By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
"Charter School for Scandal" by Howard Blume and Kevin Uhrich [August 14-20] should be required reading for anyone even remotely involved in educational issues, especially those would-be reformers who believe that the problem of public schools can be solved by charters, vouchers or privatization.
Trust me on this one. Legalize vouchers, and what Cosgrove is doing will merely be the opener. Once corporate money becomes involved, there will be plenty of lawyers who will be able to outsmart any attempts by the state to ensure that state funds go to the right places. Like any private corporation, Cosgrove's abandons the inner city whenever the costs threaten the bottom line. Yet he gets state funds, while those of us who remain in the inner city are condemned to horrible working conditions, gangs, violence, overcrowding, poor or nonexistent heating and air conditioning, bureaucratic stupidity and incompetence . . . No one cares, no one listens, no one understands.
Former Lieutenant Governor Mervyn Dymally was right when he said, "Charter schools are the wave of the future, and if we don't get on the train, we are going to be left standing with our baggage at the station." Amen to that, brother, especially when you're getting a taxpayer-funded honorarium of $5,000 per month for making such statements (more, incidentally, than I can ever hope to earn even after 30 years in the teaching profession). It's my misfortune that I am so encumbered by such antiquated "baggage" as integrity and professional ethics that I cannot jump onboard.
Thanks again for telling it like it is.
-William Joseph Miller
I must take issue with the portrayal, in "Charter School for Scandal," of Mr. Brady Johnson of the K. Anthony School as a scam artist. I understand that your paper is politically opposed to charter schools, vouchers and Mr. Cosgrove. However, it is irresponsible to tarnish the reputation of a person who has served the educational needs of the African-American communities of South-Central Los Angeles and Inglewood for the last 30 years.
As your article points out, the charter-school legislation contains many loopholes and gray areas, many of which have only recently been corrected. Why not, though, take Mr. Johnson's word that he is unaware of many of the issues that your article raised? Your concerns are legitimate, I should add, but why hold Mr. Johnson to such a high standard of awareness in an area where confusion and lack of clarity abound?
I am the parent of two children, products of the K. Anthony School, both of whom are now college students. Along with countless other current and former K. Anthony parents, I can vouch for the fact that any moneys received by Mr. Johnson - in addition to money out of his own pocket - have been spent on behalf of the students of K. Anthony. Mr. Johnson has been there for African-American students when the LAUSD and the IUSD weren't, and when others were saying our children were incapable of high academic achievement. He deserves better than your smear tactics.
HOWARD BLUME REPLIES:
We never intended to impugn Johnson or what he's accomplished at K. Anthony. In fact, our research and our published articles indicate that Cato led private school operators, such as Johnson, to believe that the state sanctioned Cato's questionable practices.
As usual the Weekly and its staff exhibit extreme bias in their reporting. As for my alleged involvement with Cato schools, it is not a matter of "denying" any involvement. An unbiased and thorough investigative research of Cato records will indicate that I never served as a facilitator for Cato schools at any time, in any shape, form or fashion.
WHO'S WHO IN THE WETLANDS
When I read Marc Haefele's article on the Ballona Wetlands situation ["All Wet," July 24-30], I was perplexed by his references to the Malibu-based Ballona Wetlands Land Trust. I suspect that he was confusing the Land Trust with the Wetlands Action Network, which is based in Malibu. (I sympathize: It is difficult to keep all of these organizations straight, especially since they all seem bent on infiltrating each other!)
Also, as a member of the executive committee of the Angeles Chapter of the Sierra Club, I feel compelled to point out that the Sierra Club is not a member of the coalition referred to in Mr. Robertson's letter to the editor [August 14-20]. The Sierra Club does oppose the Playa Vista development. We believe that the wetlands themselves should be preserved and restored, but we do not op- a pose reasonable development on the old Hughes site and the runways.
Thank you for your continuing good coverage of this important issue.
IT'S THE AFTERTHOUGHT THAT COUNTS
While it was great to see the Weekly finally give Gary Phillips some well-deserved ink in his own hometown ("The People's Detective," August 7-13), I think it should be pointed out that you're a little late in rallying to his defense. The time to tout the man's work was before his publisher showed him the door, not after. Bringing him to your readers' attention now is a lot like dialing 911 after the last victim of a car accident has been loaded into the ambulance.
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