent neighborhoods and away from low-income parents who are stuck with what they have.

Fully funded charters and vouchers would level the playing field by providing opportunities that LAUSD and other monopolized union schools never will. Since 1972, the LAUSD has turned our public schools into drop-out factories, redirecting billions of dollars away from students toward unions and the politicians who support them.

After 34 years, its time that funding is assigned to students, not dysfunctional school boards.

Clark Baker is a senior contributor* to He is an author, a filmaker, a father and a retired LAPD officer. And he’s currently running for a seat on the California Assembly.

You may read more of Clark’s work here and regarding his campaign here (Scroll down). For more, visit, the official campaign website.

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