THE CASE FOR MOONLIGHTING
Re: Degrees of Deceit [July 1925]. While I much appreciate Howard Blumes exposures of the chicanery and shenanigans of the LAUSDs bureaucracy, I must make a suggestion. Why doesnt your staff volunteer to work in the districts worst secondary schools? (Believe me, the LAUSD is so desperate for teachers theyll hire almost anyone.) Teach remedial classes with 40-plus students. Try contacting the homes of all the students on your roll who are either missing or no-shows, and see how many parents you actually reach. This may clarify much of the dropout problem.
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However, what would happen if LAUSDs dropouts didnt drop out? Where would you put them? For years, the mentality of the LAUSD has resembled the mentality of the owners of slave ships: How many people can we cram into a given physical space? This mentality has given rise to all sorts of educational reforms: multitrack schools (with less instructional time) and roving teachers, to name two. The ugly truth is that without a high dropout rate, the LAUSD would simply run out of room.
In a way, though, blaming the LAUSD for its dropout rate is like blaming the victim. The real culprits are the politicians and educational reformers who derided the traditional schedule because most classrooms were vacant for three months, then proposed year-round, multitrack schools as a way to save taxpayer dollars and economize on unused classroom space. Equally blameworthy is the state Department of Education, which encouraged overcrowding by promising additional funds for schools that went multitrack. (In the case of Los Angeles, the state has not delivered the funds.)
So by all means, rail against the LAUSD for its real follies and ineptitude if you will, but the real boobies are the voters of California including those whose work appears in the pages of the L.A. Weekly.
W. Joseph Miller
Cooking the books to improve attendance figures and diminish dropout rates at Manual Arts High School was bound to happen eventually because of the way educational quality is measured. As long as only quantifiable data are considered in assessing school performance, incentives will exist to engage in fraudulent practices. This is particularly the case today, when the standards movement demands accountability every year, no excuses accepted.
Perhaps its time to give more weight to qualitative factors in rating a schools success. Anonymous reports by the students themselves, regarding a schools success in meeting their needs and interests, can be as revealing as traditional yardsticks. The student who was failing when she attended Manual Arts but is now thriving at Metro because of its supportive environment serves as an instructive example.
Retired LAUSD teacher
THROW ME THE MONEY!
Re: Christopher Noxons A Kings Ransom [A Considerable Town, July 1925]. Poor Scott King. Why doesnt he make a documentary with complete period accuracy about the United States of Profit and its decades of global mischief, so his family and friends can connect the ugly dots and see that the causes of terrorism exist right in our own back yard? With Kings money, I think I could find a way to expose the hypocrisy. Itd be challenging, and it just might make me some bank. Then I could finally try some materialism of my own on for size. And that would shock my friends.
OWNERS AND OPERATORS
I wonder if TrizecHahn was as surprised as I to read in Megaplex Monopoly by Nikki Finke [July 1925] that they had sold the Kodak Theater to the Anschutz Corp. Did Phil Anschutz make the purchase as a consolation prize for the rejection of his plan to lure an NFL franchise to downtown L.A.? Does he intend to propose that Hollywood ought to be the new site? Indeed, Anschutz Entertainment Group does own Staples Center, but as far as I know they only operate the Kodak Theater.
Ruth Kramer Ziony
Re: Greg Burks She Had To Stay [July 26August 1]. I would find Exene Cervenkas complaints about L.A. not being real enough for her more convincing if she could produce a baptismal certificate with the name Exene on it.