By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
By Dennis Romero
Re: the Weekly's recent roundtable "A School System Is a Terrible Thing To Waste" [October 29 - November 4]. Kudos on your attempt to increase dialogue about conditions at LAUSD. There were, however, some oversights that I hope you will remedy. Your forum appeared top-heavy with bureaucrats, who, just like our legislators, are mostly on the same page and thus really don't express opinions seriously at variance with one another. For example, you should have included those who are most involved with carrying out programs at the basic level -- the classroom. That would include a UTLA representative, a parent and a student.
I substituted at Foshay several times soon after Mr. Lappin's arrival and have no doubt about his sincerity. However, I think his promotion of Foshay is exaggerated. His statistics about graduates going on to four-year colleges contradicts testing results published in the L.A. Times indicating Foshay remains at or below the 30th percentile. Surely he isn't implying his students' capabilities are equal to those in Palisades, Westchester, La Cañada, etc.?
Several critical subjects and puzzles went unanswered or unmentioned. I hope you put your panelists' feet to the fire next time and demand specific answers. The issues should include the lack of basic materials, turnover in certificated personnel, what can be done about disruption by students. Serious answers to the above would be a real beginning of dialogue.
While I applaud the Weekly for bringing to light some of the issues facing the ailing LAUSD, I find that your panel includes no teachers or parents. May I ask why? What teachers do matters most, because our commitment to the profession is what determines student success. Catherine Snow, who presented her research about at-risk students in the book Unfulfilled Expectations (Harvard University Press, 1991), found that high-quality instruction is the one variable that can make a difference. Who provides the instruction? People like me and my colleagues, who spend our days with students, not going to meetings and trying to rationalize the failure of an overburdened, underfunded public school system. We try to make it work, and our voices deserve to be heard.
--Jill Manning,first-grade teacher
OH, WHAT A LOVELY WAR
Re: Mark Cromer's "Snoozin' on the Frontlines" [November 5 - 11]. As the former managing editor and a 15-year employee of the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, I can speak with some authority about the newspaper war between the Los Angeles Times' Our Times section and the Daily Bulletin. There is indeed such a war, based on good, old-fashioned beat reporting and mutual respect between the two staffs. At no time, as Cromer alleges, did we at the Bulletin feel "a collective dread" about Our Times coming to the Inland Valley. Rather, we looked forward to the battle after Dean Singleton's NewsMedia Inc. purchased the San Bernardino County Sun. With the Sun as the Bulletin's sister paper, competitive journalism in San Bernardino County was virtually eliminated. The Daily Bulletin has thrived on competitive journalism. When the Sun became part of our family, we eagerly looked to the Times to fill that void. We were never "shaking in our boots."
Our Times, without a doubt, was a disappointment when it first hit the streets, but Cromer fails to explore the reasons why. The editorial staff had little time to prepare for the section's launch date. Key editor and reporter positions remained unfilled. Patricia Barnes, to her credit, put out a section with a staff at only two-thirds strength. I should also point out that while Our Times did hire inexperienced newspeople, it also hired some very fine talent. City editor C.J. Fogel is one of the best newsmen in the business. Key copyeditors and page designers came from the Daily Bulletin. And the Bulletin's topnotch police reporter, Felisa Cardona, also was stolen from right under our noses. The result? Our Times is picking up the pace and breaking stories. In fact, much to my chagrin, the Bulletin is following Our Times on a hell of a lot of stories in recent weeks. The newspaper war is in full swing, and the staffs at the Bulletin and Our Times are loving it.
Lastly, I should point out the glaring conflict of interest in having Cromer write about the Daily Bulletin. Cromer was fired from the Daily Bulletin nearly 10 years ago. Periodically over the years he has written about us, usually in a negative light. While the Bulletin can take the hits, Cromer has made little effort to contact management for comment. Editor Mike Brossart and I are always available for â interviews, but Cromer has never contacted us. His need for anonymous sources also is puzzling. There are many former Daily Bulletin staffers (even under the Singleton regime) who are willing to talk. Yet Cromer can't find a single one willing to go on the record?
Former managing editor, Daily Bulletin
MAYBE NOT SO LOVELY
I was amused by Marc Haefele's feeble and petty attempt in his "Dialogue of Slurs" [October 29 - November 4] to deprive New Times of its national scoop on the L.A. Times' sleazy profit-sharing deal with the Staples Center. Haefele wrote that Dan Turner, a columnist for the L.A. Business Journal, authored the first story on the deal. Haefele said Turner's "analysis of the deal" ran on October 11, but that "later news reports failed to credit him."